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The Bluegrass State’s manufacturing sector includes ORNL partners Advanced Carbon Products, specializing in converting low-value oils into high-value products, and GE Appliances, the home appliance manufacturer based in Louisville. The laboratory also works closely with faculty and students at the University of Kentucky.

Value of contracts awarded $2M
17% Percentage to small businesses
63% Percentage to educational institutions
Publications authored with Kentucky institutions 128
Organizations that sponsored research with ORNL 4
ORNL User Facilities Users in Kentucky
Building Technologies Research and Integration Center 4
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility 1
Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences 4
Manufacturing Demonstration Facility 1
Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility 1
Spallation Neutron Source 1

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.


An ORNL research team has 3D printed a thermal protection shield, or TPS, for a basketball-sized capsule developed by the University of Kentucky to protect spacecraft from the extreme temperatures that occur when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The capsule launched with a Cygnus cargo spacecraft as part of a supply mission to the International Space Station, marking the first time an additively manufactured TPS was sent to space. Scientists worked with NASA to develop the materials.


Under the sponsorship of the National Energy Technology Laboratory, ORNL and the University of Kentucky investigated ways to use carbon ore to create high-value products like carbon fiber composites for the aerospace, automotive, wind energy markets, and more. The research supports environmental justice by paving the way for new clean manufacturing industries and good-paying jobs in American coal communities.


Learn more about energy research at ORNL.

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