Skip to main content
The image conceptualizes the processing, structure and mechanical behavior of glassy ion conductors for solid state lithium batteries. Credit: Adam Malin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

As current courses through a battery, its materials erode over time. Mechanical influences such as stress and strain affect this trajectory, although their impacts on battery efficacy and longevity are not fully understood.

ORNL’s David Sholl is director of the new DOE Energy Earthshot Non-Equilibrium Energy Transfer for Efficient Reactions center to help decarbonize the industrial chemical industry. Credit: Genevieve Martin, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL has been selected to lead an Energy Earthshot Research Center, or EERC, focused on developing chemical processes that use sustainable methods instead of burning fossil fuels to radically reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions to stem climate change and limit the crisis of a rapidly warming planet.

As a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tugba Turnaoglu is investigating new thermal energy storage materials and ways to incorporate them into cost-effective and energy-efficient heat pump designs. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept of Energy

The common sounds in the background of daily life – like a refrigerator’s hum, an air conditioner’s whoosh and a heat pump’s buzz – often go unnoticed. These noises, however, are the heartbeat of a healthy building and integral for comfort and convenience.

ORNL researcher Zhijia Du inserts a newly developed liquid electrolyte material into a battery pouch cell. The formulation extends the life of extreme-fast-charging batteries like those used in electric vehicles. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are taking fast charging for electric vehicles, or EVs, to new extremes. A team of battery scientists recently developed a lithium-ion battery material that not only recharges 80% of its capacity in 10 minutes but keeps that ability for 1,500 charging cycles.  

Jonathan Harter, a technical professional in ORNL’s Engineering Science and Technology Directorate, uses a robot and other automated methods to disassemble electric vehicle batteries for recycling or reuse in the electric grid. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

After being stabilized in an ambulance as he struggled to breathe, Jonathan Harter hit a low point. It was 2020, he was very sick with COVID-19, and his job as a lab technician at ORNL was ending along with his research funding.

Mirko Musa was always fascinated by the power of rivers, specifically how these mighty waterways sculpt landscapes. Now, as a water power researcher, he’s finding ways to harness that power and protect rivers at the same time. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Mirko Musa spent his childhood zigzagging his bike along the Po River. The Po, Italy’s longest river, cuts through a lush valley of grain and vegetable fields, which look like a green and gold ocean spreading out from the river’s banks. 

Innovation Crossroads cohort 7

Seven entrepreneurs will embark on a two-year fellowship as the seventh cohort of Innovation Crossroads kicks off this month at ORNL. Representing a range of transformative energy technologies, Cohort 7 is a diverse class of innovators with promising new companies.

ORNL researchers found that a battery anode film, made by Navitas Systems using a dry process, was strong and flexible. These characteristics make a lithium-ion battery safer and more durable. Credit: Navitas Systems

Early experiments at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have revealed significant benefits to a dry battery manufacturing process. This eliminates the use of solvents and is more affordable, while showing promise for delivering a battery that is durable, less weighed down by inactive elements, and able to maintain a high capacity after use. 

ORNL researchers have developed a new pressing method, shown as blue circle on right, that produces a more uniform solid electrolyte than the traditionally processed material with more voids, shown as gray circle on left. The material can be integrated into a battery system, center, for improved stability and rate performance. Credit: Andy Sproles/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL scientists found that a small tweak created big performance improvements in a type of solid-state battery, a technology considered vital to broader electric vehicle adoption.

Mali Balasubramanian made a rewarding mid-career shift to focus on studying new battery materials and systems using X-ray spectroscopy and other methods. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Having passed the midpoint of his career, physicist Mali Balasubramanian was part of a tight-knit team at a premier research facility for X-ray spectroscopy. But then another position opened, at ORNL— one that would take him in a new direction.