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Research

Researching energy systems and technologies—and the science behind them—for a future powered by clean energy.

Research Directorates

NREL's research programs are organized into six directorates. Learn more about how these organizations are advancing energy research.

The directorate advances technologies to produce bio-based fuels, products, and energy. Research covers the full spectrum of discovery science, from exploratory research to pilot-scale processing; capabilities include biochemical conversion, thermochemical conversion, algal biofuels, and techno-economic and life-cycle analyses. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Adam Bratis.

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The Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis directorate is home to NREL's capabilities in high-performance computing, computational science, applied mathematics, visualization and data, along with analysis of energy systems, technologies, policies, resources, and markets. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Robert Leland.

Learn more about Energy Analysis and Computational Science.

Energy systems integration is an approach to solving complex energy challenges that explores ways for energy system to work more efficiently on their own, with each other, and with the electric grid. NREL's energy systems integration directorate employs a holistic approach to developing, evaluating, and demonstrating innovative technologies and strategies to ensure that our energy sources, demand-response programs, and delivery systems can work seamlessly together. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Juan Torres.

Learn more about the Energy Systems Integration Facility, Grid Modernization, and Integrated Energy Solutions.

NREL's Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach directorate accelerates the transfer of laboratory technologies to the marketplace. The directorate includes the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, helping to connect emerging advanced energy businesses with the financial community, NREL technical expertise and facilities, and the broader energy ecosystem. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Bill Farris.

The directorate's capabilities span fundamental and applied R&D for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Key program areas include solar energy conversion for electricity and fuels, materials discovery and development for renewable energy technologies, hydrogen production and storage, and fuel cells. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director William Tumas.

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The directorate's engineering sciences are transforming the nation's energy systems, enabling a diverse, secure, and sustainable advanced energy future through technological innovations in energy efficiency, renewable power, and sustainable transportation. Our early-stage and applied research and development span advanced manufacturing, buildings efficiency, concentrating solar power, geothermal energy, transportation, water power, and wind energy. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Johney Green Jr.

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Photo of the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL.

Energy Systems Integration Facility

The only facility in the nation focused on utility-scale clean energy grid integration. Learn More

NREL scientist Jianping Yu holds a petri dish of cyanobacteria culture being grown in his lab.

Award-Winning Technologies

Learn about NREL's outstanding researchers and scientists, high-performance buildings, and R&D 100 Awards.