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Transformational Decarbonization Initiative


The Transformational Decarbonization Initiative (TDI) supports science and technology solutions to address the critical challenge of decarbonizing the nation’s energy system to address climate change.

TDI is guided by the knowledge that for projects to be relevant to climate change, they must be at a very broad scale enabled by interdisciplinary science. The Initiative brings together the world-leading capabilities of ORNL and the multidisciplinary expertise of its scientists and engineers to develop and deploy breakthroughs in carbon capture, conversion and utilization, and storage to support the nation’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

3d printed carbon capture device

TDI enables cross-cutting projects from fundamental science to scale-up technologies in the following areas:

  • Direct-air and point-source carbon capture
  • Innovative materials and processes for hard-to-decarbonize sectors
  • Bio-inspired approaches and natural sinks
  • Combining electrochemical, thermomechanical, photochemical processes, and other solutions for cost-effective decarbonization at a national scale

TDI projects build on a rich history of decarbonization breakthroughs at ORNL, including CO2 capture and conversion and technology solutions across the nation’s most energy-intensive sectors.

Michelle Kidder working in lab

TDI sits in the Energy Science and Technology Directorate, where researchers deliver breakthroughs in energy from generation to distribution and storage to end use in support of Department of Energy missions. Within ESTD, TDI is focused on helping decarbonize the power grid, transportation, buildings, and manufacturing sectors. The work is enabled by a unique regional innovation ecosystem that leverages academic and industrial collaboration and the deployment of technologies with real-world impact.