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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2016-05-03 14:05:22
  • Article ID: 652826

Story Tips From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory May 2016

  • Credit: ORNL

    The GLIDES approach has the potential to change the way energy is stored.

  • Credit: ORNL

    Discarded tires can provide material useful for lower-cost sodium-ion batteries for energy storage.

  • Credit: ORNL

    ORNL’s dual-purpose coating potentially offers key advantages for fuel and core structures in light water reactors.

  • Credit: ORNL

    A 3D-printed thermoplastic mold manufactured at ORNL withstood testing in an industrial autoclave.

To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our media contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to news@ornl.gov.

ENERGY – High-efficiency storage …

The gap between electricity generation and use could be narrowed with an Oak Ridge National Laboratory system that extracts energy from thin air. Actually, Ground-Level Integrated Diverse Energy Storage, or GLIDES, stores electricity mechanically in the form of compressed gas that displaces water in high-pressure vessels described by co-inventor Wale Odukomaiya as the heart of the system. He noted that GLIDES overcomes the site limitations of pumped storage hydroelectricity and compressed air energy, and the higher cost of batteries. Compared to these conventional energy storage systems, GLIDES (https://youtu.be/CVf7KHLXDIE) also features near constant-temperature processes, higher efficiency and more flexible scalability. In addition, the system uses the world’s smallest Pelton turbine, which extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, manufactured at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/sites/default/files/01%20-%20glides%20tip.jpg

Cutline: The GLIDES approach has the potential to change the way energy is stored.

BATTERIES – New life for old tires …

Hard carbon materials recycled from tires continue to show great promise as anodes in sodium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study led by Yunchao Li. The carbons, captured by pyrolyzing, or baking in the absence of oxygen, tire rubber at 1,100, 1,400 and 1,600 degrees Celsius showed capacities of 179, 185 and 203 milliamp hours, respectively, after 100 cycles in sodium-ion batteries. Researchers demonstrated a long cycle life with a capacity of 154 milliamp hours after 600 cycles in sodium-ion batteries. “This study provides a new pathway for inexpensive, environmentally benign and value-added waste tire-derived products toward large-scale energy storage applications,” said Li, a member of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division. The study is published in the Journal of Power Sources. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/news/batteries-new-life-old-tires

Cutline: Discarded tires can provide material useful for lower-cost sodium-ion batteries for energy storage.

NUCLEAR – Accident-tolerant fuels …

Silicon carbide-based materials could be a winning alternative to zirconium alloys commonly used in fuel and core structures in today’s light water reactors, according to preliminary findings of a team led by Yutai Katoh of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Fuels and core structures in current light water reactors are vulnerable to catastrophic failure in severe accidents,” Katoh said. This is largely because of the rapid oxidation kinetics of zirconium alloys in a water vapor environment at very high temperatures. Continuous silicon carbide fiber-reinforced matrix ceramic composites offer outstanding safety benefits because the material reacts with water vapor about 1,000 times slower and retains its strength at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Celsius. This allows it to proportionately reduce generation of heat and hydrogen. ORNL’s approach features a dual-purpose coating on the silicon carbide composite cladding wall to alleviate corrosion and gas permeation issues. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/news/nuclear-accident-tolerant-fuels

Cutline: ORNL’s dual-purpose coating potentially offers key advantages for fuel and core structures in light water reactors.

MANUFACTURING– 3D-printed tools…

A successful test of 3D-printed thermoplastic molds demonstrates the potential of additive manufacturing in the tooling industry. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility collaborated with a team of industry partners to 3D-print and machine several large molds and test them in one of Boeing’s industrial autoclaves. The thermoplastic molds survived the high-temperature, high-pressure conditions in the autoclave, which is used to cure aerospace-grade composite parts. “This was the first successful demonstration of 100 percent digitally manufactured tools in an industrial autoclave,” said ORNL researcher Vlastimil Kunc. Researchers note that digital manufacturing could help lower manufacturing costs by accelerating production times; each tool was printed and machined in a matter of hours, whereas a mold produced with conventional techniques has an average lead time of 14 weeks. [Contact: Morgan McCorkle, (865) 574-7308; mccorkleml@ornl.gov]

Image: https://www.ornl.gov/news/manufacturing-3d-printed-tools

Cutline: A 3D-printed thermoplastic mold manufactured at ORNL withstood testing in an industrial autoclave.

