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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Jim Szybist, Propulsion Science section head at ORNL, is applying his years of alternative fuel combustion and thermodynamics research to the challenge of cleaning up the hard-to-decarbonize, heavy-duty mobility sector. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

What’s getting Jim Szybist fired up these days? It’s the opportunity to apply his years of alternative fuel combustion and thermodynamics research to the challenge of cleaning up the hard-to-decarbonize, heavy-duty mobility sector — from airplanes to locomotives to ships and massive farm combines.

Scientists genetically engineered bacteria for itaconic acid production, creating dynamic controls that separate microbial growth and production phases for increased efficiency and acid yield. Credit: NREL

A research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory bioengineered a microbe to efficiently turn waste into itaconic acid, an industrial chemical used in plastics and paints.