Posted: November 17, 2009

Argonne to construct $95 million energy research facility

(Nanowerk News) The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $8 million to Argonne National Laboratory for detailed design work for a new, world-class energy research facility. This is the first step in beginning work on what is expected to be a $95 million construction project.
The Energy Sciences Building (ESB) will provide an environment that will accelerate the pace of discovery by bringing together interdisciplinary teams of researchers in a space that can be adjusted to accommodate an evolving energy-related science agenda. Construction is scheduled to begin during fiscal year 2011.
"The ESB will house the kind of research infrastructure that is necessary to conduct breakthrough science," Argonne Director Eric Isaacs said. "Compared to many of Argonne's existing buildings, some of which are more than 50 years old, the ESB will enable highly interactive scientific collaborations by bringing together in one place energy-related scientific research that is presently spread throughout the Argonne campus."
"The work in the ESB will focus on four central themes associated with Argonne's energy security strategy, strengthen our basic research capabilities and facilitate synergies that enhance both," Al Sattelberger, associate laboratory director for Energy Sciences and Engineering, said.
Those four themes are:
  • Discovery synthesis – designing and synthesizing new materials to achieve a better understanding and enhancing the performance or durability of existing energy conversion materials;
  • Solar energy – learning from nature to more efficiently harness the power of the sun and convert it to fuels or electricity;
  • Catalysis/fuel cells – designing and fabricating better catalysts and fuel cell materials for more efficient energy conversion;
  • Electrical energy storage – performing the science and engineering for better batteries with higher energy densities, enhanced safety, and extended lifetimes for device, transportation, and electrical grid applications.
  • "The ESB is another step in Argonne's long-range campus modernization plan," Sattelberger said. Completion of ESB is currently slated for FY 2014. The building will be located in the northern part of the Argonne campus, known as the 200 area. The multi-story building will be approximately 140,000 square feet and accommodate an estimated 250 employees.
    The focus on long-range plans for construction of buildings that will ensure the competitiveness of Argonne is part of a broader modernization initiative by the DOE Office of Science, which oversees Argonne and nine other basic science-oriented national laboratories for DOE.
    "The focus of this modernization effort is major capital investment in the infrastructure to ensure the continued vitality of the national laboratories and to improve the readiness of the infrastructure to support current and future missions of DOE," Angela Harvey, director of the Infrastructure, Programs and Projects Division at the DOE Argonne Site Office, said.
    "This initiative involves all the SC laboratories and includes more than 30 projects totaling more than $2 billion," Harvey added. "The end result will be modern, safe, quality infrastructure that will allow the laboratories to ensure scientific leadership now and in the future."
    Source: Argonne National Laboratory