By Bill Farris, NREL Associate Laboratory Director for Innovation, Partnering, & Outreach

Pre Framing is an IN2 portfolio company working in NREL’s visualization laboratory to develop industrialized construction materials and practices. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL)

Seven years ago, the Wells Fargo Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) to support promising clean energy start-ups.

The $50 million program, co-administered by NREL, has proven so successful that the 56 companies selected have raised more than $1 billion from external sources since joining IN2. …


By Adam Bratis, NREL Associate Laboratory Director, Bioenergy Science and Technology

Early Flight Was Fueled by the Scientific Process — A photo showing the first powered, controlled, and sustained flight over a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Like Orville and Wilbur Wright with their legendary flyer, NREL is using science to put a new notch in the storied history of aviation: climate-friendly flight powered by low- and zero-net-carbon sustainable aviation fuel. Photo from Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

The seeds of modern aviation didn’t merely sprout from two brothers’ dream of flight. They broke into the sunlight through the rigor of the scientific process.

I’ve heard that the Wright brothers tested hundreds of wing designs during their efforts to build and demonstrate the first fully functional airplane. Many of those wooden wings never took off. But every experiment — whether airborne or not — taught the American inventors something valuable.

Orville and Wilbur Wright carried insights back to their lab, where they polished their understanding of the…


By National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director Martin Keller

Last June, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) added the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) staff in Fairbanks, Alaska, to our team. The Alaskan institution brought 20 years of unrivaled experience in extreme-climate sustainable housing to our partnership as well as to the U.S. Department of Energy.

We were excited because our new partners incorporate the wisdom of First Alaskans, which draws from thousands of years of tradition. And now, with 21 of their staff closely collaborating with NREL researchers for the past year, we are even more pleased.

Just like…


By Johney Green, NREL Associate Laboratory Director

Sometimes it seems as if vehicles are in my DNA.

To me that’s a good thing, because now is the time to look closely at mindful transportation decarbonization in order to fight climate change. After all, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the United States.

And I’m in a great place to do that at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

NREL has been a leader in deep decarbonization and sustainability for more than four decades. Today, the accelerating threat of climate change has placed an even greater importance…


By Martin Keller, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director

The mission of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has always been based on community impact. And while this normally means researching ways to make clean energy more affordable and reliable, during the pandemic, we felt we needed to do more.

That’s why the NREL Leadership Team decided to seek U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approval to partner with Colorado’s Jefferson County Health Department to make the South Table Mountain campus a COVID-19 vaccine dispensary. With the green light from DOE, we began preparing earlier this year for that purpose. Our staff…


By Bill Farris, NREL Associate Laboratory Director for Innovation, Partnering, & Outreach

Bill Farris, NREL associate laboratory director for Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach, speaks at the 2018 NREL Partner Forum in Golden, Colorado. NREL’s collaboration with partners from industry, government, and academia allows NREL to further the science behind some of the world’s greatest energy innovations. (Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL)

As one of 17 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides direct support to numerous DOE initiatives, while also leading the national laboratory system in market-facing activities to commercialize technologies and partner with government, academia, and industry. These partnerships will help move the energy needle in a way that our planet is demanding, and the foundation for increased partnership activity has been carefully built over the past several years.

More than 12 years ago, NREL’s partnership outreach efforts accelerated with the…


By National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director Martin Keller

Five years ago, on Nov. 30, I walked into the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, as employee number 17990. Although I was familiar with the laboratory from my time at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and had met many members of the NREL Leadership Team during my interviews, stepping on campus for my first official day was different.

When I started, I had many aspirations for the laboratory. …


By Peter Green, NREL Deputy Laboratory Director

NREL’s Greg Glatzmaier determines the high-temperature thermal and mechanical stability of sealants used in a lab prototype of the integrated hydrogen sensor/separator module, an R&D 100 Award-winning project. Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL

People call the annual R&D 100 Awards from R&D World magazine the Academy Awards of innovation. And while that analogy may be true up to a point, I like to think the technologies spotlighted have more long-term impact than the Oscars. Breakthroughs that reduce the cost of solar energy or make wind power more available will pay dividends longer than, say, memory of the Best Actor Award winner a decade ago — no offense to Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

Quite simply, R&D 100 Awards are among the most prestigious science and technology…


By NREL Deputy Laboratory Director and Chief Operating Officer Julie Baker

NREL researchers were able to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking safety precautions and remaining diligent. That lab has emerged stronger from the challenge. Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Because I started my career at the Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) nuclear operations, I learned that labs run 24/7. I was a non-degreed operator in its Chemical Processing Plant, and things never shut down.

That key lesson has proven invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as I and the Leadership Team of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have kept our lab functioning and contributing to the clean energy mission while also ensuring safety for our staff.

Maybe it’s also because I’m the mom of two…


By Adam Bratis, Associate Laboratory Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Associate Director

We’re becoming a society in which electricity is going to be cheaper and more abundant. Prices continue to drop as technologies keep getting better. A lot of that is driven by plentiful wind energy, solar power, and natural gas.

In this rapidly changing energy world, we should wonder: How can abundant, clean electricity affect the industrial sector and the way we manufacture things?

At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, that is one question we’re asking to guide our research during the next 10 years. And our answer is…

National Renewable Energy Laboratory - NREL

From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are #TransformingEnergy

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