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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Team develops portable power using hydrogen fuel pellets

March 22, 2011 5:56 am | News | Comments

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 make advances in rechargeable solid hydrogen fuel storage tanks

March 22, 2011 5:01 am | News | Comments

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.

Scientists lack complete answers on radiation risk

March 21, 2011 6:15 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Vanadium redox battery upgrade

March 18, 2011 4:18 am | News | Comments

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.

Risks from radiation low in Japan but panic high

March 17, 2011 6:55 am | by Joe McDonald and Margie Mason, Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Engineering E. coli to produce record-setting amounts of alternative fuel

March 17, 2011 5:48 am | News | Comments

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.

Newly created optical knots offer potential power source

March 16, 2011 6:12 am | News | Comments

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.

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