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Research Collaborations

NREL leads and participates in national and international science and technology collaborations, including joint institutes, Energy Frontier Research Centers, Energy Materials Network consortia, and other research interactions.

NREL also partners with universities and research institutions around the nation as part of the University Partnerships Program.

Joint Institutes

Operated by JISEA, CEMAC provides objective analysis and up-to-date data on global clean energy manufacturing. Policymakers and industry leaders seek CEMAC insights to inform choices to promote economic growth and the transition to a clean energy economy.

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This consortium commercializes technologies, supports economic growth, and educates the workforce. NREL partners with the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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ICMC focuses on critical issues in energy-related materials science while advancing the state of the art in multiscale characterization. Of special interest are materials for photovoltaic, battery, and fuel cell applications as well as lightweight alloys, composites, and membranes.

ICMC is supported jointly by scientists at NREL and the Colorado School of Mines. It represents a new opportunity for these two institutions to collaborate with industry partners, providing access to their expert researchers and research facilities.

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JISEA (pronounced jye-SEE-uh) provides leading-edge, objective, high-impact research and analysis to guide global energy investment and policy decisions. Focused on the nexus of energy, finance, and society, JISEA is guiding the transformation of the global energy economy.

JISEA is operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC on behalf of its founding partners: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University.

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RASEI (pronounced RAY-see) is a joint institute between the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory addressing important, complex problems in energy that require a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional approach. Its mission is to expedite solutions that transform energy by advancing renewable energy science, engineering, and analysis through research, education, and industry partnerships.

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Energy Frontier Research Centers

The fundamental objective of BioLEC is to establish a platform for directing difficult chemical transformations that are enabled by combining the energies of multiple photons. Our mission is inspired by the way photosynthesis combines the energy of two or more photons to perform chemistry that is otherwise strongly uphill at equilibrium. We employ light harvesting and advances in solar photochemistry to enable unprecedented photoinduced cross-coupling reactions that valorize abundant molecules resulting in breakthroughs that will yield energy-relevant chemicals, fuels, and materials.

BioLEC brings together scientific communities that rarely interact—organic synthesis, structural and molecular biology, and physical chemistry. The center is led by Princeton University and includes collaborators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and NREL.

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Research through CABES helps to better understand the impact of the alkaline polymer environment on properties relevant for fuel cells, electrolyzers, and metal batteries. And it requires delving into the chemistry, physics, and materials science at different scales—from atoms to interfaces —and understanding fundamental mechanisms of performance under a range of different conditions.

Cornell University leads this Energy Frontier Research Center, which includes partners from NREL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Binghamton University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, and Yale.

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CHOISE's mission is to form a cohesive effort to accelerate discovery and elucidate design principles for unprecedented control over emergent properties involving spin, charge, and light-matter interactions, leading to new energy-efficient advanced technologies.

NREL leads this center, which includes partners from Duke University, San Diego State University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Toledo, and the University of Utah.

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The CNGMD's mission is to dramatically transform the discovery of functional energy materials through multiple-property searching, incorporation of metastable materials into predictive design, and development of theory to guide materials synthesis.

NREL leads this center, which includes partners from Colorado School of Mines, Harvard University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Energy Materials Network Consortia

ChemCatBio leverages unique DOE national lab capabilities to address technical risks associated with accelerating the development of catalysts and related technologies for the commercialization of biomass-derived fuels and chemicals, leading to enhanced energy security and national leadership in the global bioeconomy.

NREL is joined in this consortium by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Idaho National Laboratory.

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DuraMAT brings together the national lab and university research infrastructure with the photovoltaic (PV) and supply-chain industries for a grand goal—to discover, develop, de-risk, and enable the commercialization of new materials and designs for PV modules—with the potential for a levelized cost of electricity of less than $0.03/kWh.

NREL leads this consortium, with partners from Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. We envision doubling the rate at which companies can implement new materials in PV modules by coupling an Energy Materials Network architecture with PV durability science and state-of-the-art analysis.

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ElectroCat has the goal of accelerating the development of catalysts made without platinum group metals (PGM-free) for use in automotive fuel cell applications. Current state-of-the-art fuel cell systems rely on platinum-based catalysts that make up nearly 50% of the total fuel cell cost. ElectroCat aims to bring together a network of enduring tools and expertise across the national laboratory network under a streamlined, single point of contact interface that makes it easy for industry and academic partners to quickly gain access to the consortium.

Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory lead this consortium. Partners include NREL and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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HydroGEN is addressing advanced water-splitting materials challenges by making unique, world-class national lab capabilities—in photoelectrochemical, solar thermochemical, and low- and high-temperature electrolytic water-splitting—more accessible to academia, industry, and other national labs.

NREL leads this consortium, which also includes Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Savannah River National Laboratory.

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HyMARC is a consortium of three national laboratories: Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. HyMARC assembles deep national laboratory expertise in hydrogen science, large-scale computational modeling, and state-of-the-art characterization tools to accelerate discovery of solid-state materials for on-board vehicular hydrogen storage.

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ElectroCat has the goal of accelerating the development of catalysts made without platinum group metals (PGM-free) for use in automotive fuel cell applications. Current state-of-the-art fuel cell systems rely on platinum-based catalysts that make up nearly 50% of the total fuel cell cost. ElectroCat aims to bring together a network of enduring tools and expertise across the national laboratory network under a streamlined, single point of contact interface that makes it easy for industry and academic partners to quickly gain access to the consortium.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory leads this consortium. Partners include NREL, Ames Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.

