Blue-Green Microbe Converts Sunlight to Electricity, Pollution-Free

University of Maryland, Baltimore researchers discovered that cyanobacteria possess a natural light-dependent electrogenic activity. The bacteria can generate and transfer high-energy electrons--generate electricity--to the external environment under illumination.

New Microbial Genetic System Dissects Biomass to Biofuel Conversion

A research team at the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) has developed a powerful new tool that promises to unlock the secrets of biomass degradation, a critical step in the development of cost-effective cellulosic biofuels. The details of this method were published online on June 11 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Oil from Spill Could Have Powered 38,000 Cars (And More) for a Year

As of today (Wednesday, June 9), if all the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been used for fuel, it could have powered 38,000 cars, and 3,400 trucks, and 1,800 ships for a full year, according to University of Delaware Prof. James J. Corbett. He has launched a website ( that reports the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in terms of lost uses of the lost fuel on a daily basis.

Working Toward the Next Battery Breakthrough

If battery-making is an art, then University at Buffalo scientist Esther Takeuchi is among its most prolific masters, with more than 140 U.S. patents, all in energy storage. Now Takeuchi is applying to the electrical grid -- the vast, national network that delivers energy from suppliers to consumers -- her unique perspective on how to coax the best performance out of battery chemicals.

Potentially 'Transformative' Method to Make Biofuels

A new way to make valuable chemicals and green biofuels from solar power, bacteria and CO2 may be "truly transformative" if it works on a larger scale, says Derek Lovley, head of a group developing carbon neutral microbial electrosynthesis. It also solves a major problem of solar energy: Storage.

Gene Discovery Potential Key to Cost-competitive Cellulosic Ethanol

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are improving strains of microorganisms used to convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol, including a recent modification that could improve the efficiency of the conversion process.

Advancing the Nuclear Enterprise Through Better Computing

Scientists at the Nuclear Science and Technology Division of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are merging decades of nuclear energy and safety expertise with high-performance computing to effectively address a range of nuclear energy- and security-related challenges.

Student Researchers Transform Waste Plastic Into an Alternative Fuel

Student researchers at Northeastern University have designed an apparatus to convert plastic waste into clean energy without releasing harmful emissions.

Biofuel Combustion Chemistry More Complex than Petroleum-based Fuels

Biofuel combustion chemistry more complex than petroleum-based fuels, say Sandia and Lawrence Livermore researchers.

Engineers Design Power Structures That Help Keep the Lights On

Iowa State University engineers are developing new and improved poles to carry electricity across the countryside. They say the new structures -- which can bend and deflect an extreme load -- would be cheaper, easier to install, more secure and more resistant to cascading failures. That means better electrical service for everybody.

Algae Advances as a "Green" Alternative for Improving Water Quality

Algae--already being eyed for biofuel production--could be put to use right away to remove nitrogen and phosphorus in livestock manure runoff, according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist.

Corn for Food and Fuel

Developing a Dual-Purpose Corn that can be bred for both food and cellulosic ethanol.

Missouri S&T Students Win International Hydrogen Design Competition

A design for a hydrogen-powered community in California by students from Missouri University of Science and Technology captured the grand prize in the national Hydrogen Student Design Contest sponsored by the Hydrogen Education Foundation.

Defense-Scale Supercomputing Comes to Alternative Energy Research

A new supercomputer that more quickly models the most efficient ways to harness energy from the sun, wind and other renewable resources is now operating at Sandia National Laboratories.

Sorting Protons Faster to Improve Hydrogen Fuel Cells

In a discovery that could solve one of the biggest hurdles blocking affordable fuel cell development, a team of UMass Amherst scientists has found a way to improve proton conductivity under very low humidity conditions where few materials perform well at present, they report in Nature Chemistry.

Purple Pokeberries Hold Secret to Affordable Solar Power Worldwide

Pokeberries - the weeds that children smash to stain their cheeks purple-red and that Civil War soldiers used to write letters home - could be the key to spreading solar power across the globe, according to researchers at Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials.

New Biofuel Process May Change Chemical Industry

A new "gasification" method of converting biomass feedstock into sustainable fuel developed by researchers in Massachusetts and Minnesota greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and doubles the amount of fuel made from an acre of biomass feedstock, says UMass Amherst scientist Paul J. Dauenhauer.

ARS Researching Camelina as a New Biofuel Crop

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have long-term studies under way to examine growing camelina as a bioenergy crop for producing jet fuel for the military and the aviation industry.

Cellulosic Ethanol: Expanding Options, Identifying Obstacles

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are figuring out how to turn wheat straw into ethanol "gold," and learning more about the bacteria that can "infect" ethanol plants and interfere with fuel production.

Proposed Grid Could Make Offshore Wind Power More Reliable

Offshore wind power resources are abundant but unreliable. A 5-year study of weather patterns demonstrates strategically placed offshore turbines connected by a single power line could provide consistent power.

Proposed Wind Power Grid To Make Offshore Wind Power More Reliable

Linking power generators along U.S. East Coast could compensate for natural wind fluctuation, provide more consistent electricity production.

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.