Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are known for their energy efficiency and durability, but the bluish, cold light of current white LEDs has precluded their widespread use for indoor lighting. Now, University of Georgia scientists have fabricated what is thought to be the world's first LED that emits a warm white light using a single light-emitting material, or phosphor, with a single emitting center for illumination.
University of California, Santa Barbara researchers debate which makes more sense, growing fuel crops to supply alternative-fuel vehicles with ethanol and other biofuels or using photovoltaics to directly power battery electric vehicles?
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has created an energy analysis tool to help individuals and educators experiment with future energy use scenarios. The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, Electricity, and Transportation Scenarios (BITES) allows users to explore how changes in energy demand and supply can impact carbon dioxide emissions and the current U.S. energy trajectory.
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University scientists have set a world record for energy storage, using a clever "yolk-shell" design to store five times more energy in the sulfur cathode of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery than is possible with today's commercial technology.
The nighttime twinkling of fireflies has inspired scientists to modify a light-emitting diode (LED) so it is more than one and a half times as efficient as the original. Researchers from Belgium, France, and Canada studied the internal structure of firefly lanterns, the organs on the bioluminescent insects’ abdomens that flash to attract mates.
It takes outside-the-box thinking to outsmart the solar spectrum and set a world record for solar cell efficiency. The solar spectrum has boundaries and immutable rules. No matter how much solar cell manufacturers want to bend those rules, they can't. So how can we make a solar cell that has a higher efficiency than the rules allow? NREL researchers know with the development of their SJ3 solar cell.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium announced this week that the Department of Energy national laboratory in Richland is receiving three 2013 Excellence in Technology Transfer awards in recognition for creating technologies or processes that can store large amounts of renewable energy until it's needed, fight cancer and detect explosives, and then moving the innovations to the marketplace.
Chilled beams can provide an energy-efficient laboratory environment even in a tropical paradise.
The Thiel Foundation this week announced three new grants awarded through Breakout Labs, a revolving fund to promote innovation in science and technology. The most recent award takes the program into clean energy, with a bold new proposal from Canadian company AVEtec to harness the power of atmospheric vortexes.
According to new research by the University of Delaware, renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9% of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses. The study’s authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands.
Scientists in Switzerland have found that reorganizing the inner architecture of the processors used in massive data processing centers can yield significant energy savings. They argue that using a greater number of less-powerful cores would be a more appropriate to current usage, which involves memory retrieval far more than complicated analysis.
A University of Texas at Arlington physics professor has helped create a hybrid nanomaterial that can be used to convert light and thermal energy into electrical current, surpassing earlier methods that used either light or thermal energy, but not both. The team has synthesized a combination of copper sulfide nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes to construct the thermoelectric generator.
A University of California, Davis challenge to build more energy-efficient air conditioning has spurred a major global manufacturer to build a rooftop air conditioner that is 40% more energy efficient than conventional units. Trane is the second manufacturer to achieve Western Cooling Challenge certification.
One method of capturing carbon dioxide is through molecular sieve that is an ultra-fine filter system that captures a variety of molecules that need further filtering. Engineers in Australia have developed new sieve that allows only carbon dioxide molecules to be trapped and stored, helping to eliminate the cost and energy typically required for filtering.
A team of researchers from Arizona State University have found that warming resulting from megapolitan expansion is seasonally dependent, with greatest warming occurring during summer and least during winter. Painting the roofs of buildings white can combat this effect, but not without consequences for the region’s hydroclimate.
Ornamental nursery and floral crops require micronutrients like iron, manganese, copper and zinc. But fertilizers that provide these micronutrients often include synthetic compounds that bind with the micronutrients to make them available to the roots. They also extract metals from sediments, contributing to heavy metals in runoff. A Dept. of Agriculture scientist has found a biodegradable alternative to these agents.
Rendering, or cladding, is the most common way of maintaining the look of an old house while adding insulation. But cutting panels to size and shape is a cumbersome process. Researchers in Switzerland, which has many old houses that need fresh insulation, have developed an aerogel-based plaster that is both easier to apply and provides better insulation.
In a report presented this week at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia, researchers based in Hong Kong, in cooperation with Starbucks restaurant chain, described their work on development and successful laboratory testing of a new biorefinery designed to change food waste into a key ingredient for making plastics, laundry detergents and scores of other everyday products.
At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, several pilot plants of solar cells, small wind power plants, lithium-ion batteries, and power electronics are under construction to demonstrate how load peaks in the grid can be balanced and what regenerative power supply by an isolated network may look like in the future.
Sewage sludge, wastewater and liquid manure are valuable sources of fertilizer for food production. Researchers in Germany have now developed a chemical-free, eco-friendly process that enables the recovered salts to be converted directly into organic food for crop plants.
Scientists in Singapore have invented a new toilet system that will turn human waste into electricity and fertilizers and also reduce the amount of water needed for flushing by up to 90%. Dubbed the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet, it separates liquid and solid wastes, using vacuum suction technology minimizes flushing liquid. The waste is then sent to bioreactors or used in fertilizers.
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.