Department of Energy Honors 12 From NREL
The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 24 honored 12 staffers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for their work in helping move the country further away from the use of fossil fuels. The Secretary of Energy Achievement Award ranks as the highest form of recognition for federal and contractor employees within the department (DOE).
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced the presentation of Achievement Awards to 44 teams and Excellence Awards to five individuals. The awards have been presented annually since 2007.
Granholm said the awards were presented for “significant and lasting contributions to the department and, in turn, to our nation.”
The three awards given to NREL employees were for:
- The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, to Steve Lommele, Lissa Myers, Alex Schroeder, Monisha Shah, and Johanna Levene
- The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, to Zia Abdullah, Craig Brown, Justin Rickard, Matteo Muratori, Emily Newes, and Ling Tao
Facilitating Congressional Briefing Panel Discussions, to Peter Green.
The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation was created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to facilitate collaboration between the DOE and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The office is leading the administration's efforts to build a network of 500,000 EV chargers and supporting the implementation of over $18 billion in programs in BIL. Schroeder, who served as interim executive director of the office, is now working as its chief technology officer, while Lommele, Shah, and Myers hold interim staff positions.
“This teamwork has laid a very strong foundation for future crosscutting agency collaboration and BIL execution to build out a national electric-vehicle charging network with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations,” said Geraldine Richmond, the undersecretary for science and innovation at the Department of Energy, who presented the award to the NREL staff.
The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge emerged as a collaboration between DOE, DOT, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal agencies. The challenge is designed to shift the aviation industry toward fuels with lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Richmond said the challenge “established aggressive but achievable goals of a 50% reduction in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions” compared to conventional fuels by 2030 and a target of 100% of aviation fuels coming from sustainable sources by 2050.
Peter Green, deputy laboratory director for science and technology, was part of a team of 80 scientists and support staff from across DOE’s national laboratory complex who facilitated eight virtual panel discussions as part of a congressional briefing series titled “Driving U.S. Competitiveness & Innovation: A New Era of Science for Transformative Industry.”
Panels answered questions on the advancements being made in these fields as well as the workforce challenges these emergent industries face, particularly in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I’m very pleased to have been part of this group and this valuable effort,” Green said. “I’m proud that we were able to highlight the incredible value of our national laboratories, its researchers, and the many productive partnerships we have formed with industry.”
Two researchers from NREL were recognized with a Secretary’s Award for Achievement in 2021.