ORNL integrates 3D-printed building vehicle

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

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 flows in either direction between the vehicle and building through a lab-developed wireless technology. This approach allows the car to provide supplemental power to the 210-sqft house.

This demonstration also showcases AM’s rapid prototyping potential in architecture and vehicle design; the car and house both were built using large-scale 3D printers.

The 38x12x13ft building was designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) via the University of Tennessee-ORNL. Connecting the house to the 3D-printed vehicle demonstrates the concept of integrating two energy streams, buildings and transportation, which typically operate independently.

The project’s energy control center manage the system’s electrical demand and load by balancing the intermittent power from the building’s 3.2-kW solar array with supplemental power from the vehicle.