The Energy Innovation Laboratory at the Energy Department’s Idaho National Laboratory was dedicated earlier this week. The new facility enables researchers to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in advanced clean energy and related environmental science. | Photo courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory
The Energy Department aims to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing the nation’s most urgent energy and environmental challenges through an all-of-the-above strategy advancing transformative science and innovative technology solutions.
The new Energy Innovation Laboratory, which we visited together earlier this week at the Energy Department’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls, provides a flexible, customizable space for the energy research critical to this strategy and focuses on making high-impact clean energy breakthroughs that could boost American competitiveness and reduce carbon emissions. The new lab enables INL researchers to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in advanced clean energy and related environmental science, and consolidates some of INL’s fundamental nuclear research and development activities.
Through the facility, the Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of Nuclear Energy are working side-by-side to solve shared challenges in areas such as systems integration, energy productivity, and grid optimization. For instance, the facility hosts Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy-funded critical materials and batteries research by utilizing core capabilities grown out of the Office of Nuclear Energy’s research on separations science, materials and chemical process technology. This partnership will unlock efficiencies and enable broader shared impacts from taxpayer investment.
Here are five key facts about the new Energy Innovation Laboratory:
1. The facility includes 148,000 square feet of reconfigurable laboratory research space, plus a meeting space where visitors and the public can attend seminars and educational events. We expect the lab’s customers and collaborators, elected and government officials, university leaders, foreign dignitaries, and corporate officials to use the meeting center.
2. Current INL researchers are moving from older facilities to the new, upgraded lab spaces to take advantage of state-of-the-art tools, equipment and resources. The Energy Innovation Laboratory will also include education and training opportunities to meet the needs of America’s highly skilled clean energy workforce.
3. This flagship science facility improves INL’s capability for fostering university-industry-national laboratory partnerships, and features laboratory space that supports the Energy Department’s Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility for collaborative nuclear energy research. The new facility is located near INL’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies and the Energy Systems Laboratory, connecting all key research areas on one campus.
4. The Energy Innovation Laboratory is the first INL building to achieve LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for its sustainable design features. INL expects it to have significantly lower energy costs compared with other modern laboratory facilities.
5. The facility includes 127 laboratory modules for chemistry and engineering research. Laboratories support chemical sciences, nanotechnology, water chemistry, advanced microscopy, control systems, high-temperature testing, thermal hydraulics, materials testing and characterization, separations technology, and advanced instrument training.