Energy and Environmental Sciences


EESD Staff honored at UT-Battelle Awards Night

Posted: November 2, 2017

Twelve EESD staff members were honored at the 2017 UT-Battelle Awards Night recognizing breakthrough achievements in science and engineering as well as support of ORNL’s mission.

Director’s Award for Outstanding Team Research Accomplishment

Timothy Burress, Jason Pries, Lixin Tang, and Randy Wiles – For development of a low-cost, high-power-density prototype motor that is 75 percent more powerful than same-sized commercial motors and that also contributes to national energy security by replacing magnets made from imported rare earth materials with inexpensive ferrite found in abundance in the United States.

The team, all members of the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division, received a Distinguished Achievement Award from DOE for the project earlier this year. Pries, Tang, and Wiles are members of the Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Group, while Burress is in the Dynamic Systems Analysis Group.

Distinguished Researcher

Van Baxter - For influential research and analysis of heat pumps for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration applications, resulting in commercial technologies that significantly reduce energy consumption, and for his leadership in the HVAC and refrigeration research community.

Baxter is director-at-large for ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and is a Fellow and life member of the organization. He is a senior research and development engineer in the Building Equipment Research Group in the Energy and Transportation Science Division.

Joint Faculty

Jeremy Smith - For sustained scientific impact and leadership at the interface of the biological, environmental, computational, and neutron sciences, including exceptional leadership to ORNL and UT through building a significant research group spanning both institutions and advancing each institution as a leading center for computational molecular biophysics.

Smith is a Governor’s Chair researcher in the Biosciences Division and Director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics, a joint project between ORNL and the University of Tennessee deploying ORNL capabilities in high-performance computing and neutron scattering in pursuit of bioscience and environmental science breakthroughs.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Chang Geun Yoo - For essential contributions to the characterization of natural and genetically engineered plants, biomass, and lignin with applications for future bioenergy and bio-based products.

Yoo is a postdoc in the Biosciences Division with a particular focus on biomass processing and the conversion of lignin into valuable bioproducts. He received his PhD in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, after completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering at Hanyang University in South Korea.

Research Leadership, Group Level

Gerald “Jerry” Tuskan - For outstanding leadership of the Plant Systems Biology Group, including successful program development and execution, resulting in numerous bioenergy research activities that demonstrate exceptional scientific value as team members meet research milestones, publish in top journals, and develop new capabilities.

Tuskan is an ORNL Corporate Fellow in the Biosciences Division and holds a joint appointment at DOE’s Joint Genome Institute in California. He recently took on the role of CEO of the new DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation headquartered at ORNL, where he will lead scientists at multiple institutions to engineer feedstock crops, produce advanced biofuels, and develop valuable byproducts from lignin to support a robust bioeconomy.

Science Communicator

Esther Sullivan Parish - For leading communication about renewable energy with creativity and enthusiasm by organizing laboratory and East Tennessee participation in the Annual National Bioenergy Day community outreach event, which has become a national example that inspired Department of Energy participation in 2014 and engaged 10 area communities in 2016.

Parish is a scientist in the Landscape Ecology and Regional Analysis Group of the Environmental Sciences Division. She conducts interdisciplinary research for ORNL’s Center for BioEnergy Sustainability, Climate Change Science Institute, and Urban Dynamics Institute, focused on using geographic information science and integrated models and datasets to assess tradeoffs between environmental and socioeconomic sustainability indicators, and the impact of a changing environment on human populations and water resources.

Team Research Accomplishment

Sheng Dai, Carter W. Abney, Suree S. Brown, Vyacheslav Bryantsev, Christopher James Janke, Richard T. Mayes, Tomonori Saito, Costas Tsouris. For the development of an advanced polymer-based adsorbent that recovers uranium and critical metals from difficult-to-mine sources such as seawater, an achievement that required a team of experts in theory and computation, polymer synthesis, advanced spectroscopic characterization, and chemical engineering.

Tsouris is a chemical engineer in the Applied Catalysis & Emissions Research Group of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, specializing in separations, adsorbent development, and chemical processing and analytics.

Mission Support

James Rogers, James Keiser, Donovan Leonard, Raynella “Maggie” Connatser, Harry M. Meyer III, Tom Geer, Stephen McNally, Don Maxwell, David Londo, Adam Sachitano, David Grant, and Samuel Lewis - For collaborative efforts identifying the source of hardware resiliency issues on Titan and employing a strategy that allowed the system to remain in operation, meeting the computational requirements of the user community and also benefiting the design of Summit, the laboratory’s next leadership-class supercomputer.

Connatser and Lewis are analytical chemists in the Applied Catalysis & Emissions Research Group of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, working on projects such as analysis of vehicle exhaust and bio-oil chemistry.