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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 storage, power electronics, thermal management, combustion, alternative fuels, fueling infrastructure, and vehicle-to-grid integration.

Capabilities

NREL researchers are simultaneously exploring ways to optimize the legacy internal combustion technology that makes up the vast majority of vehicles on today's roads, while developing the electric-drive and advanced fuel technologies needed to transition to a virtually net-zero emissions, non-polluting fleet. This research, development, and deployment (RD&D) touches nearly every type of automotive system and class of on-road vehicle, at scales ranging from component materials to vehicle fleets. NREL collaborates with industry, government, and research partners to create better:

  • Electric, hybrid, and conventional vehicle technologies
  • Biofuels, natural gas, propane, and petroleum-based fuels
  • Charging and fueling infrastructure.

NREL's sustainable transportation RD&D capabilities include the following:

  • Thermal management research focused on energy storage, power electronic, and climate control system operating temperatures.
  • Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technology evaluation and deployment guidance for manufacturers develop and fleet managers.
  • Vehicle-to-Grid Integration R&D to connect cars, power grids, and renewable energy sources. Fuel, engine, and infrastructure co-optimization with in-depth exploration of the interface of fuel chemistry, ignition kinetics, combustion, and emissions.
  • Transportation data, analysis, and tools comprising the nation's most credible and complete transportation energy-efficiency clearinghouse for validated, up-to-date statistics, data analysis, and tools.
  • End-user technical assistance and outreach including technical advice, market barrier identification/eradication, policy/compliance guidance, partnership cultivation, and stakeholder engagement.

Facilities

NREL provides industry, government, and university researchers with access to equipment and facilities to analyze a broad spectrum of energy-efficient vehicle and fuel technologies and innovations.

NREL facilities include:

  • Advanced Power Electronics and Machines Laboratory: This laboratory houses advanced systems and hardware for assessing and developing thermal management technologies, synthesizing bonded interfaces and interconnects, and characterizing the reliability of sub-components within power electronics.
  • Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF): This is the nation's premier facility capable of conducting integrated megawatt-scale research and development of the components and strategies needed to integrate sustainable transportation technologies with buildings and the electrical grid.
  • Energy Storage Laboratories: Research at the Energy Storage Laboratory and Battery Thermal and Life Test Facility assesses battery thermal management systems from the cell- to pack-level using cutting-edge tools.
  • Fuel Combustion and Chemistry Laboratories: These facilities have the specialized equipment needed to test and evaluate renewable and synthetic fuels and lubricants.
  • Renewable Fuels and Lubricants (ReFUEL) Laboratory: The ReFUEL laboratory is used to conduct initial screening of fuel candidates, bench-scale research, single-cylinder engine studies, and assessments involving multi-cylinder engines and complete vehicle systems.
  • Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility (VTIF): The VTIF is used to research and examine the interaction of building energy systems, utility grids, renewable energy sources, and plug-in electric vehicles.
  • Vehicle Thermal Management and Climate Control Laboratories: Facilities feature a test apparatus to assess electric-drive vehicles energy storage and power electronic component thermal characteristics.