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Other Research Consortia and Collaborations

The BTMS Consortium focuses on novel energy storage technologies using Earth-abundant materials. Its goal is to facilitate integration and innovation within three technology areas—electric vehicle charging, solar power generation technologies, and energy-efficient buildings using controllable loads—while minimizing costs and grid impacts.

The consortium is led by NREL and consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers along with Idaho National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Argonne National Laboratory.

BESC is a research organization performing basic and applied science dedicated to enable the emergence of a sustainable cellulosic biofuels industry by leading advances in science and science-based innovation resulting in removal of recalcitrance as an economic barrier to cost-effective production of biofuels.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory leads this consortium. NREL is joined by 17 partners in this this multidisciplinary research, which encompasses the biological, chemical, physical, and computational sciences as well as mathematics and engineering.

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This project is accelerating the development and lowering the cost of high-performance lithium-ion batteries for next-generation electric-drive vehicles through the development of new computer-aided software engineering tools. CAEBAT tools are helping battery designers, developers, and manufacturers create the advanced battery technologies needed to boost electric-drive vehicle performance and consumer appeal.

The CAEBAT Consortium includes NREL and Argonne, Oak Ridge, and Sandia National Laboratories. CAEBAT partners from other research organizations and industry include A123 Systems, ANSYS, Battery Design LLC, CD-adapco, EC Power, ESim, Ford, General Motors, Johnson Controls Inc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Penn State University, Texas A&M University, and USCAR Crash Safety Working Group.

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The CCPC is a joint core research and development activity among five national laboratories created to utilize unique DOE computational modeling facilities and experience to accelerate the discovery and deployment of novel materials in support of the Energy Materials Network and the Materials Genome Initiative. The CCPC also computationally bridges the chemical reactions occurring at the nanoscale to reactor- and plant-scale processes to enable critical experimental verifications and predict the effects of process scale-up on the techno-economic analysis of commercial scale operations.

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This initiative is simultaneously transforming fuels and engines to maximize vehicle performance and affordability while improving fuel economy and fuel diversification. Co-Optima's research is arming industry, policymakers, and other key stakeholders with the scientific foundation and market intelligence required to make informed investment decisions, break down barriers to commercialization, and bring new high-performance fuels and advanced engine systems to market sooner.

NREL is collaborating with Argonne, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Laboratories as well as university and industry partners on this groundbreaking research.

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FCIC is dedicated to the continuous and efficient operation of the U.S. biorefinery industry. FCIC endeavors to understand how feedstock composition, structure, and behavior impact overall biorefinery performance. FCIC studies the value chain, from biomass harvest to conversion, and includes both high- and low-temperature conversion processes.

Led by NREL, FCIC is a collaboration of industry advisors and eight other national laboratories, including Argonne, Idaho, Lawrence Berkeley, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Laboratories as well as the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

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IACMI is a public-private partnership between NREL and other national laboratories, industry, universities, and federal, state, and local governments. By sharing resources and co-investing in accelerated development and commercial deployment for advanced composites, IACMI works to achieve domestic manufacturing innovation.

NREL leads IACMI's wind turbine technology area and recently opened the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility (CoMET), which enables the laboratory to lead composites research projects for the wind turbine industry. The facility allows for a variety of manufacturing techniques, including rapid prototyping of new blade materials and production methods and full-scale blade component tooling.

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iiESI is a global membership-based organization of leading researchers, educators, and practitioners addressing the technical challenges associated with the integration of multiple energy systems.

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Nexus is a joint initiative that strengthens, accelerates, and enhances collaborative efforts between NREL and Mines. The Mines/NREL Nexus is a strategic partnership that aims to invest in the development of joint responses to grand challenges, catalyze research funding to pursue joint work, and foster exchange of ideas and funding via research or teaching.

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The International PVQAT leads global efforts to craft quality and reliability standards for solar energy technologies. These standards will allow stakeholders to quickly assess a solar photovoltaic module's performance and ability to withstand local weather stresses, thereby reducing risk and adding confidence for those developing products, designing incentive programs, and determining private investments.

NREL provides leadership in the overall effort and on several task groups.

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To sustainably facilitate lithium-ion battery recycling and recovery of key materials, the Department of Energy established the ReCell Lithium Battery Recycling R&D Center, led by Argonne National Laboratory with collaboration from NREL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and several universities.

NREL oversees the evaluation of the impact of second life, including relithiation, on recyclability; thermal analysis for system dynamics; and supply chain modeling. In addition, NREL researchers are taking a closer look at how the design of lithium-ion batteries can be improved to take end-of-life recycling into account. By designing for future recyclability, researchers can find ways to maximize the efficiency of recycling processes without reducing battery performance.

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SERIIUS is a bi-national network that is developing disruptive technologies through foundational research in photovoltaics and concentrating solar power to address the critical barriers for solar energy development in India that intersect the grand challenges for solar energy in the United States.

SERIIUS is co-led by NREL and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and seeks to create an environment for cooperation and innovation" without borders," to develop and ready emerging revolutionary solar electricity technologies toward the long-term success of India's Jawaharlal Nehru Solar National Energy Mission and DOE's SunShot Initiative.

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US-MAP accelerates domestic commercialization of perovskite technologies by providing access to comprehensive research capabilities.

The consortium hosts shared R&D, testing, and pilot manufacturing to address reliability barriers to market entry. It conducts cross-cutting basic science and provides cost-effective access to capital equipment, tools, facilities, and expertise through shared laboratory resources and by leveraging investments in capabilities.

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