September 23, 2015

ORNL integrated energy demo connects 3D-printed building, vehicle

Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration
connects a 3D-printed building and vehicle to showcase a new approach to energy use,
storage and consumption. Photo by Carlos Jones

(September 23, 2015)  A research demonstration unveiled today at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory combines clean energy technologies into a 3D-printed building and vehicle to showcase a new approach to energy use, storage and consumption.

The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration, displayed at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industry Day event, is a model for energy-efficient systems that link buildings, vehicles and the grid.

An ORNL team worked with industrial partners to manufacture and connect a natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle with a solar-powered building to create an integrated energy system. Power can flow in either direction between the vehicle and building through a lab-developed wireless technology. The approach allows the car to provide supplemental power to the 210-square-foot house when the sun is not shining. Watch an animation of the energy flow here:

The demonstration also showcases additive manufacturing's rapid prototyping potential in architecture and vehicle design; the car and house both were built using large-scale 3D printers.

The 38x12x13-foot building was designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) through the University of Tennessee-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Energy and Urbanism. It was assembled by Clayton Homes, the nation’s largest builder of manufactured housing. Connecting the house to the 3D-printed vehicle demonstrates the concept of integrating two energy streams, buildings and transportation, which typically operate independently.

“Working together, we designed a building that innovates construction and building practices and a vehicle with a long enough range to serve as a primary power source,” said ORNL’s Roderick Jackson, who led the AMIE demonstration project. “Our integrated system allows you to get multiple uses out your vehicle.”

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