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About PNNL


Energy Security:

Power Generation—Fuel Cells:

SECA, graphic

PNNL tackled technical challenges associated with fuel cells and other advanced energy conversions through the Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Core Technology Program and the High Temperature Electrochemical Center (HiTEC); PNNL also supported pioneering scientific research in geologic sequestration.

Power Generation—Biomass:


PNNL's research in biomass defined a new signature capability that allows rapid formulation, screening, and analysis of advanced catalysts or biomass systems. One innovative study of thermal catalysis seeks to discover methods for efficiently converting wet biomass feedstocks into fuel gas.

Distributed Energy—Grid Assessment and Control:


PNNL's research has resulted in real-time power system monitoring and control, analysis of load as a reliability resource, and an understanding of distributed energy resource impacts on the transmission system's dynamic performance. This work seeks to improve the reliability and efficiency of the nation's power grid.

Atmospheric Research and Global Climate Change:

Model of global temperture

PNNL leads DOE's largest climate program, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program. The Laboratory also created the first regional climate model that analyzes potential effects of global warming on the Northwest region's agriculture, recreation, water resources, and salmon stocks.

Clean Energy:


PNNL invented a new class of small microchannel devices capable of delivering energy with five times the heat transfer rates of conventional components and thus having less impact on the environment. The Laboratory continues to research and develop other technologies to convert fuels into clean energy sources.

Transportation Technologies:

PNNL researchers produced an engine exhaust after-treatment system

PNNL has developed award-winning microchannel technologies that address the critical issue of a rapid-start gasoline reform. PNNL researchers produced an engine exhaust after-treatment system based on non-thermal plasma-assisted catalysis and transferred it to Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Caterpillar, and Delphi.

Economic Security

Systems Biology:

Systems Biology, graphic

Systems biology at PNNL is leading proteomic research with integration of the methods and processes in studying cell growth, protein tagging and high-throughput protein identification, and bioinformatics. By understanding disease at the cellular level, scientists may be able to discover better methods of prevention and treatment.

Bioproducts and Processes:

Filamentous fungi

PNNL is developing the fundamental understanding needed to efficiently and effectively use bioprocesses for energy. The Lab has generated fundamental information about the genetics, metabolism, and protein expressions of filamentous fungi, a potential bioreactor that may reduce the energy required in chemical processors.

National Security

Radiation Portal and Cargo Monitoring:

Radiation Portal and Cargo Monitoring

PNNL developed technology for detecting smuggled chemical, biological, and radiological materials for weapons of mass destruction. The Lab also has equipped and trained first responders to such incidents for appropriate response to possible radioactive threats.

Coastal Security Institute:

Coastal Security Institute

PNNL's Coastal Security Institute pursues improved methods and tools for more accurate and rapid detection of, characterization of, and response to water-border events.

Protection, Interdiction, and Enforcement Technologies Supporting the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Defense (DOD):

PNNL's unique proteomic capabilities

PNNL's unique proteomic capabilities and biological detection expertise advance the development of new tools for detecting chemical and biological agents used to carry out terrorist activities. The Lab has integrated and deployed a variety of tools and techniques to improve national security.

Information and predictive analysis:

PNNL develops new technologies such as small robots and electro-mechanical devices to safely collect environmental samples.

PNNL's research provides national security organizations with valuable insight using discovery tools and processes. The Laboratory's broad technical expertise helps to advance national security, as well as develop new technologies such as small robots and electro-mechanical devices to safely collect environmental samples.

Nonproliferation and International Nuclear Safety:


PNNL's involvement in nonproliferation and nuclear safety work spans a range of programs—securing nuclear material throughout the former Soviet Union, establishing guidelines for safe operations of nuclear facilities, and training international and domestic border guards in prevention of smuggling nuclear, biological, and chemical materials.

National Visualization and Analytics Center (NVAC):

National Visualization and Anayltics Center

PNNL leads a Department of Homeland Security center focused on developing visualization and analytics technologies for large dataset analysis and discovery. This research taps into the natural human ability to quickly analyze relationships and patterns when information is presented visually.

Environmental Biomarkers:

Environmental Biomarkers

PNNL is researching new techniques and tools for identifying early warning signals of environmental damage from intentional or unintentional releases. The goal is to identify early biological indicators, before the disease or damage is irreversible.

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