Scripps Oceanography, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Join Forces to Pursue Common Interests

Partnership to advance collaborations ranging from marine and offshore wind energy to ocean and climate technology R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to increase mutual opportunities in ocean science, technology, and the sustainable development of marine resources.

The MOU includes joint appointments, researcher exchanges, student mentorship, research collaborations, and innovation. Also planned is a joint quarterly virtual seminar series that may include topics such as hybrid research vessels, removing carbon from the ocean, river and coastal modeling, and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) buoy deployment. The first seminar will take place Thursday, Nov. 3, and focus on the development of research vessels in featuring sustainable propulsion systems.  

PNNL will provide opportunities for Scripps Oceanography students to have real-world laboratory experience on projects supported by various government agencies. Competitive research teams will build off internal initiatives to pursue joint funding requests. The PNNL-University of California San Diego Joint Appointment Program will also expand opportunities for scientists to submit proposals and seek funding sources for joint research that would be otherwise unavailable to the appointees.

“This collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory comes at a critical time,” said Scripps Director Margaret Leinen. “As society works toward finding alternative energy sources to reduce emissions, there is a lot of crossover between Scripps-led research and the Department of Energy’s work toward sustainable development. I’m looking forward to the advances that will come out of this agreement, including opportunities to train the next generation of leaders in ocean science and sustainability.

The partnership may include collaborations in offshore wind and marine energy, ocean observing and monitoring tools and technologies, use of algae for food and energy, genomics, marine biodiversity and conservation, climate science and security, business and technological innovation, and workforce development.

“PNNL is looking forward to this relationship with Scripps to partner on a variety of relevant topics including offshore wind, ocean observing, and climate science,” said Chris Meinig, Division Director at PNNL-Sequim. “This partnership will provide opportunities to mentor the next generation of scientists with an interest in understating the role the oceans play in climate change adaptation and furthering the exploration of development of the ocean as a sustainable source of renewable energy.”

Mutual interests between Scripps Oceanography and PNNL include collaborations to build  more sustainable research vessels. PNNL is developing a new plug-in hybrid research vessel R/V Resilience, which is scheduled to begin operating in April 2023 from PNNL-Sequim, the only marine research facility in the DOE complex. Both standard diesel engines and electric motors will power the vessel. Scripps Oceanography is also now in the design phase for its new California coastal research vessel, which will be the first-of-its-kind to feature a hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system with zero-emission capabilities.  

PNNL’s main campus is located in Richland, Wash., with additional research facilities in Sequim and Seattle, Wash., as well as other locations. Battelle is the contractor operating PNNL on behalf of the Department of Energy.
Registration is open for the first joint webinar, which will feature PNNL Biologist John Vavrinec and Scripps Oceanography Associate Director Bruce Appelgate. Vavrinec and Appelgate will discuss the development of novel research vessels featuring sustainable propulsion systems. Register here.

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