Construction Begins on New Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) Facility for NREL

Mortenson recently started construction on the new Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL) on the South Table Mountain Campus of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Designed to advance critical research into renewable energy, the new laboratory will span 15,700 square feet and will be the first of its kind on the NREL campus.

The facility was thoughtfully designed by Davis Partnership Architects to include flexible lab space, that adapts to a variety of collaborative functions and allows for research across disciplines within the fields of chemistry, materials science, bioscience, and engineering.

The project marks the fourth collaboration between Mortenson and NREL. Mortenson previously partnered with NREL to construct nearly 95,000 square feet of research space, beginning in 2006 with the completion of the Science and Technology Facility, and later on both phases of the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility, which was completed in 2011.

The RAIL facility will serve as an example of flexible, sustainable, high-performance building design. Energy-efficient technologies such as heat recovery evaporative cooling and infrastructure to support future renewable technologies are included in the design. The building will also be equipped to support a future microgrid that will allow the facility to run entirely from renewable energy.

The total budget for the RAIL project is $19.5 million, with $15.5 million awarded to Mortenson under a Design-Build contract.

The research that will be enabled by new RAIL facility runs the gamut from upcycling plastics and next-generation batteries to advanced energy materials and has the potential to be a game-changer for the marketplace not only here in the US, but globally. The project is slated for completion in Fall of 2022.

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