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Distinguished Inventors

Six scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory were named Battelle Distinguished Inventors, in recognition of obtaining 14 or more patents during their careers at the lab.

A Co-Optima research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Jim Szybist in collaboration with Argonne, Sandia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, created a merit function tool that evaluates six fuel properties and their impact on engine performance, giving the scientific community a guide to quickly evaluate biofuels. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

As ORNL’s fuel properties technical lead for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Co-Optimization of Fuel and Engines, or Co-Optima, initiative, Jim Szybist has been on a quest for the past few years to identify the most significant indicators for predicting how a fuel will perform in engines designed for light-duty vehicles such as passenger cars and pickup trucks.

Fungi use signaling molecules called LCOs to communicate with each other and to regulate growth. Credit: Jessy Labbe/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators have discovered that signaling molecules known to trigger symbiosis between plants and soil bacteria are also used by almost all fungi as chemical signals to communicate with each other.

ORNL assisted in investigating proteins called porins, one shown in red, which are found in the protective outer membrane of certain disease-causing bacteria and tether the membrane to the cell wall. Credit: Hyea (Sunny) Hwang/Georgia Tech and ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory used high-performance computing to create protein models that helped reveal how the outer membrane is tethered to the cell membrane in certain bacteria.


NellOne Therapeutics has licensed a drug delivery system from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that is designed to transport therapeutics directly to cells infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.

Suman Debnath is using simulation algorithms to accelerate understanding of the modern power grid and enhance its reliability and resilience. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Planning for a digitized, sustainable smart power grid is a challenge to which Suman Debnath is using not only his own applied mathematics expertise, but also the wider communal knowledge made possible by his revival of a local chapter of the IEEE professional society.

Water from local creeks now flows through these simulated streams in the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, providing new opportunities to study mercury pollution and advance solutions. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

New capabilities and equipment recently installed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are bringing a creek right into the lab to advance understanding of mercury pollution and accelerate solutions.

stacked poplar logs

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.

ORNL researchers and energy storage startup Sparkz have developed a cobalt-free cathode material for use in lithium-ion batteries Credit: Ilias Belharouak/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Four research teams from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their technologies have received 2020 R&D 100 Awards.

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.