Most methane comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel. Stanford University and Penn State University scientists are taking a greener approach using microbes that can convert renewable electricity into carbon-neutral methane.
With a series of papers published in chemistry and chemical engineering journals, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have advanced the case for extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air using newly developed adsorbent materials.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a five-year, $12.1 million grant to a multi-institutional effort to develop drought-resistant grasses for use in biofuels. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis will lead the initiative with researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Minnesota, and Washington State University.
Shale gas drilling has attracted national attention because advances in technology have unlocked billions of dollars of gas reserves, leading to a boom in production, jobs, and profits, as well as concerns about pollution and public health. In the debate over natural gas drilling, the companies are often the ones accused of twisting the facts. But scientists say opponents sometimes mislead the public, too.
Using high-power X-ray imaging of an actual working battery, a Stanford University-SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory team discovered that sulfur particles in the cathode largely remain intact during discharge. Their results could help scientists find new way to develop commercially viable lithium-sulfur batteries for electric vehicles.
Researchers at Rice University and Lockheed Martin reported this month that they've found a way to make multiple high-performance anodes from a single silicon wafer. The process uses simple silicon to replace graphite as an element in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, laying the groundwork for longer-lasting, more powerful batteries for such applications as commercial electronics and electric vehicles.
Policy makers need to be cautious in setting new 'low-carbon' standards for greenhouse gas emissions for oil sands-derived fuels as well as fuels from conventional crude oils University of Calgary and University of Toronto researchers say. The researchers, using for the first time confidential data from actual oil sands operations, did a 'well-to-wheel' lifecycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels produced by Alberta oil sands operations compared with conventional crude oils.
University of Utah physicists invented a new "spintronic" organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that promises to be brighter, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly than the kinds of LEDs. The prototype OLED produces an orange color, and the team expects it will be possible within two years to use the technology to produce red and blue as well.
Researchers who are studying a new magnetic effect that converts heat to electricity have discovered how to amplify it a thousand times over—a first step in making the technology more practical.
A new biofuel production process created by Michigan State University researchers produces energy more than 20 times higher than existing methods. The results showcase a novel way to use microbes to produce biofuel and hydrogen, all while consuming agricultural wastes.
A first-of-its-kind self-evaluation model and survey will provide utilities with a way to benchmark and measure their cybersecurity readiness. Announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Electricity Sector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model, or ES-C2M2, and evaluation survey will help utilities assess their own level of cybersecurity.
Researchers at Rice University have developed a lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface. The rechargeable battery created in the laboratory of Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan consists of spray-painted layers, each representing the components in a traditional battery.
In a speech Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown. He acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt and dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain.
Future automotive batteries could cost less and pack more power because of a new manufacturing research and development facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The $3 million Department of Energy facility allows for collaboration with industry and other national labs while protecting intellectual property of industrial partners.
Stanford University scientists have breathed new life into the nickel-iron battery, a rechargeable technology developed by Thomas Edison more than a century ago. The team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about 2 min and discharge in less than 30 sec.
Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have identified a catalyst that provides the same level of efficiency in microbial fuel cells as the currently used platinum catalyst, but at 5% of the cost. Since more than 60% of the investment in making microbial fuel cells is the cost of platinum, the discovery may lead to much more affordable energy conversion and storage devices.
With the help of a $2 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will develop a tool to characterize the performance of a new class of alternative fuels that could be used in maritime vehicles such as submarines and aircraft carriers.
The rise of ocean infrastructure development to tap energy sources such as tides, offshore wind, and natural gas will require more pile driving. But pile driving creates loud, underwater booms that can harm fish and other marine animals. New research indicates that if an individual blow to a pile rises above a particular sound level, fish can be irreparably harmed. This finding has led scientists to recommend the first-ever sound threshold for pile driving based on fish responses.
Scientists have revealed an advance toward a long-sought economical process that could turn algae into a sustainable source of biodiesel and other "green" fuels. The researchers describe the efforts toward a simple process that would extract the fatty molecules called lipids used to make biodiesel from algae and transform them into usable fuel in one fell swoop.
The idea of "supersizing" is no longer embraced when it comes to what we eat. But when it comes to creating renewable fuels, supersizing can be a very good thing. Recently, a team of scientists from Cobalt Technologies assembled at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to supersize their process for making renewable butanol.
Sweet and biomass sorghum would meet the need for next-generation biofuels to be environmentally sustainable, easily adopted by producers, and take advantage of existing agricultural infrastructure, a group of researchers led by Purdue University scientists believes.
Drawn together by the force of nature, but pulled apart by the force of man—it sounds like the setting for a love story, but it is also a basic description of how scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have begun to make more efficient organic solar cells.
Highly purified silicon represents up to 40% of the overall costs of conventional solar-cell arrays—so researchers have long sought to maximize power output while minimizing silicon usage. Now, a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found a new approach that could reduce the thickness of the silicon used by more than 90% while still maintaining high efficiency.
A research team at the Freiburg Materials Research Center in Germany has developed a new system for producing methanol that uses carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The key to helping make their process more efficient is the use of the metal oxides of copper, zinc, and zirconium dioxide as catalysts, enabling the reaction to happen at lower temperatures. Ionic salts may also play a role.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have developed a fuel cell that runs on the same sugar that powers human cells: glucose. This glucose fuel cell could be used to drive highly efficient brain implants of the future, which could help paralyzed patients move their arms and legs again.