Last Friday, the manager of most of the electricity in the Pacific Northwest put wind farms on notice that they may be shut down on short notice. A cold, wet spring has given hydroelectric dams so much potential energy that the energy grid is at capacity. The move could precipitate a legal battle between wind farm owners and the U.S. government.
Prior to the Sendai earthquake, nuclear plants supplied about 30% of Japan's electricity, and the government had planned to raise that to 50% by 2030. Now, however, the country will pursue wind, solar, and biomass energy sources as an alternative to what has come to be seen as a risky choice for meeting the country’s energy needs.
Natural gas drillers have been under intense scrutiny since reports of fouled drinking water emerged several years ago. Now, research is resolving some of the questions surrounding hydraulic fracking, including the actual risk of methane contamination of water wells and the effect of highly-saline wastewater on watersheds.
As was highlighted in yesterday’s R&D Daily , America does not hold a leadership position in developing green technologies. But interest in renewable energy is strong, and according to the National Renewable Energy Lab, more than 850 energy utilities across the U.S. offer green power programs. NREL this week released its annual list of its leaders.
China’s output of so-called “green” technologies has grown by a 77% a year, reflecting the country’s pace of growth. On a political level, China has made a conscious decision to capture and develop markets in renewable energy and other clean technologies. The U.S. is also growing in this sector, but not nearly as quickly.
Revware Inc. has announced that they currently surpass federal recommendations for international product exports.
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.
The world's most seismically charged region is undergoing a nuclear renaissance as it struggles to harness enough power for its huge populations and booming economies. But China, Taiwan, India and several other countries have made little use of new science to determine whether these areas are safe. At least 32 plants in operation or under construction in Asia are at risk of one day being hit by a tsunami, nuclear experts and geologists warn.
Russia will test a next-generation spacecraft, build a new cosmodrome and even consider a manned mission to Mars after 2035, the nation's space chief said Wednesday. Plans include a new launch pad in far east Russia, nuclear rocket engines, and a new spacecraft named Rus.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida are among the recipients of the retired spacecraft.
Russia must preserve its pre-eminence in space, President Dmitry Medvedev declared Tuesday on the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The statement followed warnings by another cosmonaut that Russia risks losing its edge in space research by relying solely on Soviet-era achievements and doing little to develop new space technologies.
Despite deals made over the weekend, the threat of a government shutdown remains. According to the American Physical Society, not only would a shutdown be harmful, the budget agreement in Congress as it stands would strip almost $1 billion from the Dept. of Energy’s budget.
A Michigan utility spent $65 million last year replacing key parts at the state's largest coal-fired power plant, but when regulators found out the brought DTE Energy to court for not also installing technology that would greatly reduce air pollution. The case highlights the industry-wide tug-of-war between compliance with EPA rules and the cost of new technology.
The Gulf Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Institute has recently opened in Abu Dhabi with mission of preparing Emirati nuclear professionals for the responsibility of handling potentially threatening materials. The institute, which is backed by experts from Sandia National Laboratories, will not train plant operators; instead it will train executives and policymakers in broad concepts.
A new article written by a fellow at Rice Univ.’s Baker Institute for Public Policy calls on the intelligence community to jointly create a policy on cybersecurity and determine the degree to which the U.S. should protect intellectual property and national infrastructure of other nations.
Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals that are used in products such as flatscreen TVs and lightweight batteries for mobile phones and hybrid cars. China accounts for almost all production of rare earths, and now plans to tighten control over producers and restrict output in a five-year development strategy.
Analysis of the $3.8 trillion proposed budget is beginning to flow, and early reports of its impact on research and innovation is positive, at least from the perspective of scientists. The president placed priorities on energy and medical research, which explains why standout winners in the budget plan include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and U.S. Dept of Energy.
In a new study, Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi argue that the technology exists today to transition to an alternative energy economy in 20 to 40 years. Their plan calls for wind and solar power to contribute 90% of needed energy.
Energy R&D covers a broad spectrum, from fossil to renewable, from generation to storage, and from utility to consumer. These technologies and markets are fairly distinctive. As a result, R&D funding is not entirely fungible within the energy sector; so, we have adopted a portfolio approach to our forecast.
Over the weekend, an Iranian news agency reported that their Bushehr nuclear plant had been infected by the Stuxnet worm, an advanced piece of malware found this past summer that capitalizes on holes in both Microsoft Windows and a Siemens industrial control systems. What has software experts alarmed as much as the attack itself is what worm is designed to do.
In 1981, the U.S. enacted the most generous R&D tax credit in the world, but since then it has fallen behind other nations and has kept companies guessing by adopting a stop-and-go approach to renewing the credit. Making these credits permanent, and expanding their scope, can only have positive effects on the nation’s GDP.
Legislators and DOE’s researchers alike are hoping FutureGen 2.0 is a smoother ride than the first go-around, which went the way of New Coke. With $1 billion now comitted, the coal-dependent U.S. is now headed rapidly for a massive retrofitting of coal generation. But carbon storage will inevitably mean higher energy prices for all.
Visit one of Florida’s premier tourist destinations (no, not Disney) and it’s a little hard to believe there’s a countdown unrelated to a rocket launch. Nearly everything at Kennedy Space Center is designed to show visitors that not only does NASA has a rich history of space exploration, it’s still going strong as the world’s premiere launch facility.
The authors of a new report from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars claim that the ability to estimate the social, ethical, legal, and economic impacts of emerging technologies and science is missing from our national perspective. They advocate the creation of a new institution that would assess national technology capability.
If we needed any further proof of the inferiority complex Russia seems to be continually chafing under, Viktor Vekselberg, one of the country’s most successful oligarchs, has been placed in charge of the new Kremlin effort to create a Russian Silicon Valley.