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.
Purdue Univ. researchers have collaborated with scientists at General Atomics to create safe and efficient pellets to power hydrogen fuel cells that can run an array of portable electronic devices.
Researchers have revealed a new single-stage method for recharging the hydrogen storage compound ammonia borane. The breakthrough makes hydrogen a more attractive fuel for vehicles and other transportation modes.
Long term, it is clear radiation can induce cancer. But researchers can't just count cancer cases after a disaster and declare radiation responsible. Just how much or how long an exposure is risky is not clear, which is why, 25 years after the Chernobyl accident, there is still controversy over its effects.
Though considered a promising large-scale energy storage device, the vanadium redox battery's use has been limited by its inability to work well in a wide range of temperatures. But new research by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory indicates that modifying the battery's electrolyte solution improves its performance.
Those who have been evacuated from the site are considered safe, as are the 39 million people who live in the greater Tokyo region. But panic continues, as supermarkets in nearby China have run out of staples such as salt, and Russians have rushed to buy seaweed and red wine, a measure Soviet authorities recommended after the Chernobyl explosion.
Researchers at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a way to produce normal butanol from bacteria at rates significantly higher than those achieved using current production methods.
New York Univ. physicists have invented a new method to create extended and knotted optical traps in three dimensions. The method for producing these optical knots offers the potential to enable fusion energy as a practical power source.