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  • 2017-09-05 11:05:18
  • Article ID: 680509

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, September 2017

  • Credit: Brittany Cramer/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    A 3D printing process developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory repairs and strengthens a Cummins engine without the need to recast parts, which reduces costs and saves energy.

  • Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    The Oak Ridge National Laboratory research house collects data about the home’s simulated energy use from sensors strategically located throughout the home.

  • Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    An unoccupied research house located in a private subdivision serves as a single-home test bed for the Smart Neighborhood project led by Southern Company, Alabama Power and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

  • Credit: Stephen Jesse/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    The ORNL team used atomic force microscopy to characterize ionic movement at a solar material’s surface. Using other microscopy techniques, spectroscopy and simulations, they analyzed ionic movement deeper down, revealing ionic movement across grain boundaries where iodine and chlorine compete to bond with a methyl ammonium functional group. Because iodine coordinates with methyl ammonium better than chlorine, the chlorine is more likely to migrate when an electric field is applied.

  • Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    ORNL is co-developing a prototype device, known as a Smart Power Integrated Node or SPIN, which is designed to route multiple direct current energy sources in a home.

  • Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

    The 2017 Molten Salt Reactor Workshop will continue to build on the success of the 2016 event, with numerous presentations on the current research and development on new MSR designs.

Engines – Going the distance 

Diesel engine maker Cummins, Inc., is working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop a material to repair heavy-duty vehicle engines damaged by a million miles of extreme conditions under the hood. Rather than replacing an engine’s cylinder head, the research team “scooped out” the worn section and used additive manufacturing to deposit a high-performance alloy better than the original casting. The goal of the process, developed at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, is to save energy while extending the life of the engine and making it stronger. “We’re decreasing the engine’s thermal conductivity, which holds heat in longer, and turning it into increased efficiency,” said Nikhil Doiphode, Cummins’ parts R&D engineer. “While these are not brand-new engines, we’re striving to make them better than new.” [Contact: Kim Askey, (865) 946-1861; askeyka@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/01%20Engines_Going_the_distance_ORNL.jpg

Caption: A 3D printing process developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory repairs and strengthens a Cummins engine without the need to recast parts, which reduces costs and saves energy. Credit: Brittany Cramer/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy 

Energy – Homes get smart

Ways to give homeowners more centralized control over how much electricity their home uses—from the air conditioning unit to the heat pump water heater—are being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. An ORNL team is working with Southern Company and Alabama Power on its Smart Neighborhood, a research project that will implement state-of-the-art appliances and an innovative energy optimization system in a 62-home subdivision in Hoover, Alabama. While Smart Neighborhood is under construction, ORNL is developing energy management algorithms and assessing their performance in a single-home environment located in a traditional subdivision in East Tennessee. Data collected from the research home’s appliances, which are identical to those to be installed in Smart Neighborhood homes, will inform ways to reduce overall house energy demand. After ORNL completes this phase, their solution will be scaled up and implemented at Smart Neighborhood. [Contact: Sara Shoemaker, (865) 576-9219; shoemakerms@ornl.gov]

Image #1: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/02a%20Energy_homes_get_smart1.jpg

Caption #1: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory research house collects data about the home’s simulated energy use from sensors strategically located throughout the home. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Image #2: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/02b%20Energy_homes_get_smart2.jpg

Caption #2: An unoccupied research house located in a private subdivision serves as a single-home test bed for the Smart Neighborhood project led by Southern Company, Alabama Power and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Imaging – Ionic moves

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory team discovered that adding chloride to promising photovoltaic materials enhances their ionic conduction, signaling a step toward developing electrically and optically tunable technologies. “We combine advanced synthesis methods to create materials with improved properties and advanced imaging techniques to see how material behavior has been enhanced,” said ORNL’s Olga Ovchinnikova. At the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the researchers synthesized organo-metallic trihalide perovskites and imaged their electrochemistry with sophisticated techniques. “Through this powerful combination, we build a deeper understanding of mechanisms and phenomena at play at the nanoscale and learn how to tailor the synthesis and processing of materials to tune their functionality for various optoelectronic devices,” Ovchinnikova said. Their finding could benefit development of memristors that employ ions in memory storage and synaptic devices that use chemistry to drive information through logic gates. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/03%20Imaging_ionic_moves.jpg

