Energy Science & Technology

The Energy Science and Technology Directorate spans three research
divisions to advance science, engineering, and technology that helps provide affordable, reliable energy in support of a thriving economy.

About the Energy Science & Technology Directorate

The Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) plays a pivotal role in America’s energy transformation into a clean, efficient, flexible, and secure energy future. Our researchers deliver breakthroughs in energy from generation to distribution and storage to end use in support of Department of Energy missions. ESTD offers a unique culture of entrepreneurship for translating science into solutions for the most critical problems facing society at the nexus of energy and security. 

Our scientists and engineers work with many of America’s best innovators and businesses to research, develop, and deploy cutting-edge technologies and to break down market barriers in sustainable transportation, smart power systems, and energy efficiency for homes, buildings, and manufacturing. Accelerating clean energy technologies development to deployment cycle will help provide affordable and reliable energy to support a thriving economy. 

We bring a multidisciplinary focus to increase understanding of integrated and complex energy systems and to resolve some of the biggest challenges in energy. We are developing new materials for automobiles, buildings and wind turbines, innovating manufacturing processes to drive U.S. economic competitiveness, and devising controls for a secure and resilient power grid.


ESTD is home to four DOE national user facilities dedicated to delivering clean energy innovations. The Building Technologies Research and Integration Center and the National Transportation Research Center develop breakthroughs to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings and transportation sectors. The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility supports technology development and commercial deployment of carbon fiber. The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility focuses on early stage technologies improving the energy and material efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of American manufacturers. In addition, ORNL’s Grid Research Integration and Deployment Center drives the development of advanced components to enable a secure and resilient power grid.

The Energy Science and Technology Directorate spans three research divisions to advance science, engineering, and technology that helps provide affordable, reliable energy in support of a thriving economy.

The Buildings and Transportation Science Division delivers scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs to accelerate transformative building- and transportation-related technical solutions to ensure a safe, secure, and sustainable energy future. This includes the integration of multi-disciplinary science and technology with state-of-the-art facilities including ORNL leadership science in high-performance computing, material science, neutron science, and manufacturing. The BTSD is also home to the only DOE-designated user facilities on building technologies and transportation science.

The Manufacturing Science Division focuses on the development and implementation of next-generation advanced manufacturing technologies through research and scale-up of new processes and technical capabilities enabling new materials, systems and products. The division is comprised of personnel from a broad spectrum of manufacturing technology backgrounds integrated with world class manufacturing facilities enabling “Placed Based Innovation”.

The Electrification and Energy Infrastructures Division focuses on developing innovative capabilities for electric energy devices and systems to improve the reliability, sustainability, and efficiencies of energy storage systems, electric grid protections and controls, and advancements in power electronics. The division comprises internationally recognized staff who possess expertise encompassing nearly all areas of applied science and engineering.

Pioneers of Energy Innovation

Today’s energy systems pose an array of scientific challenges, from the environmental impacts of energy generation to inefficiencies in end use and a need for more secure and resilient power delivery. We advance clean energy innovations through an integrated systems approach, enabled by digital infrastructure, building on ORNL’s world-class capabilities in materials science, high-performance computing, and neutron scattering to translate fundamental science discoveries into practical energy-saving technologies. Researchers collaborate across disciplines, bringing a diversity of expertise to bear on energy challenges and leveraging the unique DOE user facilities and state-of-the-art equipment housed at ORNL. Whether it is advances in fast wireless charging for vehicles, novel catalysts that convert carbon dioxide into ethanol, transactive controls for smart neighborhoods or additive manufacturing of nuclear reactors, we deliver breakthroughs across the energy spectrum. Our integrated energy systems approach focuses on creating decarbonization, electrification and autonomous solutions for transportation; enabling smart, grid-interactive and resilient buildings and neighborhoods; revolutionizing manufacturing and secure supply chains through digital, secure, integrated and autonomous systems; and developing secure, sustainable, and resilient energy infrastructure.


Over the next decade, we will lead transformational science and technology to enable the flexible, secure, and autonomous energy systems of the future. We will provide power and fuel originating from a variety of sources in a clean and seamless manner.

Energy Science and Technology Divisions, Sections and Groups

Buildings and Transportation Science Division

Propulsion Science Section

Accelerating the development of combustion, electric, and hybridized propulsion systems to enable an efficient, clean, and low carbon transportation future.

  1. Engine Technologies Research Group – Leadership in advanced engine technologies including application-specific on-road and off-road implementations such as hybridization, transient operation, and integrated energy systems.
  2. Combustion and Fuel Science Research Group – Leadership in combustion and fuels research from fundamental science to application.
  3. Applied Catalysis and Emissions Controls Research Group – Leadership in emissions control catalysts and strategies to enable near-zero emissions from high efficiency powertrains, advanced combustion engines, and alternative fuels.
  4. Electric Drives Research Group – Leadership and unique facilities on motors and power electronics for electric propulsion systems including materials modeling, design, in-house prototyping and characterization.

Vehicle and Mobility Systems Research Section

Accelerating the development of advanced vehicles and complex mobility systems through advances in connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, communications, systems integration, and decision science.

  1. Vehicle Systems Integration Research Group – Leadership in advanced hardware-in-the-loop research to accelerate the development of transportation technologies from component- level to full vehicle.
  2. Vehicle Connectivity & Autonomy Research Group – Leadership in virtual and advanced vehicle research to accelerate the development of transportation technologies from vehicle-level to full traffic network for connected and automated vehicles.
  3. Vehicle Power Electronics Research Group – Leadership and unique facilities in power electronics for mobility characterization, modeling, and design from concept to build to evaluation.
  4. Transportation Analytics & Decision Science Group – Approaches the challenges of future transportation demand in multidisciplinary teams to illuminate historical performance of the transportation system with multiple metrics, to predict future performance under various scenarios, and to search for optimal pathways to sustainable futures.

