The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office has awarded funding to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the design and construction of a plug-in hybrid research vessel and an underwater testbed to be located at PNNL-Sequim’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory (MCRL).
The funding was announced by the Water Power Technologies Office on March 22-World Water Day. The research vessel, equipped with both standard diesel engines and electric motors, will be the first hybrid vessel in the U.S. Department of Energy fleet. When operating in battery electric mode, the vessel will be nearly silent and without emissions. It will be less intrusive for studying fish and other wildlife, and will also reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions. It represents the next generation of blue economy technology and will enable future research and testing to support renewable power from the ocean. As a hybrid vessel, the investment will advance long-term opportunities for energy innovation and decarbonization of marine transportation. The underwater testbed, or cabled research array, will enable persistent in-water testing of marine energy technologies across a spectrum of technology maturity within the Sequim Bay. Work on the underwater testbed will be conducted in partnership with the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington.