Electricity and Smart Grid

The Electrical and Electronics Systems Research (EESR) Division performs research that translates the science and engineering of measurement, instrumentation, signal processing, and electric machines into technology solutions that ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing energy, environmental, nuclear, and security challenges.

Electronics, communications, sensors, and controls technologies function as the nervous system that guides operations, allows systems to communicate, and gathers and uses data to make predictions, achieve efficiencies, and ensure infrastructure security. The groundbreaking research being performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory requires electronics, sensors, and controls at all levels.

The division has expertise in the design and development of electronics and detectors for major experiments; power electronics from concept to prototypes; sensors and controls for the electricity grid, manufacturing, nuclear power plants, and buildings; technologies to advance the production and integration of renewable energy; measurements and controls for nuclear applications and stable isotope production; non-destructive evaluation techniques for structures in the nuclear and oil and gas industries; and imaging and signals research in the area of identity science.

EESR’s research increasingly involves the Internet of Things (IoT), an aspect of the Internet that connects not only computers, but devices such as cell phones, vehicles, heating and cooling systems, and manufacturing technology. Sensors, embedded computing, communications protocols, the use of the cloud, and analytics can result in advances such as: improving information processing by better analyzing large amounts of data; advancing efficiencies in building energy usage; managing the electricity grid supplied by a diverse energy portfolio; and improving security in both the cyber- and physical world.

Research Highlights

ORNL develops safer runway lighting

ORNL is developing a new airport and runway lighting technology to enhance visibility for pilots during takeoffs and landings.

According to Roger Kisner of the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division, researchers from his division and the Physical Sciences...

Moving molten salt: Engineers research instrumentation and controls for 700 degree Celsius environment

When it comes to a challenging application for embedded instrumentation and control, none quite beats an environment of molten salt at 700 degrees Celsius.

But that is just the application chosen by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to...

TTAC assesses first responder equipment under DHS SAVER program

When asked to assist with the evaluation of first responder equipment, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Technical Testing and Analysis Center (TTAC) brought in special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team members from across the country to assist in the project—a task that presented unique...