Research Directorates

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

Researcher works in NREL lab.

Bioenergy Science and Technology

This 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.

Learn more about Bioenergy Research.

NREL researchers work on the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System in the Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL.

Energy Systems Integration

Energy systems integration enables a smooth transition to a modern energy system that is secure, resilient, reliable, affordable, and clean. Our advanced energy research and analysis provide technically sound guidance to get there, supporting strategic energy planning, data-driven decision making, and reduced-risk project development. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Juan Torres.

Learn more about Energy Analysis, Energy Security and ResilienceGrid Modernization, Integrated Energy Solutions, and the Energy Systems Integration Facility.

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Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach

This directorate accelerates the transfer of laboratory technologies to the marketplace. It includes the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, the Technology Transfer office, and the partnership development team. All 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. 

Learn more about working with NREL.

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Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science

This 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, fuel cells, and computational science. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director William Tumas.

Learn more about Materials, Chemical, and Computational Science.

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Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences

The Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences directorate conducts research and development to enable technology innovations in NREL’s advanced manufacturing, buildings, concentrating solar power, geothermal, transportation, water, and wind research programs. The directorate is led by Associate Laboratory Director Johney Green Jr.

Learn more about Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences.