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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ENERGY -- Biofuels on brink . . .

Technological advances along with strong societal and economic forces make the timing perfect for development of biorefineries for the production of biofuels and biomaterials from renewable energy crop resources. The integration of bioenergy crop development and biorefinery conversion technology will "lead to a new manufacturing paradigm," according to authors of a Jan. 27 Science perspectives paper by a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology and Imperial College of London. "'More, bigger and better,' the mantra of modern consumerism, also summarizes ironically the goals of (proposed) research aimed at modifying plant species for use in sustainable biomass production," the authors write. The paper, titled "The path forward for biofuels and biomaterials," comes on the heels of last year's Department of Energy/U.S. Department of Agriculture billion-ton biomass study, which found that biomass could play a significant role in supplementing energy needs in the United States. ORNL authors were funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

MILITARY -- Weigh-in-motion on the move . . .

A portable weigh-in-motion system developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is near ready for action as field testing is under way. While because of human error conventional portable systems can be off by 14 percent or more, the system developed by a team led by Bob Abercrombie of the lab's Computational Sciences and Engineering Division has demonstrated zero percent error and unprecedented consistency. The ORNL hardware and software system automatically identifies the equipment, determines the individual axle weights, distance between axles, total vehicle weight, profile and center of balance as the vehicle passes over the weighing pads. The system prevents
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
23-Feb-2006


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