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.

New Catalyst Converts Carbon Dioxide to Fuel

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing the process closer to commercial viability.

Innovations with Far-Reaching Potential for the Environment and Health 


The Kavli Foundation Lecture series features two prominent scientists: one in the booming area of ionic liquids, the other in medical materials. The former has made a novel compound with the potential to lower the energy it takes to capture carbon dioxide. The latter has engineered tissues and medical materials such as a stretchy glue that could transform surgery. They are presenting at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

A New Look at What's in 'Fracking' Fluids Raises Red Flags 


As the oil and gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing proliferates, a new study on the contents of the fluids used raises concerns over several ingredients. The scientists presenting the work today at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society say out of nearly 200 commonly used compounds in "fracking," there's very little known about the potential health risks of about one-third, and eight are toxic to mammals.

Tattoo Biobatteries Produce Power From Sweat
 (Video)

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers will report today at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that they have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person's progress during exercise and produce power from their perspiration.

Stinky Gases Emanating From Landfills Could Transform Into Clean Energy

A new technique transforming stinky, air-polluting landfill gas could produce the sweet smell of success as it leads to development of a fuel cell generating clean electricity for homes, offices and hospitals, researchers say. The advance would convert methane gas into hydrogen, an efficient, clean form of energy. Their report was part of the 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Physicists Unlock Nature of High-Temperature Superconductivity

Physicists have identified the "quantum glue" that underlies a promising type of superconductivity -- a crucial step towards the creation of energy superhighways that conduct electricity without current loss.

The Bend in the Appalachian Mountain Chain Is Finally Explained

The 1500 mile Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland--except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York State. Researchers from the College of New Jersey and the University of Rochester now know what caused that bend--a dense, underground block of rigid, volcanic rock forced the chain to shift eastward as it was forming millions of years ago.

Silicon Sponge Improves Lithium-Ion Battery Performance

A sponge-like silicon material could help lithium-ion batteries run longer on a single charge by giving the batteries' electrodes the space they need to expand without breaking.

More California Gas Stations Can Provide H2 Than Previously Thought

A study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories concludes that a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen, suggesting a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach.

Berkeley-Haas Energy Study Commissioned by California Air Resources Board Recommends Three Reforms to Protect Cap-and-Trade

California's landmark cap-and-trade system for regulating greenhouse gases could be vulnerable to price spikes and market manipulation, according to a study released today by scholars affiliated with the Energy Institute at Haas. But the state's air-quality regulators can prevent that outcome with three straightforward reforms, the study says.

Hollow-Fiber Membranes Could Cut Separation Costs, Energy Use

Researchers have developed a microfluidic technique for fabricating a new class of metal-organic framework (MOF) membranes inside hollow polymer fibers that are just a few hundred microns in diameter. The new fabrication process, believed to be the first to grow MOF membranes inside hollow fibers, could potentially change the way large-scale energy-intensive chemical separations are done.

Quality, Affordable Consumer Products Key to Developing World Renewables Market

Beginning with the development of smaller products, such as solar lanterns to replace kerosene lighting, the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University is expanding its efforts to produce energy alternatives with a new program to test larger scale renewable energy-powered consumer products.

Perennial Corn Crops? New Plant-Breeding Tool Could Help Make It Happen

Researchers create database tool to help speed traditional and genetic plant breeders' work

CSB to Discuss Macondo Oil Well Blowout/ Deepwater Horizon Investigation

Report TOMORROW on Thursday June 5, 2014 11 a.m. CDT News Conference in Houston, TX Media will be briefed on investigation findings and safety recommendations. These findings will then be formally presented to the public and two-member presidentially-appointed Board investigating the April 20, 2010, blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Diesel Bus Alternative

Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars -- and reduce children's exposure to diesel fumes -- based on recent research by the University of Delaware.

Electricity Use Slashed with Efficiency Controls for Heating, Cooling

Commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57 percent with advanced energy-efficiency controls, according to a year-long trial of the controls at malls, grocery stores and other buildings across the country.

New Lithium Battery Created in Japan

A team of researchers has created a new type of lithium ion conductor for future batteries that could be the basis for a whole new generation of solid-state batteries. It uses rock salt Lithium Borohydride (LiBH4), a well-known agent in organic chemistry laboratories that has been considered for batteries before, but up to now has only worked at high temperatures or pressures.