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NREL: NREL Elevates Three to Prestigious Senior Research Fellow Roles


The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) elevated three principal scientists to the position of senior research fellow: Paul Denholm, Vahan Gevorgian, and Joey Luther.

Among the more than 3,000 people who work at NREL, only 15 are current senior research fellows. Along with the current research fellows, Denholm, Gevorgian, and Luther will advise NREL executive management on the strategic direction of science and technology research and ensure NREL’s work continues to meet the highest standards for quality and objectivity.

“Our senior research fellows are crucial voices in our drive to move forward and transform energy for the sake of the planet,” said NREL Laboratory Director Martin Keller. “We are all proud to work alongside them, and they are an inspiration to the thousands of NREL staff who strive for excellence.”

A group of exceptional scientists and engineers are nominated by the leadership of each directorate for consideration to become a senior research fellow, the highest technical position at NREL.

“One primary aspect of our selection process is considering recommendations from the nominee’s peers,” said Peter Green, NREL deputy laboratory director for science and technology. “You gain reliable insights beyond publications, citations, and program development about the nominee: You understand their broader contributions, including their contributions as a mentor and collaborator.”

Paul Denholm is a principal energy analyst in NREL’s Transmission group in the Grid Planning and Analysis Center and is a leading researcher in grid applications for energy storage and solar energy. He is a renowned expert is his field who has pioneered a variety of research methods for understanding the technical, economic, and environmental benefits and impacts of the large-scale deployment of renewable electricity generation. His research was among the first to identify the challenges of large-scale solar deployment that has come to be known as the “duck curve” phenomenon. He has delivered over 100 invited presentations to agencies including the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, and the International Energy Agency. He has co-authored over 100 articles related to renewable energy integration.

Vahan Gevorgian is the chief engineer in NREL’s Transmission and Grid Integration group. He has led cutting-edge work in the renewable energy impacts on transmission and interconnection issues and dynamic modeling of variable generation systems that paved the way for more widespread deployment of these technologies. He is engaged in critically important research in many different areas including dynamometer and field testing of large and small wind turbines, dynamometer testing of wind turbine drivetrain components, development of advanced data acquisition systems, and wind turbine power quality. He provides technical support to NREL industry partners and major U.S. wind turbine manufacturers.

Joey Luther is a senior scientist in NREL’s Chemical Materials and Nanoscience team. He is a leading researcher focused on technical achievement and innovation in nanoscience, solution-processed photovoltaic technologies, and nanoscale device physics. He and his team at NREL pioneered perovskite quantum dot solar cells, and his inventions are currently moving NREL toward space with their solar cells tested on the International Space Station. He was instrumental in the establishment of NREL’s perovskite photovoltaics research program as co-principal investigator of the initial project launching that program at NREL in 2013.

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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