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Postdoctoral researcher Nischal Kafle positions a component for a portable plasma imaging diagnostic device at ORNL in February. The device, a project for ARPA-E, is built of off-the-shelf parts. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL

The techniques Theodore Biewer and his colleagues are using to measure whether plasma has the right conditions to create fusion have been around awhile.

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.

This simulation of a fusion plasma calculation result shows the interaction of two counter-streaming beams of super-heated gas. Credit: David L. Green/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The prospect of simulating a fusion plasma is a step closer to reality thanks to a new computational tool developed by scientists in fusion physics, computer science and mathematics at ORNL.

ORNL researchers developed sodium-ion batteries by pairing a high-energy oxide or phosphate cathode with a hard carbon anode and achieved 100 usage cycles at a one-hour charge and discharge rate. Credit: Mengya Li/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at ORNL demonstrated that sodium-ion batteries can serve as a low-cost, high performance substitute for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries commonly used in robotics, power tools, and grid-scale energy storage.

ORNL's Battery Manufacturing Facility

Energy storage startup SPARKZ Inc. has exclusively licensed five battery technologies from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed to eliminate cobalt metal in lithium-ion batteries. The advancement is aimed at accelerating the production of electric vehicles and energy storage solutions for the power grid.

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.

Catherine Schuman during Hour of Code

ORNL computer scientist Catherine Schuman returned to her alma mater, Harriman High School, to lead Hour of Code activities and talk to students about her job as a researcher.

Argon pellet injection text

As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.

Kathy McCarthy

Kathy McCarthy has been named director of the US ITER Project Office at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, effective March 2020.