ORNL Invention Alert

ORNL Invention Alert
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New eco-friendly lubricant additives protect turbine equipment, waterways

ORNL scientists have developed lubricant additives that protect both water turbine equipment and the surrounding environment. Each year, roughly 2.47 billion gallons of lubricating oil are used in the United States alone for engines and industrial machinery, according to DOE, with about half eventually finding its way into the environment.

New ORNL inventions

Ionic Liquids as Lubricant Additives for Tailoring the Lubricant Electrical Conductivity
202205091 // Chemicals // Transportation
Electric vehicle drive fluids must have a high dielectric constant to avoid current leakage or even short circuits. On the other hand, lubricants should possess sufficient conductivity to allow static electricity to be released. Bearings and other moving parts often have a static charge built up that can break the lubricant film where it interfaces with the part, resulting in electrical arcing. Repeated arcing degrades the fluid and compromises the system. This technology consists of additives that manage lubricant electrical conductivity.

Integration of Coils and Capacitors in Wireless Charging Systems
202205252 // Energy and Utilities // Transportation
Wireless charging systems work best when they operate at high frequencies that match their resonant frequency, which helps increase the distance over which power can be transferred and makes the process more efficient. However, operating at these high frequencies can lead to high voltages across the system's inductors and capacitors, which are the components that store and transfer energy. Using individual, separate components often makes the system less efficient and more complicated to manage. To improve this, the technology now integrates tuning capacitors directly with the transmitter and receiver coils. This integration leads to enhanced efficiency and better control of the charging system.

Sodium-Rich Metal Vanadium Oxy-Fluorophosphate Materials
202305350 // Energy and Utilities // Materials
Sodium-ion batteries are a promising candidate to replace lithium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage system because of their cost and safety benefits. However, challenges remain in the development of suitable cathode materials to enable high power, high energy density and a longer lifespan. This technology proposes a new combination of materials for use as electrodes that will enable sodium ion batteries for grid applications.

Method for Commissioning Power System Testbeds with HIL
202305372 // Energy and Utilities // Manufacturing
Electrical utility substations are wired with intelligent electronic devices (IEDs), such as protective relays, power meters, and communication switches. Substation engineers commission these IEDs to assess the appropriate measurements for monitoring, control, protection, and communication applications. But the meters and protective relays could measure the phase voltages and currents on buses with different error percentages. This technology provides a method for commissioning test beds of power systems with a real time simulator and hardware in the loop. This technique finds these errors and allows the system to perform the needed corrections based on the power system application.

Automotive Secure Hijack, Intrusion, and Exploit Layered Detector (Auto-SHIELD): A Vehicle-Agnostic Approach to Controller Area Network Intrusion Detection
202305427 // Security and Defense // Transportation
Modern automobiles are operated by small computers that communicate critical information via a broadcast-based network architecture called controller area network (CAN). Previous research has demonstrated risks due to inherent vulnerabilities within CAN architecture. While automotive cybersecurity is growing as a critical national security asset, manufacturers' implementation of security controls is inconsistent and largely unregulated. Thus, after-market security technologies have become vital to the transportation cybersecurity ecosystem. Auto-SHIELD contributes to the cybersecurity posture of vehicles and fleet organizations by deploying an ensemble of CAN-based intrusion detection technologies on live CAN data. Auto-SHIELD is highly configurable and modular, focusing on the ease of development and implementation of new and current detection algorithms.

High-Capacity Sorbents for Direct Lithium Extraction
202305456 // Energy and Utilities // Materials
Demand for lithium is expected to increase drastically due to the use of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in portable electronics and electric vehicles. An efficient method to extract lithium is necessary to help meet this demand. This technology is a sorbent that can selectively extract lithium from brines, minerals, and recycled batteries.

Hybrid Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing and Electroslag Casting
202305490 // Security and Defense // Manufacturing
This invention combines wire-arc additive manufacturing and electroslag welding and casting techniques in an iterative and interleaved process to produce a consumed mold and fill the mold cavities resulting in large near net shape casting equivalents with optimized geometry and microstructural properties.

Method to Mitigate Catastrophic Failure of HVACR Equipment Charged with A3 Refrigerants
202305503 // Detectors and Sensors // Energy and Utilities
This invention is focused on a method to mitigate the explosion risk in a flammable refrigerant-based heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration system. The advent of A3 refrigerants as replacements to hydrofluoroolefins requires careful handling of leaks to lower or eliminate the fire and explosion risk associated with creating flammable mixtures.

Self-Repairing Oxygen Evolution Reaction Catalysts for Electrolysis
202405572 // Chemicals // Energy and Utilities
This invention improves the initial treatment process for stainless steel (SS) electrode activation, resulting in nickel-rich SS electrodes that perform exceptionally well in oxygen evolution reactions (OER), ranking among the best compared to all other nickel-iron-based catalysts. These electrodes are also highly stable, with a very slow degradation rate of 0.022 millivolts per hour under significant workload conditions for 500 hours. Further analysis of both the electrodes and the electrolytes before and after use confirms that the nanometer-scale NiFe catalyst layer can effectively rebuild itself from the underlying metal substrate even under severe OER conditions.

Sugar Utilization in Cupriavius
202405580 // Chemicals
This invention is for bacterial strains that can utilize lignocellulose sugars. This will improve the efficiency of bioproduct formation in these strains and reduce the greenhouse-gas emission of an industrial bioprocess.

Tailored Polymer Binder for Flexible Sulfide Electrolyte Films
202405587 // Energy and Utilities // Materials
Next generation batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and other manufacturing needs require solid-state batteries made with high-performance solid electrolytes. These thin films are critical components but are difficult to manufacture to meet performance standards. This technology uses binders in the manufacturing process to overcome this hurdle, optimizing the binder’s molecular weight and enhancing the mechanical performance of solid electrolyte films and the solid-state battery performances. This significantly improves advanced battery manufacturing for next generation production.

Upcycling of Mixed Plastics to Muonic Acid and 3-hydroxyacids
202405596 // Chemicals
The technologies described provides for the upcycling of mixed plastics to muonic acid and 3-hydroxyacids.

To learn more about these technologies, email partnerships@ornl.gov or call