Building Technologies Research Section

Accelerating the development and integration of innovative advanced building equipment and novel dynamic envelope materials and systems to enable affordable, efficient, and resilient buildings.

  1. Building Equipment Research Group – Develop advanced building equipment for energy efficiency and improved life cycle climate performance focused on reimagined thermodynamic processes and cycles.
  2. Multifunctional Equipment Integration Group – Develop and integrate state-of-the-art building equipment to include functionalities such as grid integration, advanced energy storage and energy conversion systems.
  3. Building Envelope Materials Research Group – Develop and deploy advanced envelope systems comprising novel low thermal conductivity materials and assemblies enabling dynamic insulation systems.
  4. Integrated Building Performance Group – Develop innovative methods for residential and commercial whole-building energy performance and systems integration.

Manufacturing Science Division 

Energy Efficient Manufacturing Science Section

Manufacturing scale up of fiber and composite processing technologies for fabrication of functional components in energy applications.

  1. Advanced Fibers Manufacturing Group – Develop scale up science and technologies for fiber manufacturing and associated fabrication of functional components for energy applications.
  2. Advanced Composites Manufacturing Group – Develop scalable composite manufacturing technologies for high volume energy efficient fabrication of functional components through the integration of core capabilities.
  3. Chemical Process Scale Up Group – Develop scalable chemical and material manufacturing technologies to enable energy efficient process intensification and modularized/ distributed systems.
  4. Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Analysis Group – Develop analytical tools for energy use in traditional and advanced manufacturing processes and the potential for energy savings.

Precision Manufacturing and Machining Section

Designing, implementing and scaling next generation manufacturing systems and processes through the integration of robotics, automation, controls, and machine tools.

  1. Robotics and Intelligent Systems Group – Design, develop and fabricate robotic systems for intelligent manufacturing systems.
  2. Intelligent Machine Tools Group – Development of next generation machine tools, and enhancement and modernization of current and legacy machine tools in support of an energy efficient U.S. manufacturing base.
  3. Manufacturing Systems Design Group – Design and fabrication of large-scale complex manufacturing systems via integration of mechanical, electrical and digital elements.
  4. Manufacturing Automation & Controls Group – Development of automated manufacturing systems leveraging data analytics, sensing, and control systems technology to ensure a highly efficient U.S. manufacturing ecosystem.

Secure and Digital Manufacturing Section

Developing a digital manufacturing platform and a cyber-secure manufacturing ecosystem by integrating a wide variety of manufacturing systems enabled by advanced data analytics, process control and secure communications.

  1. Deposition Science and Technology Group – Design, development and fabrication of next generation advanced components and energy systems with additive metal and polymer processes through integration of core capabilities.
  2. Digital Manufacturing and Analyses Frameworks Group – Integration of capabilities in communication, computing, storage and user interface for advanced manufacturing process analysis, modeling and control to ensure an energy efficient and secure manufacturing ecosystem.

Electrification and Energy Infrastructures Division

Electrification Section

Developing innovative energy storage technology solutions and charging infrastructures at scale for transportation and grid.

  1. Emerging and Solid-State Batteries Group – Conceives, researches and develops disruptive chemistries and materials for high energy and power density solid-state batteries and emerging electrochemical storage systems.
  2. Energy Storage and Conversion Manufacturing Group – Develops advanced manufacturing schemes and pilot scale devices into emerging energy storage and conversion research.
  3. Electronics & Embedded Systems Group – Conducts advanced research, development, test and evaluation of electronic devices/systems.

Energy Systems Integration & Controls Section

Advancing energy systems integration and controls to improve the efficiency and resiliency of systems-of-systems architectures.

  1. Power Systems Resilience Group – Conducts transformational research and development for energy security and resilience through advancement of modeling, simulation, and real-time monitoring of the electric grid.
  2. Grid Components and Controls Group – Designs, develops, and implements advanced control systems (e.g. microgrids, protection and controls) and integration of novel energy system components.
  3. Power Electronics Systems Integration Group – Designing, developing, and deploying power electronics for grid-connected systems through packaging, magnetics, hardware prototyping, system architecture and integration (e.g. power electronics-based substation), and real-time power electronics systems simulation.
  4. Grid Communications and Security Group – Conducts the research, development, test and evaluation of modern communication devices and systems for energy applications.
  5. Grid-interactive Controls Group – Designs, develops, and deploys advanced control algorithms and methods for building energy efficiency and grid connectivity.

Energy Sensing, Analytics and Communications Section

Developing sensing and communications solutions through advanced sensor discovery/development, computational sensing and analytics.

  1. Electrical Signals and Processing Group – Designs, develops and deploys state-of-the-art signal capture, interrogation, and analysis techniques for energy systems characterization and security applications.
  2. Sensors and Controls Group – Designs, develops, tests and evaluates sensor devices and sensory systems for real-time situational awareness.
  3. RF & Intelligent Systems Group – Designs and develops advanced and intelligent systems utilizing radio frequency communications and machine learning for small electromagnetic signature systems.
  4. Energy Systems Analytics Group – Designs, develops, deploys and analyzes advanced machine learning and decision science algorithms and techniques for energy applications.
  5. Multimodal Sensor Analytics Group – Conducts advanced research, design and development of algorithms and systems employing computational sensing approaches with Images and signals.