NREL Principal Scientist Joins SkyFuel

Gary Jorgensen, a Principal Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, is retiring from his three decade tenure at the prestigious research institute to join SkyFuel as Principal Materials Scientist. Gary, who was named on two R&D 100 award-winning technologies in 2009, is the co-inventor of ReflecTech® Mirror Film, the high reflectance, lightweight, low cost film used in SkyFuel’s parabolic trough concentrating solar collector.


Gary’s work in concentrating solar power (CSP) has encompassed the development and testing of optical materials, optical modeling for CSP technologies, and the development of optical performance assessment tools. Gary’s 2009 R&D 100 awards were for development of the Ultra Accelerated Weathering System (UAWS) and the SkyTrough. The UAWS, which concentrates natural sunlight 100 times, allows new materials, such as ReflecTech® Mirror Film, to be tested for outdoor durability in highly abbreviated timescales compared to previously existing methods.


The cascade of innovations that ReflecTech film catalyzed in the SkyTrough design resulted in overall cost reduction of 25-30% compared to traditional glass parabolic troughs. Gary’s work at NREL’s Optical Materials Lab has put to rest concerns over the film’s durability as data from the UAWS shows. At SkyFuel, Gary will be continuing the development of an abrasion resistant coating for ReflecTech, and contributing to the optical design of advanced concentrators.


Gary holds eight patents and is the author of 150 publications. He earned a B.S. in Physics from Seton Hall University and an M.S. in Physics from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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