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Impacts and Awards

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NREL has an impressive record of breaking down barriers to accelerate the development of new transportation technologies.

NREL provides the scientific building blocks needed to spur innovation through early-stage research and engineering. In turn, this acts as a catalyst to help industry bring affordable, high-performance, energy-efficient passenger and freight vehicles, as well as domestic alternative fuels and related infrastructure, to market. Learn about our electric vehicle technologies and targets.

Success Stories

The following success stories provide a snapshot of NREL's transportation research activities.

NREL's in-depth exploration of the interface of fuel chemistry, ignition kinetics, combustion, and emissions examines ways to maximize the energy delivered by and minimize emissions associated with biofuels, natural gas, propane, and petroleum-based fuel, while ensuring fuels' compatibility with infrastructure.

NREL's Sustainable Mobility Initiative approaches sustainable transportation as a network of travelers, services, and environments—rather than just vehicles and roads—using connectivity and automation to optimize mobility and significantly reduce related energy consumption.

NREL thermal management research focuses on energy storage, power electronic, and climate control system operating temperatures to improve vehicle performance, range, reliability, lifespan, and affordability.

NREL provides the nation's most credible and complete transportation energy-efficiency clearinghouse for validated, up-to-date statistics, data analysis, and tools, pairing information from government and private-sector partners with expertise in analysis and applications.


NREL's transportation researchers are regularly recognized by scientific and technical societies, government agencies, and other organizations for their achievements.

Colorado Governor's Office

2012 Governor's Award for High-Impact Research—Matt Keyser

2010 Governor's Award High-Impact Research, Energy Efficiency Finalist—John Rugh

Department of Energy (DOE)

2017 DOE Assistant Secretary's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Outstanding Impact Award—Ahmad Pesaran

2017 DOE Vehicle Technologies Office Distinguished Achievement Award—Matthew Keyser

2016 DOE Vehicle Technologies Office Special Recognition Award, Motor Thermal Management—Kevin Bennion

2015 Team Merit Award—Brian Bush, Marc Melaina, and Michael Penev (with Amgad Elgowainy of Argonne National Laboratory)

2014 GreenGov Presidential Award for DOE/Department of Transportation/Federal Energy Management Program Partnership—Mark Singer, Ryan Daley, and Navid Ahdieh

2014 Merit Award—Wendy Dafoe

2014 Merit Award—Gi-Heon Kim

2014 Merit Award—Jennifer Kurtz

2014 Merit Award—Michael Penev

2012 Merit Award—Matt Thornton

Federal Laboratory Consortium

2016 Mid-Continent Regional Award for Notable Technology Development, Battery Internal Short-Circuit Device—National Renewable Energy Laboratory and National Aeronautics and Space Administration

2014 Mid-Continent Regional Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, Isothermal Battery Calorimeters—National Renewable Energy Laboratory

2014 Honorable Mention in Excellence in Technology Transfer, Isothermal Battery Calorimeters—National Renewable Energy Laboratory

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

2017 NASA Government Invention of the Year, First Runner-Up—Battery Internal Short Circuit Device

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

2018 Senior Research Fellow—Bob McCormick

R&D 100 Awards

2016—Battery Internal Short Circuit Device

2016—Wolfspeed Wide Bandgap Automotive Traction Inverter

2013—Isothermal Battery Calorimeters

2001—Current Interrupt Charging Algorithm for Lead-Acid Batteries

1996—Benchmarc Catalytic Converter

American Chemical Society, Fuels and Energy Division

2010 Glenn Award for Best Paper—Casey McAlpin, Teresa Alleman, and Robert McCormick

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

1992 Best Paper Award for the 1992 Heating and Cooling Sessions of the ASME Solar Energy Division—Ahmad Pesaran

1990 Best Paper Award for the Fundamental Sessions of the ASME Solar Energy Division—Ahmad Pesaran

ASTM International

2016 Award of Excellence for Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants—Bob McCormick

Electrochemical Society

2012 Charles W. Tobias Young Investigator Award—Bryan Pivovar

Engineer Collaborate-to-Innovate Award

2017 Safety and Security Category—Battery Internal Short Circuit Device

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

2017 Best Paper for "Advanced Cell-Level Control for Extending Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Lifetime"―Muneeb Rehman, Fan Zhang, Michael Evzelman, Regan Zane, Kandler Smith, and Dragan Maksimovic

National Biodiesel Board

2017 Researcher of the Year Award—Earl Christensen

2017 Innovation Award—Earl Christensen

2013 Researcher of the Year Award—Aaron Williams

2008 Researcher of the Year Award—Teresa Alleman

2006 Innovation Award—Bob McCormick

2005 Researcher of the Year Award—Bob McCormick

SAE International

2018 Fellow—Ahmad Pesaran

2017 Fellow—Robert McCormick

2017 Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award—Jason Lustbader

2013 Forest R. McFarland Award—John Rugh

2011 Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award—John Rugh

2010 Outstanding Oral Presentation Award—John Rugh

2003 Vincent Bendix Automotive Electronics Engineering Award—Ahmad Pesaran