Caption: The ORNL team used atomic force microscopy to characterize ionic movement at a solar material’s surface. Using other microscopy techniques, spectroscopy and simulations, they analyzed ionic movement deeper down, revealing ionic movement across grain boundaries where iodine and chlorine compete to bond with a methyl ammonium functional group. Because iodine coordinates with methyl ammonium better than chlorine, the chlorine is more likely to migrate when an electric field is applied. Credit: Stephen Jesse/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Electricity – Modern energy routing

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Flex Power Control are developing a home energy router that collects, converts and distributes electricity from multiple power sources through a single unit. “We are seeing more direct current power from solar panels, electric vehicles and backup energy storage being introduced into the home,” said Greg Smith, president of Flex Power Control. “It all needs to be converted and routed seamlessly for optimal home energy use.” The co-developed home router leverages power conversion hardware based on ORNL’s ENABLE (Environmentally Neutral Automated Building Electric Energy) platform. The hardware will use advanced wide-bandgap semiconductors that can operate at much higher voltages, as well as 3D printed heat sinks that dissipate heat generated by the device, resulting in a smaller, more efficient router. [Contact: Stephanie Seay, (865) 576-9894; seaysg@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/04%20Electricity_home_router.jpg

Caption: ORNL is co-developing a prototype device, known as a Smart Power Integrated Node or SPIN, which is designed to route multiple direct current energy sources in a home. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Nuclear – Reactors of the future

In response to the nuclear industry’s growing interest in molten salt reactors, Oak Ridge National Laboratory will bring together leading experts from around the world to discuss recent developments at its third annual MSR Workshop, October 3–4. This year’s theme will be key technology and safety issues. Workshop attendees from ORNL, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reactor design firms and universities will provide insight on current efforts to make MSRs a reality. This year’s meeting will include a closer look at the design of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, which operated at ORNL in the 1960s. “This workshop, which offers a unique opportunity to discuss next steps, hurdles and success stories, has turned into an annual event because people across the field see MSRs as a path toward the next generation of nuclear energy,” ORNL’s Gary Mays said. [Contact: Jason Ellis, (865) 241-5819; ellisjk@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/news/images/05%20MSR_workshop_at_ORNL.jpg

Caption: The 2017 Molten Salt Reactor Workshop will continue to build on the success of the 2016 event, with numerous presentations on the current research and development on new MSR designs. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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Conservation Mind Game

A new study led by Kathryn Caldwell, an assistant professor of psychology at Ithaca College, demonstrates that homeowners can be encouraged to make changes to their energy use with a simple education plan and some helpful tricks from the world of social psychology.

X-Rays Reveal 'Handedness' in Swirling Electric Vortices

Scientists used spiraling X-rays at Berkeley Lab to observe, for the first time, a property that gives left- or right-handedness to swirling electric patterns - dubbed polar vortices - in a layered material called a superlattice.

Breaking Bad Metals with Neutrons

By combining the latest developments in neutron scattering and theory, researchers are close to predicting phenomena like superconductivity and magnetism in strongly correlated electron systems. It is likely that the next advances in superconductivity and magnetism will come from such systems, but they might also be used in completely new ways such as quantum computing.

ORNL Researchers Use Titan to Accelerate Design, Training of Deep Learning Networks

For deep learning to be effective, existing neural networks to be modified, or novel networks designed and then "trained" so that they know precisely what to look for and can produce valid results. This is a time-consuming and difficult task, but one that a team of ORNL researchers recently demonstrated can be dramatically expedited with a capable computing system.

Dark Energy Survey Publicly Releases First Three Years of Data

At a special session held during the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., scientists on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) announced today the public release of their first three years of data. This first major release of data from the Survey includes information on about 400 million astronomical objects, including distant galaxies billions of light-years away as well as stars in our own galaxy.

Ingredients for Life Revealed in Meteorites That Fell to Earth

A detailed study of blue salt crystals found in two meteorites that crashed to Earth - which included X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab - found that they contain both liquid water and a mix of complex organic compounds including hydrocarbons and amino acids.

Rewritable Wires Could Mean No More Obsolete Circuitry

An electric field switches the conductivity on and off in atomic-scale channels, which could allow for upgrades at will.

Research Outlines the Interconnected Benefits of Urban Agriculture

a team of researchers led by Arizona State University and Google has assessed the value of urban agriculture and quantified its benefits at global scale. They report their findings in "A Global Geospatial Ecosystems Services Estimate of Urban Agriculture," in the current issue of Earth's Future.

