The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has signed a series of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with 3M, a St. Paul, Minn.-based technology company.
The agreements between NREL and 3M establish joint investigations in both thin-film photovoltaics and concentrating solar power, as well as in biofuels.
The CRADAs range from jointly identifying and developing critical aspects of renewable energy technology to accelerated testing of 3M designs and scaling up successful prototype technologies for commercial production. The agreements last for at least one year.
According to NREL and 3M, areas of investigation and testing under the agreements include new moisture barrier films and flexible packaging for copper indium gallium diselenide thin-film solar cells to increase module performance and reduce manufacturing costs, and new reflective coatings to protect and enhance the performance of lower-cost mirrors used in concentrating solar power.