Well before 2050, according to a new study by Berkeley Lab's China Energy Group, China's energy use will level off, even as its population edges past 1.4 billion. There will come a time—within the next two decades—when the number of people in China acquiring cars, larger homes, and other accouterments of industrialized societies will peak. Between 2030 and 2035, the steeply rising curve of energy demand in China will begin to moderate and flatten thereafter.
The United States and other countries around the world looking to nuclear power for their energy needs must consider how spent fuel will be handled as they construct new plants and examine existing ones, especially in light of the recent crisis in Japan, according to a comprehensive study from MIT.
As manufacturers and other businesses step up efforts to cut waste, reduce energy use, and improve the overall sustainability of their products and processes, the number of planet-friendly standards and regulations also is increasing at a rapid clip, creating a sometimes-confusing array of options for "going green." NIST researchers have prototyped a framework to help organizations of all types sort through the welter of choices and evaluate and implement sustainability standards most appropriate for their operations and interests.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method for manufacturing green-colored LEDs with greatly enhanced light output.
Electrical engineers at the Univ. of Michigan have built a device that can harness energy from vibrations and convert it to electricity with five to ten times greater efficiency and power than other devices in its class. And it's smaller than a penny.
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have developed a way to avoid the use of expensive platinum in hydrogen fuel cells, the environmentally friendly devices that might replace current power sources in everything from personal data devices to automobiles.
With funding from the National Energy Technology Laboratory, researchers at Kansas State University are developing emissions control and monitoring technologies that can be applied to engines used in natural-gas-gathering systems. These are engines that are too costly to replace as they age, but must be updated to meet new federal EPA emissions regulations.
The Arctic is warming more rapidly than other regions of the world, and scientists believe a mostly invisible thin layer of soot is causing it to absorb more heat. Studies now indicate that cutting the concentration of short-lived pollutants, such as soot, will reduce the rate of warming in the Arctic faster than cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Radiation experts in Japan are now recommending that blood cells from workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex should be stored immediately in case later treatments for radiation overdosing are needed. Blood cell transplants are a common treatment for leukemia, although some experts said such transfusions might not be as helpful for radiation.
If a new development from labs at MIT pans out as expected, someday the entire surface area of a building's windows could be used to generate electricity—without interfering with the ability to see through them.
Scientists have discovered a method to control the gas-phase selective catalytic combustion of methane, so finely that if done at room temperature the reaction produces ethylene, while at lower temperatures it yields formaldehyde. The process involves using gold dimer cations as catalysts.
Algae has attracted interest from biofuel producers and investors, but growing it requires a lot of water. A new study from Pacific Northwest National Lab that focuses on algae grown in open, freshwater ponds shows that being smart about where we grow algae can drastically reduce this consumption.
The meterless laser measurement concept from Coherent has been expanded with a new range of energy sensors in which all meter electronics are miniaturized and integrated within the sensor head cable.
The technology giant anticipates the new factory, which will produce solar power panels certified by the National Renewable Energy Lab, will employ 400 people and provide enough panels to power 800,000 homes per year. The plant’s location, however is still up in the air.
Companies looking to engineer an eco-friendly diesel fuel have more red lights in their path. According to Kansas State Univ. researchers, making petroleum diesel completely green would not only bend the laws of physics, it would cost too much green.
A team of engineers at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science has created a new fuel cell catalyst system using nanowires made of a novel material that boosts long-term performance by 2.4 times compared to today's technology.
Thermoelectric materials are a hot new technology that is now being studied intensively by researchers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Frontier Research Centers. An Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher is using neutron scattering and computer simulation to investigate the microscopic structure and dynamics of thermoelectric materials so that researchers can make them more efficient for new, energy-saving applications.
Two new patented sorbents used for carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) capture from coal-based power plants have moved closer to commercialization as a result of a licensing agreement between the National Energy Technology Laboratory and ADA Environmental Solutions.
New clues about plant structure are helping researchers from the Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center narrow down a large collection of poplar tree candidates and identify winners for future use in biofuel production.
Univ. of Michigan engineering researchers have designed an efficient fluorescent blue OLED, or organic light emitting diode. Traditionally, the ceiling for the efficiency of fluorescent OLEDs was believed to be 5%. Now, the team has produced fluorescent OLEDs with close to 10% efficiency.
Structural studies of some of nature's most efficient light-harvesting systems are lighting the way for new generations of biologically inspired solar cell devices. Researchers from Washington Univ. in St. Louis and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory used small-angle neutron scattering to analyze the structure of chlorosomes in green photosynthetic bacteria.
The nuclear crisis in Japan has laid bare an ever-growing problem for the United States — the enormous amounts of still-hot radioactive waste accumulating at commercial nuclear reactors in more than 30 states. A state-by-state study of numbers obtained by the Associated Press finds that the U.S. has almost 71,862 tons of radioactive waste, now stored at power-plant sites.
Univ. of Minnesota researchers are a key step closer to making renewable petroleum fuels using bacteria, sunlight, and dioxide, a goal funded by a $2.2 million United States Department of Energy grant.
Last week, Pacific Northwest National Lab was the first to detect radioactive isotopes entering the continental United States. Though levels of the detected materials, xenon-133, were extremely low—less than one-millionth the daily dose of background radiation—the technology proved the sensitivity of two instruments originally developed to help enforce nuclear weapon testing bans. One of them won an R&D 100 Award in 1998.
Start-up technology firm Encryptor of Texas has licensed a technology that will help soften the blow for utilities during times of peak demand on the grid by temporarily shifting when smart appliances use power. Invented by Pacific Northwest National Lab in 2008 with funding from Battelle and the Dept. of Energy, the device is intended to be marketed within the next two to three years.