Hybrid car sales have taken off in recent years, with a fuel-sipping combination of electric- and gas-powered technologies that simultaneously deliver energy efficiency, low emissions, and strong performance. The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—which played a pivotal role in putting hybrids on the road—has applied a similar strategy to its talent base and partnerships, bringing together the best minds from the worlds of research and industry.
NREL's Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center (THSC) provides just one example of how NREL partners with industry to address some of the toughest energy efficiency challenges. NREL's work with individual companies—from startups to established corporations—includes full collaboration, technical assistance, deployment guidance, research facility use, and technology licensing. The lab has also attracted national-caliber experts to its staff from the commercial sector, while continuing to bank on the intellectual capital of its research veterans.
For instance, THSC Director Chris Gearhart and Vehicle Technologies Laboratory Program Manager John Farrell joined NREL in 2013 after three collective decades in the automotive and fuels industries.
"We recruited Chris and John because we knew they could effectively steer our transportation team even further along in meeting the Energy Department's goals and the NREL mission," said Associate Lab Director for Mechanical and Thermal Systems Engineering Barbara Goodman. "Their ability to provide industry perspectives was essential for maintaining our relevance."
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