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INFUSE logo cropped

The U.S. Department of Energy announced funding for 12 projects with private industry to enable collaboration with DOE national laboratories on overcoming challenges in fusion energy development.

Fusion—Heating the core

In a recent study, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory performed experiments in a prototype fusion reactor materials testing facility to develop a method that uses microwaves to raise the plasma’s temperature closer to the extreme values reached in a fusion energy reactor’s exhaust system.

A new method uses E. coli to generate DNA with methylation patterns that target microbes recognize and accept as their own, facilitating customization of microbes for biofuels production.

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a method to insert genes into a variety of microorganisms that previously would not accept foreign DNA, with the goal of creating custom microbes to break down plants for bioenergy.

Tyler Gerczak, a materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is focused on post-irradiation examination and separate effects testing of current fuels for light water reactors and advanced fuel types that could be used in future nuclear systems. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Ask Tyler Gerczak to find a negative in working at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his only complaint is the summer weather. It is not as forgiving as the summers in Pulaski, Wisconsin, his hometown.

Electro-Active Tech license signing ceremony

Electro-Active Technologies, Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., has exclusively licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the startup’s co-founders while working at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The technologies work as a system that converts organic waste into renewable hydrogen gas for use as a biofuel.

Tungsten tiles for fusion

Using additive manufacturing, scientists experimenting with tungsten at Oak Ridge National Laboratory hope to unlock new potential of the high-performance heat-transferring material used to protect components from the plasma inside a fusion reactor. Fusion requires hydrogen isotopes to reach millions of degrees.

Laccaria bicolor is fruiting aboveground and colonizing the Populus deltoides plant root system belowground in a greenhouse setting.

A team of scientists led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered the specific gene that controls an important symbiotic relationship between plants and soil fungi, and successfully facilitated the symbiosis in a plant that typically resists it.

Nuclear—Tiny testing fuels

For the first time, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has completed testing of nuclear fuels using MiniFuel, an irradiation vehicle that allows for rapid experimentation.

Small modular reactor computer simulation

In a step toward advancing small modular nuclear reactor designs, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have run reactor simulations on ORNL supercomputer Summit with greater-than-expected computational efficiency.

carbon nanospikes

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 1, 2019—ReactWell, LLC, has licensed a novel waste-to-fuel technology from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to improve energy conversion methods for cleaner, more efficient oil and gas, chemical and bioenergy production.