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About Oak Ridge National Laboratory

As DOE's largest multi-program science and energy laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory possesses scientific and technical capabilities that span basic and applied research in fields ranging from fundamental nuclear physics to applied research and development on advanced energy systems. The Tennessee lab's mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security, thereby creating economic opportunity for the nation. Payroll and procurement tops $1 billion annually.


ORNL supports the Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) through multi-disciplinary teams with competencies in resource assessment and economics, geospatial visualization, environmental sustainability, and materials science and processing. Our goal is to help enable the US national vision of large-scale sustainable production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. ORNL's expertise in resource assessment and economics led to the production of DOE's first Billion Ton Study and the subsequent Billion Ton Update that includes a spatial, county-by-county inventory of potentially available pri­mary feedstocks, price, and sustainable quantities for the individual feedstocks. ORNL's Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework facilitates informed decision making through the synthesis, analysis, and visualization of information related to the economic and environmental impact of biomass feedstocks and is a primary means to access the resource assessment data. ORNL's environmental sustainability team is working to develop and validate a holistic set of environmental and socio-economic indictors to define and quantify bioenergy sustainability. This work is fundamental to BETO's effort to define, quantify and promote long-term bioenergy sustainability, both internationally and domestically.ORNL is applying its extensive expertise in materials science and processing to multiple conversion platforms including catalytic upgrading of ethanol and bio-oil into hydrocarbon fuel blends, membrane separation and computational pyrolysis. ORNL is also investigating the corrosivity of bio-oils to reduce the cost of thermochemical conversion.


  • National Transportation Research Center—developing revolutionary new power electronics, electric motor, and powertrain technologies with lower cost and better performance.
  • Center for BioEnergy Sustainability—a leading resource for dealing with the environmental impacts and the ultimate sustainability of biomass production for conversion to biofuels and bio-based products. Its purpose is to use science and analysis to understand the sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) of current and potential future bioenergy production and distribution; to identify approaches to enhance bioenergy sustainability; and to serve as an independent source of the highest quality data and analysis for bioenergy stakeholders and decision makers.
  • BioEnergy Science Center (BESC)—a multi-institutional, Department of Energy-funded research organization performing basic and applied science dedicated to improving yields of biofuels by focusing on the fundamental understanding and elimination of biomass recalcitrance. This multidisciplinary research encompasses the biological, chemical, physical, and computational sciences, as well as mathematics and engineering.

Additional Information

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