Newport News, VA – LAVLE USA, Inc. has announced the establishment of the Marine Electric Propulsion Simulation (MEPS) Laboratory in collaboration with Old Dominion University. The $12 million lab will be built on 1.33 acres in Downtown Newport News located at 351 25th Street. The 22,000 square-foot MEPS Lab will house state-of-the-art equipment to develop marine electric propulsion, advanced energy storage, autonomous systems and associated technologies to advance marine vessels for military and commercial applications. The lab will also focus on workforce development to train current and next generation workforce supporting the shipbuilding and ship repair industry. LAVLE’s investment in the MEPS Lab is expected to create at least 25 high-paying jobs including designers, engineers, programmers, and analysts.
LAVLE will design the Lab’s engineering and building plans for City approval in the first half of 2019. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2019 with occupancy anticipated in summer 2020.
“The advantages of workforce development in Newport News cannot be overstated. In addition to the technical advantages of partnership with ODU and the MEPS lab, LAVLE USA is extremely excited about the workforce development opportunity where our business will become even more heavily invested. Vessel electrification and hybridization within the region is a critical future market,” said LAVLE CEO Dr. Jason Nye.
“The University is excited about this project, which has grown from of our Digital Shipbuilding initiative and aligns with our partners’ collective vision for America Builds and Repairs Great Ships (ABRGS). It is exactly the sort of collaborative research with which ODU wants to be affiliated – it is cutting edge, makes a significant economic impact to the region, supports the region’s military, maritime and industrial bases, and provides hands-on training and education for students, industry and naval personnel,” said ODU President John Broderick.
“We are pleased LAVLE and ODU have selected Newport News as the site of the MEPS Lab,” said Mayor McKinley L. Price. “The research and development that will be conducted at MEPS will bring new technology to the commercial and military markets and expand Newport News’ role as a Center of Excellence for maritime innovation and construction.”
LAVLE will enter into a ground lease and agreement to purchase the 1.33-acre site from the Economic Development Authority (EDA). While construction is underway, a temporary MEPS Lab will be housed in the EDA’s Applied Research Center at 12050 Jefferson Avenue.
“The City and EDA are excited to host MEPS,” said Florence G. Kingston, the City’s Director of Development and Secretary/Treasurer of the EDA. “We have been impressed by the entrepreneurial approach LAVLE and ODU have displayed during the site selection process for the Lab. Additionally, this project helps to further diversify and enrich our economic base.”
LAVLE is a joint venture company that combines advanced energy storage technologies from the Japanese battery company 3DOM with the best-in-class marine engineering, design, and systems integration services of Ockerman Automation to provide products and services to the defense, renewable energy, and marine transportation markets.
ODU is Virginia’s entrepreneurial-minded doctoral research university with more than 24,500 students, rigorous academics, an energetic residential community, and initiatives that contribute $2.6 million annually to the Commonwealth’s economy.