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Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered a state of magnetism that may be the missing link to understanding the relationship between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity.


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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, OHSU Create Joint Research Co-Laboratory to Advance Precision Medicine

News Release PORTLAND, Ore. -- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and OHSU today announced a joint collaboration to improve patient care by focusing research on highly complex sets of biomedical data, and the tools to interpret them.The OHSU-PNNL Precision Medicine Innovation Co-Laboratory, called PMedIC, will provide a comprehensive ecosystem for scientists to utilize integrated 'omics, data science and imaging technologies in their research in order to advance precision medicine -- an approach to disease treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle for each person.

The Mysteries of Plasma and Solar Eruptions Earn PPPL Graduate an Astrophysics Prize

Article describes dissertation award for graduate of Princeton University Department of Astrophysical Sciences.

45-Year-Old Telescope Gets a Makeover to Demystify Dark Energy

Forty-five years ago this month, a telescope tucked inside a 14-story, 500-ton dome atop a mile-high peak in Arizona took in the night sky for the first time and recorded its observations on glass photographic plates. Today, the dome closes on the previous science chapters of the 4-meter Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope and starts preparing for its new role in creating the largest 3-D map of the universe. This map could help determine why the universe is expanding at faster and faster rates, driven by an unknown force called dark energy.

MSU Uses $3 Million NASA Grant to Find Better Ways to Regulate Dams

Michigan State University researchers, equipped with $3 million from NASA, will investigate innovative methods to improve dams so that they are less harmful to people and the environment.

Harker School Wins Second Consecutive SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl

Twenty-four teams from 16 Bay Area high schools faced off Feb. 3 in the SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl, a series of fast-paced question-and-answer matches that test knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space sciences, energy and math. The competition is hosted annually by the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

David Asner Named Deputy Associate Laboratory Director and Head of the Instrumentation Division in Brookhaven Lab's Nuclear and Particle Physics Directorate

A particle physicist with extensive leadership and management experience, Asner will help expand a portfolio of physics programs and oversee instrumentation research and development.

UIC to Provide Energy-Saving 'Kits' with $3.1m in Funding From ComEd

The University of Illinois at Chicago's Energy Resources Center has received funding from ComEd to provide energy-efficient LED light bulbs, advanced power strips, and educational material to income-qualified participants in northern Illinois.As part of a $3.1 million year-long investment, the utility company will fund the Low Income Kit Energy (LIKE) program, allowing engineers at UIC's Energy Resources Center to provide energy-saving kits to 35,000 eligible individuals and/or families.

DOE's HPC4Manufacturing Program Seeks Industry Proposals

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Feb. 1 announced up to $3 million will be made available to U.S. manufacturers for public/private projects aimed at applying high performance computing to industry challenges for the advancement of energy innovation.

Elke-Caroline Aschenauer Awarded Prestigious Humboldt Research Award

UPTON, NY -- Elke-Caroline Aschenauer, a senior physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award for her contributions to the field of experimental nuclear physics. This prestigious international award--issued by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany--comes with a prize of EUR60,000 (more than $70,000 U.

Networking, Data Experts Design a Better Portal for Scientific Discovery

A team of networking experts from the Department of Energy's Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), with the Globus team from the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, have designed a new approach that makes data sharing faster, more reliable and more secure.


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Deep Dive Into How Electrons Behave

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New measurements offer data vital to projecting plant response to environmental changes.

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Non-destructive technique identifies key variations in Alaskan soils, quickly providing insights into carbon levels.


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