The tiny, plant-like Heterosigma akashiwo is too small to see with the naked eye, but the microscopic algae may pack a big environmental punch. University of Delaware researchers are studying whether the species can neutralize harmful smokestack emissions—and also serve as a source of eco-friendly biofuel.
As cities and towns rebuild after last year's devastating tsunami and earthquake in northeastern Japan, there is a potentially huge demand for the green technology and new information technology now being created in laboratories at Stanford University and start ups across Silicon Valley.
Determining with precision the carbon balance of North America is complicated, but researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method that considerably advances the science. In developing their approach, the team took advantage of inventory records from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that track changes in the amount of carbon in various reservoirs such as plants, soils, and wood.
Last March, the world watched closely as Japan struggled to contain a series of equipment failures, hydrogen explosions, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A year later, however, the United States is moving forward with nuclear power.
Because it saves so much energy and money, aluminum recycling continues to expand. But a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis finds that this expansion could run into problems unless measures are taken to reduce impurities that can build up as aluminum is recycled over and over again.
Production of energy from the difference between salt water and fresh water is most convenient near the oceans, but now, using an ammonium bicarbonate salt solution, Penn State University researchers can combine bacterial degradation of waste water with energy extracted from the salt-water fresh-water gradient to produce power anywhere.
With the support of a $3.2 million grant from the United States Department of Energy, researchers will take the first steps toward engineering two new oil-rich crops. They aim to boost the natural, oil-producing capabilities of sugarcane and sorghum, increase the crops' photosynthetic power and—in the case of sugarcane—enhance the plant's cold tolerance so that it can grow in more northerly climes.
A University of Toronto research team has developed a process to analyze the behavior of bitumen in reservoirs using a microfluidic chip. The process may reduce the cost and time of analyzing bitumen-gas interaction in heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs.
Just as a wine glass vibrates and sometimes breaks when a diva sings the right note, carbon dioxide vibrates when light or heat serenades it. When it does, carbon dioxide exhibits a vibrational puzzle known as Fermi resonance. Now, researchers studying geologic carbon storage have learned a bit more about the nature of carbon dioxide.
Genetic mutations to cellulose in plants could improve the conversion of cellulosic biomass into biofuels, according to a research team containing researchers from Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory.
A technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could streamline and strengthen the process for siting power plants while potentially enhancing the nation's energy security.
Sandia National Laboratories has developed an experimental smart outlet that autonomously measures, monitors, and controls electrical loads with no connection to a centralized computer or system. The goal of the smart outlet and similar innovations is to make the power grid more distributed and intelligent, capable of reconfiguring itself as conditions change.
Cellulose is synthesized in a semi-crystalline state that is essential for its function in a plant’s cell wall, but the mechanisms controlling its crystallinity are poorly understood. New Carnegie Institution research not only reveals key information about this process, but also a means to reduce cellulose crystallinity, a key stumbling block in biofuels development.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered the means by which a polymer known as PVDF, polyvinylidene fluoride, enables capacitors to store and release large amounts of energy quickly. Their findings could lead to much more powerful and efficient electric cars.
The condensation of water is crucial to the operation of most power plants that provide our electricity. But there are still large gaps in the scientific understanding of exactly how water condenses on the surfaces used to turn steam back into water in a power plant. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of technology offers new insights into how these droplets form.
Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a new family of liquid salt electrolytes, known as MetILs, that could lead to batteries able to cost-effectively store three times more energy than today's batteries. The research might lead to devices that can help economically and reliably incorporate large-scale intermittent renewable energy source into the nation's electric grid.
A team of chemical engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a small molecule that behaves the same as cellulose when it is converted to biofuel. Studying this 'mini-cellulose' molecule reveals, for the first time, the chemical reactions that take place in wood and prairie grasses during high-temperature conversion to biofuel.
The current global energy crisis means that sustainability now supplants necessity as the mother of invention. A Concordia University professor has taken this adage to heart with his reinvention of an industrial staple: the heat exchanger.
CERN announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will run with a beam energy of 4 TeV this year, 0.5 TeV higher than in 2010 and 2011. This decision was also accompanied by a strategy to optimize LHC running to deliver the maximum possible amount of data in 2012 before the LHC goes into a long shutdown to prepare for higher energy running.
Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles report a unique way to enhance polymer solar cell performance by building a tandem structure device. The device's architecture has also proven to be widely applicable after the researchers adopted a new material provided by Sumitomo Chemical of Japan, increasing the power conversion efficiency from 8.62% to a new world record of 10.6%.
Many people are willing to pay a premium for ethanol, but not enough to justify the government mandate for the corn-based fuel, a Michigan State University economist argues. Soren Andersen studied the demand for ethanol, or E85, in the United States. He found that when ethanol prices rose 10 cents per gallon, demand for ethanol fell only 12% to 16% on average.
Researchers at Montana State University-Northern have developed a process to convert camelina oil to jet fuel and other high-value chemicals. Using a continuous-flow process at low temperature and pressure, the technology yields butane, pentane, gasoline, diesel, and other products.
Researchers at the University of Georgia have taken a major step in the ongoing effort to find sources of cleaner, renewable energy by mapping the genomes of two originator cells of Miscanthus x giganteus , a large perennial grass with promise as a source of ethanol and bioenergy.
A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAPsystems has found that a new type of battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power. The study looked into the use of lithium batteries as an energy storage device in photovoltaic systems.
Though most of today's nuclear reactors are cooled by water, we've long known that there are alternatives; in fact, the world's first nuclear-powered electricity in 1951 came from a reactor cooled by sodium. Reactors cooled by liquid metals such as sodium or lead have a unique set of abilities that may again make them significant players in the nuclear industry. Argonne National Laboratory has designed a new small reactor cooled by lead.