September 2012 Story Tips
Story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of each tip.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Oklahoma's ClimateMaster Inc. have collaborated to develop a ground source heat pump that can reduce a homeowner's electric bill by up to 60 percent. The Trilogy 40 is the first geothermal heat pump certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute to achieve a space cooling efficiency rating in excess of 40 EER (energy efficiency ratio). An EER rating of 13.5 is typical of conventional heat pumps. For a family living in a 2,600-square-foot well-insulated home, that translates into average annual savings of $300 to $500 vs. today's state-of-the-art and minimum efficiency heat pumps, respectively. Savings could be much greater for individual cases. The Trilogy 40 is the culmination of a five-year cooperative research and development agreement and advances the integrated heat pump concept developed by ORNL. The U.S. Department of Energy and ORNL have a long tradition of researching, testing and verifying heat pump technology. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; email@example.com] [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
To really understand the mundane world we live in we must also understand matter at the edge of the nuclear landscape. Computational researchers have contributed to this understanding with an intensive simulation of the short-lived oxygen-23 isotope. Working with colleagues at the University of Tennessee and the University of Oslo in Norway, the team helped overturn a decade-old misconception about how this isotope is put together. Their work is discussed in a recent edition of the journal Physical Review C. [Contact: Leo Williams, (865) 574-8891; email@example.com] [Contact: Leo Williams; 865.574.8891; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Owners of electric cars could kiss that cumbersome cord goodbye without losing efficiency because of a proprietary technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Not only would this mean never having to plug your car in while it's parked in your garage, it could mean not having to plug in at all. ORNL's charging system magnetically couples an electric source to your car's battery with an industry-leading 90 percent efficiency, making it as efficient as plugging in -- without the hassle. A team led by John Miller of ORNL's Power Electronics Group is first focusing on refining static systems for charging stationary vehicles, but the ultimate goal is to charge vehicles as they are in motion. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; email@example.com] [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
With the first demonstration of a dual-fuel advanced combustion cycle in a modified multi- cylinder engine, researchers have moved closer to delivering on the promise of increased fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers started with a 2007 General Motors 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, which they modified for reactivity controlled compression ignition operation. The engine was configured to have two separate fuel systems -- the original direct-injection diesel fuel system plus a port fuel injection system for gasoline-like fuels. In addition to improved efficiency and lower nitrogen oxide and soot emissions, this combustion mode features greater fuel flexibility when compared to other advanced combustion. This ORNL milestone, made possible with the help of the University of Wisconsin, bridges the gap between fundamental and applied research, said Scott Curran of ORNL's Fuels Engines and Emissions group. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; email@example.com] [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]