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Research Directorates

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

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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 is an approach to solving complex energy challenges that explores ways for energy systems 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.

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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 help 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. 

Learn more about working with NREL.

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Materials and Chemical Science and Technology

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

Learn more about Materials and Chemical Science Technology.

Battery Aging and Control Engineer Ying Shi in NREL's Thermal Test Facility

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.

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Scientific Computing and Energy Analysis

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.