March 26, 2021

Kilmer Cheers New Department of Energy Grant for PNNL

Sequim, WA - Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) cheered the announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that new funding will be provided to the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) to support the operation and demonstration of marine energy technologies and for applications across the blue economy. PNNL was selected for multiple projects, with the largest project being a $3.75M investment in a new electric research vessel to support marine energy field work at the PNNL’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory (MCRL) in Sequim.

“From algae-based biofuels to marine hydrokinetic devices that can convert ocean waves into energy, the research and technologies being developed at the Marine Sciences Lab will play a critical role in our effort to create jobs and decarbonize our nation’s energy system,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m thrilled that the Marine Sciences Lab will receive new federal investments from DOE to help better understand coastal ecosystems and support the DOE’s ‘Powering the Blue Economy’ initiative. That effort is focused on developing new marine renewable energy technologies which can both help our environment and lead to new economic opportunities. The Sequim Lab is a unique and valuable asset for both DOE and the local communities that benefit from the economic and educational opportunities it provides. I’ll keep working to support its mission.”

“Our commitment to water extends to our operations and the research operations of our national laboratories,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Kelly Speakes-Backman. “I’m pleased to see that the Water Power Technologies Office is investing in a new plug in-electric hybrid research vessel to support marine energy field work at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory in Washington State. When completed, this vessel will be a first of its kind asset for DOE and an example of our commitment to a thriving, low carbon blue economy.”   

PNNL will use this modern research vessel to enhance existing capabilities and enable future research and testing to support renewable power from the ocean and enabling technologies. A key feature will include a hybrid power plant that will equip the vessel with both standard diesel engines for cruising at fast speeds (e.g., 20 knots) and over long ranges (e.g., 300 nautical miles), and quieter, energy-efficient, and zero-emissions electric engines for slow-speed research work of long durations (up to 6 hours). The new vessel will support industry/multi-laboratory/university collaboration at MCRL.

The Powering the Blue Economy initiative seeks to understand the power requirement of emerging coastal and maritime markets and advance technologies that could integrate marine renewable energy to relieve these power constraints and promote economic growth.