The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will open an office at EPB headquarters in Chattanooga’s Innovation District that will link local companies to the national laboratory’s resources and expertise. ORNL Director Thom Mason announced the office on Monday, May 23, at the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop at The Chattanoogan hotel.
“This is the best way for us to build on existing ORNL collaborations in Chattanooga and to identify new opportunities,” Mason said. “The work involving EPB, the Department of Energy, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory illustrates the power of regional cooperation. We want to accelerate opportunities in developing clean energy technology, manufacturing, and computing.”
ORNL continues to partner with EPB, a municipally owned utility, on researching the performance, security, and efficiency of Chattanooga’s electrical system. This research can be applied to make power systems nationwide cleaner, safer and more efficient.
The opening of the new ORNL office follows reciprocal visits arranged by Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee’s Third Congressional District for leaders in Oak Ridge and Chattanooga.
“ORNL gives our region an intellectual and technical expertise any community would envy, and Chattanooga, the Gig City, is a perfect collaborator,” said Fleischmann, who also spoke at Monday’s event. “I envision a partnership on energy, manufacturing, and 3D printing to advance economic development and technology jobs.”
In addition to its EPB research, ORNL recently began working with Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center, which is working with a taskforce of organizations to create the Advanced Manufacturing Applications Center with the goal of enhancing the use of 3D-printing technologies by regional companies. The lab also is a partner in the SimCenter, which provides high-performance computing, modeling, and simulation at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.
EPB Chairman L. Joe Ferguson said: “This new office provides a liaison to connect Chattanooga innovators with experts and capabilities at the nation’s largest multi-program national laboratory. The potential is tremendous.”
“Increased collaboration with Oak Ridge will have a powerful impact on Chattanooga,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. “An ORNL office located in our Innovation District means access to world-class laboratory expertise for our growing list of companies seeking new ways to apply the latest technologies.”
ORNL research with EPB was initially supported with grants from DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and now with additional funding through DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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