NREL.GOV — Living the dream, for many researchers, might include seeing their inventions move from the lab bench to the marketplace. That is certainly an important goal of the funding used to conduct experimental investigations at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). While most efforts do not make it to market, the few that do can lead to important changes.

In November 2020, multinational powerhouse Emerson acquired a startup company, 7AC. It was a big deal in the world of cleantech startups—a fairy-tale ending for a startup company whose technology had made it to the HVAC commercial market.

And it was an acquisition celebrated across NREL—by a group of Buildings Program engineers whose R&D advanced the technology and by members of the Innovation, Partnering, and Outreach directorate that managed the agreements, including a grant from the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, that helped launch the HVAC company to commercial success.