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News Release: NREL Names Four Scientists Senior Research Fellows

May 10, 2018

Four scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been elevated to senior research fellows.

Mowafak Al-Jassim, Andy Walker, Robert McCormick, and Gregg Beckham were chosen for their significant contributions to NREL and the larger scientific community. Along with other current research fellows, these individuals will advise NREL executive management on the strategic direction of science and technology research and ensure NREL’s work continues to meets the highest standards for quality and objectivity.

“These scientists have been at the forefront of research,” NREL Director Martin Keller said. “They are global leaders in their disciplines and their expertise will help guide the direction of the leading-edge work being done at NREL.”

Photographs of the four new senior research fellows.

NREL Fellows Mowafak Al-Jassim, Andy Walker, Robert McCormick, and Gregg Beckham.

Mowafak Al-Jassim, who earned his doctorate in materials science from the University of Oxford, joined NREL more than 30 years ago, initially as a postdoctoral researcher. Now a group manager in the Materials Science Center, Al-Jassim is a world-renowned expert in defect and interface science and works on the structural, chemical, luminescent and nano-electrical characterization of materials, defects, and interfaces for energy applications, primarily in photovoltaics. He has been published in every major journal relevant to his field.

Andy Walker, a 25-year veteran of NREL, holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. A principal engineer at the lab’s Integrated Applications Center, Walker has developed novel technical solutions to major marketplace problems. He initiated the widely used REopt tool, which allows users to determine the optimal mix of renewable energy, conventional generation, and energy storage technologies at a particular location. Walker, who has taught at the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines since 1999, is author of the books, “Solar Energy: Technologies and Project Delivery for Buildings” and “Integration of Renewable Energy Systems.”

Robert McCormick, who earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wyoming, joined NREL nearly 17 years ago. A principal engineer and platform leader in the Fuels Performance and Combustion Science Group—a group he created, McCormick leads the research team for advanced biofuels R&D. His research has included studies on biodiesel chemistry effects that led to the development of fuel quality standards, demonstration that certain oxygenates can function as hydrocarbon equivalent drop in fuels, and the concept that fuels and engines can be co-optimized as a system.

Gregg Beckham joined NREL in 2008 after receiving his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A senior engineer and group leader in the National Bioenergy Center, he works with an interdisciplinary team on conversion of biomass to fuels, chemicals, and materials and upcycling of waste plastics.

“Being elected an NREL fellow is a sign of the high levels of your accomplishments as a researcher, and your reputation in your specific area of research,” NREL Fellow Maria Ghirardi said. “The NREL fellows cover most of the current research areas at the lab and provide scientific advice to managers related to the future of the laboratory and who are the current rising stars that should be recognized to further increase the lab’s visibility and growth.”

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.