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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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A New Point of Reference for Offshore Energy Development

Article ID: 597868

Released: 2013-01-08 12:00:00

Source Newsroom: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of Nuon via Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nuon/5032611616/.

    A new Department of Energy facility is being planned to test offshore wind and ocean power measurement technologies. The Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy will help bring offshore wind and ocean power projects to U.S. coasts. Pictured here is part of an offshore wind farm off of England’s south east coast.

PNNL talk at AMS explains how new facility will evaluate renewable energy tech

AUSTIN, Texas - A new Department of Energy research facility could help bring the U.S. closer to generating power from the winds and waters along America’s coasts and help alleviate a major hurdle for offshore wind and ocean power development.

Will Shaw, an atmospheric scientist at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will describe plans for the facility at an 11:45 a.m. talk today at the 93rd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, which runs through Thursday in Austin, Texas.

The Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy will be used to test new technologies designed to determine the power-generating potential at sites along U.S. shores. Research at the facility will help verify that the technologies can collect reliable data and help improve those technologies. This knowledge provides potential investors confidence when reviewing offshore development proposals. Questions about the accuracy of offshore data from new measurement technologies have made some investors hesitant to back offshore energy projects.

Current plans are for the facility to be located at the Chesapeake Light Tower, a former Coast Guard lighthouse that is about 13 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. Scientists representing industry, government and academia are likely to start research at the facility in 2015. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will shape and prioritize the research conducted there, while National Renewable Energy Laboratory will manage the facility’s remodeling and operations.

PNNL will form an interagency steering committee to determine the facility’s research priorities and procedures. Research will primarily focus on offshore wind, but will also include underwater ocean energy and environmental monitoring technologies. Part of NREL’s renovation of the former lighthouse will include installing research equipment. Such equipment includes a meteorological tower that reaches 100 meters above sea level, which is the height of offshore wind turbine hubs.

The harsh environment and remote locale of offshore energy sites makes new technologies necessary to assess the power-producing potential of offshore sites. Strong winds and high concentrations of salt, for example, mean data-collecting equipment needs to be heavy duty and extremely sturdy to operate offshore. And while land-based wind assessment is often done by placing meteorological equipment on a tower, the challenges of anchoring similar towers into the ocean floor can increase costs substantially. As a result, offshore energy developers are looking at new ways to gather precise wind measurements at sites of interest.

Among the new technologies that are expected to be tested at the reference facility are devices incorporating LIDAR, also known as light detection and ranging, to measure offshore wind speeds. With these instruments, researchers measure wind strength and direction by emitting light and then observing when and how some of that light is reflected off of tiny bits of dust or other particles blowing in the breeze. LIDAR devices for offshore wind measurement would be placed on buoys in the ocean. However, ocean waves move buoys up and down, which would also send the device’s light beams in multiple directions. So scientists have developed methods to account for a buoy’s frequently changing position to collect the wind data they need.

That’s where the reference facility comes in. Mathematically corrected data from buoy-based LIDAR is a new ballgame for the wind energy industry. To prove that the data they collect are both reliable and accurate, wind assessment LIDAR devices would be placed both on buoys floating near the facility and also on the facility itself. Wind data would be collected from both sources and evaluated to determine the buoy-based technology’s accuracy.

REFERENCE: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 11:45 a.m., Austin Convention Center, Room 6A: “The Chesapeake Light Tower: A New Reference Facility for Offshore Renewable Energy,” Joel W. Cline, W.J. Shaw and A. Clifton, https://ams.confex.com/ams/93Annual/webprogram/Paper223295.html

Credentials for the conference are available to working press and freelance science writers with the appropriate identification. For more information on obtaining press credentials, contact Rachel Thomas-Medwid of the American Meteorological Society at 617-226-3955 or rthomas@ametsoc.org.

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Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. PNNL employs 4,500 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion, and has been managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by Ohio-based Battelle since the laboratory's inception in 1965. For more, visit the PNNL's News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.