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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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Starch granules

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to peer deep into the nanostructure of biomaterials without damaging the sample. This novel technique can confirm structural features in starch, a carbohydrate important in biofuel production.

Geothermal energy storage system

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers created a geothermal energy storage system that could reduce peak electricity demand up to 37% in homes while helping balance grid operations.

Smart Neighborhood homes

To better determine the potential energy cost savings among connected homes, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a computer simulation to more accurately compare energy use on similar weather days.

Five companies to collaborate with ORNL

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 12, 2019 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory and five leading building equipment industries will collaborate to improve the energy performance of heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and investigate climate-friendly alternative refrigerants.

ORNL-created Chattanooga building energy models. Image Credit: Joshua New, ORNL

Buildings use 40 percent of America’s primary energy and 75 percent of its electricity, which can jump to 80 percent when a majority of the population is at home using heating or cooling systems and the seasons reach their extremes.

Buildings—Reaching the boiling point

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrated that metal foam enhances the evaporation process in thermal conversion systems and enables the development of compact HVAC&R units.

Water and energy are inextricably linked, yet in our 20th-century water systems we use freshwater once then throw it away. With innovations designed to enhance desalination technologies, agricultural runoff, produced water from industry, and inland brackish groundwater that are now seen as untreatable could all be sources of clean, safe, and affordable water.

The National Alliance for Water Innovation, a partnership of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, other national labs, university and private sector partners, has been awarded a five-year, $100 million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE to address water security issues in the United States.

low-cost material can be used as an additive to increase thermal insulation performance

Quanex Building Products has signed a non-exclusive agreement to license a method to produce insulating material from ORNL. The low-cost material can be used as an additive to increase thermal insulation performance and improve energy efficiency when applied to a variety of building products.

Desalination process

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory improves the energy efficiency of a desalination process known as solar-thermal evaporation. 

Residential House

An online tool developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory provides architects and engineers a fast and efficient way to assess the performance of a building’s envelope design before construction begins.