Personal Profile

John Farrell is the laboratory program manager for vehicle technologies and a Distinguished Member of the Research Staff at NREL. He manages the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office RD&D portfolio at the lab, which includes technologies spanning vehicle electrification, batteries/energy storage, power electronics, vehicle/grid interactions, biofuel/advanced engine interactions, smart mobility (connected/autonomous vehicles and urban sciences), analysis, and technology integration. He also manages the RD&D portfolio for the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation. Additionally, he is responsible for developing and integrating NREL’s advanced mobility strategy with broader initiatives across NREL, other DOE national labs, and industry.

Farrell came to NREL after 15 years at ExxonMobil’s Corporate Strategic Research Laboratory, where he held various technical, strategic planning, and program management positions and led research collaborations with numerous vehicle manufacturers, universities, and national labs. He is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, holds a B.S. in chemistry from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Colorado. 

Research Interests

Chemistry and materials science

Fuels and combustion

Energy storage

Process engineering, simulation, and optimization

Sustainable aviation

Transportation decarbonization

Transportation and mobility research

Professional Experience

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Laboratory Program Manager, Vehicle Technologies (2013–Present)

ExxonMobil Corporate Strategic Research Laboratory:

Section Head, Separations and Process Chemistry (2013)

Planning Advisor to the Vice President of R&D (2010–2013)

Section Head, Emerging Energy Sciences (2008–2010)

Section Head, Engineering and Process Chemistry (2006–2008)

Program Leader, Combustion Fundamentals (2001–2006)

Technical Staff, Combustion and Flame Laboratory (1998–2001)

Sandia National Laboratories, Combustion Research Facility, Postdoctoral Research Associate (1996–1998)

Ethyl Corporation, Senior R&D Chemist (1995–1996)

Education/Academic Qualification

Bachelor, Chemistry, Purdue University

PhD, Physical Chemistry, University of Colorado


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