Public Release: 

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, October 2014

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Cyber - Protection for Utilities . . .

Hackers hoping to disrupt the power grid, water or natural gas service may be foiled by an intrusion detection system developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The system is an expanded version of Oak Ridge Cyber Analytics, which boosts the performance of existing cyber attack systems by filtering noise and quickly making sense of massive amounts of data. The system uses machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, to classify critical infrastructure communications as malicious or benign and discriminate man-made from natural events. "With this approach we can trigger alarms to operators if there is something attacking the network systems," said Raymond Borges, one of the developers. Within a few years, Borges and colleagues plan to combine data from other sources--such as physical device logs - on the network to improve the detection rate. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Automobiles - Particulate Matter Paradox ...

Cars with gasoline direct-injected engines are helping automakers meet stricter government fuel economy standards, but they're emitting five to 10 times more particulate matter than their port fuel-injected counterparts. This is the finding of researchers in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center. GDI engines inject fuel directly into the cylinder, increasing efficiency and compatibility with turbocharging, which allows drivers to have more power with smaller, lighter engines. "The tradeoff is higher particulate matter emissions," said ORNL's John Storey, who led the research team. Researchers also reported that particulate matter from GDI engines, expected to have more than 50 percent of the market share by 2017, is smaller and more varied in particle size than that of diesel particulate matter. The smaller particles contain more elemental carbon than diesel particulate matter and because of their size can penetrate deeper into the lungs, creating the potential for greater health risks. The ORNL team is examining approaches to mitigate particulate matter with fuels, combustion and emissions controls. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

Energy - Super Smart Sensors ...

A new generation of low-cost, low-power wireless sensors being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be put to the test at the lab's new flexible research platform, which is part of the Maximum Building Energy Efficiency Research Laboratory. These potentially peel-and-stick sensors, necessary for optimal control of lighting and heating/cooling systems, would provide significant savings from energy efficiency improvements, according to Teja Kuruganti, one of the developers. Ultimately, because of the new platform, they could be manufactured at a fraction of the cost of traditional sensors, which cost $150-$300. And because the sensors are wireless and inexpensive, existing buildings could easily be retrofitted. When commercialized, the sensors and control systems could reduce energy consumption of buildings by up to 40 percent. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

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