Catalytic Carbon Transformation

NREL is leading innovation in the catalytic conversion of renewable and waste carbon sources.

Impact of NREL's Catalytic Carbon Transformation Research
Total Citations: 10,256
Since 2015

From thermal deconstruction and catalytic upgrading to computational modeling and operando catalyst characterization, NREL is pioneering the way to a sustainable future through carbon recycling.

Carbon recycling occurs when captured carbon in biomass and waste sources can be converted back into advanced materials, commodity and specialty chemicals, and drop-in and advantaged fuels, all enabled by catalysis.

Get an overview of NREL's Catalytic Carbon Transformation Platform.

Our Approach

Our technical approach is based on three core principles:

  • Understanding the fundamental relationships that govern a process enables transformative breakthroughs in technology development
  • Transitioning technologies from discovery to the cusp of commercialization requires integrated catalysis and process R&D that bridges the gap between foundational science and applied engineering
  • Driving R&D from the bottom up through fundamental science and the top down with techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment accelerates technology advancement.

Meet Our Research Teams


Discover a few of NREL's cutting-edge catalytic carbon conversion technologies.

Enabling Capabilities

Learn more about NREL's experimental, modeling, and analytical capabilities that enable efficient carbon utilization.


Learn about NREL's dynamic research facilities that enable multiscale catalyst and process evaluation.


Browse our technical publication lists by research focus.

Thermochemical process integration, scale-up, and piloting

Heterogeneous catalysis for thermochemical conversion


Reactive CO₂ Capture: Process Integration for the New Carbon Economy Workshop Proceedings

Carbon-Negative Hydrogen Workshop Presentations