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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2011-07-14 13:05:00
    • Article ID: 578673

    Fuel Cell Mobile Lighting System Featured at Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch

    • Credit: Steffan Schulz

      A hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile lighting system developed by Sandia and several industry partners was deployed to the site of the final space shuttle launch on July 8 and observed by visitors, shuttle astronauts and members of the international media.

    Mike Janes

    mejanes@sandia.gov

    LIVERMORE, Calif. — Fuel cells are used in the space shuttle as one component of the electrical power system, so perhaps it was appropriate that a hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile lighting system could be seen on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center as the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched into space last week, the 135th and final mission for the NASA Space Shuttle Program.

    The lighting system, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in conjunction with Boeing Co., and developed by Sandia National Laboratories with several industry partners, was deployed to the site of the final space shuttle launch and observed by visitors, shuttle astronauts and members of the international media.

    The unit provided lighting in the international press area, and its auxiliary power was used to conveniently recharge the camera battery packs for a number of photographers at the event. The NASA deployment was the latest in a series of high-profile test sites where the lighting system has been utilized.

    The hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile lighting system is a clean, quiet and efficient alternative to traditional technologies commonly powered by diesel fueled generators. The system features a fuel cell running on pure hydrogen, resulting in zero-emission electrical power. The fuel cell produces electricity for an advanced, power-saving Light Emitting PlasmaTM (LEP) lighting system and additional auxiliary power up to 2.5 kW, which allows additional equipment (such as power tools, public address systems or security metal detectors) to be powered by the unit at the same time the system is providing illumination.

    Current mobile lighting typically uses diesel fueled generators that produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide nitrogen oxides, which produce pollutants and create smog, and soot, making them environmentally objectionable. In addition, diesel units are noisy and can create a safety hazard when construction personnel are distracted and cannot hear oncoming traffic.

    Sandia researchers estimate that a single hydrogen fuel cell-powered lighting system would offset 900 gallons of diesel fuel per year and completely eliminate soot, nitrogen-oxide and carbon-dioxide emissions, allowing the system to be used indoors in contrast to current diesel technology.

    “This hydrogen fuel cell-powered mobile lighting system has the very real potential to drastically reduce dependence on diesel-fueled mobile lighting across the United States and abroad,” said Lennie Klebanoff, Sandia’s project lead.

    The prototype system has been tested in a variety of environments and has primarily focused on the entertainment, transportation and airport sectors. In addition to NASA (which also used the system during the Space Shuttle Endeavor launch) customers who have provided test sites include the California Department of Transportation, the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony, the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards and the 2011 Grammy Awards. Boeing, the San Francisco International Airport and Paramount Pictures will soon be deploying units as well.

    In addition to the DOE’s sponsorship and Sandia’s design and technical management role, the industry partners on the project include Boeing, Multiquip Inc., Altergy Systems, Luxim Corp., Lumenworks Inc., Stray Light Optical Technologies, Golden State Energy and Ovonic Hydrogen Solutions. The California Fuel Cell Partnership has provided support on hydrogen fuel for several deployments. Multiquip is implementing a manufacturing and commercialization plan for the system.

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

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    Microbial Types May Prove Key to Gas Releases from Thawing Permafrost

    Scientists discover key types of microbes that degrade organic matter and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

    An effect that Einstein helped discover 100 years ago offers new insight into a puzzling magnetic phenomenon

    Experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have seen for the first time what happens when magnetic materials are demagnetized at ultrafast speeds of millionths of a billionth of a second: The atoms on the surface of the material move, much like the iron bar did. The work, done at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser, was published in Nature earlier this month.

    Found: A precise method for determining how waves and particles affect fusion reactions

    Like surfers catching ocean waves, particles within plasma can ride waves oscillating through the plasma during fusion energy experiments. Now a team of physicists led by PPPL has devised a faster method to determine how much this interaction contributes to efficiency loss in tokamaks.

    Discovery adapts natural membrane to make hydrogen fuel from water

    In a recent study from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, scientists have combined two membrane-bound protein complexes to perform a complete conversion of water molecules to hydrogen and oxygen.

    How Plants Regulate Sugar Deposition in Cell Walls

    Identified genes involved in plant cell wall polysaccharide production and restructuring could aid in engineering bioenergy crops.

    Scientists Identify Gene Cluster in Budding Yeasts with Major Implications for Renewable Energy

    How yeast partition carbon into a metabolite may offer insights into boosting production for biofuels.

