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Water cleaning technology could reduce environmental impacts from shale production

May 2, 2011 10:52 am | News | Comments

The National Energy Technology Laboratory and an industry partner, ABSMaterial, have built two pilot-scale water treatment systems that they hope will address concerns over the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas well. ABSMaterial’s Osorb technology uses swelling glass to remove 99% of impurities in the water used for this technique.

Researchers report on solar-thermal flat panels that generate electric power

May 2, 2011 7:31 am | News | Comments

High-performance nanotech materials arrayed on a flat panel platform demonstrated seven to eight times higher efficiency than previous solar thermoelectric generators, opening up solar-thermal electric power conversion to a broad range of residential and industrial uses, a team of researchers from Boston College and MIT report.

Chevron starts operations of 1 MW CPV solar field in New Mexico

May 2, 2011 6:20 am | News | Comments

Chevron Mining Inc. (CMI), a subsidiary of Chevron Corp and sister company Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a division of Chevron U.S.A., announced the start of one of the country's largest concentrating photovoltaic solar facilities. The installation, located on the tailing site of CMI's molybdenum mine in Questa, New Mexico, will demonstrate and evaluate an emerging solar technology and a practical use of previously impacted land.


ORNL solar cell technology cranks up efficiency

April 29, 2011 7:38 am | News | Comments

With the creation of a 3D nanocone-based solar cell platform, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jun Xu has boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80%.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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