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How the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Jumpstarts Clean Energy Projects

Scott Cooney | Tuesday September 20th, 2011 | 2 Comments

Located in Colorado, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) can help advance the clean energy economy, according to a talk given by Robert Springer of NREL at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo in Honolulu. NREL is actually run by a private company, the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. To advance clean energy, Mr. Springer said, NREL is “open for business.”

Mr. Springer joked that he gets some of the benefits of a federal employee–good insurance and slightly cheaper hotel rates–but at the end of the day, he’s a private employee. That said, much of the funding for the company comes from the Department of Energy. NREL has 2500 people, mostly doing R&D, applied research, testing, scaling, and demonstrations. They work to help accelerate the next generation of technologies and maximize the market adoption of these technologies (commercialization and deployment).

NREL itself does not invest money, but is a conduit. Their program at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) helps with technology testing/verification, cooperative development agreements (R&D), education for entrepreneurship and finance, industry growth forum with VCs and project investors, and NCAP, which is 40 hours of free expertise from NREL. The contact, for interested parties, is Richard.Adams [at] nrel.gov, or 303-275-3051. Something along the order of $4B in match-made investment has flowed through this program since 2003.

NREL can also work directly with private companies. Mr. Springer works in their Project Development and Finance division is a conduit to project development services, feasibility studies, portfolio analyses and advisory on markets and project performance.

Scott Cooney is the developer of a new Triple Bottom Line, Monopoly-esque board game, and the author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill).

Follow Scott’s company, GreenBusinessOwner.com, on Twitter: Twitter.com/GreenBizOwner


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  • Michele Stragà

    Dear Sirs, It is difficult for me to understand why, even if there is a person with a good idea regarding an extremely important subject such as the alternative energies, it is hard to find someone willing to invest some money on this, despote the fact that, in general, there is waste of money. No big financing is needed to realize this project, therefore it becomes really difficult for me to understand why nobody is willing to try.Do not think only about wind,sun,water,please consider also these projects that do not need these elements.With this mechanism i am confident to be able to reproduce an unbalanced continuos movement.This device coud revolution the way to produce energy.A financing is needed,is order to be finished.Why don t we try to create this prototype to get her?
    Michele Stragà
    If you are interested in,please contactme


  • alex

    Thanks for this post. I also found a video related to the things you discussed. In the video, David Steiner, Waste Management’s CEO, gives Melissa McGinnis a tour of their CORE program and facility. The first of its kind in the US, this anaerobic converter takes food waste and meticulously converts it into energy. The end result now is energy for electricity, but the long term plan is to be able to convert food waste into jet fuel! http://youtu.be/cdCOcLaIN-E