The memorandum of understanding (MOU) will build on the region’s position as an energy pioneer and innovator as well as CSUB’s new Energy Innovation Building, funded in the 2022-2023 California budget and set to break ground next year.
In addition to the clean-energy focus, LLNL, CSUB and LLF will collaborate in decarbonization science, materials and advanced manufacturing, hydrogen technologies, energy storage, critical materials, STEM-student engagement and public outreach programs. The collaboration also will benefit the region through student fellowships, an innovation lab, future convenings and potential trips to the Lab by community stakeholders. “This collaboration builds upon Bakersfield’s strong academic commitment to educate the next generation of STEM leaders,” said LLNL Director Kim Budil. “It will also advance energy technologies and community engagement as a collaborative effort in the region. We’re pleased to help support Kern County’s energy transition with this agreement.”
“This expression of common cause and collaboration to advance climate resiliency and a new era in energy represents an unprecedented opportunity for CSUB and our entire region,” said CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny. “The pre-eminent climate and energy scientists in the nation will have a home base at CSUB, and the discoveries made here will cultivate a new generation of researchers. I want to thank Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Livermore Lab Foundation for their partnership and belief in the promise of our region to lead.”
The memo of understanding builds upon the Lab’s and Foundation’s commitment to Kern County that began in 2020 when the Laboratory published its “Getting to Neutral” report. Kern County was identified as an important focus area to help California achieve its ambitious climate and net-neutrality goals because of the region’s potential for carbon storage.
The report cited Kern’s oil fields as strong candidates for carbon storage sites, while also supporting the creation and scale up of carbon-negative technologies and clean technology jobs to further the county’s strong commitment to energy innovation.
Other work activities identified in the MOU include the exchange of researchers between LLNL and CSUB facilities, faculty sabbaticals, post-doctoral internships and the possibility of joint publications, joint grant proposals, lectures, symposiums and strategic meetings.
In collaboration with both LLNL and LLF, the exchange could also include undergraduate internships and fellowships. Two CSUB students were recently selected by the Foundation to serve as inaugural carbon fellows at LLNL this summer– with research projects specific to carbon removal and net neutrality. In addition, the MOU highlights the creation of STEM programs and the development of community benefit plans as well as science and equity-based community engagement in the greater Kern County region.
In 2019, LLNL launched the Laboratory of Energy Applications for the Future (LEAF), a center designed to deliver solutions that enhance energy security, infrastructure reliability and climate resilience. The goal is to deploy Laboratory solutions and developments to external stakeholders in industry, academia and government. The center is advancing technologies, including architected and solid-state batteries, supercapacitors, capacitive water deionization, carbon capture and conversion, solar cells, biomaterials for sorbents and catalysts and hydrogen production and storage.
The MOU also opens the door for CSUB to create a laboratory with objectives like those of LLNL’s LEAF lab. CSUB students, as well as industry innovators would have the facilities and mentoring to work closely on projects in carbon management, geological carbon removal and storage, new and advanced materials and energy storage and transport, working closely with LLNL experts.
“Kern County has a tremendous opportunity to play a critical role in strengthening the STEM workforce pipeline and create good-paying jobs. The Livermore Lab Foundation is delighted to support CSU Bakersfield on that journey as part of this unique triad agreement,” said Sally Allen, LLF’s executive director.