    Nanocrystals Get Better When They Double Up With MOFs

    Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a dual-purpose material out of a self-assembling MOF (metal-organic framework)-nanocrystal hybrid that could one day be used to store carbon dioxide gas molecules for the manufacture of new chemicals and fuels.

    Turn, turn, turn: New findings bring physicists closer to understanding the formation of planets and stars

    New findings further the understanding of a machine known as the magnetorotational instability experiment, which is named for and brings us closer to detecting the source of the instability that causes interstellar gas and dust to collapse into celestial bodies.

    Scientists inch closer to fusion energy with discovery of a process that stabilizes plasmas

    Feature describes newly discovered stabilizing effect of underappreciated 1983 finding that variations in plasma temperature can influence the growth of magnetic islands that lead to disruption of fusion plasmas.

    Ten PPPL stories you may have missed from 2018 -- plus a special bonus

    Feature summarizes and links to discoveries and breakthroughs at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2018, plus a profile of the knight who leads the laboratory.


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    Top 10 Discoveries of 2018

    Every year, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory compiles a list of the biggest advances made by the Lab's staff scientists, engineers, and visiting researchers. From uncovering mysteries of the universe to building better batteries, here, in no particular order, are our picks for the top 10 discoveries of 2018.

    U.S. Department of Energy Announces $33 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced it will award 189 grants totaling $33 million to 149 small businesses in 32 states.

    DOE to Provide $16 Million for New Research into Atmospheric and Terrestrial Processes

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $16 million for new observational research aimed at improving the accuracy of today's climate and earth system models.

    Machine learning award powers Argonne leadership in engine design

    When attempting to design engines to be more fuel-efficient and emissions-free, automotive manufacturers have to take into account all the complexity inherent in the combustion process.

    ORNL partners with industry to address multiple nuclear technology challenges

    The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with industry on six new projects focused on advancing commercial nuclear energy technologies that offer potential improvements to current nuclear reactors and move new reactor designs closer to deployment.

    Lithium earns honors for three physicists working to bring the energy that powers the sun to Earth

    Feature describes research of three PPPL physicists who have won the laboratory's 2018 outstanding research awards

    DOE approves technical plan and cost estimate to upgrade Argonne facility; Project will create X-rays that illuminate the atomic scale, in 3D

    The U.S. Department of Energy has approved the technical scope, cost estimate and plan of work for an upgrade of the Advanced Photon Source, a major storage-ring X-ray source at Argonne.

    Costas Soukoulis elected to National Academy of Inventors

    Costas Soukoulis, Ames Laboratory senior scientist and Iowa State University Frances M. Craig Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor, has been named as a 2018 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow.

    Biophysicist F. William Studier Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

    F. William Studier, a Senior Biophysicist Emeritus at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at Stony Brook University, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is among 148 renowned academic inventors being recognized by NAI for 2018.

    Blast to the future

    A grant from DOE's Technology Commercialization Fund will help researchers at Argonne and industry partners seek improvements to U.S. manufacturing by making discovery and design of new materials more efficient.


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    Microbial Types May Prove Key to Gas Releases from Thawing Permafrost

    Scientists discover key types of microbes that degrade organic matter and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

    New Method Knocks Out Yeast Genes with Single-Point Precision

    Researchers can precisely study how different genes affect key properties in a yeast used industrially to produce fuel and chemicals.

    How Plants Regulate Sugar Deposition in Cell Walls

    Identified genes involved in plant cell wall polysaccharide production and restructuring could aid in engineering bioenergy crops.

    Scientists Identify Gene Cluster in Budding Yeasts with Major Implications for Renewable Energy

    How yeast partition carbon into a metabolite may offer insights into boosting production for biofuels.

    More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities

    A combined experimental and modeling approach contributes to understanding small proteins with potential use in industrial, therapeutic applications.

    Deep Learning for Electron Microscopy

    Artificial intelligence on Summit to discover atomic-scale structures.

    Clarifying Rates of Methylmercury Production

    New model provides more accurate estimates of how fast microbes produce a mercury-based neurotoxin.

    Drought Stress Changes Microbes Living at Sorghum's Roots

    Scientists explore how drought-tolerant plants communicate to nearby microorganisms, suggesting ways to engineer more resilient bioenergy crops.

    How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water

    Scientists determine the accuracy of computational methods used to study the sulfate radical approach to purifying water.

    Small Particles Play Large Role in Tropical Thunderstorms

    Ultrafine aerosol particles produce bigger storm clouds and more precipitation than larger aerosols in pristine conditions.


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