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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.

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.

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.

Xunxiang Hu, a Eugene P. Wigner Fellow in ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division, designed this machine to produce large, crack-free pieces of yttrium hydride to be used as a moderator in the core of ORNL’s Transformational Challenge Reactor and other microreactors. Credit: Xunxiang Hu/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

About 60 years ago, scientists discovered that a certain rare earth metal-hydrogen mixture, yttrium, could be the ideal moderator to go inside small, gas-cooled nuclear reactors.

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.

A selfie from the Curiosity rover as it explores the surface of Mars. Like many spacecraft, Curiosity uses a radioisotope power system to help fuel its mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Radioactive isotopes power some of NASA’s best-known spacecraft. But predicting how radiation emitted from these isotopes might affect nearby materials is tricky

Innovation Network for Fusion Energy, or INFUSE

The Department of Energy announced awards for 10 projects with private industry that will allow for collaboration with DOE national laboratories in accelerating fusion energy development.

Paul Abraham uses mass spectrometry to study proteins.

Systems biologist Paul Abraham uses his fascination with proteins, the molecular machines of nature, to explore new ways to engineer more productive ecosystems and hardier bioenergy crops.