Climate – Getting to the root

New data hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping scientists around the world understand the secret lives of plant roots as well as their impact on the global carbon cycle and climate change.

The Fine Root Ecology Database, or FRED 3.0, brings together 150,000 observations of root anatomy and function from a variety of ecosystems. These root traits are informing Earth system models that predict the future of the planet.


Environment – Hotter urban hydrology

Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked with Colorado State University to simulate how a warming climate may affect urban hydrological systems in the United States.

ORNL’s Shih-Chieh Kao calibrated the University of Washington’s hydrological model to a higher resolution for project use by CSU. Researchers then modeled future precipitation scenarios to analyze possible climate conditions for 14 U.S. greater urban areas called “megaregions.”


High-power wireless vehicle charging technology licensed by HEVO

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has licensed its wireless charging technology for electric vehicles to Brooklyn-based HEVO. The system provides the world’s highest power levels in the smallest package and could one day enable electric vehicles to be charged as they are driven at highway speeds. 

HEVO intends to work with ORNL to continue development of this critical technology to increase power levels and efficiency of existing charging techniques.


Thorium-228 supply ripe for research into medical applications

As a medical isotope, thorium-228 has a lot of potential – and Oak Ridge National Laboratory produces a lot.

That’s one reason ORNL researchers are especially excited about studies looking at different medical applications for the radioisotope. ORNL produces large quantities of Th-228 for the Department of Energy’s Isotope Program as a byproduct of actinium-227 production.


Teresa Mathews: Tackling mercury pollution for healthier aquatic ecosystems

Moving to landlocked Tennessee isn’t an obvious choice for most scientists with new doctorate degrees in coastal oceanography.

But for environmental scientist Teresa Mathews, making that move launched a rewarding career at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she leads the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Group. As group leader, Mathews oversees diverse projects with a common theme: Understanding how different energy strategies impact the natural world – especially water.