Particle physics laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory predicts transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions

Newswise — RICHLAND, Wash. — From buildings and transportation to power generation and energy storage, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has long been a leader in providing clean energy solutions. Now, as one of four national laboratories in the Department of Energy’s Net Zero Labs (NZL) pilot initiative, announced earlier today, the lab aims to be among the first federal facilities to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, is a key step in the fight against climate change. As part of NZL, PNNL will demonstrate how new technologies, innovative approaches and partnerships with industry and communities can lead to net zero emissions and the decarbonisation of operations.

Other laboratories participating in the NZL Pilot Initiative are the Idaho National Laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Together with PNNL, their collaborative efforts are expected to result in new knowledge and net zero solutions that can be replicated in the national laboratory system and across the country.

PNNL’s role in NZL aligns with the Net Zero Emissions and Resilient Operations (NZERO) Lab’s own initiative, which aims to make a full transition to a net zero campus by 2030. NZERO focuses on the replacing current energy sources with low-impact sources, such as as renewables, reducing energy consumption in buildings and fleet vehicles, and improving resilience to protect against power outages = blackout.

The effort includes seeking 24/7 carbon-free energy operations, which means that all of PNNL’s energy would come from clean sources 24 hours a day. The initiative also builds on the PNNL research capabilities to demonstrate and evaluate technologies and approaches under realistic operating conditions, with PNNL’s Richland and Sequim campuses serving as living labs.

“PNNL is uniquely suited to help the nation achieve its ambitious climate and energy goals,” said PNNL Director Steven Ashby. “The DOE and PNNL initiatives integrate our research strengths in clean energy systems with our focus on efficient and sustainable campus operations and key partnerships with local communities, utilities and other stakeholders. “

To achieve its NZERO goals, PNNL will shift away from using energy provided by carbon-intensive sources, such as natural gas, and transition to electrifying its buildings, vehicles and equipment in partnership with local electric utilities, which are also committed to using clean energy sources. .

The lab will also reduce energy consumption and emissions through efficiency improvements and operational changes. For example, PNNL will use waste heat captured by supercomputers to heat other buildings on its Richland campus and is taking steps to address potential gas emissions when research equipment is serviced.

To improve the energy resilience of PNNL’s operations while making progress toward net zero goals, PNNL will update building design standards and model campus buildings. These efforts will inform and test new designs and operating approaches to optimize performance in a way that reduces emissions and protects against power utility interruptions.

PNNL will leverage its expertise in energy efficiency, power grid architecture, energy storage and other research areas to develop, demonstrate and deploy innovative technologies towards net zero carbon emissions .

“Engaging regional stakeholders will be key to accelerating adoption,” Ashby noted. “PNNL will partner with local and regional utilities, city and state governments, research institutes and community organizations to contribute to NZERO demonstrations and share our learning.”

Washington State has already invested in a renewable energy demonstration that will help initiate the transition to net-zero emissions at the PNNL-Sequim campus on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

“Achieving 24/7 net zero emissions and resilient energy operations at PNNL by 2030 is an ambitious goal,” Ashby acknowledged. “But, with the DOE’s investment in the NZL Pilot Initiative, along with our innovation and commitment, continued campus modernization, and strong community collaborations and partnerships, we can make it happen.”

To learn more about PNNL’s NZERO initiative, visit

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About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinctive strengths in chemistry, earth science, biology, and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address the challenges of sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is managed by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest supporter of basic physical science research in the United States. The DOE’s Office of Science works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center. follow us on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.