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New carbon dioxide-removing catalyst can take the heat

May 24, 2012 4:13 am | News | Comments

The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing carbon dioxide, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs.

Morgan Crucible, Boston-Power sign joint development agreement

May 24, 2012 3:30 am | News | Comments

The Morgan Crucible Company plc announced the signing of a joint development agreement between its wholly owned subsidiary, MorganAM&T Inc., and Boston-Power Inc. to accelerate development and commercialization of MorganAM&T's advanced anode technologies based on metal-loaded carbon nanoparticles.

Coalition to develop world’s cleanest passenger train

May 22, 2012 12:57 pm | News | Comments

Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were unveiled this week by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, which has the goal of proving the viability of solid biofuel—torrefied biomass—and modern steam locomotive technology. The first step in those plans is to break the world speed record for steam trains.

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Oxygen-separation membranes could aid in carbon dioxide reduction

May 21, 2012 3:34 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are evaluating a system that efficiently eliminates nitrogen from the combustion process, delivering a pure stream of carbon dioxide after removing other combustion byproducts such as water and other gases.

Research focused on underground solution to greenhouse gas challenges

May 18, 2012 4:44 am | News | Comments

While many are focusing on atmospheric solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, some researchers are setting their sights on the ground—deep underground. Li Li, an assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering at Penn State University, is investigating geologic carbon sequestration as a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Sensor measures power consumption quickly, easily

May 16, 2012 10:57 am | News | Comments

Thanks to new energy taxation regulations taking effect in Germany, electrical engineers there have invented a space-saving energy usage metering unit that can be simply clipped onto a power cable like a laundry peg, without having to disconnect the load. The device is based on a magnetic field sensor originally developed for use in washing machines, where it monitors the position and orientation of the rotating drum.

Argonne, universities partner to design advanced materials

May 16, 2012 9:24 am | News | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory announced major new efforts with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago to advance the research and development of new materials to help solve the nation’s challenges in the fields of energy, health, and security.

NIST hydrogen test facility starts delivering data

May 16, 2012 4:03 am | News | Comments

Researchers at NIST have published their first archival paper based on data from the institute's new hydrogen test facility. The paper examines the embrittling effect of pressurized hydrogen gas on three different types of pipeline steel, an important factor for the design of future hydrogen transportation and delivery systems.

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NREL simulates shade conditions in repeatable test for solar arrays

May 15, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a new repeatable test protocol that simulates real shade conditions and can predict with much greater precision the effects of shade on a solar array. The new test demonstrated that under heavy shading conditions the use of microinverters instead of typical string inverters can help mitigate the impacts of shade by improving system performance by more than 12%.

A new look at prolonged radiation exposure

May 15, 2012 3:42 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative. The study found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected.

Web tool helps determine best energy storage options

May 11, 2012 4:06 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Energy have released a new tool to help utilities, developers, and regulators identify the energy storage options that best meet their needs. Partnering with DNV KEMA, Sandia is releasing Energy Storage Select, or ES-Select, software under a public license to the company.

Georgia Tech receives $3.1 M for nuclear energy research, education

May 10, 2012 8:13 am | News | Comments

Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for research and scholarships focused on nuclear energy. The money will go to three research projects focused on developing new and advanced nuclear reactor designs and technologies, while addressing their cost, safety, and security.

From soil microbe to super-efficient biofuel factory?

May 3, 2012 9:20 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists are exploring whether a common soil bacterium can be engineered to produce liquid transportation fuels much more efficiently than the ways in which advanced biofuels are made today. The process would be powered only by hydrogen and electricity. The goal is a biofuel—or electrofuel, as this new approach is called—that doesn’t require photosynthesis.

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Study: Clean energy scale-up needs reality check

May 1, 2012 5:30 pm | by Mark Golden, Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University | News | Comments

In a post-Solyndra, budget-constrained world, the transition to a decarbonized energy system faces great hurdles. Overcoming these hurdles will require smarter and more focused policies. Two Stanford writers outline their visions in a pair of analyses.

Study: America's clean energy policies need a reality check

May 1, 2012 12:28 pm | by Mark Golden, Stanford University | News | Comments

In a post-Solyndra, budget-constrained world, the transition to a decarbonized energy system faces great hurdles. Overcoming these hurdles will require smarter and more focused policies. Two Stanford University writers outline their visions in a pair of high-profile analyses.

Student-devised process would prep Chinese shale gas for sale

May 1, 2012 7:18 am | News | Comments

A team of Rice University students recently fulfilled a challenge to economically turn shale gas produced in China into a range of useful, profitable and environmentally friendly products. In building its plan, the team had to deal not only with processing what's known as "sour gas" straight out of the wellhead, but also had to come up with a solid budget for the construction and profitable operation of the plant as well as a strategy to protect the environment.

Scientists find night-warming effect over Texas wind farms

April 30, 2012 9:32 am | News | Comments

According to recent research into how wind turbines affect local weather, large wind farms in certain areas in the United States appear to affect local land surface temperatures, especially at night. The warming trend was spatially matched to the locations of wind farms, and caused warming by nearly three-quarters of a degree Celsius.

Researchers develop path to liquid solar cells

April 26, 2012 9:34 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the University of Southern California have developed a potential pathway to cheap, stable solar cells made from nanocrystals so small they can exist as a liquid ink and be painted or printed onto clear surfaces.

New harvesting approach boosts energy output from bacteria

April 26, 2012 5:29 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists from University of Colorado Denver has developed a novel energy system that increases the amount of energy harvested from microbial fuel cells by more than 70 times. The new approach also greatly improves energy efficiency.

Solar panels cause clashes with homeowner groups

April 25, 2012 8:37 am | by Ray Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not. Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice.

Purdue scientists, engineers team up on smart turbine wind energy project

April 25, 2012 7:59 am | News | Comments

A team of Purdue University researchers will use a $1.6 million federal grant to advance sensor technology and computer simulation tools for tracking and improving the performance and reliability of "smart" wind turbines and wind farms.

Study: Fracking requires a minimum distance from sensitive rock strata

April 25, 2012 6:23 am | News | Comments

According to new research in the U.K. that looked at data from thousands of fracking operations in the United States, the chance of rogue fractures due to shale gas fracking operations decreases significantly beyond a certain distance from the injection source. This, the first analysis of its kind, could be used as a starting point for separating aquifers and fracking.

Climate change may create price volatility in the corn market

April 23, 2012 12:21 pm | by Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment | News | Comments

In a study from Stanford University and Purdue University, researchers have shown for the first time that climate change may force the U.S. corn belt to move north in the next 10 years, escaping devastating heat waves. In turn, this will bring substantial price swings to the corn market, adversely affecting industries like food and biofuels.

Scientists propose solution to critical barrier to fusion

April 23, 2012 11:16 am | News | Comments

Physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion. If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing electric power.

Manhattan Project scientist Cowan dies at 92

April 23, 2012 8:29 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

One of the few people to know the various components of the first atomic bombs, George Cowan would become one of the leading nuclear researchers in the country and a fixture at Los Alamos National Laboratory for nearly 40 years. Still working with nonprofit science institute he helped found, he died Friday as the result of a fall at his home.

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