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Topic: Clean Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is delivering scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that accelerate the development of efficient and secure transportation technologies and improve mobility for the nation. Researchers provide key expertise in understanding simulation and integration of advanced vehicle technologies to offer insight on the potential benefits for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid vehicles, advanced powertrain vehicles, and connected and automated vehicles.

Research assesses cyber vulnerabilities and analyzes data for decision-making in a multi-modal infrastructure. In addition, new methods for electrification are being investigated including the development of power electronics, electric motor, and traction drive system technologies that will surpass current on-the-road technologies, leading to lower cost and better performance. Electrification research efforts focus on wireless power transfer, modeling manufacturing and materials for improved batteries and next-generation batteries, and fuel cells.

Mobility projects include developing a digital twin or replica of the transportation network in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area using radar detectors, cameras, and sensors to create smooth traffic patterns, improve freight transport, and generate energy savings. ORNL is also a research participant in a similar project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, focusing on both air and ground transport. Ongoing simulation frameworks analyzing the impact of connected and automated vehicles demonstrate that an increased number communicating and coordinating on roadways can stabilize traffic flow and reduce fuel use.



Working with advanced composites and carbon fiber and the joining of dissimilar materials, focusing on developing lightweight and advanced materials for engines and powertrain.


Using neutrons to investigate and understand the structure and properties of materials, measuring pressure changes and the impact of near-nozzle spray.

Computational Science

Deploying high performance computing for combustion, materials and batteries research, developing evolutionary algorithms and optimizing neural networks.

Data Analytics

Delivering comprehensive data on transportation trends, freight, energy use, and more as well as analyses of fuel economy and fleets.

Advanced Manufacturing

Utilizing additive manufacturing to develop strong lightweight materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, for more efficient transportation applications, reducing fuel consumption.

Virtual/Physical Research

Integrating virtual and physical hardware for research, utilizing foundational science and complex integrated mobility systems, operating across multiple laboratory locations in simulated environments.