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Other Research Facilities

Photo of wind turbines against a mountainous backdrop.

Wind turbines near the Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility.

In addition to the laboratories dedicated to hydrogen and fuel cell research, other facilities at NREL provide space for scientists developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies along with other renewable energy technologies.

Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility

NREL's Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility is a working laboratory for testing and improving interconnections between renewable energy generation technologies, energy storage systems, and electrical conversion equipment. Hydrogen-related research focuses on improving the system efficiency of hydrogen production via electrolysis using wind or other renewable energy resources. This research highlights a promising option for encouraging higher penetrations of renewable energy generation as well as producing hydrogen for transportation and other uses.

NREL's wind-to-hydrogen project connects electrolyzers, hydrogen storage, and electrical generators with wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays to evaluate renewable energy/hydrogen electrolysis systems and develop effective power electronics for directly connecting turbines and arrays to electrolyzer stacks.

Thermochemical Users Facility

NREL's Thermochemical Users Facility includes pilot-scale equipment for liquefying or gasifying biomass, and then either using those products to generate electricity or catalytically converting them to valuable fuels or chemicals. Hydrogen research at this facility aims to improve the process for catalytic conversion of synthesis gas to hydrogen via the water-gas-shift reaction.

High-Flux Solar Furnace

NREL's High-Flux Solar Furnace can generate very high heat-flux rates by concentrating the sun 2,500 times or more. Hydrogen research at this facility explores thermochemical processes that generate hydrogen by oxidation and reduction of metal oxides. This work could ultimately lead to still-higher-temperature thermal processes that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen.