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Virden tapped to lead PNNL’s energy, environment research efforts

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June 14, 2012 Share This!

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RICHLAND, Wash. Jud Virden, a 20-year laboratory veteran with experience creating energy research partnerships with U.S. industry, has been named associate laboratory director for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy and Environment Directorate

In his new role Virden will lead a staff of 1,100 at the Department of Energy national laboratory devoted to increasing the nation's energy capacity and reducing dependence on imported oil.  The directorate's diverse research and development portfolio includes work in the areas of energy efficiency, biomass conversion, vehicle technology and advanced manufacturing. It also includes work supporting clean fossil energy, environmental sustainability, real-time operation of the electric grid, nuclear energy and legacy waste cleanup, as well as research supporting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. EED has an annual business volume of more than $200 million.

Virden was selected after an extensive review that included several qualified and talented internal and external candidates, said Mike Kluse, PNNL's director. "Jud is uniquely positioned to assume this role based on his proven experience leading a complex, multi-disciplinary, technical organization; prior industry and DOE experience, relationships in the market, visionary leadership, commitment to the welfare of staff and embodiment of our values," Kluse said.

Virden joined the laboratory in 1991 and spent the past ten months serving as EED's interim director. Prior to that, the Bellevue, Wash., native was EED's chief science and technology officer. 

In the 1990s Virden served on a two-year assignment in Flint, Mich., working with U.S. auto manufacturers and the United States Council for Automotive Research to create government-industry advanced technology projects. Virden also served as co-chair for the DOE 21st Century Truck Partnership National Laboratory Council, which created long-range technology goals for more efficient heavy vehicles, and he participated in the DOE USCAR Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. More recently, he has worked with key science and government institutions in China to create research partnerships designed to develop technologies and processes that will allow both nations to reduce emissions while sustaining economic growth.

Virden has received R&D 100 and Federal Laboratory Consortium awards for non-thermal plasma technology and a Discover Award with Massachusetts Institute of Technology for fuel reformation technologies. He currently serves on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy board, the University of Michigan Energy Institute's external advisory committee and the University of Washington College of Engineering Visiting Committee.

Virden earned a bachelor's degree and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Operations

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