Batteries Smaller Than a Grain of Salt

Researchers in California are aiming to create some of the tiniest batteries on Earth, the largest of which would be no bigger than a grain of sand. These tiny energy storage devices could one day be used to power the electronics and mechanical components of tiny micro- to nano-scale devices.

NIST Identifies Five "Foundational" Smart Grid Standards

NIST has advised the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it has identified five 'foundational' sets of standards for Smart Grid interoperability and cyber security that are ready for consideration by federal and state energy regulators.

Planar Power

A flat sodium-nickel chloride battery could deliver 30 percent more power at lower temperatures than its cylindrical counterpart, making it a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries for storing wind and solar power on the grid, according to work published by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the October 8 issue of ECS Transactions.

Fish Near Power Plants Show Lower Levels Of Mercury

A new study finds that fish located near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury than fish that live much further away. The surprising finding appears to be linked to high levels of another chemical, selenium, found near such facilities, which unfortunately poses problems of its own.

ORNL Uses New Technologies to Take Steam Out of Wasted Energy

By installing wireless sensors and replacing faulty traps along the 12 miles of steam lines at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, officials expect to save as much as $675,000 per year.

Bioenergy Choices Could Dramatically Change Midwest Bird Diversity

Ambitious plans to expand acreage of bioenergy crops could have a major impact on birds in the Upper Midwest, according to a study published today (Oct. 4) in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rain Or Shine, Researchers Find New Ways to Forecast Large Photovoltaic Power Plant Output

Sandia National Laboratories researchers have developed a new system to monitor how clouds affect large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants.

Water-Based 'Artificial Leaf' Produces Electricity

A team led by a North Carolina State University researcher has shown that water-gel-based solar devices - "artificial leaves" - can act like solar cells to produce electricity. The findings prove the concept for making solar cells that more closely mimic nature. They also have the potential to be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than the current standard-bearer: silicon-based solar cells.

Researchers Discover Less-Expensive Low-Temperature Catalyst for Hydrogen Purification

Engineering researchers from Tufts University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard University have demonstrated the low-temperature efficacy of an atomically dispersed platinum catalyst, which could be suitable for on-board hydrogen production in fuel-cell-powered vehicles of the future.

Neutrons Helping Researchers Unlock Secrets to Cheaper Ethanol

New insight into the structure of switchgrass and poplars is fueling discussions that could result in more efficient methods to turn biomass into biofuel.

Technology Recovers Coal from Sludge

A new technology for removing water from ultrafine coal slurry has been successfully tested at the commercial scale at an operating coal cleaning plant. The technology offers the possibility of reducing the coal slurry impoundment problem from the source.

Home's Electrical Wiring Acts as Antenna to Receive Low-Power Sensor Data

Using a home's electrical wiring as a giant copper antenna enables extremely low-power wireless sensors that run for decades on a single watch battery. The device could be used for low-cost medical monitoring or home sensing systems.

Scientists Reveal Battery Behavior at the Nanoscale

As industries and consumers increasingly seek improved battery power sources, cutting-edge microscopy performed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing an unprecedented perspective on how lithium-ion batteries function.

Computer in Wrapping-Paper Form

Investigators in New York are giving factory production of solar energy cells a modern makeover. Their new approach, described in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, includes the use of "continuous electronic sheets," something like a computer flattened into wrapping paper.

Experts Find Shortage of FSC Wood Statewide Could Lead to a Price Premium for Green Construction

The United States is in the thick of a "green trend." Increased awareness of and commitment to sustainability and improving the environment through reduced carbon emissions and energy use have led to more consumer demand for "green" products--including green construction. Even with the downturn in the housing market, a 2008 poll showed that 91 percent of registered voters nationwide would still pay more for a house if that meant a reduced impact on the environment.

Chemists Discover Method to Create High-Value Chemicals from Biomass

Walter Trahanovsky, an Iowa State professor of chemistry, was trying to produce sugar derivatives from biomass using high-temperature chemistry. He was surprised when his research also produced significant yields of high-value chemicals.

Computer Scientists Leverage Dark Silicon to Improve Smartphone Battery Life

A new smartphone chip prototype under development at the University of California, San Diego will improve smartphone efficiency by making use of "dark silicon" - the underused transistors in modern microprocessors. On August 23, UC San Diego computer scientists presented GreenDroid, the new smartphone chip prototype at the HotChips symposium in Palo Alto, CA.

Listen up! Experiment Records Ultrafast Chemical Reaction with Vibrational Echoes

To watch a magician transform a vase of flowers into a rabbit, it's best to have a front-row seat. Likewise, for chemical transformations in solution, the best view belongs to the molecular spectators closest to the action.

Off-the-Shelf Dyes Improve Solar Cells

In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, scientists in India report success in boosting the ability of zinc oxide solar cells to absorb visible light simply by applying a blended mixture of various off-the-shelf dyes commonly used in food and medical industries -- in a soak-then-dry procedure not unlike that used to color a tee-shirt in a home washing machine.

Electricity Collected from the Air Could Become the Newest Alternative Energy Source

Imagine devices that capture electricity from the air ― much like solar cells capture sunlight ― and using them to light a house or recharge an electric car. Imagine using similar panels on the rooftops of buildings to prevent lightning before it forms. Strange as it may sound, scientists already are in the early stages of developing such devices, according to a report presented here today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Juicing Up Laptops and Cell Phones with Soda Pop Or Vegetable Oil?

Scientists reported development of the first fuel cell designed to produce electricity with biochemical technology borrowed from the biological powerhouses that energize humans and other animals. This new type of fuel cell could be used to power a variety of electronics ranging from cell phones to stamp-sized explosives detectors, the scientists said. Their study is scheduled for presentation in August at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston.

LEDs Promise Brighter Future, Not Necessarily Greener

Cheaper light may encourage more use.

Can the World be Powered Mainly by Solar and Wind Energy?

Continuous research and development of alternative energy could soon lead to a new era in human history in which two renewable sources -- solar and wind -- will become Earth's dominant contributor of energy, a Nobel laureate said in Boston today at a special symposium at the American Chemical Society's 240th National Meeting.

Prof. Develops CO2-Free Method of Developing Iron

Using renewable solar energy and a process of solar conversion that he patented called Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) energy conversion, Dr. Stuart Licht is able to easily extract pure metal iron from the two prevalent iron ores, hematite and magnetite, without emitting carbon dioxide.

A New Generation of Power: Hi-Tech Rechargeable Batteries Developed for Military

Scientists reported progress today in using a common virus to develop improved materials for high-performance, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that could be woven into clothing to power portable electronic devices. They discussed development of the new materials for the battery's cathode, or negative electrode, at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held here this week.