NREL and 3M Collaborate to Develop Renewable Clean Energy Technology

The technology company 3M has signed a one-year agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy to carry out a series of investigations in three main domains of innovation, namely, biofuels – finding methods that will replace distillation of ethanol biofuels by using less water and energy while increasing the capacity of future plants that will produce cellulosic ethanol; thin-film photovoltaics – developing water-proof films and pliable packaging for copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGD) solar cells to enhance output and bring down production costs; and concentrating solar energy – fabricating protective reflective coatings for cheap mirrors so that they become more efficient in concentrating solar power.

These key ideas that will focus on the identification and development of renewable energy technology come under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) of the collaborative venture. 3M will make use of NREL’s know-how and better-equipped facilities to test their designs and boost commercial production.

This vital partnership agreement will not only result in greater availability of renewable fuel and electricity at lower costs, but will also facilitate the nation’s requirement for, and move toward, a clean energy environment.


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