Idaho National Laboratory Selects Combs ’94 As New Deputy Laboratory Director

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Idaho National Laboratory selected Todd Combs ’94, a highly respected leader and seasoned national laboratory expert, as Idaho National Laboratory’s next deputy laboratory director for science and technology and chief research officer. Combs replaces Marianne Walck, who left INL earlier this year to become the laboratory director at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Combs’ hiring follows an extensive nationwide search. He began his new role June 3, 2024.

Since 2017, Combs has been INL’s associate laboratory director for the Energy and Environment Science and Technology directorate, which oversees a broad clean energy research and development portfolio. Under his leadership, the directorate made measurable progress in several initiatives vital to INL’s mission.

His accomplishments include laying out a strategic vision for the nation’s integrated energy systems initiative, standing up a new INL initiative in advanced manufacturing for harsh environments, and elevating the lab’s leading role in biofuels research and development. He also oversaw the establishment of the Energy Technology Proving Ground that will soon validate industrial hydrogen technology at commercial scale, develop new designs and controls for integrated energy systems and leverage the contributions from nuclear energy to enhance clean energy production.

In an announcement to INL employees, Laboratory Director John Wagner noted that other important areas grew under Combs’ leadership, including substantial progress in research involving critical minerals, electric vehicle batteries, charging infrastructure and digital engineering. The directorate also increased its business volume by 50% and doubled its publication numbers while attracting a top-notch leadership team and internationally recognized researchers.

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