Brookhaven National Laboratory hired a Plainview general contractor Tuesday to build a $66.8-million energy research facility. The project is estimated to create about 300 jobs on Long Island.

E.W. Howell has been chosen to erect an 87,000-square-foot, two-story Interdisciplinary Science Building in Upton for research into sustainable energy.

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"We're tackling the energy problem on several different fronts," said Doon Gibbs, director for science and technology at Brookhaven Lab. "This new facility will provide high-tech resources to help us find . . . solutions to some of the challenges we face."

Three hundred construction jobs will be created and about 90 percent of the $46-million construction cost will be spent directly with Long Island subcontractors and suppliers, according to E.W. Howell. The project, funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, received $18.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment funding to accelerate the construction phase. Construction is set to begin by August, according to Dominic Paparo, vice president of business development at E.W. Howell.

The laboratory will be energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. Research will focus on developing effective uses of renewable energy with superconductivity, solar energy and biofuels.

"Our nation faces a grand challenge: finding alternatives to fossil fuels and improving energy efficiency to meet our exponentially growing energy needs," said Gibbs. "Science can help meet this daunting challenge. Facilities like this one is where those breakthroughs will happen."

E.W. Howell has worked with Brookhaven Lab on two other major construction projects that have been awarded silver ratings by the U.S. Green Building Council, which evaluates buildings for environmentally friendly building design. But people working on the Interdisciplinary Science Building say they are striving for the gold rating.