The breadth of ORNL’s work with California companies, higher education institutions, and sister national laboratories reflects the state’s diverse economy and leadership in technology. ORNL’s Golden State industry partners span aerospace, sustainable energy, computer science and technology, and material science. ORNL’s educational partners come from all corners of California.
ORNL’s user facilities offer a diverse set of tools for experiments across a range of fields, including biology, materials and energy sciences, physics, engineering, and chemistry. Learn more about ORNL’s user facilities. Data reflects fiscal year 2020 except for scientific publications, which covers 2016–2020. Partner stories reflect work conducted from 2016 to present.
ORNL collaborates with other DOE national laboratories in California, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a secondary Sandia National Laboratories location.
In 2021, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published outcomes from their experiments with two elements supplied by ORNL, berkelium and einsteinium. Research on these elements, also known as actinides, helps scientists better understand actinide compounds. Actinide element research is critical to medicine, energy, and national defense.
ORNL researchers experimented with tungsten isotopes at General Atomics’ DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego to better understand how this element can be used to shield the inside of a fusion reactor. Fusion reactors reach temperatures hotter than the sun’s core, causing atoms to fuse and release energy. It was the first experiment of its kind conducted in a fusion device. Isotopes from ORNL made this research possible. The team also involved experts from Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Auburn University, the University of California San Diego, the University of Toronto, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Listen to ORNL’s Sound of Science podcast episode “Fusion: Energy at the Extreme.”
ORNL is working with San Diego State University to improve modeling of the Earth’s release of methane gas using data from the Spruce and Peatland Responses under Changing Environments, or SPRUCE, experiment set in Minnesota’s peatland forests. This research is part of ongoing efforts to boost the predictive power of current global climate models. These efforts will also help significantly improve land modeling in DOE’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model.
Listen to ORNL’s Sound of Science podcast episode “Welcome to a Warmer Future.”
Prometheus Fuels, a company based in Santa Cruz, California, is finding ways to replace oil and gas with net-zero carbon fuels made from carbon dioxide in the air. The company has licensed an ethanol-to-jet-fuel conversion process developed by ORNL that advances the cost-competitive production of jet fuel and co-production of butadiene gas for use in renewable polymers, which are used in everyday life. The company has also licensed an electrocatalyst material that enables water and carbon dioxide to be split and recombined to create hydrocarbons used for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
The Center for Bioenergy Innovation, a Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center, focuses on engineering better plants and microbes to produce sustainable, cost-competitive biofuels and bioproducts. The Center comprises partners from national laboratories, industry, and academia, including the University of California Davis and University of California Riverside.
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