Energy Crops Impact Environmental Quality

A new review of scientific literature finds that removal of crop residue for biofuels can adversely impact soil and environmental quality. Conversely, dedicated energy crops can increase soil organic carbon concentration while providing biofuel feedstock.

Copying Plant Anatomy Promises New Photovoltaics

A new polymer-based method for creating photovoltaic devices, which convert sunlight into electricity, has been identified by UMass Amherst chemists. Inspired by plant anatomy and photosynthesis, it should one day lead to more efficient power production than achievable with today's semiconductors.

Biomass Feedstock Harvest from Conservation Reserve Program Land

Can native or introduced grasses offer sustainable harvest for biofuels?

Searching for Genes Behind a Trait

Plant study in Nature shows value of using genome-wide method to locate genes behind physical traits. Authors see applications for agriculture and biofuels.

Mini Generators Make Energy from Random Ambient Vibrations

Tiny generators developed at the University of Michigan could produce enough electricity from random, ambient vibrations to power a wristwatch, pacemaker or wireless sensor.

Chicken House Attics Can be Tapped to Warm Broilers

Reducing the cost of keeping broiler chickens warm could result from research by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and university cooperators.

Estimating Ethanol Yields from CRP Croplands

The scramble to find sufficient land for biofuel production has experts eyeing marginal croplands that have been placed in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Now a study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists indicates that plant species diversity and composition are key factors in potential energy yield per acre from biomass harvested from CRP land.

Layered Graphene Sheets Could Solve Hydrogen Storage Issues

Stacked sheets of graphene may be a promising material for capturing and storing hydrogen for future fuel-cell systems according to recent research at NIST and the University of Pennsylvania.

Scavenging Energy Waste to Turn Water Into Hydrogen Fuel

Materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a way to harvest small amounts of waste energy and harness them to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel.

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Determined to play a key role in solving global dependency on fossil fuels, Javad Rafiee, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has developed a new method for storing hydrogen at room temperature.

Mountaintop Mining Poisons Fish

Dead and deformed fish indicate selenium pollution from mountaintop coal mining is causing permanent damage to the environment and poses serious health risks, says a Wake Forest University biologist who will brief U.S. Senators on his research Feb. 23.

Putting Data Centers on a Low-Energy Diet

A holistic approach to data centers could result in millions of dollars of savings and a far smaller carbon footprint for the ever-expanding universe of information technology.

Researchers Develop Technology to Make Energy-Efficient Lighting

RTI International has developed a revolutionary lighting technology that is more energy efficient than the common incandescent light bulb and does not contain mercury, making it environmentally safer than the compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb.

New System Provides Hybrid Electric Autos with Power to Spare

An advancement in hybrid electric vehicle technology is providing powerful benefits beyond transportation.

Researchers Show Applied Electric Field Can Significantly Improve Hydrogen Storage Properties

An international team of researchers has identified a new theoretical approach that may one day make the synthesis of hydrogen fuel storage materials less complicated and improve the thermodynamics and reversibility of the system.

Researcher Finds Methane Hydrate in Gulf Using New Search Method

A Baylor University researcher has used a new search method that he adapted for use on the seafloor to find a potentially massive source of hydrocarbon energy called methane hydrate, a frozen form of natural gas, in a portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Engineers Find Significant Environmental Impacts with Algae-Based Biofuel, Offer Alternative to Production

With many companies investing heavily in algae-based biofuels, researchers from the University of Virginia's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have found there are significant environmental hurdles to overcome before fuel production ramps up. They propose using wastewater as a solution to some of these challenges.

Engineered Tobacco Plants Have More Potential as a Biofuel

Researchers from the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University have identified a way to increase the oil in tobacco plant leaves, which may be the next step in using the plants for biofuel. Their paper was published online in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

Glitter-Sized Solar Photovoltaics Produce Competitive Results

Sandia National Laboratories scientists have developed tiny glitter-sized photovoltaic cells that could revolutionize the way solar energy is collected and used.

NIST Team Demystifies Utility of Power Factor Correction Devices

If you've seen an Internet ad for capacitor-type power factor correction devices, you might be led to believe that using one can save you money on your residential electricity bill. A new NIST report explains why the devices actually provide no savings by discussing the underlying physics.

New Bacterial Behavior Observed

PNAS study by USC geobiologists documents new behavior of metal-metabolizing bacteria, with implications for design of microbial fuel cells.

Eastern Opportunities: Student Examines Russian Market Ops for Ethanol Co-Product DDGS

A Soon-to-be graduate of Western Illinois University is one of lead researchers in market research project to foster new Russian market possibilities for Illinois ethanol producers. Ethanol co-product DDGS (distiller's dried grains with solubles) can provide high-protein feed product for Russian livestock.

Story Tip From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory December 2009

Titanium dioxide can be converted into a material that absorbs sunlight and greatly increase the efficiency of solar energy cells. Coated particle fuel fabricated at ORNL, in cooperation with INL, General Atomics, and the Babcock & Wilcox Company, has set a world record for advanced high temperature gas-cooled reactor fuel. Electronic devices of the future may benefit from a fundamental discovery that allows researchers to customize the electronic properties of complex materials.

Wind Farm Design Borrows Strategy from Schooling Fish

Last year, the United States overtook Germany to become the largest producer of wind energy in the world. This capped a five year expansion of U.S. wind power during which capacity increased by about a third every year.

Switchgrass Produces Biomass Efficiently

A recent study concluded that 50 million U.S. acres of cropland and pasture could be used for the production of perennial grasses, such as switchgrass, for biofuel feedstock. Economically viable production of a perennial grass monoculture from which substantial quantities of biomass are removed annually is expected to require nitrogen fertilizer.