Dr. Virden is Associate Laboratory Director for the Energy and Environment Directorate (EED) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He leads a team of 1,000 staff in delivering science and technology solutions for energy and environmental challenges. These challenges include increasing our nation’s energy capacity; reducing dependence on imported oil; and detecting, mitigating and preventing the environmental impacts of legacy waste and energy generation and use.
As part of Dr. Virden’s involvement in the strategic direction and growth of PNNL energy programs, he has helped shape national public/private partnerships critical to moving from discovery to deployment. He has gained first-hand knowledge of different organizations and their R&D challenges through special assignments, including a 2009 activity at DOE Headquarters to assist in development of U.S.-China collaborative research priorities, and a two-year assignment in Flint, Mich., as a PNNL employee working with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). In this role, he initiated and developed multiple government/industry advanced technology development projects. Dr. Virden served as co-chair for the DOE 21st Century Truck Partnership National Laboratory Council, which created long-range technology goals for more efficient heavy vehicles, and he participated in the DOE USCAR Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. He also contributed to the National Research Council 2003 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program. Dr. Virden’s experiences have provided him with a unique and broad systems view of the overall energy infrastructure, the links between energy and environment, and the challenges of creating a clean energy future.