ORNL, TVA’s partner to drive decarbonization, explore carbon-free technologies

Newswise – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, are joining forces to advance decarbonization technologies from discovery to deployment through a new Memorandum of Understanding, or SOFT.

Eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in the United States is essential to achieving the federal government’s goal of net zero carbon emissions. TVA – which provides electricity to 153 local power companies serving 10 million people in Tennessee and parts of six surrounding states – is actively implementing various new technologies in pursuit of this goal.

As DOE’s largest science and energy laboratory, ORNL offers unique research and development capabilities and expertise that can further accelerate the transition to a carbon-free electricity sector.

“ORNL applies a wide range of scientific capabilities to the development of clean energy solutions,” said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia, “and TVA is an invaluable partner in deploying these technologies to benefit the world. ‘Eastern Tennessee and Nation’.

The partnerships between TVA and ORNL date back to the early days of the lab, with recent collaborations including the first full-scale computer simulation of a working nuclear reactor and the installation of 3D-printed reactor components, all aimed at accelerating the cost-effective deployment of carbon- free nuclear energy.

“TVA is proud to partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to identify and scale nuclear and other innovative technologies that will create a cleaner, carbon-free future,” said Jeff Lyash, President and Chief VAT management. “It’s right in the wheelhouse of TVA, and our partnership will redefine what’s possible for the domestic and global energy industry.

Institutions will work together to promote, pursue, evaluate and demonstrate the feasibility, operability and affordability of large-scale decarbonization technologies. These technologies will focus on electricity, but partners can also explore related developments such as hydrogen production and grid modernization and security.

Under the new MOU, the partners intend to explore:

  • Direct capture of carbon in the air from power plant exhaust and dilute sources such as the atmosphere;
  • Convert carbon dioxide into valuable products;
  • Generation and use of hydrogen;
  • Static and dynamic electric vehicle, or EV, charging and applications that couple EVs and the power grid;
  • Small Modular Light Water Reactors and Advanced Fourth Generation Nuclear Reactors, building on the partners’ Advanced Reactor Technology 2020 Memorandum of Understanding;
  • Long-term energy storage;
  • Electrification of parts of the economy currently powered by fossil fuels, as well as solutions related to geothermal heating and cooling as well as process heating; and
  • Network modernization to enhance reliability and resilience, improve cybersecurity and prevent outages due to extreme weather conditions.

Throughout the partnership, the ORNL campus will serve as a living laboratory to accelerate the development, demonstration and deployment of these emerging technologies.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the largest support of basic physical science research in the United States. The Office of Science strives to meet some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

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