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ORNL researchers found that a polyelectrolyte additive can improve the stability and performance of a salt hydrate PCM, enhancing the potential for use in heat pumps. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers demonstrated that an additive made from polymers and electrolytes improves the thermal performance and stability of salt hydrate phase change materials, or PCMs, a finding that could advance their integration into carbon-reducing heat pumps.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers took a connected and automated vehicle out of the virtual proving ground and onto a public road to determine energy savings when it is operated under predictive control strategies. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers  determined that a connected and automated vehicle, or CAV, traveling on a multilane highway with integrated traffic light timing control can maximize energy efficiency and achieve up to 27% savings.

Two hybrid poplar plants, middle and right, engineered with the PtrXB38 hub gene exhibited a drastic increase in root and callus formation compared with a wild-type control plant, left. Credit: Tao Yao/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists identified a gene “hotspot” in the poplar tree that triggers dramatically increased root growth. The discovery supports development of better bioenergy crops and other plants that can thrive in difficult conditions while storing more carbon belowground.

Researchers have shown how an all-solid lithium-based electrolyte material can be used to develop fast charging, long-range batteries for electric vehicles that are also safer than conventional designs. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Currently, the biggest hurdle for electric vehicles, or EVs, is the development of advanced battery technology to extend driving range, safety and reliability.

ORNL’s additive manufacturing compression molding, or AMCM, technology can produce composite-based, lightweight finished parts for airplanes, drones or vehicles in minutes and could acclerate decarbonization for the automobile and aeropsace industries. 

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed advanced manufacturing technology, AMCM, was recently licensed by Orbital Composites and enables the rapid production of composite-based components, which could accelerate the decarbonization of vehicles, airplanes and drones.

Benefit breakdown, 3D printed vs. wood molds

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have conducted a comprehensive life cycle, cost and carbon emissions analysis on 3D-printed molds for precast concrete and determined the method is economically beneficial compared to conventional wood molds.

Valuable chemicals are selectively produced from mixed plastic waste by an ORNL-developed plastic deconstruction process. Credit: Tomonori Saito, Md Arifuzzaman and Adam Malin, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Almost 80% of plastic in the waste stream ends up in landfills or accumulates in the environment. Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a technology that converts a conventionally unrecyclable mixture of plastic waste into useful chemicals, presenting a new strategy in the toolkit to combat global plastic waste.

Researchers used the open-source Community Earth System Model to simulate the effects that extreme climatic conditions have on processes like land carbon storage. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Northeastern University modeled how extreme conditions in a changing climate affect the land’s ability to absorb atmospheric carbon — a key process for mitigating human-caused emissions. They found that 88% of Earth’s regions could become carbon emitters by the end of the 21st century. 

ORNL researcher Zhijia Du inserts a newly developed liquid electrolyte material into a battery pouch cell. The formulation extends the life of extreme-fast-charging batteries like those used in electric vehicles. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are taking fast charging for electric vehicles, or EVs, to new extremes. A team of battery scientists recently developed a lithium-ion battery material that not only recharges 80% of its capacity in 10 minutes but keeps that ability for 1,500 charging cycles.  

Scientists conducted microbial DNA sampling at a Yellowstone National Park hot spring for a study sponsored by DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program, the National Science Foundation and NASA. Credit: Mircea Podar/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studied hot springs on different continents and found similarities in how some microbes adapted despite their geographic diversity.