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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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Batteries—Polymers that bind

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that designed synthetic polymers can serve as a high-performance binding material for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

The illustrations show how the correlation between lattice distortion and proton binding energy in a material affects proton conduction in different environments. Mitigating this interaction could help researchers improve the ionic conductivity of solid materials.

Ionic conduction involves the movement of ions from one location to another inside a material. The ions travel through point defects, which are irregularities in the otherwise consistent arrangement of atoms known as the crystal lattice. This sometimes sluggish process can limit the performance and efficiency of fuel cells, batteries, and other energy storage technologies.

In this MXene electrode, choosing the appropriate solvent for the electrolyte can increase energy density significantly. This scanning electron microscopy image shows fine features of a film only 5 microns thick—approximately 10 times narrower than a human hair. Credit: Drexel University; image by Tyler Mathis

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 4, 2019—Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Drexel University and their partners have discovered a way to improve the energy density of promising energy-storage materials, conductive two-dimensional ceramics called MXenes. The findings are published in Nature Energy.

ORNL will use state-of-the-art R&D tools at the Battery Manufacturing Facility to develop new methods for separating and reclaiming valuable materials from spent EV batteries.

The use of lithium-ion batteries has surged in recent years, starting with electronics and expanding into many applications, including the growing electric and hybrid vehicle industry. But the technologies to optimize recycling of these batteries have not kept pace.

Researchers analyzed the oxygen structure (highlighted in red) found in a perovskite’s crystal structure at room temperature, 500°C and 900°C using neutron scattering at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source. Analyzing how these structures impact solid oxide f

A University of South Carolina research team is investigating the oxygen reduction performance of energy conversion materials called perovskites by using neutron diffraction at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists studying fuel cells as a potential alternative to internal combustion engines used sophisticated electron microscopy to investigate the benefits of replacing high-cost platinum with a lower cost, carbon-nitrogen-manganese-based catalyst.

Rose Ruther and Jagjit Nanda have been collaborating to develop a membrane for a low-cost redox flow battery for grid-scale energy storage.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed a crucial component for a new kind of low-cost stationary battery system utilizing common materials and designed for grid-scale electricity storage. Large, economical electricity storage systems can benefit the nation’s grid ...

Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutrons to evaluate the behavior of ions adsorbed on the external surfaces onion-like carbon electrodes and determine the right balance of two liquid salts that yields optimal energy storage potential.

Energy storage could get a boost from new research of tailored liquid salt mixtures, the components of supercapacitors responsible for holding and releasing electrical energy. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Naresh Osti and his colleagues used neutrons at the lab’s Spallation Neutron ...

ORNL’s Xiahan Sang unambiguously resolved the atomic structure of MXene, a 2D material promising for energy storage, catalysis and electronic conductivity. Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy; photographer Carlos Jones

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders. Unlike most 2D ceramics, MXenes have inherently good conductivity because they are molecular sheets made from the carbides ...