James Niffenegger

James Niffenegger

Researcher II-Mechanical Engineering

Google Scholar

James Niffenegger works in NREL's water power research group as a technology innovation, modeling, and assessment engineer. His research focuses on developing novel flexible wave energy converters, promoting and facilitating the integration of marine energy technologies into marine carbon dioxide removal methods, and combining water power with other renewable energy sources such as optimizing designs of hybrid energy systems that use floating solar panels and pumped storage hydropower.

Prior to working at NREL, James received his Master of Science in mechanical engineering at Stanford University and his Bachelor of Science in the same field after graduating magna cum laude at Harvard University, where he built and evaluated two carbon capture reactors of his own design. He has published and presented his own research on scientific and humanitarian topics at national and international conferences.

James has also volunteered with Engineers Without Borders to provide water to an elementary school in Tanzania, by working with a team of his peers to develop and build a rainwater catchment system.

Research Interests

Novel wave energy converter designs, especially those that aim to increase the lifespans of the offshore devices

Marine carbon dioxide removal

Hybrid energy system optimization


M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Harvard University

Featured Work

Distributed Embedded Energy Converter Technologies for Marine Renewable Energy: A Technical Report, NREL Technical Report (2023)