Terry Penney

Principal Laboratory Program Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Denver, CO, United States

About Terry


Terry Penney joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1979. Prior to joining NREL, he worked for Concentration, Heat and Momentum (CHAM) a consulting group headed by Prof. Brain Spalding based in London developing unique finite element computational codes for multiphase heat and mass transfer problems. He also worked Von Karmen Facility at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in middle Tennessee where he worked on the Space Shuttle program. At NREL he has worked on Ocean Energy, Buildings research, Optical and Thermal Fluid Science. More recently, he launched the Hybrid Vehicle program in 1992, which grew into a $300M Partnership for New Generation Vehicles (PNGV) between the government and GM, Ford and DaimlerChyrsler. Currently he is NREL's Laboratory Program Manager for Advanced Vehicle and Fuel Technologies responsible for both light and heavy-duty hybrid platforms.
He has more than 50 technical publications to his credit, including energy-related articles in Scientific American and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Terry has worked on computational fluid dynamics problems for a variety of applications and has pushed math-based analysis, which has evolved simultaneous multi-physics based tools with optimization including six-sigma, optimization and virtual proving ground. He has 35 years experience in testing and analysis in aerodynamics, heated mass transfer components, and advanced thermodynamic cycles, including gas turbines. He is an SAE member, a Baldridge team competition examiner, National Science Bowl scientific judge and winner of the Van Morris Award for performance. His undergraduate degree was from Purdue University in Aeronautical Engineering and Engineering Science and his graduate work was at the University of Tennessee in Mechanical Engineering. He received the MRI president’s award in 1992 for exceptional performance and the Van Morris award in 1996 for inspired leadership and forging links to industry.



Areas of Expertise

Renewable and Alternative Energy, Hybrid Electric Powertrains

An idea worth spreading

We must develop communities to be more self reliant and sustainable - at a system level considering food, energy, water, waste etc in harmony with nature. Since most people generally are specialized in one aspect - many developments are not built out with all these aspects in mind - and or are developed with only financial short term considerations. What I learned working on the Space Shuttle - you must maintain heat and energy balances and constantly maintain a "system perspective". I would like to see urban and community development move toward what some have coined 100% - sustainable in all aspects - for all levels of income, age, and cultural places whether it be in developed or undeveloped areas. The rate at which we are using up Earth's natural resources is not sustainable so we must educate, practice and lead by example.

I'm passionate about

Sustainable and Renewable community design - I have a residence in the high altitude (3000 meters) Colorado mountains that is off the grid - powered by solar - and Plug In hybrid vehicle.


Purdue University

Talk to me about

Future transportation systems - including multi-modal mobility and advanced powertrain and fuel options.

People don't know I'm good at


Comments & conversations

Terry Penney
Posted over 4 years ago
Are we going to power the world with solar energy by 2027 ?
It should actually be a portfolio of renewable, energy efficient and sustainable technologies and designs - wind, solar, geothermal, ocean - in combination with active and passive building design. As we deplete our fossil fuels - and supply and demand gets out of balance - alternative energy will become a very attractive solution.