Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is accelerating the pace of research and development (R&D) for efficient, safe, secure, and environmentally friendly transportation. By leveraging the National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) – the Department of Energy's (DOE's) only dedicated user facility focused on transportation – our researchers identify new materials for next-generation systems; provide decision-making tools and intelligent technologies for secure, efficient movement of passengers and freight; and create economic opportunity for the nation by improving the energy efficiency of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles.
Next Generation Research
Electrification and fast wired and wireless charging
Early-stage technologies to speed deployment of electric vehicles, including extreme fast charging; advanced batteries, fuel cells, electric machinery, and power electronics; and roll-to-roll technologies.
Data science, automated technologies, and vehicle cybersecurity
Unique security expertise to detect and prevent cyberintrusions; advanced sensors, controls, algorithms, and other technologies to safely and efficiently guide automated and connected vehicles; and analysis of transportation fuel economy and fleets.
Materials for future vehicles
Durable, cost-effective, lightweight materials and advanced processes for next-generation vehicles, including high-temperature alloys for engines, advancements in carbon fiber, 3D printing, and advanced materials joining techniques.
Fuels, engines, and emissions research
Co-optimization of advanced fuels and engines, low-temperature catalysts, and emissions controls; breakthroughs in biofuels production; and integration of vehicle systems.
DOE's Most Comprehensive Transportation R&D Facilities
National Transportation Research Facility
DOE's only designated user facility focused on transportation R&D and a portal to world-class science capabilities across ORNL.
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility
CFTF is developing methods using low-cost feedstocks to assist industry in overcoming the barriers of carbon fiber production cost, scalability of processes, and development of fiber-reinforced polymer composites for end use.
Impacts and Partnerships
- Using neutrons at ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor and Spallation Neutron Source to analyze the spray inside fuel injectors; seeking the sources of efficiency-robbing cavitation. Partner: General Motors.
- Using Titan, the nation's fastest supercomputer, to study combustion by simulating thousands of engine cycles with speed and accuracy. Partners: Ford Motor Company, General Electric, and Convergent Science.
- Applying characterization, modeling, and simulation capabilities to accelerate the design of a new traction power inverter for the 2016 Chevy Volt. Partner: Delphi.
- Developing new high-temperature aluminum alloys for automotive cylinder heads using materials characterization expertise and high-performance computing. Partners: FCA US LLC, Nemak.
- Using analytical chemistry and materials science to develop new catalyst technologies that operate effectively in the low-temperature exhaust from next-generation engines.