November 2008 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.
High temperature superconductor (HTS) technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is being used in a $39 million project to boost and secure Manhattan's power grid. Project HYDRA, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, seeks to install and field test HTS cable in New York City's electrical power grid by 2010. ORNL helps design and test the cable which will boost power delivery 30 percent; increase reliability and security; and limit fault currents caused by tree branches, lightning, and other interruptions that hamper the nation's electric grid. Industrial partners include American Superconductor Corp., which has shipped more than 56,000 feet of wire for the project; Consolidated Edison Co., which operates Manhattan's power delivery network; and cable manufacturer Ultera, a joint venture between Southwire Co. and nkt cables. [Contact: Mike Bradley; ; ]
Extending Daylight Saving Time by four weeks last year reduced U.S. energy consumption by 17 trillion British thermal units, or the equivalent of enough energy to power 100,000 households for a year. That's according to a report to Congress from the U.S. Department of Energy by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Researchers sought to quantify the savings resulting from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the duration of Daylight Saving Time. The extension went into effect in March 2007. The study found that electricity consumption in 2007 decreased by an average of 0.5 percent per day during the extra four weeks, which adds up to 1.3 billion kilowatt hours. Savings in northern regions were greater than in the south, which may be attributable to increased air-conditioning usage. The work is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. See the report at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/ba/pba/pdfs/epact_sec_110_edst_report_to_congress_2008.pdf [Contact: Bill Cabage; 865.574.4399; email@example.com]
Maps showing possible regional impacts of climate change in the Dominican Republic could play a role in setting policy there and beyond. The maps, generated by a group of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will be used for climate change policy discussions and published in a future issue of Foreign Policy, a publication widely read by international policy makers. Projected increased temperatures are just one of the extreme regional stresses considered in the comprehensive ORNL study captured in a series of maps that focus on resource scarcity, extreme events and other impacts of climate and population change. The overall study was led by Auroop Ganguly while the maps for the Dominican Republic were primarily generated by Esther Parish with help from Karsten Steinhaeuser, all of the Geographical Information Science and Technology Group. The research was funded by a grant to ORNL from the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment at the University of Tennessee. Foreign Policy magazine is a non-partisan publication recently acquired by the Washington Post Co. from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Keeping track of weapons at nuclear facilities and other installations could get a lot easier with a technology developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Visible Assets of New Hampshire. The technology, which uses low-frequency magnetic waves to transmit signals from tags installed in a pistol's grips, solves a huge problem caused by human error during the inventory process. Future system enhancements will make it possible to count the number of shots fired, eliminating any guesswork about when a weapon needs to be serviced or replaced. A team led by Chris Pickett of ORNL's Global Nuclear Security Technology Division developed the system software and completed the system integration. The team also conducted operational tests and is working with DOE armorers to complete rigorous tests to evaluate the sensor's performance, durability and security. Those tests will soon be complete, which will clear the path for Department of Energy facilities to purchase the equipment from Sig Sauer, which licensed the technology. Funding was provided by DOE's Office of Health, Safety and Security. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; email@example.com]