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NETL pens MOU with Brazilian Coal Association

July 24, 2013 12:13 pm | News | Comments

On June 6, 2013, the U.S. Dept. of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Brazilian Coal Association (BCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Florianopolis, Brazil. By signing the MOU, both parties agree to work together over the next five years to assess the potential of CCS in fossil fuel–based systems.

Environmentally friendly battery made from wood

July 24, 2013 12:01 pm | News | Comments

Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. The device, developed at the Univ. of Maryland, is 1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.

Americans continue to use more renewable energy sources

July 22, 2013 9:12 am | News | Comments

Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. energy charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Natural gas use is up in the electricity generation sector, where it has basically substituted directly for coal, while sustained low natural gas prices have prompted a shift from coal to gas in the electricity generating sector.

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Americans continue to use more renewable energy sources

July 18, 2013 1:58 pm | by Anne M. Stark, LLNL | News | Comments

Each year, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory releases energy flow charts that track the nation's consumption of energy resources. According to the most recent charts, Americans used more natural gas, solar panels and wind turbines and less coal to generate electricity in 2012.

Miss. regulators approve energy-efficiency rules

July 12, 2013 9:41 am | by JEFF AMY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Mississippi electric and natural gas utilities will soon be paying for their customers to cut energy use. The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to adopt energy efficiency rules requiring all gas and electric companies with more than 25,000 customers to begin offering programs within six months.

ORNL wins six 2013 R&D 100 Awards

July 9, 2013 3:38 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received six R&D 100 awards. The six awards bring ORNL's total of R&D 100 awards to 179 since their inception in 1963. This year, ORNL received awards for the following technologies: ClimateMaster Trilogy 40 Q-Mode Geothermal Heat Pump, Distribute The Highest Selected Textual Recommendation, V-shaped External Cavity Laser Diode Array, and more.

Berkeley Lab wins eight 2013 R&D 100 Awards

July 9, 2013 2:23 pm | News | Comments

A generator that uses a virus to convert mechanical energy to electricity and a new material that will boost power storage in rechargeable batteries by 30% are among eight inventions by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists that were honored with a 2013 R&D 100 Award, often dubbed the “Oscars of Innovation.”

X-ray imaging, spacecraft nuclear fission, cosmic ray contraband detection score R&D 100 Awards

July 9, 2013 12:22 pm | News | Comments

Three technologies from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and its partners were honored with 2013 R&D 100 Awards. MiniMAX is a battery-powered, digital x-ray imaging system that is completely self-contained, lightweight, compact and portable. KiloPower uses a nuclear fission system as a heat source that transfers heat via a heat pipe to a small power convertor to produce electricity from uranium.

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Japan set to restart reactors after nuclear crisis

July 7, 2013 1:04 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Japan is moving a step closer to restarting nuclear reactors as utilities are set to ask for safety inspections at their idled reactors, the clearest sign of Japan's return to nuclear energy nearly two and a half years after the Fukushima disaster. With all but two of its 50 reactors off line since the crisis, Japan has been without nuclear energy that once supplied about a third of its power.

Energy Northwest tests wind power storage system

July 1, 2013 6:34 pm | by SHANNON DININNY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Researchers in the Pacific Northwest are testing and evaluating a new power storage system that could help store excess electricity generated by the region's many wind farms. The system announced Monday at south-central Washington's Nine Canyon Wind Project includes lithium-ion batteries that can store 500 kilowatt-hours of power—enough energy to meet the demand of about a dozen homes for at least half a day.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 27, 2013 2:11 pm | by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Penn State University | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to recent research. Hydroelectric dams are controlled by guide curves that account for drinking water and droughts. They cannot simply release water to meet some electricity demand or hold back water when electricity is in low demand.

Power for seaports may be the next job for hydrogen fuel cells

June 27, 2013 8:01 am | News | Comments

Hydrogen fuel cells are already powering mobile lighting systems, forklifts, emergency backup systems and light-duty trucks, among other applications. Now, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have found that hydrogen fuel cells may be both technically feasible and commercially attractive as a clean, quiet and efficient power source for ships at berth, replacing on-board diesel generators.

