Basic Energy Sciences
NREL's basic energy sciences programs balance use-inspired and discovery R&D to provide underpinning knowledge and understanding for energy conversion and technologies.
Our programs include core projects, Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program awardees.
To develop solutions for renewable energy conversion and storage and related technologies, we utilize NREL's strong capabilities in semiconductors and materials science, nanomaterials synthesis and modification, synthesis and fabrication, photochemistry and advanced spectroscopy, and bioscience. These capabilities allow us to develop a better scientific understanding of molecular, nanoscale, semiconductor, and biological materials, systems, and processes.
Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences
Quantum information science: molecular control of spin-entangled triplet excitons (principal investigator: Justin Johnson)
Mechanistic determinants of Flavin-based electron bifurcation (Early Career Award; principal investigator: Cara Lubner)
Hierarchical scalable Green's function modeling of chemistry at interfaces (Computational Chemical Science Center; principal investigator: Mark van Schilfgaarde)
Beyond-density functional theory electrochemistry with accelerated and solvated techniques (principal investigator: Derek Vigil Fowler).
Materials Science and Engineering
Through materials science—materials growth and characterization coupled with theoretical modeling—we seek to understand and control fundamental electronic and optical processes in semiconductors. Our basic energy sciences research in this area includes:
Ab initio theory of unconventional superconductivity (principal investigator: Mark van Schilfgaarde)
Nitride materials and interfaces for radiation-hard integrated neutron detection (principal investigator: Nancy Haegel)
Disorder in topological semimetals (principal investigator: Kirstin Alberi)
Photophysical energy transfer for selective separations of critical lanthanides (principal investigator: Andrew Ferguson)
Harnessing order parameters in ternary II-IV-V2 semiconductors (Early Career Award; principal investigator: Adele Tamboli)
Degradation mechanisms of aminopolymers used in direct air capture (principal investigator: Wade Braunecker).
Energy Frontier Research Centers
Fuels From Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub
NREL is part of the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA), a Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub. Watch the video about LiSA research at NREL.
U.S. Department of Energy Support
NREL's basic science research supports the Department of Energy's Office of Science Basic Energy Sciences Program.