March 22, 2021

New Hybrid Research Vessel and Underwater Testbed for PNNL-Sequim Campus

Funding will support in-water testing of marine energy technologies

Divers at Sequim

Divers at the Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory in Sequim, Washington support in-water research, testing, and demonstration of marine energy devices and supporting technologies.

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

The U.S. Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office has awarded funding to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the design and construction of a plug-in hybrid research vessel and an underwater testbed to be located at PNNL-Sequim’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory (MCRL).

The funding was announced by the Water Power Technologies Office on March 22—World Water Day. The research vessel, equipped with both standard diesel engines and electric motors, will be the first hybrid vessel in the U.S. Department of Energy fleet. When operating in battery electric mode, the vessel will be nearly silent and without emissions. It will be less intrusive for studying fish and other wildlife, and will also reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions. It represents the next generation of blue economy technology and will enable future research and testing to support renewable power from the ocean. As a hybrid vessel, the investment will advance long-term opportunities for energy innovation and decarbonization of marine transportation. The underwater testbed, or cabled research array, will enable persistent in-water testing of marine energy technologies across a spectrum of technology maturity within the Sequim Bay. Work on the underwater testbed will be conducted in partnership with the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington.

For more information, see the Water Power Technology Office announcement.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.