DECEMBER 10, 2018 — Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, is collaborating with Lavle USA, Inc., to establish a new Marine Electric Propulsion Simulation (MEPS) Laboratory. The $12 million, 22,000-square-foot lab will be built on 1.33 acres in the heart of downtown Newport News, VA, at 351 25th Street.
Lavle is a joint venture company between Japanese battery company 3DOM and marine engineering, design and systems integration specialist Ockerman Automation.
The 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.
It will also focus on training the current and next-generation workforce supporting the shipbuilding and ship repair industry.
“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),” said Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick. “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.”
The 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,” said Lavle CEO Jason Nye. “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.