$75M Grid Storage Launchpad at PNNL Breaks Ground in Richland, Washington

Home » News » $75M Grid Storage Launchpad at PNNL Breaks Ground in Richland, Washington

The U.S Department of Energy(DOE) has broken ground on its (GSL) Grid Storage Launchpad project, a $75 million facility which will be located within the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory(PNNL) in Richland, Washington. 

This project is intended to boost the adoption of clean energy in the nation and ensure the power grid becomes more resilient, secure and flexible.

PNNL was selected as the development site for the new Grid Storage Launchpad project in August 2019 by the DOE’s Office of Electricity, due to their extensive research work on-grid energy storage, power grid modernization, and battery performance, reliability and safety improvements. 

Features and funding for the project

The Grid Storage Launchpad at PNNL will occupy 86,000 square feet of space and house 35 research laboratories and offices for approximately 105 staff. It will also feature testing chambers to assess new technologies for grid energy storage and prototypes of up to 100 kilowatts under real-life operating conditions, as well as a laboratory dedicated to research on fundamental material properties of storage technologies.

Also Read US$ 465M approved for Battery-Energy?Storage Technologies (BEST) Project

Funding for the Grid Storage Launchpad project comes from the federal coffers but in addition to this, the state of Washington also contributed $8.3 million from the Clean Energy Fund to provide advanced research instruments for the project. PNNL used the state funds to purchase two electron microscopes and a spectrometer, which will enable the researchers to observe changes to battery materials as they charge and discharge.

Expectations for the Grid Storage Launchpad at PNNL

The PNNL Director, Steven Ashby, described the new Grid Storage Launchpad at PNNL as a national research centre designed for collaboration. Ashby pointed out that PNNL scientists would partner with top researchers in the industry, academic community and national labs, and this facility would be the hub for researchers to work on accelerating the development of battery storage systems for the grid. He said they would also address challenges associated with reliability, performance, cost and safety of such storage technologies.

Harvey-Cleary Builders and Kirksey Architecture, who are both based in Houston, have partnered to handle the building and designing phases of the GSL facility, which is expected to be ready for occupancy as early as 2023.