NREL and the other DOE National Laboratories house some of the best and brightest minds in clean tech. Businesses and entrepreneurs can engage with the labs through licensing technologies that have already been developed, by partnering on development of a technology, or through testing and validation of their technology. As an entrepreneur, it can be daunting to try to navigate the cutting-edge clean energy and energy efficiency research that is happening daily throughout the lab system.
Enter the Energy Innovation Portal (“The Portal”).
The Portal puts all National Lab technologies in one place, housing all DOE-funded patents and patent applications since 1992. That’s more than 20,000 innovations.
The Portal is focused on sharing clean tech solutions, and those technologies have robust descriptions in the form of marketing summaries. Portal marketing summaries explain the technology in business friendly terms, including a user-friendly description, benefits to that particular technology over others, and applications and industries in which the innovation could be applied. For example, a recent addition to the Portal is the “Non-contact Electroluminescence Imaging of Outdoor Modules”, which provides a non-invasive solution to monitor PV modules.
Photovoltaic (PV) module performance can be characterized by imaging using baseline and periodic images to track defects and degradation. Both thermal images, which can be acquired during sunny operating conditions, and photoluminescence (PL) images, which could be acquired at night, can be collected without electrical connection. Electroluminescence (EL) images, which are useful to detect many types of defects such as cracks, interconnect and solder faults, and resistances, have typically required electrical connection to drive current in the cells and modules.
Currently, there are more than 970 marketing summaries on the Portal.
Innovations can arise where you might not expect- demonstrated by a cellulose enzyme discovered in a thermal vent in Siberia. NREL scientists successfully isolated, purified, and engineered the enzyme which can digest cellulose almost twice as fast as what’s currently in the market, with large potential impacts on the efficient conversion of biomass. Portfolios of technologies are also available on the portal, allowing users to effectively bundle complimentary solutions. Improved Concentrating Solar Power Systems showcases 7 such inventions and methods.
Access to these groundbreaking innovations is only the first step, however. The Portal also helps you get directly in touch with someone at the lab that can help you navigate your interaction with the laboratory. Portal marketing summaries have a direct link to the licensing executive responsible for each technology listed, streamlining your access. You can also view recent partnering success stories, and learn about agreements allowing you to collaborate on research or receive technical assistance from a National Lab.
Check out the Portal and see what your DOE National Laboratories are up to.
~Meghan Bader, NREL Project Leader