NREL leading pilot projects to commercialize new tech

GOLDEN — The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will spearhead a pilot program of the U.S. Department of Energy to transfer innovative technologies to the marketplace.

NREL will join four of eight pilot projects and will serve as the central “connecting point” for transfer of knowledge between projects as part of the new Lab-Bridge program.

“We’re excited to bring NREL’s strengths of delivering clean energy technologies to the market through the next generation of Lab Impact programs,” Liz Doris, NREL’s laboratory program manager, said in a prepared statement. “This is a critical time in American energy transition, and we’re proud to be front and center in helping increase the industrial impact of DOE national labs.”

Lab-Bridge was developed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Technology-to-Market Lab Impact team. The pilot’s eight selected projects will help bridge the gap between national labs and industry to accelerate commercialization of clean-energy technologies.

During the next 12 to 18 months, a collaboration of 13 national labs and industry partners will explore, test and validate innovative ideas and develop novel approaches to fast-tracking new technologies to market.

NREL will participate in the following projects:

Intellectual Property Bundling uses a unique algorithm developed at NREL that is capable of identifying complementary intellectual property across multiple DOE labs and combining them into a selection of industry-ready, multi-lab technology packages that have a larger value than a single lab patent license. The objective of this collaborative lab project is to simplify licensing for industry partners.

Lab Technology in University Business Plan Competitions project promotes the use of lab-developed technologies within university business plan competitions. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and NREL will work together to design and execute a “lab technology track” in several collegiate business-plan competitions such as Cleantech University Prize, which provides clean-energy entrepreneurs and innovators with competitive funding for business development and commercialization training and other educational opportunities.

Lab Accelerator project is a collaborative lab effort to support a more comprehensive DOE Lab-Corps approach and move technologies to market by helping scientists understand their potential customers and interact with industry experts.

Microgrid Controller Innovation Challenge will give the top eight applicants a chance to test their microgrid controllers in a standard power-hardware-in-the-loop configuration that combines hardware with modeled real-world grid scenarios at NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility. Controllers will be evaluated on their ability to stabilize the grid under events such as a grid outage, highly variable generation (wind/solar), or an internal fault. Over a period of three months, contestants will have access to equipment located at the Energy Systems Integration Facility on NREL’s campus in Golden. The challenge application period is expected to open next spring.

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