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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Biofuel is often obtained from starchy plants—but this places fuel production in competition with food production. At the Vienna Univ. of Technology, genetically modified mold fungi are created, which have the ability to break down long cellulose and xylan chains into smaller sugar molecules. This could make the production of biofuel a lot cheaper.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have discovered and demonstrated a new technique to remove and store atmospheric carbon dioxide while generating carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity, which can be used to offset ocean acidification.
One of America's corporate giants is investing billions of dollars in the new boom of oil and gas drilling, or fracking. General Electric Co. is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies, and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom.
A new analysis shows that the nation's land and water resources could likely support the growth of enough algae to produce up to 25 billion gallons of algae-based fuel a year in the United States, one-twelfth of the country's yearly needs. The findings come from an in-depth look at the water resources that would be needed to grow significant amounts of algae in large, specially built shallow ponds.
A new study has identified two unique methods for storing energy using wind power. A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Bonneville Power Administration has located two sites in Washington that could serve as multi-megawatt facilities. They say power for about 85,000 homes each month could be stored in porous rocks deep underground for later use.
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.
The California Energy Commission has awarded $1.7 million to a partnership between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Cool Earth Solar Inc. to conduct a community-scale renewable energy integration demonstration project at the Livermore Valley Open Campus.
U.S. Department of Energy Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have developed an enzyme-free ionic liquid pretreatment of cellulosic biomass that makes it easier to recover fermentable sugars for biofuels and to recycle the ionic liquid.
For some solar cells, the future may be fluorescent. Scientists at Yale University have improved the ability of a promising type of solar cell to absorb light and convert it into electrical power by adding a fluorescent organic dye to the cell layer. This squaraine dye boosts light absorption and recycles electrons, improving the conversion of light into energy.
The growing global demand for energy, combined with a need to reduce emissions and lessen the effects of climate change, has increased focus on cleaner energy sources. But what unintended consequences could these cleaner sources have on the changing climate? Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology now have some answers to that question, using biofuels as a test case.
A team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Materials Sciences Division’s Jeffrey Urban and Rachel Segalman have discovered highly conductive polymer behavior occurring at a polymer/nanocrystal interface. The composite organic/inorganic material is a thermoelectric—a material capable of converting heat into electricity—and has a higher performance than either of its constituent materials.
Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. Fossil fuels? They were going to be expensive and scarce. But in the race to conquer energy technology, Old Energy is winning.
Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. When the sun didn't shine or the wind didn't blow, power would flow out of batteries the size of tractor-trailers.
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid. The developers believe their new membrane-free battery, based on lithium and sulfur, may be the best yet designed to regulate alternative energies.
Nanotechnology typically describes any material, device, or technology where feature sizes are smaller than 100 nanometers in dimension. However, this new and uncharted direction in research provides a large spark for new product and drug delivery development. To achieve these discoveries, scientists must rely on specialized instruments and materials to drive their experiments and analysis.
Excess heat, like that generated by extended use of a computer or other device, naturally creates what is known as a spin wave that can move a domain wall, the dividing line between magnetic materials that point in different directions. Using this phenomenon, scientists in California have demonstrated how to add power to a spintronics device using electron spin rather than electron charge.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Alaska will collaborate on future research of unconventional energy resources in the Arctic, including abundant reservoirs of methane hydrate. The DOE's acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, Christopher Smith, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan announced the agreement Tuesday.
A unique atomic-scale engineering technique for turning low-efficiency photocatalytic “white” nanoparticles of titanium dioxide into high-efficiency “black” nanoparticles could be the key to clean energy technologies based on hydrogen. Samuel Mao leads the development of a technique for engineering disorder into the nanocrystalline structure of the semiconductor titanium dioxide.
Tougher EPA air-quality standards could spur an increased shift away from coal and toward natural gas for electricity generation, according to a new Duke University study. Complying with stricter regulations on sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and mercury may make nearly two-thirds of the nation's coal-fired power plants as expensive to run as plants powered by natural gas. The regulations would make 65% of U.S. coal plants as expensive as natural gas, even if gas prices rise significantly.
A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant, a breakthrough that has the potential to bring a low-cost, environmentally friendly fuel source to the world.