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October 03, 2023 | Tom Ballard

ORNL selected to lead new Energy Earthshot Research Center

The effort involves a research team from across the nation focused on replacing bulk heating for chemical processes with electrified means.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead an Energy Earthshot Research Center (EERC) focused on developing chemical processes that use sustainable methods instead of burning fossil fuels to radically reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions to stem climate change and limit the crisis of a rapidly warming planet.

Named the Non-Equilibrium Energy Transfer for Efficient Reactions Center (NEETER), the ORNL-led organization will coordinate a research team from across the nation focused on replacing bulk heating for chemical processes with electrified means, providing a new way to do chemistry, and decarbonizing large-scale processes in the chemical industry. DOE has committed $19 million over four years for the ORNL-led center.

NEETER is one of 11 EERCs led by DOE National Laboratories. In addition, the federal agency also made awards to 18 university research teams addressing one or more of the six different areas that comprise the Energy Earthshots™ Initiative. Total funding for the 29 projects is $264 million, and a complete list of awardees can be found here.

In addition to ORNL, other NEETER investigators come from DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Delaware State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Princeton University, the University of Houston, and the University of Maryland.

“This center is an exciting opportunity to advance innovative methods for performing important chemical reactions with heat derived from electricity instead of burning fossil fuels,” said NEETER Director David Sholl. “Our world-class team will combine powerful fundamental insights with leadership-class computing to push forward the use of mechanochemistry and resistive heating to achieve chemical outcomes that are simply not possible with traditional heating methods.”

To learn more about the new center, read the ORNL news release.

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