One of the world’s most advanced scientific research centers was inaugurated on Friday in Richland with the aim of helping the nation and the global transition to a clean energy future.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s $ 90 million Energy Science Center “will expand the frontiers of energy science,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, speaking at the ceremony. virtual inauguration.
Its advanced scientific instrumentation “will attract some of the brightest minds in the world (…)
It will provide a crucial missing link in the development of clean energy technology, said Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who also attended the ceremony.
The center brings together the Department of Energy’s laboratory expertise in chemistry, materials science and informatics to advance national climate change goals, said Steven Ashby, director of PNNL.
It is intended to encourage collaboration and the sharing of ideas among researchers in a range of disciplines that are not spread across the different buildings on the Richland campus of PNNL.
And it will provide space for visiting researchers and create a hub for collaboration with universities, including the University of Washington and Washington State University, as well as with industry and others. national laboratories.
The center will focus on basic scientific research to provide the building blocks of knowledge needed to develop new energy storage technology, reduce vehicle emissions, provide more efficient manufacturing methods, and turn waste into fuel and more. useful projects in a more economical way.
“The discoveries in basic science that our researchers will make today will offer possibilities tomorrow who knows what. We can’t even imagine, ”Granholm said.
The findings from the new center are expected to help decarbonise the country’s energy system more quickly and strengthen the country’s continued competitiveness in a range of industries, she said.
“We know with moral certainty that if we want to limit climate change, if we want to save ourselves, it depends on developing net zero industrial capacity,” Inslee said. “And it’s going to be developed, you can take it to the bank, right here in this energy center.”
The new center is the largest investment in PNNL in more than a decade, said Roger Snyder, site director for the DOE Pacific Northwest Site Office.
Congress approved $ 90 million for the design and construction of the building in March 2018.
Washington State, through its Clean Energy Fund, contributed $ 8 million for scientific instrumentation and Battelle, which manages and operates PNNL for the DOE, provided $ 5 million.
The 140,000 square foot building at 3340 Stevens Drive has 52 laboratories, flexible space for collaboration, conference rooms and offices for 250 staff and visiting researchers.
It was built and designed by the team at Harvey Cleary Builders and Kirksey Architecture based in Houston, who employed 250 local construction workers.
The building uses an energy and water reduction design that incorporates natural light and includes a system for collecting and distributing residual thermal energy generated by high performance computers and research equipment housed in an adjacent building .