About National Renewable Energy Laboratory
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the only national laboratory solely dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency. As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Small Business Vouchers Pilot, NREL will connect clean energy innovators across the country with top-notch scientists, engineers, and analysts, as well as world-class facilities for research focusing on energy consumption reduction and demand side management and interoperability.
NREL has a wide range of capabilities that support important Advanced Manufacturing initiatives, including world class techno-economic analysis and those housed in the National Centers in Photovoltaics, Bioenergy and Wind Technology on the NREL campus.
- Analysis: NREL is leading DOE's Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center (CEMAC) providing world-class analysis of global supply chains and manufacturing of clean energy technologies. CEMAC works with small businesses to identify focused opportunities for economically-viable manufacturing and supply chain development.
- Energy Systems Integration and Smart Manufacturing: NREL energy systems integration capabilities include testbeds for advanced sensors and controls, wide-area data analytics, power system simulation and visualization, and high fidelity and predictive modeling and simulation for commercial and industrial environments.
- Bio-manufacturing and Process Intensification: NREL's National Bioenergy Center conducts RD&D on conversion of biomass to biofuels, bioenergy and bio-based products. NREL will connect clean energy innovators across the country with top-notch scientists, engineers, and analysts, as well as world-class laboratories and pilot plants for research focusing on process improvement, smart manufacturing and process intensification for bio-energy and bio-based products, including techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment.
Advanced Materials and Roll-to-Roll Processing
NREL has three decades of advanced energy materials development experience as the nation's premier solar energy research lab and is home to the National Center for Photovoltaics. Significant capabilities from this semiconductor background relate to applied Material Genome Initiative (MGI) studies, including experimental combinatorial work both at the functional layer and device level, specialty materials synthesis, and vacuum deposition. NREL also has extensive solution-based material synthesis and characterization capabilities; advanced atmospheric pressure processing equipment, and multiple solution coating technologies. Across all of these technologies, NREL leverages existing thermographic, optical, and electro-optical test-beds to create in-line diagnostics for emerging clean energy material quality control needs, and validates these solutions on an industrial-scale web-line.
NREL provides industry, government, and university researchers with access to state-of-the-art and unique equipment for analyzing the Advanced Manufacturing technologies described above.
NREL facilities include:
- Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF): This facility enables NREL's scientists, engineers, and industry partners to research and test complex devices and concepts for energy systems including smart manufacturing, advanced materials, and roll-to roll processing.
- Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility (IBRF): This facility enables researchers and industry partners to develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate processes for the production of bio-based products and fuels—all with a focus on reducing performance risk and improving the commercial viability of new processes.
- Science and Technology Facility (S&TF): Scientists at this facility research and test silicon solar cells, thin films, and nanostructure in laboratory space that is both functional and flexible.
- Solar Energy Research Facility: This facility conducts research in photovoltaics and basic energy science. The Process Development and Integration Laboratory have one-of-a kind capabilities for fabrication and studying a wide range of solar cell technologies.
- National Wind Technology Center (NWTC): This facility has deep domain expertise in the advanced composites utilized in wind turbines. As the lead for the Wind Technology Area within IACMI - the new DOE Composites Institute NNMI - the NWTC is facilitating industry projects focused on innovation in materials and process in the area of composites manufacturing for wind blades and other turbine structures. In addition, the NWTC possesses advanced testing facilities, such as a full scale structural testing laboratory for the static and lifetime evaluation of blades that will work in conjunction with IACMI to validate advances in composites technology.