Marine Sciences Laboratory
PNNL's Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL), located at the mouth of Sequim Bay in Washington State, is the U.S. Department of Energy's research and development capability focused on helping the nation achieve its needs for sustainable energy, a sustaining environment, and robust security in coastal environments.
Over half of our 15,000 square feet of research laboratories are connected to the Bay via a supply system that delivers 200 gallons per minute of seawater, fully treats it after use to remove chemical and biological components, and returns it to the Bay. MSL's unique location also places it within one of the cleanest airsheds in the world, providing the ultratrace background for our work in measurement and signature sciences.
Research at MSL is supported by approximately 85 staff with expertise in biotechnology, biogeochemistry, ecosystems science, toxicology, and earth systems modeling, as well as a scientific dive team supporting in-water research and testing. Research includes work on:
- algal biofuels
- climate change and ocean acidification
- detection and signature development
- environmental monitoring/measurement system development and testing
- quantifying transport, fate, and effects of chemicals in marine environments
- and coastal risk/hazard prediction and analysis.
A PNNL-developed website called Tethys supports a growing community of researchers, regulators, and developers in the areas of wind and marine energy. Tethys added a resource called WREN Hub to provide users with an easily searchable database of white papers and scientific reports regarding how wind energy devices impact wildlife.
Biofilms are everywhere. These thin films of microorganisms can do anything from causing infections to treating waste, but they are difficult to research without damaging the biofilm structure. Thanks to researchers at PNNL, there is now a technique for biofilm study that utilizes white light interferometry, leaving them free of damage.
PNNL researchers Samuel Harding and Marshall Richmond's co-authored paper was selected to receive a 2015 Outstanding Paper Award from Measurement Science and Technology. The paper was downloaded more than 500 times in the first 90 days after publication.
The world's oceans hold more than four billion tons of uranium—enough to meet global energy needs for the next 10,000 years. But for half a century researchers have tried to mine uranium from seawater with limited success—until now. A braid of polyethylene fibers developed by researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and tested by PNNL has shown the capacity to hold 5.2 grams of uranium per kilogram of adsorbent in 49 days of natural seawater exposure.
State of Science Report summarizes interactions of marine renewable energy devices with the marine environment, the animals that live there, and the habitats that support them. The report research was a collaboration led by the United States with 13 different nations.
Teaming up on a DOE project spearheaded by the University of Edinburgh, PNNL analyzed data on ocean tidal flow velocities obtained from an improved measurement tool— the convergent-beam acoustic Doppler profiler (C-ADP).