Washington Clean Energy Testbeds Bridge the Innovation Gap

CleanTech Innovation Showcase Presenting Company Recap: Washington Clean Energy Testbeds

By Grant Williamson

CleanTech Alliance Contributor


University of Washington (UW) Professor Devin MacKenzie spoke about the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds at the 2017 CleanTech Innovation Showcase.  The primary goal of the Testbeds is to bridge the innovation gap between early stage technology development and commercialization.

The Testbeds is part of the Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at UW.  The CEI focuses on developing next-generation energy technology to speed up the transition to a clean energy future.  MacKenzie illustrated the criticality of accelerating the pace of research and development.  He explained that to reach the Department of Energy (DOE) target of 300 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030, we would need to increase the yearly solar production capacity four to five times.  He further explained that to realistically do this we need to lower the energy to process solar cells and reduce capital costs for new production lines.  At current prices, building enough production capacity to meet the DOE target would require a $1 trillion investment.

The Testbeds are an open access lab that brings together industry, academia and startups with advanced capabilities and connects them to a deep talent pool, early-stage funders and strategic industrial partners.  The Testbed fabrication capabilities include state of the art roll-roll printing, 3D printing and thin film coating for both prototype and commercial scale devices.  The Testbed also includes device characterization that supports comprehensive material analysis and testing up to the full module scale.  Finally, the Testbed includes equipment to support systems integration by combining grid simulation with hardware verification.

The Washington Clean Energy Testbed also functions as an incubator with office and collaborative spaces including classroom space and meeting rooms.  The Washington Clean Energy Testbeds has the potential to accelerate the research and development of clean energy technology in Washington State.