Maryland’s major economic drivers intersect with several of ORNL’s focus areas: IT and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and aerospace and defense technology development. ORNL has a cooperative research and development agreement with and has licensed technology for commercial use to Western Services Corporation, an engineering simulation firm. The lab also conducts cooperative research with Dragos, a company that provides cybersecurity services for industrial infrastructure. Constellation, formerly the Exelon Generation Company and a current ORNL licensee, operates a fleet of nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar generation facilities that powers more than 20 million homes.
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 is collaborating with Brixon, based in Maryland, on their award-winning advanced sensor technology that is currently being used in multiple states including Puerto Rico. Known as Arena, this sensor can monitor various aspects of grid operation and the surrounding environment, including temperature, solar irradiance, and the presence of certain gases. Simultaneously, they relay network communications back to a utility company’s IT security system, helping optimize grid function and ensure security.
ORNL is collaborating with Intelligent Automation in Rockville on the development of new nickel-based superalloys for high-temperature parts, such as those used in metal-based 3D printing. Superalloys are exceptionally heat resistant and can withstand extreme mechanical stress, making them ideal for use in jet engines, gas turbines, and aviation.
ORNL has a cooperative R&D agreement with Redox Power Systems in Beltsville for work related to roll-to-roll manufacturing, or continuous manufacturing, of solid oxide fuel cells. Fuel cells generate electricity through electrochemical reactions rather than through combustion, emit very little waste as compared with combustion, and can be used in transportation, in buildings, and for long-term energy storage. Solid oxide fuel cells are recognized by experts as having the greatest potential of all the different fuel cell technologies for becoming a reliable source of clean energy.
ORNL and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are partnering in studies of microbes that could lead to a reduction in a form of toxic mercury in the environment. Microbes in the natural world are known to transform mercury into a potent neurotoxin, methylmercury. Methylmercury can accumulate in fish, crops, and water, potentially impacting human health. By understanding the factors that produce methylmercury, scientists take a step forward in understanding how mercury cycles through the environment and in finding ways to prevent or reduce the production of methylmercury.
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