NREL Scientists and Engineers Recognized for Top Innovations


WASHINGTON (May 5, 2017) – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recognized its innovation and partnering successes and honored the scientists and engineers behind them at the lab’s annual Innovation and Technology Transfer Awards ceremony.

The laboratory acknowledged NETZSCH Instruments North America for its successes in developing a commercially available, large-format isothermal battery calorimeter for lithium-ion battery safety testing, along with Distinguished Innovator Yat-Chen Chou and Rising Stars Christopher Johnson and Bryan Palmintier.


“NREL’s scientists and researchers have been leading clean energy innovations for 40 years, and these awards demonstrate the impact our technologies are making,” said NREL’s Associate Lab Director of Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach Bill Farris. “We congratulate today’s winners and celebrate their accomplishments.”

NREL had 118 active collaborative research and development agreements (CRADAs) in fiscal year 2016 (FY16), and traditionally holds more than any other national laboratory. Overall, there were 259 new partnership agreements signed in FY16, boosting the lab’s number of total active partnerships to 749. Also in FY16, the lab filed 107 new patent applications. NREL has a total of 239 active issued U.S. patents and 68 active issued foreign patents.

Chou Named Distinguished Innovator

During her 25 years at NREL, Yat-Chen Chou has contributed to 16 issued U.S. patents that have been licensed to 15 separate entities. Chou’s earlier research experience included exploring cellulose gene expression systems and using site-specific mutagenesis to enhance the activity of industrial enzymes. Chou played an integral role in the multi-year CRADA with DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol, working on the construction and improvement of a robust ethanologen for its process.

Johnson and Palmintier Named Rising Stars

Rising Star awards recognize employees with fewer than six years of service at NREL who have demonstrated increasing engagement with the laboratory’s commercialization and technology transfer process. The two winners for FY16 are Christopher Johnson and Bryan Palmintier.

  • Johnson’s research focuses on the engineering of microorganisms to  enhance lignin to fuels and chemicals. He is actively engaged in the commercialization of a portfolio of technologies related to biological production of polymer intermediates.
  • Palmintier’s research explores the integration of renewable and efficient energy systems, with a focus on the development of advanced electric power system models and analysis tools. He conducts hardware-in-the-loop testing and applies analysis, high-performance computing and co-simulation to study the interactions among distributed energy resources, responsive demand, and the larger electric power system.

NETZSCH Instruments North America Recognized for Outstanding License

NREL partners with hundreds of industry, government, academia, small business, international organizations, and nonprofit organizations. CRADAs are one of many ways that private industry partners with the lab.

NREL and NETZCH entered into a CRADA in 2012 to develop NREL intellectual property representing an isothermal battery calorimeter. The technical collaboration between the lab and NETZSCH represents the best of what can result in private-public collaboration, and NETZSCH has since introduced the IBC 284 isothermal battery calorimeter. This system is designed to test the performance and safety of large-format lithium-ion batteries used extensively in electric vehicles and modern aircraft.

“One of the laboratory’s primary goals is to conduct cutting-edge research and move those innovations to market,” said Kristin Gray, director of NREL’s Technology Transfer Office. “We’re proud to recognize NETZSCH for advancing the use of clean energy technologies in the marketplace.”

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


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