Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A new 20 kW inverter packs a lot of punch in a smaller, lighter package (Photo: ORNL)

A new power inverter developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) marries advances in 3D printing and wide-band semiconductor technology to deliver significantly improved performance in a smaller, lighter package. With further development, it could go a long way toward helping build electric cars that are more powerful and energy-efficient.  Read More

Carbon black from tires reportedly makes a better anode material than the traditional grap...

There may soon be a new use for discarded tires ... besides turning them into mattresses for cows, that is. Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, and using it to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Researchers at ORNL have created an air- stable water droplet network (Photo: Kyle Kuykend...

Harvesting water out of thin air, might seem like a pipe dream, but the air-stable water droplet networks, currently being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers could prove to be a step in the right direction. Created with the aid of a new technique, these water droplet networks could also potentially find use in membrane research and biological sensing applications.  Read More

A new type of dual-functioning electrolyte developed at ORNL could result in an improved c...

The three main components of a battery's makeup: the anode, cathode and the ion-conducting electrolyte, have been long understood to serve separate, independent functions. A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking to challenge this theory, experimenting with a dual functioning electrolyte that supplements the cathode to significantly improve the capacity and longevity of long-life batteries.  Read More

Managing magnetism on a nanoscale could provide a big boost for digital storage (Image: Sh...

An international team of scientists has made a breakthrough in the magnetic manipulation of nanoparticles that could lead to a big boost for small scale digital storage in portable devices.  Read More

Researchers are building an all-solid Li-S battery that is cheap, safe, durable, and store...

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have come up with a promising design for a lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery that is considerably cheaper and energy-dense than standard lithium-ion. Using a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, the battery is also testing much safer and more durable than previous designs.  Read More

The nanoparticle with a core of the element actinium, surrounded by four layers of materia...

Gold nanoparticles have already shown promise in precisely highlighting brain tumors, “blowing up” individual diseased cells, and developing a lung cancer breath test. Now researchers have created gold nanoparticles that allow an alpha particle-emitting element to be directed to small cancer tumors. The researchers say the gold coating keeps the powerful radioactive particles in place at the cancer site so they do negligible damage to healthy organs and tissue.  Read More

The new roof system includes controls for radiation, convection and insulation, and a pass...

Heating and cooling a house are two of the biggest ongoing costs for homeowners and are responsible for the bulk of the average household’s energy consumption. A new kind of roof-and-attic system field tested at the DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) improves the efficiency of both winter heating and summer cooling. Importantly, the new system can be retrofitted to most existing roofs.  Read More

A disc of highly enriched uranium from the Y-12 National Security Complex Plant

The world’s estimated reserves of uranium are only 6 million tons and with the growing demand for reliable energy free of greenhouse emissions leading to more and more nuclear plants being built, that supply may not last very long. Some estimates place the time before all the uranium is gone at between 50 and 200 years. However, the oceans of the world contain 4.5 billion tons of uranium dissolved in seawater. That’s enough to last something on the order of 6,500 years. The tricky bit is getting it out, but a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee has come a step closer to economically extracting uranium from seawater with a new material that is much more efficient than previous methods.  Read More

Scientists have developed a new concept for a low-cost, high-speed desktop DNA sequencer (...

Doctors and scientists wishing to decode a human genome can now do so in a day for US$1,000 a pop using the recently-released Ion Proton sequencer. With a price tag of $149,000, though, the machine isn’t cheap – nor is it the be-all and end-all of desktop gene sequencing. For one thing, the tiny $900 MinION sequencer should be available soon. Also, a team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Yale University have now developed a concept of their own, which could end up providing an even less expensive high-speed sequencer.  Read More

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