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Prasad Kandula builds a medium-voltage solid state circuit breaker as part of ORNL’s project to develop medium-voltage power electronics in GRID-C. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Scientists at ORNL are looking for a happy medium to enable the grid of the future, filling a gap between high and low voltages for power electronics technology that underpins the modern U.S. electric grid.

Sangkeun “Matt” Lee received the Best Poster Award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 24th International Conference on Information Reuse and Integration.

Lee's paper at the August conference in Bellevue, Washington, combined weather and power outage data for three states – Texas, Michigan and Hawaii –  and used a machine learning model to predict how extreme weather such as thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes would affect local power grids and to estimate the risk for outages. The paper relied on data from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environment for Analysis of Geo-Located Energy Information, or EAGLE-I, database.

An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, can be triggered by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere or by an electromagnetic generator in a vehicle or aircraft. Here’s the chain of reactions it could cause to harm electrical equipment on the ground. Credit: Andy Sproles/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at ORNL have been leading a project to understand how a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, could threaten power plants.

The sun sets behind the ORNL Visitor Center in this aerial photo from April 2023. Credit: Kase Clapp/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In fiscal year 2023 — Oct. 1–Sept. 30, 2023 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory was awarded more than $8 million in technology maturation funding through the Department of Energy’s Technology Commercialization Fund, or TCF.

Steven Campbell’s technical expertise supports integration of power electronics innovations from ORNL labs to the electrical grid. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Steven Campbell can often be found deep among tall cases of power electronics, hunkered in his oversized blue lab coat, with 1500 volts of electricity flowing above his head. When interrupted in his laboratory at ORNL, Campbell will usually smile and duck his head.

ORNL researcher Sreenivasa Jaldanki was recently elevated to IEEE senior member. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Sreenivasa Jaldanki, a researcher in the Grid Systems Modeling and Controls group at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was recently elevated to senior membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE.

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.

Diagram of faults affecting a conventional power system.

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are leading the way in understanding the effects of electrical faults in the modern U.S. power grid.

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.

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.