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February 2013

U.S. DOE's Energy Systems Integration Facility at NREL

photo showing the front view of the entrance to the Energy Systems Integration Facility

Front view of the entrance to the Energy Systems Integration Facility
Photo credit NREL/23322

Greetings from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It is such an exciting time for all of us who have anxiously waited for the ESIF to become a permanent structure on the NREL campus. Construction trailers are being removed from the building site, lab commissioning is in progress, partnership agreements are being finalized, equipment is moving into the laboratories, and employees are settling in.

In this Issue

  • Feature Articles
    • JE Dunn Construction and SmithGroup Welcome ESIF Occupants and Bid Farewell
    • Lab Commissioning in Progress
    • Partner's Hardware Arrives
    • Featured Laboratory: Energy Systems Integration Laboratory
    • Come Work with Us

Feature Articles

JE Dunn Construction and SmithGroup Welcome ESIF Occupants and Bid Farewell

From a letter written to the NREL staff moving into the ESIF from JE Dunn Construction and SmithGroupJJR, we quote the following:

“There are times in every organization’s history when a firm’s leaders pause and look back at significant benchmarks and milestones that have helped to shape and impact their company’s success. In many ways, the NREL Energy Systems Integration Facility project has had an indelible impact on the practices of the SmithGroupJJR and JE Dunn organizations. But of greater significance will be the project’s ultimate impact on our environment.

While ESIF represents a strategic investment by the U.S. Department of Energy, the historical impact of this new building also colors an important picture for the future of America. The ground breaking research and progressive applications that will arise out of this new facility will change the future of energy thought and use worldwide. The SmithGroupJJR and JE Dunn team is thrilled to have been a part of the challenging design and construction efforts that will support the pursuit of such substantial research initiatives.

We appreciate NREL’s commitment to the thoughtful and sustainable integration of their buildings into the landscape and fabric of the site. With great care, the team stitched the entire facility to merge with the gently sloping site while continuing to honor the adjacent arroyo. Many times our role is that of “encourager,” attempting to expand a client’s awareness of the importance of being at one with the site. Knowing that NREL valued and embraced the importance of environmental stewardship made the culmination of the design and construction process that brings us to this day that much sweeter.

Welcome to your new facility. We hope that it will impact your careers as much as it has ours. Thank you for the opportunity to have been a small part of this dream.”

From all of us at NREL, thank you JE Dunn and SmithGroupJJR for such a beautiful building and good luck on your next adventure.

Lab Commissioning in Progress

The 15 laboratories at the ESIF as well as the Research Electrical Distribution Bus (REDB) are currently undergoing commissioning. The commissioning process ensures that building safety, energy efficiency, and overall quality are the best they can be to help NREL and its partners achieve their goals with every ESIF project. Once commissioning is completed, employees will begin moving equipment into their labs. Lab commissioning is expected to be completed by mid-March.

Photo of unspecified partner hardware being unloaded from a flatbed truck onto a forklift outside the ESIF.

The first piece of partner hardware arrives at the ESIF.
Photo credit Connie Komomua, NREL.

Partner's Hardware Arrives

While finalizing a partnership agreement, the first piece of partner hardware has arrived at the ESIF and is currently being installed. This will be the first MW-scale test project at the ESIF. Look for a partnership announcement soon.

Featured Laboratory: Energy Systems Integration Laboratory

The Energy Systems Integration Laboratory provides a flexible, renewable-ready platform for research, development, and testing of state-of-the-art hydrogen-based and other energy storage systems. With 3,000 square feet of space plus a 600-square foot control room, the focus of the lab is assessment of technical readiness, performance characterization, and research to help industry move toward optimal renewable-based production and efficient use of hydrogen.

Features of the Energy Systems Integration Laboratory include:

  • large test bays to accommodate various sized electrolyzers, fuel cells, and related systems
  • combustible gas monitoring
  • automated monitoring and control systems
  • liquid and air cooling, nitrogen, natural gas, and electrical power supply options
  • two high pressure testing bays fully rated for testing systems to 15,000 psig
  • a large adjacent outdoor testing area for hydrogen storage, compression, or other large equipment.

Partners such as manufacturers, research institutions, and system developers can use the laboratory to accomplish a wide variety of goals including reliability and durability tracking and prediction, equipment modeling and validation testing, and safety and code compliance.

To date, NREL has moved two electrolyzers into the lab and will be moving the third in soon. Learn more about this versatile laboratory on NREL's ESIF Web page and download the Energy Systems Integration Laboratory fact sheet.

Come Work with Us

The ESIF, along with other supporting facilities at NREL, provides the transformative capabilities needed to advance the nation's energy system into a cleaner, more intelligent infrastructure.

The state-of-the-art facility, with its unprecedented integrated megawatt-scale testing and real-time simulation capabilities, is designed to allow NREL's world-renowned integration experts to work with a wide range of energy stakeholders to help develop, evaluate, and test their individual technologies before going to market–reducing the risks associated with early market penetration.

If you would like to partner with us on an energy systems integration project, the first step is to complete a detailed summary of your project using the Project Summary Form as a guide. The Project Summary Form requests information on your projects, including:

  • goals
  • expected outcomes
  • scope
  • schedule
  • required resources.

Learn more about Working with Us.