A bid for new businesses: Industry Day highlights business opportunities at PPPL

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is hosting a virtual Industry Day on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. to inform business owners about a new research building and other planned large construction projects as PPPL expands its mission to become a multipurpose national laboratory.

“We are very excited to be hosting our first Industry Day at PPPL in many years. Our hope is to promote dialog between the Laboratory and industry on acquisition-related topics as well as promote innovation, best practices, and competition,” said Kristen Fischer, PPPL’s chief financial officer and head of business operations. “We are delighted to welcome interested vendors, from both small and large companies in the area, to participate in the acquisition process and by offering a forum that encourages a wide variety of vendors to easily communicate with the Laboratory.”

PPPL encourages contractors and small business owners to visit the Industry Day website where they can register and see the agenda. (Please feel free to share the link with anyone who might be interested).

The multimillion-dollar projects planned over the next decade will support PPPL’s strategic plan to broaden its mission. While continuing to serve as a world leader in plasma science and fusion energy with the goal of developing fusion energy as a clean, plentiful and inexpensive means of generating electrical power in the future, PPPL plans to focus on two related missions:

  • Developing the understanding of plasmas from nano- to astrophysical scales to understand plasma processes in astrophysics and space technologies.
  • Advancing the science of nanoscale fabrication for industries of the future, such as microelectronics and eventually quantum computing.

A new research facility

To accomplish these missions, PPPL will need additional laboratory space and infrastructure. It plans for a new building, the Princeton Plasma Innovation Center (PPIC), to support these research areas by providing modern laboratories and clean rooms for microelectronics research, as well as offices, meeting spaces and the Collaboration and Visualization Hub, which will provide remote collaboration and visualization space.

The three-story, 84,800-square-foot building is the first new building to be constructed at PPPL in decades. It will cost about $60 million and will replace two aging buildings adjacent to PPPL’s main building, the Lyman Spitzer Building.

A $71 million utility project

In addition to PPIC, Industry Day participants will also learn about the $71-million utility project that will support the new research facilities. The Critical Infrastructure Recovery & Renewal project is aimed at revitalizing PPPL’s utility and information technology infrastructure by installing electrical; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); chilled water generation, and underground utilities.

Participants will also learn about smaller capital projects at PPPL, including the Fusion Research Technology Hub (FuRTH), which will include laboratory space in the area once occupied by the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor and a new building with office space for collaborators.

PPPL requirements

Industry Day will introduce business owners to PPPL’s requirements as a national laboratory that is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) operated by Princeton University.

Hekima Qualls, head of Procurement, said PPPL especially encourages small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, businesses owned by women, and businesses owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans to attend Industry Day and consider bidding for contracts. “Our goal is to diversify our supplier base,” she said. “We’re seeking to expand our footprint. As we expand our footprint, we have to expand the suppliers that we use.”

“This is the opportunity to introduce PPPL to suppliers to support our infrastructure growth and renovation, said Michele Solaroli, the PPIC project manager. “They’ll meet our project managers and procurement folks, learn what our expectations are, and can ask questions they might have.”

The event will begin with an overview of PPPL and the future of the Laboratory by Craig Ferguson, PPPL’s deputy director for operations. That will be followed by a talk by Qualls on “How to do business with the Laboratory.” The participants will then go to breakout sessions on PPPL’s capital projects, research projects, architecture and engineering; facilities projects, and on PPPL’s requirements.

Other speakers will discuss various projects at PPPL, research projects, facilities and equipment, and unique PPPL requirements, and small business engagement.

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