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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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Researchers Adam Guss and Melissa Tumen-Velasquez work with microbes to understand how the organisms consume plastics and break them into chemical components that can be used to make higher-value products.

From soda bottles to car bumpers to piping, electronics, and packaging, plastics have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. 

ORNL Sign

Seven ORNL scientists have been named among the 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list, according to Clarivate, a data analytics firm that specializes in scientific and academic research.

Chuck Kessel

Chuck Kessel was still in high school when he saw a scientist hold up a tiny vial of water and say, “This could fuel a house for a whole year.”

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.

MPEX ribbon cutting

Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory leaders for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark progress toward a next-generation fusion materials project.

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.

This photo shows the interior of the vessel of the General Atomics DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, where ORNL researchers are testing the suitability of tungsten to armor the inside of a fusion device. Credit: General Atomics

The inside of future nuclear fusion energy reactors will be among the harshest environments ever produced on Earth. What’s strong enough to protect the inside of a fusion reactor from plasma-produced heat fluxes akin to space shuttles reentering Earth’s atmosphere?

A structural model of HgcA, shown in cyan, and HgcB, shown in purple, were created using metagenomic techniques to better understand the transformation of mercury into its toxic form, methylmercury. Photo credit: Connor Cooper/ORNL, U.S. Dept of Energy

A team led by ORNL created a computational model of the proteins responsible for the transformation of mercury to toxic methylmercury, marking a step forward in understanding how the reaction occurs and how mercury cycles through the environment.