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ORNL’s presence in Minnesota is anchored by the Spruce and Peatlands Responses under Changing Environments, or SPRUCE, experiment in the peatlands north of Grand Rapids. The ten-year project will deliver insights into the impacts of peatlands in a changing climate. ZEISS, a longtime partner and ORNL licensee, is an industry leader in optics technology and optoelectronics. The company is exploring manufacturing characterization through ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, a one-of-a-kind Department of Energy user facility. Also among ORNL’s licensees is Niron Magnetics, which is conducting work in a critical area for the US energy economy—creating permanent magnets without using rare earth elements.

Value of contracts awarded $27.4M
73% Percentage to small businesses
171 Publications authored with Minnesota institutions
Organizations that sponsored research with ORNL 2
Technology licenses issued to organizations 3
ORNL User Facilities Users in Minnesota
Building Technologies Research and Integration Center 3
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility 1
Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences 2
High Flux Isotope Reactor 3
Manufacturing Demonstration Facility 1
Spallation Neutron Source 4

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 leads the one-of-a-kind Spruce and Peatland Responses under Changing Environments, or SPRUCE, experiment to gather and analyze data from a Minnesota forested bog on how warming and elevated carbon dioxide levels affect carbon-rich peatlands in northern latitudes. Located in the USDA Forest Service’s Marcell Experimental Forest about 25 miles north of Grand Rapids, SPRUCE has 10 specially designed enclosures set at five different temperatures and two elevated levels of carbon dioxide. Scientists from across the nation and world use the experiment to study the effects of hotter temperatures on peatlands to better understand future effects of climate change. Peatlands cover around 3% of Earth’s landmass and store at least a third of its soil carbon—more carbon than all of the world’s forests.


Learn more about biological science at ORNL.

Listen to ORNL’s Sound of Science podcast episode “Welcome to a Warmer Future.”


ORNL has partnered with optics technology leader ZEISS Industrial Metrology—whose North America headquarters are in Maple Grove, Minnesota—to develop a new fully automated solution that verifies the reliability of 3D-printed parts. Researchers codeveloped the ZEISS AM parameter, a versatile solution that can be used for multiple applications because of its unique test design and evaluation workflow. ORNL researchers are also working with ZEISS to leverage artificial intelligence to characterize additively manufactured parts using x-ray tomography.


Learn more about energy research at ORNL.

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