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Sustainable Transportation Program 2016 Annual Report

Sustainable Transportation Program 2016 Annual Report
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Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) Sustainable Transportation Program (STP) works with government and industry to develop scientific knowledge and new technologies that accelerate the deployment of energy-efficient vehicles and intelligent, secure, and accessible transportation systems.

Scientists are tackling complex challenges in transportation using comprehensive capabilities at ORNL’s National Transportation Research Center and the laboratory’s signature strengths in high-performance computing, neutron sciences, materials science, and advanced manufacturing. Research focuses on electrification, efficiency of combustion and emissions, data science and automated vehicles, and materials for future systems. Highlights from 2016 include:

  • Electrification,
  • Efficiency of combustion and emission controls,
  • Data science and automated vehicles, and
  • Materials for future systems.

This annual report is a short summary and snapshot featuring several other accomplishments from the STP team. From motors that achieve higher power density without rare earth materials to thought leadership on combustion as a continuum to new technologies in multimaterial joining and vehicle cybersecurity, ORNL researchers are shaping the future of transportation.

Related items:

Transportation & Navigation publications can be found here:

Biofuels & Renewable Energy publications can be found here:

Energy & Fuels publications can be found here:

Engineering publications can be found here:

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

From the Director 6

Integrating Technology 8

• High-power wireless charging surges forward with 20-kW system

• ORNL partners with Delphi on inverter for 2016 Chevy Volt

• Novel motor achieves 75% higher power without rare earth materials

Accelerating Solutions 10

• Microscopy captures real-time view of evolving fuel cell catalysts

• Facility provides capabilities to examine materials at their core

• Hydrogen storage vessel solves embrittlement problem

Running Smoothly 12

• New perspective on ignition modes opens opportunities

• Advanced catalyst technology excels at low temperatures

• Discovery will inform future design of fuels and engines

Analyzing Possibilities 14

• Data help officials keep the nation’s freight moving

• Compare vehicles, mileage, and more at

• Market acceptance modeling tool available online

• ORNL data support strategic decisions, public outreach

Building Biomass 16

• US holds potential to produce a thriving bioeconomy by 2040

• Energy-efficient reaction drives ORNL biofuel conversion technology

• Developing international codes and standards for the bioenergy industry

• World’s experts tour region’s biomass resources

Sustainable Transportation Program by the Numbers 18

• Transferring technology to market

Propelling Innovations 20

• Atoms to engines: Accelerating alloy development using high-performance computing

• Turbocharging R&D with high-performance computing

Connecting to the Future 22

• Algorithms rev up fuel efficiency for connected and automated vehicles

• Coming soon to a road near you: safer, more secure vehicles

• Improving cybersecurity for connected and automated vehicle technologies

Driving Results 24

• Cross-laboratory capabilities speed development of new Ce-Al alloy

• ORNL contributes to standards development for heavy-duty trucks

• Real-time tracking system monitors fuel shipments

Improving Costs 26

• Laser treatment creates strong, multimaterial joints for vehicle lightweighting

• Lower cost alloys for higher temperature exhaust valves improve vehicle efficiency

• Predictive engineering tools for injection-molded carbon fiber composites

Rolling Along 28

• Building better batteries with neutrons and computational modeling

• Electron beam technology cures cathode coatings instantly

• Fast formation protocol speeds production, improves battery capacity

Leadership Science 30

Honors and Awards 32

Publications 34


This publication would be useful to Congress, policymakers and committees focused on sustainable transportation.  In addition, this publication would be of great interest to: engineers; manufacturers and suppliers of components used in the sustainable transportation field; experts in combustion, materials science, and businesses with a vested interest in sustainable transportation.  Automotive engineering students and students in science programs related to sustainable energy may want a copy of this publication. 

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Energy Dept., Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Transportation Research Center
2017: 33 p.
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