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ORNL

Automotive

Consumer-ready wireless charger for EVs inches closer

Tesla and Chevrolet might have committed to mass-producing electric cars, but that doesn't mean everyone is ready to plug a battery-powered car into their garage every night. Depending on who you ask, wireless charging might just be the solution. Even if we can't quite expect every manhole or green lane to extend our range just yet, a team at Oak Ridge Laboratories believes it has come close to creating a wireless car charging system efficient enough to broaden the appeal of electric vehicles. Read More

Space

US restarts production of plutonium-238 to power space missions

In an effort to avert an outer space energy crisis, the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has restarted production of plutonium-238 (PU-238) after almost 30 years. The civilian stockpile of the plutonium isotope used to power the radiothermal generators (RTG) that make electricity for US deep space probes has dwindled to only 35 kg (77 lb), so the first 50 g (1.7 oz) of plutonium oxide produced by the laboratory marks a major turnaround in American space capabilities.Read More

Materials

New process could see "white graphene" pairing with graphene in ultra-thin electronics

Monolayer-thick sheets of hexagonal boron nitride, or "white graphene," share many of the properties of graphene, including exceptional mechanical strength and thermal conductivity. But one important point of difference is its electrical conductivity, with graphene being a conductor, while white graphene is an insulator. Now researchers have developed a process to create a virtually perfect monolayer of white graphene, making a dream team pairing of graphene and white graphene substrate for use in next generation electronic devices a possibility.Read More

Materials

New fluorescent lighting phosphors slash use of rare-earth elements

Phosphors are essential to fluorescent lighting, and thus office parks the world over, but their use of rare-earth elements makes them less than ideal. To address that issue, new types of phosphors have been developed that use substantially less rare-earth elements than current phosphors found in fluorescent bulbs. This could reduce the reliance on the limited supplies of rare-earth elements until fluorescent lighting can be completely replaced by LED lighting, which isn't expected to occur for over a decade.Read More

3D Printing

Researchers create a 3D-printed vehicle that can power a 3D-printed home (and vice versa)

A research team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) has created a new model for how we can connect the way we power our homes and vehicles. Dubbed AMIE (Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy), the platform features special technology that allows a bi-directional flow of energy between a dwelling and a vehicle. In other words, the house can fuel the car and the car can fuel the house. What's more, ORNL used 3D printing technology to build the dwelling and the vehicle, before successfully trialing the new energy system.Read More

3D Printing

ORNL unveils 3D-printed Shelby Cobra in Detroit

It stands to reason that if you had a big enough 3D printer, one of the first things you would do is print a replica of a vintage 1965 Shelby Cobra sportscar, and that's what the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) did for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The result of a project that took only six weeks from conception to finished product, the vehicle not only celebrates the Shelby Cobra's 50th anniversary, but also acts as a demonstration of modern additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology.Read More

Science

Water droplet networks could harvest water from fog

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

Science

Dual-functioning electrolyte improves capacity of long-life batteries

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

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