Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Who Is Martin Keller?

Monday, January 16, 2017
Martin Keller

Microbiologist Martin Keller, whose background is in working to make non-petroleum fuels, was appointed in November 2015 to lead the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.


Keller is a native of Germany and earned a bachelor’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Regensburg. After graduating in 1993, Keller stayed on at Regensburg for a year as a researcher.


Keller came to the United States in 1994 as a consultant for Diversa, a San Diego-based biotechnology start-up. Two years later, he joined the company full time and became director of screening and technology development. Diversa worked to turn organisms into enzymes that were used in chemicals. Keller even took organisms from boiling-hot thermal pools at Yellowstone National Park to be used in different compounds.


In 2006, Keller left Diversa for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He started as founding director of the BioEnergy Science Center and in 2010 was named associate laboratory director for energy and environmental science. Keller’s work centered on developing biological replacements for petroleum-based fuels. He remained at Oak Ridge until taking over at NREL.


Keller and his wife, Sibylle, have three children.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography


NREL Resistance 7 years ago
Since taking over leadership of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Martin Keller has failed miserably to reform a brutal, toxic culture that keeps its renewable energy researchers in constant career uncertainty and personal peril. Keller has continued NREL's longstanding practice of discarding long term committed productive employees to provide quick cures for chronic funding shortages. NREL has perfected dark tactics such as intentionally starving targeted staff of funding and redirecting the research conceived by these staff to cheaper, less knowledgeable staff. After decades of work and commitment to the organization, senior staff are discarded, often just short of retirement age, with disastrous financial and personal consequences to those targeted. NREL conducts these pogroms in secret to avoid the negative publicity of staff cuts, which places stigmatizes the victims and places them at a severe disadvantage in securing employment so late in their careers. Keller has allowed NREL to conduct these POGROMS complicit with DOE, whose ethics are even lower than NREL's. Keller and his management team meanwhile take home very lucrative compensation while tolerating a rotten organizational culture that disrespects staff Daily. Keller and his team are currently lying to staff, concealing the bleak future of NREL funding to avoid amass exodus. While the Trump administration's denial of climate change and its deconstruction of alternative energy and environmental protections is moronic, NREL is sadly a prime example of a corrupt federally funded entity with a sellout leadership team that deserves to be deconstructed.

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