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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

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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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University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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Initial Results of Study Show North Dakota Clay Could Play Role in Oilpatch

Article ID: 595227

Released: 2012-10-22 17:15:00

Source Newsroom: North Dakota State University

Carol Renner, carol.renner@ndsu.edu

701-231-5174

Initial results of clay samples from western North Dakota show varying percentages of alumina content, a finding of interest to the North Dakota Geological Survey that commissioned the study. Scientists in a lab at North Dakota State University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Fargo, are completing analysis of the clay, often referred to as kaolin, which could eventually play a role in proppants used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota oil exploration.

As part of a research agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS) in Bismarck, N.D., the Materials Characterization and Analysis Laboratory at NDSU CNSE is completing initial analysis of more than 200 clay samples from Stark and Dunn counties in North Dakota to determine their composition and suitability for use as a component in hydraulic fracturing. “The alumina was above 20 percent for 66 percent of the Bear Den claystone samples and 38 percent of the Rhame Bed samples,” said Ed Murphy, North Dakota state geologist. “Roughly one third of the sites sampled averaged above 20 percent alumina for the entire exposed bed thickness.”

A final report of the study conducted at NDSU CNSE is expected in late 2012 or early 2013. “We generated an alumina map of western North Dakota that companies can use to guide clay exploration if they determine that the alumina content is sufficiently high for their needs,” explained Murphy. “We will publish a final report with the clay mineralogy when that information is available.” https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Clay map/GI_158.pdf

Murphy said it was extremely useful to have specialized scientific expertise available in North Dakota to conduct the study. “CNSE utilizes excellent analytical equipment and employs knowledgeable people with valuable experience. We have had a very good working relationship with the NDSU CNSE. We found them to be very dedicated to their work and generating a product that we could have confidence in.”

The clays show early promise for potential use as a key material known as ceramic proppant, used in the fracking process to help keep fractures open, particularly in the Bakken formation in North Dakota. “It could potentially lead to the establishment of a ceramic proppant manufacturing plant if these claystones are determined to be suitable for this process. The chemistry and bed thickness that we are providing will answer a number of the initial questions from industry,” explained Murphy. “If companies deem these results to be promising, they could potentially do additional exploration on their own which might ultimately lead to test manufacturing of ceramic proppant using these clays.”

Currently, proppants used in western North Dakota oil development typically come from other states or other countries. Murphy notes that companies will use approximately five million tons of proppants in North Dakota oil development in 2012. In a recent report, the North Dakota Geological Survey estimates about 1.7 billion tons of economically mineable kaolin in western North Dakota.

Researchers at NDSU CNSE use x-ray fluorescence to determine which elements and how much of those elements the samples contain. CNSE scientists also conduct analysis of clay samples using x-ray diffraction to determine the amount of kaolinite, illite, chlorite and other substances in the samples.

“We frequently partner with agencies and industry on projects,” said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research at NDSU. “CNSE provides specialized instrumentation and scientific expertise to a variety of research partners across a spectrum of industries.”

About NDSU CNSE

NDSU’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, conducts multidisciplinary research with partners in government, industry, private and university sectors. CNSE’s scientific capabilities include materials characterization and analysis, flexible electronics and materials, electronics miniaturization, wireless sensors, RFID, bioactive materials, combinatorial science, and coatings technologies. www.ndsu.edu/cnse

About North Dakota State University

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the Top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in computer science, chemistry, and physical sciences, social sciences, and agricultural sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation. www.ndsu.edu/research