The Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Laboratory researchers develop and prototype the next generation of power electronics and electric machines that will increase hybrid vehicle efficiency, reliability and durability while reducing component cost, weight and volume. Major areas of research include development of advanced power electronics packaging and topologies, high-performance motor technology that does not use permanent magnets, wireless charging, component benchmarking, and ongoing evaluations of hybrid drivetrains.
The Vehicle Systems Integration (VSI) Laboratory offers unique capabilities to evaluate and simulate engines, electric motors, and transmissions in conventional and hybrid powertrain configurations for vehicles ranging from light-duty cars to Class 8 trucks. The VSI Lab is changing the pace of powertrain development by performing prototype research and characterization of advanced systems and components. Housed at NTRC, the VSI Lab comprises a powertrain test cell with twin AVL 500 kW AC transient dynamometers and a component test cell – both share energy storage system emulation and dSPACE hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) real-time platform capabilities. The VSI Lab also features “X”-in-the-loop hardware evaluation of powertrain components and/or subsystems in virtual vehicle environments, where “X” represents any experimental component or subsystem.
The Battery Manufacturing Facility with a dual dry room operation complements ORNL's existing energy storage concentration on materials testing and characterization. Housing equipment for nondestructive evaluations and inline quality control, the lab's focus includes developing and refining new technologies for materials processing and battery assembly to innovate manufacturing procedures. This is the largest open research dry room-cell assembly lab in the DOE system.
The Transportation Analysis and Visualization Laboratory (TRAVL) is a state-of-the-art, 32-seat facility designed to showcase ORNL-developed transportation modeling and simulation tools. With enough processing power for 15 high-definition 3-D graphics panels, the TRAVL lab facilitates researchers' requirements for the most advanced real-time simulation modeling collaborations and visual sharing of findings and results. The TRAVL Lab is maintained by the Center for Transportation Analysis.
ORNL’s Sustainable Transportation Program is also based at NTRC. Program staff members work closely with scientists and engineers across research disciplines to integrate transportation research taking place at NTRC and at the main ORNL campus. These research efforts include studies of vehicles and fuel, the mobility of passengers and freight, the nation’s transportation infrastructure, and energy distribution systems that support transportation. The program supports a number of federal and private research organizations that fund research at the laboratory, including DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies, Biomass, and Fuel Cell Technologies programs; the Department of Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; various industries; and other partners.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy