A team from Brigham Young Univ. suspected that a common protein could potentially react with sunlight and harvest its energy—similar to what chlorophyll does during photosynthesis. The story of how they proved it sounds as colorful as the legend of the leprechaun who hid his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Although full-spectrum solar cells have been made, none yet have been suitable for manufacture at a consumer-friendly price. Now, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory team has demonstrated a solar cell that not only responds to virtually the entire solar spectrum, it can also readily be made using one of the semiconductor industry’s most common manufacturing techniques.
Charles Meneveau, a Johns Hopkins University fluid mechanics and turbulence expert, working with a colleague in Belgium, has devised a new formula through which the optimal spacing for a large array of wind turbines can be obtained. The results show that current spacing standards are not as efficient as they could be.
The water-repellent eyes of moths are among the least reflective surfaces in nature. A team of Japanese researchers have emulated the film that covers a moth’s eye and applied it to photovoltaic cells in Tokyo and Phoenix, Arizona. They found a 5-6% improvement in cell performance.
Engine experts and biofuels researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working on a project that aims to modify an endophytic fungus so that it will produce fuel-type hydrocarbons for transportation purposes.
Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide—or ceria—and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels.
Purdue Univ. researchers have delivered data to the Environmental Protection Agency on a two-year National Air Emissions Monitoring Study that gives a look at air quality on and around livestock farms.
Researchers from the Cardiff Univ. School of Chemistry are opening up a new way of using hydrocarbon feedstocks to make a range of valuable products.
The growing popularity of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across the United States has made it more important to maximize their power input. That’s why UC San Diego environmental engineering professor Jan Kleissl is working on technologies and methods that will better predict how much power we can actually harness from the sun.
Using detailed land analysis, Univ. of Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world’s current fuel consumption. The study identified land around the globe available to produce grass crops for biofuels, with minimal impact on agriculture or the environment.
A worldwide supply crunch of so-called proppants — ultra-hard sand grains and tiny manmade ceramic balls — has some drillers using lesser-grade particles that have cut the yield of oil wells in the U.S. Proppants are a crucial component of hydraulic fracturing, allowing oil to flow from fractured rocks two miles beneath the Earth’s surface.
As every middle-school child knows, in the process of photosynthesis, plants take the sun's energy and convert it to electrical energy. Now a Tel Aviv Univ. team has demonstrated how a member of the animal kingdom, the Oriental hornet, takes the sun's energy and converts it into electric power.
Commercial buildings account for 18% of U.S. energy consumption. In an effort to reduce energy use from these buildings, public and private entities are teaming as part of the Commercial Buildings Partnership to design and implement energy efficient measures. The partnership is kicking off a three-year program, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program, which will lead to several new or retrofitted structures across the country.
Researchers are creating a new type of solar cell designed to self-repair like natural photosynthetic systems in plants by using carbon nanotubes and DNA, an approach aimed at increasing service life and reducing cost.
A new type of nanomaterial developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could enable the next generation of high-power rechargeable lithium (Li)-ion batteries for electric automobiles, as well as batteries for laptop computers, mobile phones, and other portable devices. Dubbed as a "nanoscoop", the material can withstand extremely high rates of charge and discharge that cause conventional electrodes used in today's Li-ion batteries to rapidly deteriorate and fail.
A newly engineered yeast strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar from plants to produce ethanol, researchers report. The sugars are glucose and xylose. The new strain, made by combining, optimizing, and adding to earlier advances, reduces or eliminates several major inefficiencies associated with current biofuel production methods.
Wang Junfeng, project director for the state-run China National Nuclear Corporation, recently told a Chinese television network that scientists employed a chemical process that was effective and safe. The details of their process is not known (it is treated as an industrial secret), but reprocessing can multiply the energy extracted from uranium by up to 60 times.
Rugged and reliable two-wire, loop powered, 4-20 mA vibration sensors from IMI Sensors are hazardous-area approved versions of the company’s Series 640 industrial vibration transmitters for monitoring motors and pumps at natural gas pipeline pumping stations.
Industrial materials and chemical companies are involved in a broad range of R&D activities where users must rely on a mix of proven technologies and materials applied in new and/or unique ways. New materials must meet continuing performance improvements in terms of strength-to-weight ratios, cost-effectiveness, sustainable manufacturing, low or zero greenhouse gas (GHG) processing emissions and availability in critical applications.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers have helped reduce dependence on petroleum-based propylene glycol with a process that relies on a metal-containing, carbon-based catalyst and the principles of catalytic hydrogenolysis to break one of the three carbon-oxygen bonds in the glycerol.
The introduction of the Electrodialysis and Ion-Exchange Chromatography Technology to Produce 45-50% Potassium Hydroxide Solution (KOH) from NSR Technologies Inc. represents the first commercialized alternative to chlor-alkali production in decades.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory developed an oxidation-resistant cerium oxide (CeO2) coating method for stainless steel alloys and nickel superalloys, a process where CeO2 slurry with an activator compound is applied to the surface of a metal component by brushing, spraying, or dipping.
Safety Storage LithStor prefabricated storage buildings meet specialized containment needs for businesses and industry, military, homeland security, and government agencies managing the storage of new and used lithium batteries.
By some estimates, there are more than a million insect species in this world. Only a small percentage of this number is detrimental to the quality of our lives, but these are the species that drive research by scientists like Dr. Thomas C. Sparks, R&D Magazine’s 44th Scientist of the Year. The entomologist’s job is to know these insects, even down to the molecular level, to discover ways to keep them from destroying a very precious commodity: our food.
Lehighton Electronics has augmented and enhanced of its 1800 Series line of equipment for the characterization of solar cells and flat panel displays.