Chu, Durbin break ground for new Energy Sciences Building

By Steve McGregorJune 3, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin joined officials from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago at a groundbreaking event Friday, June 3, for a new Energy Sciences Building at Argonne.

"I envision a future where research and products are invented in America, made in America and sold worldwide," Chu said. "These are the discoveries which are going to be forming the foundations of our future economic prosperity."

"Our country faces some extraordinary environmental and economic challenges," Durbin said. "But there is one thing certain: if the United States is going to remain a leader in the world, in the 21st century, we need to invest in science and innovation that will address our growing energy demands."

The $95-million Energy Sciences Building, funded through DOE's Science Laboratories Infrastructure Program and scheduled for completion in 2013, will house some 200 research personnel dedicated to addressing the world's most critical energy challenges. Among the research efforts to be conducted in the new facility include the development of highly reliable, safe and long-lived battery systems; revolutionary, efficient and environmentally friendly chemical transformation processes for creating novel feedstocks and fuels; and transformational systems for solar energy production.

The project will create 2,000 jobs during construction and is expected to be completed in 2014.

"This is a great day for us here at Argonne," said Argonne director Eric Isaacs. "The Energy Sciences Building will be key in getting our scientists and engineers to deliver on our mission: doing basic science to generate, supply, transmit, store and use new energy. The building will bring together many different scientists under one roof to talk, collaborate and create new knowledge for this new economy."