Personal Profile

Ben Maurer has been at NREL since 2020, where he manages a portfolio of renewable energy projects spanning plastics pollution, ocean observing, technology commercialization and acceleration, and workforce development. Maurer brings more than 20 years of experience in oceanographic field operations, environmental fluid dynamics, mechanical engineering, and technology development to his position as the sustainable oceans lead and the principal investigator of the Waterborne Plastics Assessment and Collections Technologies (WaterPACT) project. Ben is also affiliate faculty at the University of Washington’s Mechanical Engineering Department, where he advises graduate students and supervises the two-time international champion Human Powered Submarine team. Ben is a certified American Academy of Underwater Sciences research diver with hundreds of hours piloting remotely operated vehicles and supporting autonomous underwater vehicle gliders, and a Gordon Engineering Leadership Fellow. Outside NREL, Ben is an avid waterman (surfing, sailing, diving, paddling, spearfishing) and cyclist, and volunteers for disadvantaged and marginalized high-schoolers outdoor sports. 

Professional Experience

Senior Research Scientist/Engineer, University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory (2016–2020)

Marine Systems Engineer, U.S. Department of Energy Wind and Waterpower Technologies Office (2014–2016)

Research Associate, University of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (2011–2013)

Biological Technician, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Southwest Fisheries Science Center (2001–2004) 

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Master, Engineering Sciences, University of California, San Diego

Bachelor, Biology, University of California, San Diego

Bachelor, Philosophy, University of California, San Diego


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