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Catalyzer Program

The Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) Catalyzer Program focuses on creating capabilities and accelerating the clean energy transition through collaboration.

Launched in early 2021, the Catalyzer Program brings together thought leaders from JISEA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, partner universities, and industry to elevate, broaden, and deepen research capabilities to address emerging challenges in the clean energy transition.

Catalyzers leverage energy analysis, projects, data, and tools within specific research areas, each led by a principal investigator. Each catalyzer is incubated for 2–3 years.


By enhancing connections across the energy research ecosystem to meet emerging challenges, catalyzers launch new, crosscutting capabilities to achieve clean energy goals at speed and scale. Analytical insights help design large-scale concepts for future research, mapping pathways to a global clean energy economy.

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Sustainable Agriculture Catalyzer—In Progress

Agriculture makes up a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions. The development and implementation of various decarbonization strategies can lead to benefits beyond emissions reductions, including those that impact energy equity and environmental justice, food security, ecology, health, local economics, workforce, education, and more.

The Sustainable Agriculture Catalyzer is investigating the potential opportunities, research gaps, and barriers to implementation related to cobenefits of agricultural decarbonization strategies.


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Justice Underpinning Science and Technology Research Catalyzer—In Progress 

Decarbonizing the energy sector presents a unique opportunity to consider and address injustices associated with the existing energy system, as well as the energy technology research, development, and deployment practices that underpin it. 

The Justice Underpinning Science and Technology Research (JUST-R) Catalyzer is developing an online tool to help integrate energy justice considerations into energy technology research and development.

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Climate Adaptation and Clean Energy Intersections Catalyzer—In Progress 

In response to climate change, communities and governments are recognizing the need to enhance resilience and ensure energy security, while implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies that promote the principles of equity and sustainability.

The Climate Adaptation and Clean Energy Intersections Catalyzer is informing how we design and plan for a clean, secure, and resilient grid in the face of climate change. 

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Green Computing Catalyzer—In Progress

Demand for high volumes of data processing, data analysis, and artificial intelligence is increasing, and computing systems permeate many aspects of modern life. As a result, computing has become a burgeoning consumer of energy and contributor of carbon emissions.

The Green Computing Catalyzer is analyzing potential pathways to reduce the environmental impact of computing and advance green computing as a salient research domain at NREL.

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Energy and Atmospheric Systems Catalyzer—Completed September 2023

Climate and air quality challenges are driving global transitions in power, transportation, industry, buildings, and product design. Clean energy technologies will be affected by a changing atmosphere while also impacting atmospheric systems in ways that go beyond reduced CO2 emissions.

The Energy and Atmospheric Systems Catalyzer explored the multidirectional relationships across climate, air quality, and energy systems.

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Sustainable Communities Catalyzer—Completed September 2022

Scaling clean energy integration, electrifying economies, and transforming energy systems will have major impacts on land use, economies, people, and the environment. All of these changes will occur in communities.

The Sustainable Communities Catalyzer advanced understanding of these social, economic, and environmental impacts and map pathways for sustainable transitions at the community level, focusing on rural and disadvantaged communities.

Help Catalyze Innovation

We are looking for sponsors, use cases, and expert review panel members and practitioners across industries and sectors who are passionate about our inaugural catalyzers. Please contact us if interested.

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