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These fuel assembly brackets, manufactured by ORNL in partnership with Framatome and Tennessee Valley Authority, are the first 3D-printed safety-related components to be inserted into a nuclear power plant. Credit: Fred List/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The Transformational Challenge Reactor, or TCR, a microreactor built using 3D printing and other new advanced technologies, could be operational by 2024.

Researchers analyzed black cottonwood trees to determine how variations in their size and composition affect feedstock quality and biorefinery economics. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Popular wisdom holds tall, fast-growing trees are best for biomass, but new research by two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories reveals that is only part of the equation.

Sarah Cousineau

Two scientists with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been elected fellows of the American Physical Society.

Shown here is an on-chip carbonized electrode microstructure from a scanning electron microscope. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee designed and demonstrated a method to make carbon-based materials that can be used as electrodes compatible with a specific semiconductor circuitry.

An ORNL researcher holds a capsule of molten salt. Preliminary experiments seem to indicate that irradiation can slow corrosion of metal in liquid salt. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Irradiation may slow corrosion of alloys in molten salt, a team of Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists has found in preliminary tests.

Substituting deuterium for hydrogen makes methylammonium heavier and slows its swaying so it can interact with vibrations that remove heat, keeping charge carriers hot longer. Credit: Jill Hemman/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Led by ORNL and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a study of a solar-energy material with a bright future revealed a way to slow phonons, the waves that transport heat.

An interactive visualization shows potential progression of BECCS to address carbon dioxide reduction goals. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The combination of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could cost-effectively sequester hundreds of millions of metric tons per year of carbon dioxide in the United States, making it a competitive solution for carbon management, according to a new analysis by ORNL scientists.

Zhenglong Li, an ORNL scientist in the Energy and Transportation Science Division, holds a sample of a catalyst material used to covert ethanol into butene-rich mixed olefins, important intermediates that can then be readily processed into aviation fuels. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Prometheus Fuels has licensed an ethanol-to-jet-fuel conversion process developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The ORNL technology will enable cost-competitive production of jet fuel and co-production of butadiene for use in renewable polymer synthesis.

Light moves through a fiber and stimulates the metal electrons in nanotip into collective oscillations called surface plasmons, assisting electrons to leave the tip. This simple electron nano-gun can be made more versatile via different forms of material composition and structuring. Credit: Ali Passian/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at ORNL and the University of Nebraska have developed an easier way to generate electrons for nanoscale imaging and sensing, providing a useful new tool for material science, bioimaging and fundamental quantum research.

ORNL scientists have optimized the Pseudomonas putida bacterium to digest five of the most abundant components of lignocellulosic biomass simultaneously, supporting a highly efficient conversion process to create renewable fuels and chemicals from plants. Credit: Alli Werner/NREL,U.S. Dept of Energy

ORNL scientists have modified a single microbe to simultaneously digest five of the most abundant components of lignocellulosic biomass, a big step forward in the development of a cost-effective biochemical conversion process to turn plants into renewable fuels and chemicals.