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Study: China's energy consumption will stabilize

April 28, 2011 4:42 am | News | Comments

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.

Report: Storage for spent nuclear fuel more crucial than ever

April 27, 2011 5:26 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

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.

NIST prototypes framework for evaluating sustainability standards

April 27, 2011 5:05 am | News | Comments

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.

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Zeroing in on the elusive green LED

April 26, 2011 4:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method for manufacturing green-colored LEDs with greatly enhanced light output.

Millimeter-scale energy harvester generates electricity from vibrations

April 26, 2011 4:17 am | News | Comments

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.

Say hello to cheaper hydrogen fuel cells

April 22, 2011 5:45 am | News | Comments

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.

NETL-sponsored project aims to reduce emissions for natural gas industry

April 21, 2011 5:13 am | News | Comments

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.

Scientists: Soot may be key to rapid Arctic melt

April 21, 2011 4:31 am | by Randolph E. Schmid, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

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.

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Experts: Store blood cells from Japan nuke workers

April 15, 2011 7:16 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

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.

Turning windows into powerplants

April 15, 2011 5:57 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

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 control methane combustion to get different products

April 15, 2011 5:45 am | News | Comments

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.

Study: Algae could replace 17% of U.S. oil imports

April 14, 2011 6:37 am | by Frances White | News | Comments

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.

Coherent introduces “meterless” laser energy sensors

April 12, 2011 5:54 am | Product Releases | Comments

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.

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GE to build nation's largest solar power plant

April 7, 2011 7:18 am | News | Comments

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.

Study: Economics, physics are roadblocks for mass-scale algae biodiesel production

April 6, 2011 5:36 am | News | Comments

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.

Nanowires boost fuel cell efficiency

April 1, 2011 4:48 am | News | Comments

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: recycling energy

March 31, 2011 5:50 am | News | Comments

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 NETL-patented carbon capture sorbents are closer to commercialization

March 29, 2011 5:35 am | News | Comments

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.

Key plant traits yield more sugar for biofuels

March 29, 2011 5:24 am | News | Comments

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.

New fluorescent OLEDs display greater efficiencies than believed possible

March 23, 2011 8:24 am | News | Comments

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.

Neutron analysis yields insight into bacteria for solar energy

March 23, 2011 7:23 am | News | Comments

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.

U.S. spent-fuel storage sites are packed

March 23, 2011 7:22 am | by Jonathan Fahey and Ray Henry, The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Researchers close in on technology for making renewable petroleum

March 23, 2011 7:09 am | News | Comments

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.

R & D 100 Award-winning technology helps find radiation from Japan

March 23, 2011 6:34 am | News | Comments

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.

Battelle licenses Grid Friendly appliance controller

March 23, 2011 5:49 am | by Anne Haas | News | Comments

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.

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