New Catalyst Could Cut Cost of Making Hydrogen Fuel

A discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may represent a significant advance in the quest to create a "hydrogen economy" that would use this abundant element to store and transfer energy.

Exotic Alloys for Potential Energy Applications

"Thermoelectric materials," used in wine refrigerators and spacecraft, promise to help deliver greener energy in the future.

Power for Seaports May Be the Next Job for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Thanks to research at Sandia National Laboratories in California, providing auxiliary hydrogen power to docked or anchored ships may soon be added to the list of ways in which hydrogen fuel cells can provide efficient, emissions-free energy.

New Solar Car From U-Michigan Has Sleek, Asymmetrical Design

The lopsided solar car named Generation, unveiled today, might be the oddest-looking vehicle the top-ranked University of Michigan team has ever built. But the bold shape is a calculated effort to design the most efficient car possible, given major changes in World Solar Challenge race rules.

Stop Hyperventilating, Say Energy Efficiency Researchers

A single advanced building control now in development could slash 18 percent - tens of thousands of dollars - off the overall annual energy bill of the average large office building, with no loss of comfort.

Researchers Unearth Bioenergy Potential in Leaf-Cutter Ant Communities

As spring warms up Wisconsin, humans aren't the only ones tending their gardens. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Bacteriology, colonies of leaf-cutter ants cultivate thriving communities of fungi and bacteria using freshly cut plant material.

"Popcorn" Particle Pathways Promise Better Lithium-Ion Batteries

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4, or LFP), findings that could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment and aircraft. The research is reported in the journal Nano Letters, 2013, 13 (3), pp 866-872.

New All-Solid Sulfur-Based Battery Outperforms Lithium-Ion Technology

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies that power today's electronics.

Bigger Cities Don't Always Equate to Energy Savings

It is a long-held assumption that large cities benefit from economies of scale. New research by Boise State University visiting professor of economics Michail Fragkias questioning this assumption could help shape how major cities are built and managed in the coming decades.

Transportation Fuels From Woody Biomass Promising Way to Reduce Emissions

Two processes that turn woody biomass into transportation fuels have the potential to exceed current Environmental Protection Agency requirements for renewable fuels, according to research published in the Forest Products Journal.

Not Just Blowing in the Wind: Compressing Air for Renewable Energy Storage

A comprehensive study into the potential for compressed air energy storage in the Pacific Northwest has identified two locations in Washington state that could store enough Northwest wind energy combined to power about 85,000 homes each month.

Never-Before-Seen Energy Pattern Observed at National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Two research teams at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) broke through a nearly 40-year barrier recently when they observed a never-before-seen energy pattern.

Physicists Light "Magnetic Fire" to Reveal Energy's Path

NYU physicists have uncovered how energy is released and dispersed in magnetic materials in a process akin to the spread of forest fires, a finding that has the potential to deepen our understanding of self-sustained chemical reactions.

Geologists Study Mystery of 'Eternal Flames'

"Eternal flames" fueled by hydrocarbon gas could shine a light on the presence of natural gas in underground rock layers and conditions that let it seep to the surface, according to research by Indiana University geologists.

Microwave Oven Cooks Up Solar Cell Material

University of Utah metallurgists used an old microwave oven to produce a nanocrystal semiconductor rapidly using cheap, abundant and less toxic metals than other semiconductors. They hope it will be used for more efficient photovoltaic solar cells and LED lights, biological sensors and systems to convert waste heat to electricity.

Researchers Find That Some 'Green' Hot Water Systems Fail to Deliver on Promises

Two researchers affiliated with the Virginia Tech College of Engineering have published a paper which reports that hot water recirculating systems touted as "green," actually use both more energy and water than their standard counterparts. The research found that the "so-called green" hot water recirculation systems used more net water than the conventional systems after accounting for water needed to produce the extra energy.

Recipe for Low-Cost, Biomass-Derived Catalyst for Hydrogen Production

In a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Energy & Environmental Science (now available online), researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory describe details of a low-cost, stable, effective catalyst that could replace costly platinum in the production of hydrogen. The catalyst, made from renewable soybeans and abundant molybdenum metal, produces hydrogen in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective manner, potentially increasing the use of this clean energy source.

Technique Unlocks Design Principles of Quantum Biology

University of Chicago researchers have created a synthetic compound that mimics the complex quantum dynamics observed in photosynthesis and may enable fundamentally new routes to creating solar-energy technologies.

Key Ingredient in Mass Extinctions Could Boost Food, Biofuel Production

In low doses, hydrogen sulfide, a substance implicated in several mass extinctions, could greatly enhance plant growth, leading to a sharp increase in global food supplies and plentiful stock for biofuel production, new University of Washington research shows.

ORNL Leading Study Focused on Afterlife of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Once they've finished powering electric vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles, it may not be the end of the road for automotive batteries, which researchers believe can provide continued benefits for consumers, automakers and the environment.

A Solar Booster Shot for Natural Gas Power Plants

A new system reduces carbon emissions and fuel usage at natural gas power plants by 20 percent by injecting solar energy into natural gas.

New Report: California Lags in Fracking Regulations

A new report on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in California warns of possible water contamination and seismic activity near drilling sites, unless the oil-extraction method is tightly regulated.

Cost-Saving Measure to Upgrade Ethanol to Butanol -- A Better Alternative to Gasoline

Scientists today reported a discovery that could speed an emerging effort to replace ethanol in gasoline with a substantially better fuel additive called butanol, which some experts regard as "the gasoline of the future." Their report on this discovery, which holds potential to reduce the costs of converting ethanol factories to production of butanol, came at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Understanding the Life of Lithium Ion Batteries in Electric Vehicles

Scientists today answered a question that worries millions of owners and potential owners of electric and hybrid vehicles using lithium-ion batteries: How long before the battery pack dies, leaving a sticker-shock bill for a fresh pack or a car ready for the junk heap? Their answer, presented here at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held here this week, may surprise skeptics.

'Artificial Leaf' Gains the Ability to Self-Heal Damage and Produce Energy From Dirty Water

Another innovative feature has been added to the world's first practical "artificial leaf," making the device even more suitable for providing people in developing countries and remote areas with electricity, scientists reported here today. It gives the leaf the ability to self-heal damage that occurs during production of energy.