Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
PNNL News Central

APEL is a test facility ripe for the picking

February 06, 1998 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – Do you need high-bay space to test large-scale robotic or engineering equipment? Are you looking for a cost-effective facility in which to test your remediation technology without having to obtain a hazardous waste permit at each step? Could you benefit from access to national laboratory and university research staff and equipment?

All of these features will be available in the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory, or APEL, a fully permitted research, development and demonstration facility. Scheduled to open in April 1998, this one-of-a-kind facility is housed in a 90,000-square-foot building in Richland, Wash. The building, owned by the Washington Public Power Supply System, is being renovated extensively to transform it into a state-of-the-art laboratory incubator facility.

APEL will include 37,000 square feet of laboratory and entrepreneurial space, 20,000 square feet of 28-foot high-bay space and 16,000 square feet of office space," says Project Manager Chuck Allen of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of APEL's main tenants. Allen expects APEL to be fully occupied by 1999, and he is taking reservations for tenants now.

The facility is being funded through an innovative collaborative funding arrangement that matches a grant provided by the Department of Energy's Office of Worker and Community Transition program with money and services from local organizations. These include the Washington Public Power Supply System; Battelle, which operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for DOE; the Port of Benton; the City of Richland and Washington State University. "This arrangement enables us to offer space to tenants at a favorable cost," says Allen.

APEL can support a wide range of tenants, such as entrepreneurs, small companies building prototypes for demonstration to potential investors and companies with environmental technologies that can be tested and demonstrated before deployment. Laboratory researchers, commercial users and other agencies will use APEL to demonstrate new technologies and develop the technical and regulatory data bases for permitting, licensing and applying the technology to real-world environmental and technical problems.

Among APEL's unique features is an umbrella Research, Development and Demonstration test permit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act from the Washington State Department of Ecology. This will allow APEL users to perform a wide range of RD&D activities within APEL without requiring a specific permit for each test or activity. "Nobody else in the Northwest and likely the United States has a permitted facility like this," Allen states. Pacific Northwest and Washington State University will be core tenants in the new facility with Pacific Northwest occupying about one-third of the space." APEL gives Pacific Northwest researchers a facility in which to conduct cost-competitive non-nuclear work," says Allen. "Graduate students and professors from WSU's Tri-Cities branch campus will conduct agricultural and environmental sciences research. These tenants provide added value to APEL customers because of the onsite technical and entrepreneurial support they represent." But it works both ways. "One benefit of moving to APEL is being able to rub elbows with the entrepreneurs and university researchers who also will be APEL tenants," says Joe Perez of Pacific Northwest's Environmental Technology Division. "It will foster new ideas, new partnerships and potential collaborations with technology-based businesses."

APEL also is close to the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a national scientific user facility at Pacific Northwest that provides advanced and unique resources to scientists engaged in research in the environmental molecular sciences. EMSL has a full range of facilities that can help researchers integrate fundamental science and applied engineering activities to develop advanced environmental technologies.

Additional incubator space for pursuing new businesses and product lines is available at APEL to entrepreneurial businesses and vendors. Business services such as a telephone answering service, copy machine, receptionist, U.S. mail and package receiving are free to tenants as are access to a lunch room and conference rooms and normal-use electrical and water utilities. Tenants also have access to a fax machine, 90-day waste storage and permitted waste storage.

Startup businesses can remain at APEL for approximately three years. After that time, the Port of Benton, working with private developers, will help these new companies become fully functional commercial businesses as they leave APEL.

"APEL will be a place where innovative things happen," Allen asserts. "A synergism will be created with all these ideas passing back and forth."

Tags: Fundamental Science, EMSL, Operations, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

News Center

Multimedia

Additional Resources