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Idaho Impacts

National lab research, home state advantage

Homegrown or transplanted, Idaho National Laboratory is made up of people who choose to live and work here. Our actions and work reflect the respect we hold for our state and everything in it. Our clean energy, grid resilience, cybersecurity and advanced materials research is aimed directly at helping future generations enjoy what makes Idaho the treasure it is to us: its mountains, trout streams, ski hills and, perhaps above all else, its people and quality of life.

Accomplishments and data are from fiscal year 2023.

Spent with Idaho businesses
$ 0 M
Hours of research donated
Public speaking engagements

with a total audience of 2,475

Lab, university build first nuclear reactor digital twin

Idaho National Laboratory researchers and Idaho State University nuclear engineering students developed a virtual replica of the school’s AGN-201 reactor. The digital twin receives real-time data from the 1965 vintage 5-watt reactor, then uses machine learning to anticipate its performance. Someday, digital twins could enable operators to control reactors remotely.

Software offers help to farmers managing water consumption

In a time of growing water scarcity in the West, Idaho National Laboratory is developing software that can access water usage data from irrigation pivot sprinklers to provide farmers detailed insights into how they can water crops more efficiently. The software can also show aggregated water use data over time, giving farmers more information as they plan for irrigation changes throughout the year.

Hydrogen generation matched to hydropower could enhance renewables

Coupling hydrogen production with hydropower generation can enhance electric grid stability through energy storage, providing a carbon-free backbone for intermittent wind and solar. Idaho National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have partnered with Idaho Power to explore the advantages of making hydrogen at existing hydropower plants. The data from this partnership will help determine the viability of hydropower and hydrogen integration for facilities across the United States. 

Helping Shoshone-Bannock tribes modernize irrigation

Idaho National Laboratory has partnered with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to explore how their Fort Hall Reservation irrigation system can be modernized and made more efficient. The goal is to produce a case study evaluating how canals and irrigation equipment can be made more efficient, and how irrigation water can also be used to support energy and water security and enhance the Snake River ecosystem.

Leaders learn about INL land open to green energy projects

As part of the Energy Department’s “Cleanup to Clean Energy” initiative, Idaho National Laboratory is seeking new ideas and proposals on how sections of its 890-square-mile site might be leased to industries pursuing  clean energy projects. Community and industry leaders in nuclear, wind, geothermal and solar energy generation met in Idaho Falls in late October to hear details and network.

MachH2 hydrogen hub receives help, guidance from INL

Idaho National Laboratory researchers are helping the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2), one of seven hydrogen hubs planned by the Energy Department, identify potential end users, performing technoeconomic analyses, and develop and commercialize next-generation hydrogen technologies. Across Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, MachH2 will use nuclear energy, renewable energy and natural gas to establish a supply chain to produce, store, distribute and use hydrogen.

Microreactors hold promise of decarbonizing mining

Few industries are more energy intensive than mining, relies on power from coal and diesel burning engines to extract minerals from the ground in remote locations. Idaho National Laboratory is leading the effort  to add microreactors to the mix. Demand for nuclear energy is coming from the corporate sector, whose leaders eagerly seek to reduce emissions and, meet consumer demand for carbon-free products and carbon regulations.

Microgrid in a Box offers help in power emergencies

The Relocatable Resiliency Alternative Power Improvement Distribution Microgrid in a Box is an INL-developed system that uses inverters and battery storage to coordinate the distribution of electricity in remote locations. It can manage and coordinate power from solar panels, wind turbines, small modular reactors, and hydroelectric dams. A 2023 demonstration at a remote Idaho hydro plant showed how communities with limited resources can maintain critical services during blackout emergencies.

Students learn to foil hackers at Cyber Summer Camp

For almost 10 years, Idaho National Laboratory’s Cyber Summer Camp program has introduced junior and senior high school students (and their teachers) to cybersecurity and related topics. Students participate in hands-on learning activities, hear from industry mentors and tour industrial facilities. The program is a collaboration between INL, University of Idaho, College of Eastern Idaho and Idaho Falls School District 91.

LINE Commission hosts Energy Days in Idaho Falls

Since 2012, Idaho’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission has advised the governor’s office on policies and actions that support and enhance INL’s long-term viability and mission. In May 2023, its members – elected officials, tribal leaders, officials chosen by state and community boards and organizations, representatives of private industry – met in Idaho Falls to take part in Energy Days, a two-day event to engage local students and community members with the advanced energy industry.

INL economic impact infographic

While INL’s primary mission is to help the nation solve energy and security challenges, we’re equally committed to thriving local communities and successful educational initiatives. Our growth as a laboratory strengthens both our local community and those throughout Idaho. We are committed to making Idaho stronger because Idahoans make us stronger. This infographic provides a snapshot into the lab’s impact on the local, regional and state economies.

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Idaho National Laboratory