Population-specific diversity within fungi species could enable improved drug discovery

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin–Madison have discovered that genetically distinct populations within the same species of fungi can produce unique mixes of secondary metabolites, which are organic compounds with applications in medicine, industry and agriculture. The finding could open new avenues for drug discovery and provide a deeper understanding of fungal evolution.

Tiny but mighty precipitates toughen a structural alloy

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have found a way to simultaneously increase the strength and ductility of an alloy by introducing tiny precipitates into its matrix and tuning their size and spacing. The precipitates are solids that separate from the metal mixture as the alloy cools. The results, published in the journal Naturewill open new avenues for advancing structural materials.

Energy – Building a better thermostat

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers designed and field-tested an algorithm that could help homeowners maintain comfortable temperatures year-round while minimizing utility costs.

The algorithm learns over time to keep the home at residents’ desired temperature settings while minimizing energy costs and adjusting to environmental conditions, all with no existing knowledge of the building. Results suggest the algorithm could save homeowners as much as 25% on annual utility bills.

Fusion – Helping JET soar

Equipment and expertise from Oak Ridge National Laboratory will allow scientists studying fusion energy and technologies to acquire crucial data during landmark fusion experiments in Europe. 

ORNL’s Ted Biewer led a team that developed diagnostics equipment for JET, the Joint European Torus facility in the United Kingdom, which will allow scientists to better measure and understand the nuclear fusion process.

Wireless charging – Get on the bus

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers demonstrated their wireless charging technology on an autonomous electric vehicle for the first time in a project with Local Motors.