Facility Infrastructure

Unique, world-class research system infrastructure allows the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) to provide integrated research capabilities for major energy systems.

ESIF building map calling out the Data, Cyber, and Control Networks; Thermal Integration Infrastructure; Research Electrical Distribution Bus; and Hydrogen Systems

Energy Data, Cyber, and Controls Networks

The ESIF's research data networks pervade its energy systems and capabilities to create a unique and powerful installation that keeps energy research running. This infrastructure supports the confluence of big energy data, high-performance computing, real-time computing, operational technology networks, and cybersecurity. High-bandwidth communications allow for connectivity between the ESIF and NREL's Flatirons Campus as well as access for remotely connected partners. Built from fiber, Ethernet, wireless communications, and industrial data servers, this important technology layer ties together the facility's unique research capabilities.

Electrical Distribution

The research electrical distribution bus system—the heart of the ESIF's electrical system evaluation capability—facilitates power flow among fixed equipment and equipment under test throughout the facility. The system supports AC and DC power flow up to 1 megawatt and is managed by a tailored supervisory control and data acquisition interface. Designed to maximize flexibility while minimizing risks, the electrical distribution bus system allows researchers to advance the engineering of electronic and grid devices such as inverters, sensors, instruments, converters, machines, and control systems. 

Hydrogen Systems

The ESIF's hydrogen systems span the scales of advanced fuels research. These systems—a hydrogen delivery system and a hydrogen research system—provide pure hydrogen to eight science laboratories and host an integrated production, compression, storage, and vehicle fueling system for large-scale hydrogen systems research. Hydrogen production from electrolysis provides the foundation for systems research in biomethanation and other chemical processes that can consume carbon dioxide to create useful industrial products.

Thermal Integration Infrastructure

The ESIF's integrated thermal distribution systems consist of hot- and cold-water loops connected to a boiler and chiller that provide precise and efficient control of the water temperature delivered to laboratories. The thermal distribution bus allows researchers to study and characterize heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems as well as combined heat and power applications. Thermal real-time simulation leverages these systems to create complex, real-world thermal integration scenarios. 

Learn more about the ESIF's unique research capabilities.