A research team at the Freiburg Materials Research Center in Germany has developed a new system for producing methanol that uses carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The key to helping make their process more efficient is the use of the metal oxides of copper, zinc, and zirconium dioxide as catalysts, enabling the reaction to happen at lower temperatures. Ionic salts may also play a role.
Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were unveiled this week by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, which has the goal of proving the viability of solid biofuel—torrefied biomass—and modern steam locomotive technology. The first step in those plans is to break the world speed record for steam trains.
A team of chemical engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found an inexpensive way to achieve a 75% yield from biomass for the formation of the chemical p-xylene, a key ingredient used to make plastic bottles. This chemical is normally made using petroleum.
According to a recent report from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, U.S. commercial building owners could save an average of 38% on their heating and cooling bills if they installed a handful of energy efficiency controls that make their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems more energy efficient.
According to recent research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, light of specific wavelengths can be used to boost an enzyme's function by as much as 30-fold, potentially establishing a path to less expensive biofuels, detergents and a host of other products.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have combined gold nanoparticles with copper nanoparticles to form hybrid nanoparticles. Transformed into a powder they can catalyze a carbon dioxide reduction that uses less energy than previous methods and may help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at powerplants and other point sources.
Tons and tons of old produce goes to waste each year, much of it simply thrown away. A new biogas plant near Stuttgart, in Germany, has been built specifically to convert this market waste into methane for commercial use
Hybrid cars, powered by a mixture of gas and electricity, have become a practical way to "go green" on the roads. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University are applying the term "hybrid" to power plants as well.
Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have launched a tool that uses actual conditions to determine the maximum possible magnitude of solar incidence in a whole town, a neighborhood, or a particular roof.
The American Chemical Society has released a new podcast this week featuring Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist Zhenguo Yang, who reports on the viability of a next-generation electric distribution system that would foster wider production of renewable electricity from the sun and wind.
With the introduction of a new chlorine manufacturing process achieved by combining oxygen depolarized cathode technology and new electrolysis technology, Bayer MaterialScience is poised to save enough electricity to power a small city.
Ethanol production is currently dominated by catalytic chemicals derived from petroleum. To produce sustainable biofuels, however, researchers need to ferment ethanol from non-food plant matter. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists say they can now convert bioethanol into isobutene in one production step.
Caltech researchers have revisited some of the fundamental assumptions that guided the wind industry for the past 30 years, and now believe that a new approach to wind farm design—one that places wind turbines close together instead of far apart—may provide significant efficiency gains.
While Berkeley Lab's third-generation synchrotron is better known as one of the world's brightest sources of ultraviolet and X-ray light, it's roof has been, until now, a prime attractor for the sun’s energy. The 70-year-old dome is being clad in a new cool roof, which will reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere. The project is part of a mandate by Stephen Chu for all Dept. of Energy facilities.
Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a key metric for determining how green a data center is and it shows how effectively a data center uses power. Measured as a ratio of the total amount of power used in the data center divided by the amount of power to the computer equipment, the best score a data center can get 1.0. The National Renewable Energy Lab recently dropped its PUE from 3.3 to 1.15 in an effort to be a leader in this area, and to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.
Univ. of Minnesota engineering researchers in the College of Science and Engineering have recently discovered a new alloy material that converts heat directly into electricity. This energy conversion method is in the early stages of development, but it could have wide-sweeping impact on creating environmentally friendly electricity from waste heat sources.
Scientists at Northern Illinois Univ. say they have discovered a simple method for producing high yields of graphene. The method converts carbon dioxide directly into few-layer graphene by burning pure magnesium metal in dry ice.
The new device, the size of a single strand of human hair, generates energy from the metabolism of bacteria on thin gold plates in micro-manufactured channels. The fuel cell recruits necessary bacteria to create a biofilm that utilizes natural organic compounds as fuel to generate power.
Pacific Northwest National Lab has teamed with a private partner to test the capabilities of a new fuel cell system that uses natural gas to provide both electricity and heat to commercial buildings. ClearEdge Power is a supplying the refrigerator-shaped cells, which breaks down hydrogen-rich gas to react with oxygen and produce electricity, with heat as a byproduct.
Students in California are taking what would normally be annoyance and making it an asset. They are working to implement a system that uses heat that collects in a home’s attic to warm a thermal closet that would dry clothes. Supplemented by power from a roof-mounted solar cell, the closet could cut electricity bills up to 16%.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., (MHI), has developed Japan's first cargo container-type large-capacity energy storage system that uses a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The system is capable of providing power of up to one megawatts (MW), and its mobility makes the system suitable for a wide range of applications, including emergency use.
Making its largest single investment yet in clean energy, Google has inked a deal with photovoltaic installer SolarCity in an effort to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. The agreement is just one of the many recent renewable energy investments Google has made.
A nanoscale grapevine with hydrogen grapes could someday provide your car's preferred vintage of fuel. Rice Univ. researchers have determined that a lattice of calcium-decorated carbyne has the potential to store hydrogen at levels that easily exceed Department of Energy (DOE) goals for use as a "green" alternative fuel for vehicles.
Livermore Lab has signed a memorandum of understanding with SWAY, a renewable energy company, that has developed floating towers for wind turbines located in deep water. Though California has not yet approved offshore wind turbines, SWAY will launch a 1/5 scale prototype of the technology off the coast of Norway on June 10 to demonstrate how the system could work in the Pacific Ocean.