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The Economic Case for Wind and Solar Energy in Africa

To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.

Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.


Valerie Taylor Named Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division Director

Computer scientist Valerie Taylor has been appointed as the next director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division at Argonne, effective July 3, 2017.

Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.

Kalinin, Paranthaman Elected Materials Research Society Fellows

Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sergei Kalinin and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, have been elected fellows of the Materials Research Society.


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Rare Earth Recycling

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Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


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Researchers Work to Make Future Smart Grid Safe and Secure

Article ID: 588460

Released: 2012-04-24 12:00:00

Source Newsroom: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Andrew Careaga

573-341-4328 (office)

573-578-4420 (cell)

acareaga@mst.edu

ROLLA, Mo. – Researchers working on a future power grid for the nation envision a network similar to the Internet. Under this scenario, users and utility companies interact to share and swap energy from distributed systems, much like computer users tap into the web to transfer files.

But just as malicious Internet users try to spread harmful viruses through computer networks, attackers on the future power network could cause outages and other harmful disruptions that might disable portions of the so-called smart grid.

A small group of computer science researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are applying their expertise in cyber-security issues to try to prevent such a disaster.

The computer science department at Missouri S&T is one of only a few in the nation working on smart grid cyber-security issues. And the university, as a member of the National Science Foundation’s FREEDM Systems Center, is among the nation’s leaders in the field. Ultimately, the computer scientists’ research could result in technology that stands between a major disruption and a secure source of electricity for future businesses and homeowners.

Their work also adds a new twist to the field of cyber-security.

“Most people think of cyber-security as something that happens in a computer network,” says Tom Roth of St. Louis, a Ph.D. student in computer science and one of the Missouri S&T researchers on the project. “We’re usually concerned about who can access our data.

“But on the smart grid, we’re not actually dealing with mainstream cyber-security,” he says. “We’re looking at what an attacker could do to the physical side of the system to compromise security. For instance, a malicious resident on a smart grid could affect the stability of the power network in such a way that it could cause a blackout.

“We’re concerned about information disclosure,” says Roth. “We’re asking, ‘Can an attacker figure out, from the information being released on the grid, what part of the network might be most stressed and most vulnerable to attack?’”

Missouri S&T is one of seven universities involved in the FREEDM Systems Center, a nationwide effort established in 2008 to begin building the smart grid. The FREEDM (Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management) Systems Center is based at North Carolina State University.

Much of the research under way through the center focuses on creating an “Internet for energy” that, according to the FREEDM website, “will transform the power industry in a similar way that the Internet transformed the computer industry from the mainframe computer paradigm to the distributed computing we have today.” Part of that vision assumes a growth in renewable energy use and creating the ability for energy users “to not only be a customer, but to also act as an innovator of energy.”

The project’s significant computer science component has to do with something called distributed grid intelligence, or DGI. The effort is led from Missouri S&T by Dr. Bruce McMillin. DGI is a crucial component for making the smart grid work. It is essentially the “brains” of the operation – the command and control center.

Working with McMillin are five graduate and Ph.D. students, one undergraduate student and one post-doctoral researcher, all from Missouri S&T. In addition, four faculty and their graduate students at institutions in Florida and Auckland, New Zealand, are involved with this project.

Other S&T researchers are focused on the power side of creating the smart grid. Led by Dr. Mariesa Crow, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri S&T and director of the university’s Energy Research and Development Center, these researchers (Drs. Badrul Chowdhury, Jonathan Kimball, Keith Corzine and Mehdi Ferdowsi) are developing computer simulations that McMillin’s team will use as a testing ground for their cyber-security algorithms.

To do that, the computer science researchers must also consider how a simulated network would interact with devices that plug in to the smart grid. These include distributed renewal energy resources – for example, rooftop solar panels that help provide energy to a home – as well as devices that consume power, such as appliances, computers and light fixtures. So they’re simulating devices, too.

That’s part of Michael Catanzaro’s job.

Catanzaro, a junior computer science major from St. Louis, is relatively new to the FREEDM project, having just joined McMillin’s team in early 2012. Right now, he’s trying to write programs that simulate “plug-and-play” devices. One driving idea behind the smart grid – and consistent with the grid-as-network metaphor – is the concept that the grid would be able to recognize appliances that are plugged in to the network, just as your PC recognizes a USB device when it is plugged in to the port on your computer. The grid’s distributed intelligence would also be able to control appliance usage, so that if you program your dishwasher to run when overall electricity usage is at its lowest, that’s when it will run.

“Right now, the way we simulate these devices is not very realistic,” Catanzaro says. “They’re basically empty shells we use to send and receive messages.”

So there is work to be done to make sure that the future power grid is not only smart, but also safe and secure.

Both Roth and Catanzaro are funded through the FREEDM program – Catanzaro through the FREEDM Undergraduate Research Scholars Program and Roth through the FREEDM System Center Graduate Fellowship.

More information about FREEDM is available at www.freedm.ncsu.edu.