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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.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory entrance sign

Growing up in Florida, Emma Betters was fascinated by rockets and for good reason. Any time she wanted to see a space shuttle launch from NASA’s nearby Kennedy Space Center, all she had to do was sit on her front porch.

These fuel assembly brackets, manufactured by ORNL in partnership with Framatome and Tennessee Valley Authority, are the first 3D-printed safety-related components to be inserted into a nuclear power plant. Credit: Fred List/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The Transformational Challenge Reactor, or TCR, a microreactor built using 3D printing and other new advanced technologies, could be operational by 2024.

Researchers analyzed black cottonwood trees to determine how variations in their size and composition affect feedstock quality and biorefinery economics. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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’s Ramesh Bhave poses in his lab in March 2019. Bhave developed the Membrane Solvent Extraction process, which can be used to recover cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Momentum Technologies Inc., a Dallas, Texas-based materials science company that is focused on extracting critical metals from electronic waste, has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory process for recovering cobalt and other metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.