Public Release: 

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, May 2007

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

MEDICAL -- Atrial fibrillation alert . . .

Patients and their physicians will breathe a little easier if a collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, and UT Medical Center succeeds. People who have undergone coronary bypass graft surgery frequently experience atrial fibrillation within 48 hours of surgery. This heart rhythm abnormality means longer hospital stays, higher costs, more medications, and increased risk of clot formation and strokes. The goal is a system that forewarns of this cardiac rhythm disorder from surface heart waves. The technology development is led by ORNL's Lee Hively and is based on an R&D 100 Award-winning method that can provide as much as four hours' forewarning of an epileptic seizure. Other potential applications include warning of additional heart rhythm disturbances, including ventricular fibrillation, non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, detection of breathing difficulty and detection of sepsis, a toxic condition resulting from the spread of bacteria or their toxic products from infection. UT Medical Center collaborators include Drs. Tina Dudney, Michael McCormack and Trent Nichols. The UT collaborator is Ethan Farquhar. Funding has been provided primarily through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development and Seed Money programs. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

SENSORS -- Energy security . . .

Thousands of fuel storage tanks across the country could be protected from sabotage with an integrated wireless sensor system developed by engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and industry partners. The proprietary system combines shock and hydrocarbon sensors with a communications network that would allow authorities to respond rapidly, mitigating adverse impacts and protecting the energy infrastructure. The system uses very little power and can integrate with renewable power sources, minimizing operator intervention and maintenance costs. Such a network could play a major role in safeguarding the nation's estimated 700,000 tanks, which have a capacity of 2.3 billion barrels of heating oil, diesel and gasoline. Partners in this effort are Pegasus Technologies of Lenoir City and Delphian Corp. of Northvale, N.J. The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Industrial Technologies funded this project. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

ENERGY -- Huge industrial savings . . .

A DOE study of 200 U.S. industrial sites has found these facilities could reduce their annual energy costs by $494 million. ORNL's Tony Wright, who heads a team that manages the nationwide study, said the energy savings are good for improving the U.S. business climate. These high savings enable these industries to be more competitive as money saved from high energy costs can be rerouted to other aspects of doing business in a large industrial setting, Wright said. A number of these sites are already implementing energy savings recommendations from the study. The funding source is DOE's Industrial Technology Program. [Contact: Fred Strohl; (865) 574-4165;]


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