A Nanosized Hydrogen Generator

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

X-Rays Unlock a Protein's SWEET Side

Understanding just how sugar makes its way into the cell could lead to the design of better drugs for diabetes patients and an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables farmers are able to grow. Stanford University researchers have recently uncovered one of these "pathways" into the cell by piecing together proteins slightly wider than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.

UChicago-Argonne National Lab Team Improves Solar-Cell Efficiency

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory.

A More Efficient, Lightweight and Low-Cost Solar Cell

Scientists trying to improve the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells were long hampered by drawbacks of metal electrodes. Now comes a more efficient, easily processable and lightweight solar cell that can use any metal for the electrode, breaking down this barrier.

American-Made Wind Turbine Blades

Sandia National Laboratories is helping makers of wind turbine blades improve the labor productivity associated with blade fabrication and finishing. This improved productivity makes domestic blades more cost competitive with blades from countries that pay workers lower wages.

X-Rays Unlock a Protein's SWEET Side

Understanding just how sugar makes its way into the cell could lead to the design of better drugs for diabetes patients and an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables farmers are able to grow. Stanford University researchers have recently uncovered one of these "pathways" into the cell by piecing together proteins slightly wider than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.

Gas Leaks From Faulty Wells Linked to Contamination in Some Groundwater

A study has pinpointed the likely source of most natural gas contamination in drinking-water wells associated with hydraulic fracturing, and it's not the source many people may have feared.

Angling Chromium to Let Oxygen Through

More efficient fuel cells might gain wider use in vehicles or as quiet, pollution-free, neighborhood electricity generating stations. A serendipitous finding has resulted in a semiconducting material that could enable fuel cells to operate at temperatures two-thirds lower than current technology, scientists reported August 18 in Nature Communications.

Gulf Anglers Could Be Entitled to $585 Million After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Study Says

Trustees could use the data to try to get the $585 million for ecosystem improvements and more fish in the Gulf.

New 'Green Growth' Report Shows How the U.S. Can Cut Carbon Pollution by 40 Percent While Creating 2.7 Million New Jobs

A new report from the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress shows that the United States can cut its carbon pollution by 40 percent from 2005 levels and create a net increase of 2.7 million clean energy jobs in the process, reducing the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.

Mysteries of Space Dust Revealed

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the solar system and possibly the origin of life itself.

First-Ever Look Inside a Working Lithium-Ion Battery

In an unprecedented view inside a working lithium-ion battery, researchers used a neutron beam to "see" the flow of lithium in real time, as the battery charged and discharged. What they saw could one day help explain why rechargeable batteries lose capacity over time, and why they even sometimes catch fire.

What is the Economic Impact of Oil, Gas in West Texas?

The economic impact is felt in all industries that provide support, from drilling to housing and retail. This study provides estimates of the 2013 economic impact of the Permian Basin's oil and gas industry, and examines these impacts at the county level as well as in the context of the overall Permian region, the Texas portion of the region and the New Mexico portion of the region. In addition to traditional economic impacts, this report includes a petroleum engineering-based analysis that provides the backbone for economic activity generated by the oil and gas industry.

Changing Temperature Powers Sensors in Hard-to-Reach Places

University of Washington researchers have taken inspiration from a centuries-old clock design and created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source.

Simpler Process to Grow Germanium Nanowires Could Improve Lithium-Ion Batteries

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed what they call "a simple, one-step method" to grow nanowires of germanium from an aqueous solution. Their process could make it more feasible to use germanium in lithium-ion batteries.

Novel 'Butterfly' Molecule Could Build New Sensors, Photoenergy Conversion Devices

Exciting new work by a Florida State University research team has led to a novel molecular system that can take your temperature, emit white light, and convert photon energy directly to mechanical motions. And, the molecule looks like a butterfly.

Rubber Meets the Road with New ORNL Carbon, Battery Technologies

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries.

Water Leads to Chemical That Gunks Up Biofuels Production

Trying to understand the chemistry that turns plant material into the same energy-rich gasoline and diesel we put in our vehicles, researchers have discovered that water in the conversion process helps form an impurity which, in turn, slows down key chemical reactions.

Carbon Dioxide 'Sponge' Could Ease Transition to Cleaner Energy


A plastic sponge that sops up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) might ease our tranisition away from polluting fossil fuels to new energy sources like hydrogen. At the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, a researcher will describe a relative of food container plastics that could play a role in President Obama's plan to cut CO2 emissions. The material might also someday be integrated into power plant smokestacks.

Mining Bacterial Blueprints Yields Novel Process for Creation of Fuel and Chemical Compounds

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has identified the genes and enzymes that create a promising compound -- the 19 carbon furan-containing fatty acid (19Fu-FA). The compound has a variety of potential uses as a biological alternative for compounds currently derived from fossil fuels.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2014

1) Glass used for military vehicle windshields is being put to the test. 2) Tomorrow's commercial refrigeration systems could be cooled by carbon dioxide. 3) Graphite put to the test . 4) Reformulated plant matter could be at the roots of a revolution in 3-D printing. 5) Batteries for cars, phones, and laptop computers could retain their charge and last longer.

Drilling in the Dark: Biological Impacts of Fracking Still Largely Unknown

As production of shale gas soars, the industry's effects on nature and wildlife remain largely unexplored, according to a study by a group of conservation biologists published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on Aug. 1.

New Method Provides Nanoscale Details of Electrochemical Reactions in Electric Vehicle Battery Materials

Using a new method to track the electrochemical reactions in a common electric vehicle battery material under operating conditions, scientists have revealed new insight into why fast charging inhibits this material's performance. The results could inform battery makers' efforts to optimize materials for faster-charging batteries with higher capacity.

"Wetting" a Battery's Appetite for Renewable Energy Storage

A new liquid metal alloy enables sodium-beta batteries to operate at lower temperatures, which could help the batteries store more renewable energy and strengthen the power grid.

Nanostructured Metal-Oxide Catalyst Efficiently Converts CO2 to Methanol

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol-a key commodity used to create a wide range of industrial chemicals and fuels. With significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use, the new system could make it easier to get normally unreactive CO2 to participate in these reactions.