Japan gets first reprocessed nuclear fuel since 2011

June 27, 2013 4:31 am | by MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A nuclear power plant on Thursday received the first shipment of reprocessed reactor fuel to arrive in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, although it will not be used until the facility gets government approval to restart its reactors. The fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxide called MOX, arrived aboard a freighter from France at the Takahama nuclear power station on the Sea of Japan coast in western Japan.

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Obama's climate plan takes aim at coal plants

June 25, 2013 5:28 pm | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

America is slowly moving toward cleaner sources of energy and using less of it overall. President Barack Obama's plan to fight climate change will accelerate those trends. The plan aims to reduce power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide, increase America's reliance on natural gas and renewables and make trucks, homes and businesses more efficient.

Policy issues plague hydropower as wind power backup

June 25, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

Theoretically, hydropower can step in when wind turbines go still, but barriers to this non-polluting resource serving as a backup are largely policy- and regulation-based, according to Penn State Univ. researchers. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recently examined the feasibility of producing 20% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. 

Boost for cars or bust? Ethanol debate heats up

June 24, 2013 3:26 am | by MATTHEW DALY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's a dilemma for drivers: Do they choose a gasoline that's cheaper and cleaner even if, as opponents say, it could damage older cars and motorcycles? That's the peril and promise of a high-ethanol blend of gasoline known as E15. The fuel contains 15% ethanol, well above the current 10% norm sold at most U.S. gas stations.

A cheaper drive to cool fuels

June 21, 2013 10:22 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Delaware chemist Joel Rosenthal is driven to succeed in the renewable energy arena. Rosenthal and his team have developed an inexpensive catalyst that uses the electricity generated from solar energy to convert carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into synthetic fuels for powering cars, homes and businesses.

Less is more: Novel cellulose structure requires fewer enzymes to process biomass to fuel

June 19, 2013 4:49 pm | News | Comments

Improved methods for breaking down cellulose nanofibers are central to cost-effective biofuel production and the subject of new research from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Scientists are investigating the unique properties of crystalline cellulose nanofibers to develop novel chemical pretreatments and designer enzymes for biofuel production from cellulosic—or non-food—plant derived biomass.

New synthesis could make biofuel more appealing for mass production

June 17, 2013 7:32 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemical engineers have devised a cheaper way to synthesize a key biofuel component, which could make its industrial production much more cost effective. The compound, known as gamma-valerolactone (GVL), is attractive because of its versatility. It has more energy than ethanol and could be used on its own or as an additive to other fuels.

Nanoparticle opens the door to clean-energy alternatives

June 13, 2013 1:57 pm | News | Comments

Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery. A Penn State Univ. research team has found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered—or catalyzed—by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth.

Alternative-fuel cars are no carbon cure-all

June 12, 2013 8:31 am | News | Comments

Making cars more fuel-efficient is great for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but rather than promoting sales of electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles, policymakers should turn their focus to cutting emissions in other energy sectors—from oil wells and power plants to farms and forests affected by biofuels production—says a Univ. of Michigan researcher.

Researchers build testbed for artificial photosynthesis

June 10, 2013 1:47 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

A team of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have developed the first fully integrated microfluidic testbed for evaluating and optimizing solar-driven electrochemical energy conversion systems. This test-bed system has already been used to study schemes for photovoltaic electrolysis of water, and can be readily adapted to study proposed artificial photosynthesis and fuel cell technologies.

Study finds disincentives to energy efficiency can be fixed

June 4, 2013 4:19 pm | News | Comments

A new study finds that utilities aren't rewarded for adopting energy-efficiency programs, and that reforms are needed to make energy efficiency as attractive as renewables. The article examines key differences between energy-efficiency projects and renewable resources and outlines ways to increase the amount of energy utilities save each year through efficiency programs.

Catalyst could jumpstart e-cars, green energy

June 4, 2013 1:08 pm | News | Comments

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles.

Research shows promise for reducing greenhouse gases

June 4, 2013 8:23 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Calgary scientists are investigating how 'Alberta-grown' biomass—such as straw and wood left over from agricultural and forestry operations—could be used to clean up chemical contaminants in water from oilsands operations. This research project received $57,500 from the Climate Change and Emissions Management (CCEMC) Corp. though the Biological Greenhouse Gas Management Program.

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