The Applied Process Engineering Laboratory (APEL) is a business start-up center designed for innovators in engineering, manufacturing, and technology. Owned and managed by Energy Northwest, APEL is located just a few blocks south of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) campus in Richland, near Washington State University Tri-Cities.
PNNL’s leased space in APEL provides engineering- and manufacturing-scale high bays; chemical, biological, and electronic laboratories; and equipment for developing, validating, and commercializing new products.
PNNL’s Radiological Materials technical group based in APEL uses high-temperature melters and other equipment to study how nuclear waste may be best stored in order to protect the environment. Waste forms, such as vitrified glass or a cement-like grout, are used for immobilizing high-level waste and low-activity waste. These waste forms are studied in the Wasteform Development Laboratory using highly specialized instrumentation to better understand how they behave under certain conditions.
APEL’s high bay is home to the Solid Phase Processing demonstration facility, where the PNNL's capabilities in Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPETM), friction extrusion, friction stir welding, friction stir processing, and cold spray are utilized to develop and demonstrate scalable new manufacturing approaches to high-performance metal alloys and composites for a broad range of technology applications.
PNNL maintains and operates a Lighting Metrology Laboratory in APEL where researchers perform photometric, photoelectric, long-term performance, and stress testing to evaluate advanced lighting products and their applications. In addition, the Lumen Maintenance Test Facility puts next-generation light bulbs through their paces, seeking ultra-efficient lighting products to replace energy-hungry bulbs.
Many other businesses and institutions are tenants in APEL, which also offers wet, bio, and electronic laboratories; process and hood-off gas connections; and compressed air, vacuum, water, security, and power. Prototypes or pilot plants can be tested and initial manufacturing conducted using APEL's utilities, services, and permits for air and water discharge, waste storage, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 research and development.