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January 28, 2024 | Tom Ballard

EPB, ORNL launch new Collaborative for Energy Resilience and Quantum Science

It is the latest initiative in a decade of working together on nearly 30 projects.

Energy resilience and quantum science just got a big boost with an announcement in Chattanooga on Friday.

EPB and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) marked 10 years of their collaboration on nearly 30 funded projects with the unveiling of the newest – the Collaborative for Energy Resilience and Quantum Science (CERQS).

The new joint research effort will focus on utilizing Chattanooga’s highly advanced and integrated energy and communications infrastructure to develop technologies and best practices for enhancing the resilience and security of the national power grid while accelerating the commercialization of quantum technologies.

To structure the effort, ORNL and EPB will establish CERQS to focus on four strategic goals:

  • National leadership in quantum science and technology, including research breakthroughs that enable the distribution of quantum information over long distances, connection of diverse quantum technologies, including quantum computing for novel data analytics and simulation, commercialization in the supply chain, demonstrated improvements in business productivity, and U.S. leadership in the emerging global quantum economy.
  • Energy security innovation, including research, development and deployment of novel quantum and digital technologies to create a next-generation grid energy distribution system that demonstrates improved service resilience and reliability and that is affordable and flexible, environmentally sustainable and cyber-secure for customers.
  • Workforce development to support the quantum economy in East Tennessee, in partnership with K-12, community colleges, universities and businesses.
  • Economic development that moves quantum technology from research to commercialization over 10 years, positioning East Tennessee to capture investment in the quantum economy and to create new companies in the quantum manufacturing supply chain and business productivity applications development.

U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, who represents both Chattanooga and Oak Ridge, joined EPB in hosting Dr. Stephen K. Streiffer, who was appointed as Director of ORNL in October 2023. It was the latter’s first tour of EPB’s facilities as they all came together in announcing the new cooperative effort.

“Since I came to Congress over 10 years ago, one of my highest priorities has been creating and strengthening the Chattanooga-Oak Ridge partnership that’s changed East Tennessee and the entire Southeastern region of our great nation. Because of the increased collaboration between outstanding entities in Chattanooga, such as EPB, and organizations in Oak Ridge, like ORNL, major advancements are taking place in science, technology, research and more — generating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact and making Tennessee and the entire Southeastern United States the world leader in new and emerging technologies and industries,” said Rep. Fleischmann.

To date, EPB and ORNL have collaborated on nearly 30 funded projects. These efforts encompass a wide range of research including the: (1) development of advanced energy models to optimize power distribution; (2) utilization of predictive algorithms to identify likely energy equipment failures so they can be addressed before customers lose power; and (3) deployment of dynamic microgrids that can be rapidly scaled to meet changing energy needs as power supplied by solar and other renewable energy resources changes unpredictably throughout the day.

“There’s tremendous potential for ORNL to build on our work with EPB,” Streiffer said. “By bringing together our respective research capabilities and cutting-edge deployment, we can substantially advance research and move it toward practical application and commercialization.”

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