Oak Ridge students, mentors count down to launch of wildfire-studying satellite to space station

The RamSat satellite built over seven years by students at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, with help from ORNL researchers, was launched onboard a SpaceX spacecraft at 1:29 p.m., Thursday, June 3, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was bound for the International Space Station. NASA TV and SpaceX livestreamed the event. That trip took about 24 hours.

Single gene boosts climate resilience, yield and carbon capture in crops

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered a single gene that simultaneously boosts plant growth and tolerance for stresses such as drought and salt, all while tackling the root cause of climate change by enabling plants to pull more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Recycling – Batteries unbound

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a solvent that results in a more environmentally friendly process to recover valuable materials from used lithium-ion batteries, supports a stable domestic supply chain for new batteries and keeps old ones out of landfills.

Geothermal – Design and 3D print

Additive manufacturing can make the design and production of specialized tools for geothermal energy cheaper and more efficient, according to a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Geothermal is a renewable energy resource that requires specialized tools for drilling in harsh subsurface environments. The tools are typically produced in low quantities at high cost using conventional fabrication.

Buildings – In the loop

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a novel envelope system that diverts heat or coolness away from a building and stores it for future use.

Traditional building envelopes, such as roofs and walls, use insulation to reduce heat flow. ORNL’s thermally anisotropic building envelope, or TABE, adds thin conductive layers between the insulation. The conductive layers connect to a thermal loop that redirects the heat or coolness to an energy storage system.