NREL's chemistry and nanoscience research investigates materials and processes for converting renewable and clean energy resources such as sunlight, heat, and renewable fuels into chemical and electrical energy in the form of fuels or other chemical and electrical energy storage.
NREL conducts chemistry and nanoscience research across the entire spectrum—from foundational research to working closely with industry to commercialize new technologies.
NREL's primary research in chemistry and nanoscience includes:
Electrical Energy Storage
Lithium-ion and radical organic batteries
Fuel cells, and hydrogen production and storage
High-efficiency crystalline photovoltaics, organic photovoltaics, perovskites, and performance measurements
Excitons to charge carrier in molecular and nanoscale systems, quantum-confined semiconductors, and solar fuels
Manufacturing for Energy Applications
Roll-to-roll manufacturing and atmospheric processing
Carbon nanoscience, layered semiconductors, and thermoelectric materials
Molecular and Catalysis Science
Providing the nation with clean energy sources by studying and developing novel and efficient conversion of energy in sunlight into chemical energy and light-generated electricity
Spectroscopy and Photoscience
Developing spectroscopic tools to improve our understanding of physical phenomena in energy transformation processes and accelerate the innovation and adoption of energy conversion systems and devices
Electrochemical Engineering and Materials Chemistry
Providing a knowledge base in materials science covering fundamental issues that impact photovoltaics, electrochromic windows, high-temperature superconductors, hydrogen storage, and solid-state batteries
High-Efficiency Crystalline Photovoltaics
Developing low-cost, manufacturable techniques to further increase the efficiency of advanced silicon cells; continuing to develop the highest-efficiency III-V multijunction cells for space and high-concentration terrestrial applications; and pursuing low-cost III-V photovoltaic cells for 1-sun and low-concentration terrestrial applications and very high-efficiency silicon-based tandem cells
Cell and Module Performance
Performing a span of performance measurements across a range of cell and module technologies—including commercial, developmental, and research samples—for scientists in the photovoltaic industry and at universities
Jao van de Lagemaat is the director of the Chemistry and Nanoscience Center, which is part of the Materials and Chemical Science and Technology directorate, led by Associate Laboratory Director Bill Tumas.