Filtering Water Better than Nature

Water passes through human-made straws faster than the "gold standard" protein, allowing us to filter seawater.

Machine Learning Provides a Bridge to the Texture of the Quantum World

Machine learning and neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and image recognition, but now they offer a bridge to see and recognize exotic insulating phases in quantum materials.


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North Dakota State University Joins Two National Distributed Computing Groups

The NDSU Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) joins OSG (Open Science Grid) and XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment).

DOE Announces Funding for New HPC4Manufacturing Industry Projects

The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) today announced the funding of $1.87 million for seven new industry projects under an ongoing initiative designed to utilize DOE's high-performance computing (HPC) resources and expertise to advance U.S. manufacturing and clean energy technologies.

DOE Announces First Awardees for New HPC4Materials for Severe Environments Program

The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) today announced the funding of $450,000 for the first two private-public partnerships under a brand-new initiative aimed at discovering, designing and scaling up production of novel materials for severe environments.

Two Argonne Scientists Recognized for a Decade of Breakthroughs

Two scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have been named to the Web of Science's Highly Cited List of 2017, ranking in the top 1 percent of their peers by citations and subject area. Materials Scientist Khalil Amine and Energy and Environmental Policy Scientist David Streets say they are thrilled to see their work -- and the laboratory -- recognized in such a way.

Argonne Welcomes Department of Energy Secretary Perry

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Argonne National Laboratory yesterday, getting a first-hand view of the multifaceted and interdisciplinary research program laboratory of the Department.

Argonne names John Quintana Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and COO

John Quintana has been named Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Developing Next-Generation Sensing Technologies

Recently, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $20 million in funding for 15 projects that will develop a new class of sensor systems to enable significant energy savings via reduced demand for heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings.

Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

Offshore wind is becoming a reality in the United States, especially in the northeast states. To support this development, the Center for Future Energy System (CFES) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will present a webinar titled "Turbine and Transmission System Technologies for Offshore Wind (OSW) Power Plants." The program will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. Advance registration is required.

LLNL Releases Newly Declassified Nuclear Test Videos

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) released 62 newly declassified videos today of atmospheric nuclear tests films that have never before been seen by the public.

NAU Researchers Join DOE Project to Study the Soil Microbiome and Its Effect on Carbon Persistence

NAU Regents' Professor Bruce Hungate, director of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss), recently joined a new initiative lead by LLNL to study how the soil microbiome controls the mechanisms that regulate the stabilization of the organic matter in soil.


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What's the Noise Eating Quantum Bits?

The magnetic noise caused by adsorbed oxygen molecules is "eating at" the phase stability of quantum bits, mitigating the noise is vital for future quantum computers.

Rewritable Wires Could Mean No More Obsolete Circuitry

An electric field switches the conductivity on and off in atomic-scale channels, which could allow for upgrades at will.

Filtering Water Better than Nature

Water passes through human-made straws faster than the "gold standard" protein, allowing us to filter seawater.

Machine Learning Provides a Bridge to the Texture of the Quantum World

Machine learning and neural networks are the foundation of artificial intelligence and image recognition, but now they offer a bridge to see and recognize exotic insulating phases in quantum materials.

A Rare Quantum State Realized in a New Material

A revolutionary material harbors magnetism and massless electrons that travel near the speed of light--for future ultrasensitive, high-efficiency electronics and sensors.

Discovering Secrets of Superfluids

Observed atomic dynamics helps explain bizarre flow without friction that has been puzzling scientists for decades.

An Exotic State of Matter Discovered in 2-D Material

Electrons are forced to the edge of the road on a thin sheet of tungsten ditelluride.

Studying Crowd Behavior at MINERvA

Detector measures the energy a neutrino imparts to protons and neutrons to help explain the nature of matter and the universe.

Tweaking Quantum Dots Powers-Up Double-Pane Solar Windows

Using two types of "designer" quantum dots, researchers are creating double-pane solar windows that generate electricity with greater efficiency and create shading and insulation for good measure. It's all made possible by a new window architecture which utilizes two different layers of low-cost quantum dots tuned to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum.

See What Lies Beneath

Real-time imaging shows how hydrogen causes oxygen to leave a buried surface, transforming an oxide into a metal.


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