Researchers Fabricate More Efficient Polymer Solar Cells

Researchers from Iowa State University and the Ames Laboratory have developed a process for fabricating more efficient polymer solar cells. The result is a polymer solar cell that captures more light and produces more power.

Great Balls of Evolution! Bacteria Cooperate in New Way

Microbiologists Derek Lovley, Zarath Summers and colleagues report in the Dec. 2 issue of Science that they've discovered a surprising new cooperative behavior in bacteria known as interspecies electron transfer. It could have important implications for the global carbon cycle and bioenergy.

Study Assesses Nuclear Power Assumptions

A broad review of current research on nuclear power economics has been published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. The report concludes that nuclear power will continue to be a viable power source but that the current fuel cycle is not sustainable.

A High-Yield Biomass Alternative for Making Chemicals

With a new process, chemical engineers can make valuable chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylenes from pyrolytic oils, the cheapest liquid fuels available today from biomass. This could reduce or eliminate reliance on fossil fuels to make industrial chemicals worth an estimated $400 billion.

Study Reveals More About Biology of Energy Crop Insect

Scientists are learning more about the life stages and biology of an insect that may compete with humans for the energy crops of the future -- the insect some scientists are calling the switchgrass moth.

Optimizing Large Wind Farms

Researchers in Baltimore, MD and Belgium have developed a model to calculate the optimal spacing of wind turbines for the very large wind farms of the future. They will present their work today at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Long Beach, CA.

Whale-Inspired Ocean Turbine Blades

Lessons learned from the ocean's largest mammals have inspired United States Naval Academy researchers to tackle one of the serious design challenges facing a technology that uses underwater turbines to convert ocean tides into electricity -- work present today at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Long Beach, CA.

Enhancing the Efficiency of Wind Turbines

New ideas for enhancing the efficiency of wind turbines are being presented today at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Long Beach, CA. These include a new type intelligent system for turbines operating under many different wind conditions and a way to reduce drag on turbine blades by covering them with tiny grooves.

Should Airplanes Look Like Birds?

Airplanes do not look much like birds, but should they? This question is exactly what a pair of engineers in California and South Africa inadvertently answered recently in experiments they describe today at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Long Beach, CA.

Cement-Like Creation Could Help the Environment

A cement-like substance could help with stormwater management while potentially keeping millions of plastic bottles out of landfills.

New APS Report: Developing Energy Storage Technologies Among Crucial Steps Toward Increasing Renewable Electricity on Nation's Grid

U.S. policymakers must focus more closely on developing new energy storage technologies as they consider a national renewable electricity standard, according to one of the principal recommendations in a newly released report, Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid, by the American Physical Society's Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). Establishing a national renewable electricity standard will help to unify the fragmented U.S. grid system--an important step in the wider adoption of using more wind and solar for energy generation.

Sandia Effort Images the Sea Monster of Nuclear Fusion: the Rayleigh-Taylor Instability

More accurate simulations could lead to "break-even" fusion in foreseeable future

Global Warming Reduces Available Wind Energy

A switch to wind energy will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- and reduce the global warming they cause. But there's a catch, according to a paper in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy: rising temperatures decrease wind speeds, making for less power bang for the wind turbine buck.

Pennycress Could Go from Nuisance Weed to New Source of Biofuel

A common roadside plant could have the right stuff to become a new source of biofuel, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies.

Will Electric Cars Flame Out Or Power Our Future Driving Needs?

Arthur Wheaton, senior extension associate at Cornell University's ILR School, comments on the recent J.D. Power & Associates report concluding that battery-powered cars are "overhyped."

Offshore Wind a 'Mixed Bag'

Offshore wind power offers Maryland a feasible way to help meet renewable energy goals, but presents significant hurdles, concludes a new study by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research. "Offshore wind is not a slam dunk for Maryland, but the potential remains very strong," says UMD researcher Matthias Ruth.

New Equation Could Advance Research in Solar Cell Materials

A groundbreaking new equation developed in part by researchers at the University of Michigan could do for organic semiconductors what the Shockley ideal diode equation did for inorganic semiconductors: help to enable their wider adoption.

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.