NREL and Mortenson Celebrate Topping Out of RAIL Facility in Golden

Beam raise courtesy of Mortenson.

Mortenson celebrated the topping out this week of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s new facility, called the Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL), on the South Table Mountain Campus.

The fourth project Mortenson has undertaken with NREL, RAIL represents a first-of-its-kind research laboratory on the campus that will provide flexible laboratory space featuring an adaptable design to meet a variety of collaborative functions.

“This is a major milestone for a project that will substantially increase our research capabilities here at NREL,” said Associate Laboratory Director for Facilities and Operations Dan Beckley. “Mortenson has been a valuable partner in delivering quality projects for NREL, and we look forward to the next time we come together to cut the ribbon on our latest collaboration.”

The 15,700-square-foot facility broke ground in October 2021 and is expected to be completed late this year. The new building will provide multipurpose lab space for cross-disciplinary research within the fields of chemistry, materials science, bioscience and engineering.

“It’s always satisfying to celebrate the topping out of a project, but the research that will be conducted at this facility made today even more fulfilling,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, vice president and general manager at Mortenson Denver. “Moving towards a clean energy future is essential to our country, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with NREL on this project.”

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

Davis Partnership Architects led the design of RAIL, which will serve as an example of flexible, sustainable, high-performance building design. It includes energy-efficient technologies such as heat recovery evaporative cooling and infrastructure to support future renewable technologies. The building will be equipped to support a future microgrid that will allow the facility to run entirely from renewable energy.

Mortenson’s previous projects for NREL include the completion of the Science and Technology Facility in 2006 and both phases of the Integrated Biorefinery Research Facility completed in 2011.


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