Personal Profile

The development and deployment of renewable carbon-based transportation fuels, chemicals, and materials is critical to sustainability, energy security, and continued economic growth. Mark Nimlos’ research interests are focused on using thermochemistry to facilitate biomass as a source of renewable carbon, helping grow the bioeconomy. Increasing the use of renewable, biomass-sourced carbon will require developing science and technology for conversion into useful products and demonstrating the performance of these products in existing and future applications. During his 31-year career at NREL, Mark has worked on pyrolysis, gasification, and catalytic fast pyrolysis as conversion technologies to produce biofuels, which are a sustainable, inexpensive energy source for transportation. To facilitate the economics of biorefineries that would produce biofuels, he has recently focused his research efforts on producing chemical and material coproducts from these biofuel conversion processes. Developing uses for these coproducts will help improve the economic resilience of biorefineries and will improve the sustainability of plastics and other carbon-based materials. 

Research Interests

Renewable graphite for lithium ion batteries

Catalytic fast pyrolysis coproducts

Partial oxidation of lignin pyrolysis products

Inverse design of biomass-based polymers using machine learning

Kinetic modeling of ether combustion

Chemical reaction energetics and kinetics

Biomass pyrolysis and gasification

Heterogeneous catalysis (partial oxidation and photocatalytic oxidation)

Molecular modeling (quantum modeling and kinetic modeling of reaction and molecular dynamics modeling)


Molecular spectroscopy

Professional Experience

Group Leader, NREL, Separations and Polymer Sciences (2007–present)

Staff Scientist, NREL (Solar Energy Research Institute) (1990–2007)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Solar Energy Research Institute (1989–1990)

Editor, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Chemical Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder

Bachelor, Chemistry, University of Massachusetts


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Collaborations and Top Research Areas From the Past 5 Years

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