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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.


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.

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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Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

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University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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Green Power Technology Breakthrough at IUPUI

Article ID: 595035

Released: 2012-10-17 14:45:00

Source Newsroom: Indiana University

For Immediate Release

Oct. 17, 2012

Discovery of new class of power inverter could mean cheaper, faster hybrid vehicles and other green products

Media Contacts:

Diane Brown, 317-274-2195, habrown@iu.edu

Richard Schneider, 317-278-4564, rcschnei@iu.edu

INDIANAPOLIS -- With a laboratory breakthrough once thought impossible, an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis assistant professor has invented a new class of power inverter that could put cheaper and more efficient renewable energy products on the market.

Professor Afshin Izadian, a researcher at the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at IUPUI, has invented a power inverter that employs just a single switching transistor and generates infinite-level voltages.

Power inverters are at the heart of several renewable energy technologies. Solar power, battery storage, electric vehicles, motor drives and manufacturing robots all use inverters to generate AC power efficiently.

However, the current inverters with multiple switching transistors generate limited voltage levels, are heavy, generate unwanted harmonics (voltage frequencies) and require filters to reduce the harmful effects to the electric grid.

Izadian’s invention, the result of a creative reconfiguration of an electrical circuit during a laboratory experiment, would make inverters cheaper, lighter and therefore more efficient than current models.

“The thrilling moment of any research is when your thoughts, designs and implementations come out right and you reach the goal,” Izadian said. “An on-demand change of voltage polarity might not seem very exciting, but it becomes increasingly important if you can accomplish it while maintaining desired voltage amplitudes.”

Izadian, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering and is a former postdoctoral researcher from UCLA, teaches in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. While studying how voltage levels and polarities are created in inverters, he made his discovery. In a creative moment at his lab bench, he began reconfiguring an inverter circuit and discovered a new property technique to create infinite voltage levels and invert the voltage polarity of power circuits. This discovery in turn leads to a corollary insight that the researcher employed to create the new class of inverters.

Not only did the bench test work, it lead to the discovery of several other circuits and controllers for high-power inverters with lower switching loss, higher voltage performance and lighter reconfigured circuits.

For example, unwanted harmonics are greatly reduced with Izadian’s invention. This means car manufacturers can reduce the size and insulation of traction motors so that electric vehicles can be made cheaper. The size and weight of the power electronics can also be reduced, which can boost fuel economy in hybrid cars and buses. Such advantages translate into wider adoption of green technologies and more affordable renewable energy for homes, vehicles and businesses.

“The Lugar Center is a tremendous asset to the school’s creative and innovative research process,” said David J. Russomanno, dean of the School of Engineering and Technology. “We are delighted with Dr. Izadian’s work and the possibility that his inverter can impact the renewable energy market. His efforts are a quintessential example of the cutting-edge research that enhances the school’s image and reputation and allows us to compete in the renewable energy arena.”

Izadian’s work is under review by a prestigious technical journal, and several large companies have shown interest in the new inverters. They are interested in how Izadian’s breakthrough can result in simpler, cheaper and smaller systems with better performance than today’s technology.

Izadian has several patents pending on his invention and is seeking research funding to complete the development of the analysis and controls needed for commercial viability. Products could be ready for the marketplace in as little as three years.

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