Enzymes From Horse Feces Could Hold Secrets to Streamlining Biofuel Production

Stepping into unexplored territory in efforts to use corn stalks, grass and other non-food plants to make biofuels, scientists today described the discovery of a potential treasure-trove of candidate enzymes in fungi thriving in the feces and intestinal tracts of horses.

Turning Trash into Cash . . . and Saving Energy

Most people view an empty milk jug as yet another chunk of plastic to chuck in the garbage. For Joshua Pearce, it's raw material for all manner of useful things, courtesy of the 3D printing revolution.

Trees Used to Create Recyclable, Efficient Solar Cell

Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees. Just as importantly, by fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates, the solar cells can be quickly recycled in water at the end of their lifecycle.

Paint-on Plastic Electronics: Aligning Polymers for High Performance

Semiconducting polymers are an unruly bunch, but University of Michigan engineers have developed a new method for getting them in line that could pave the way for cheaper, greener, "paint-on" plastic electronics.

Researchers Building Stronger, Greener Concrete with Biofuel Byproducts

A group of Kansas State University civil engineers are adding bioethanol byproducts to cement to reduce concrete's carbon footprint and make it stronger.

As Brazil Ramps Up Sugarcane Production, Researchers Foresee Regional Climate Effects

Conversion of large swaths of Brazilian land for sugar plantations will help the country meet its needs for producing cane-derived ethanol, but it also could lead to important regional climate effects, according to a team of researchers from Arizona State University, Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Neutron Scattering Provides Data on Ion Adsorption

Researchers have demonstrated the use of a technique known as small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to study the effects of ions moving into nanoscale pores. The study is believed to be the first application of the SANS technique for studying ion surface adsorption in-situ.

Synthetic Molecule First Electricity-Making Catalyst to Use Iron to Split Hydrogen Gas

To make fuel cells more economical, engineers want a fast and efficient iron-based molecule that splits hydrogen gas to make electricity. Online Feb. 17 at Nature Chemistry, researchers report such a catalyst. It is the first iron-based catalyst that converts hydrogen directly to electricity. The result moves chemists and engineers one step closer to widely affordable fuel cells.

New Coal Technology Harnesses Energy Without Burning, Nears Pilot-Scale Development

A new form of clean coal technology reached an important milestone recently, with the successful operation of a research-scale combustion system at Ohio State University.

'Zoomable' Map of Poplar Proteins Offers New View of Bioenergy Crop

Researchers seeking to improve production of ethanol from woody crops have a new resource in the form of an extensive molecular map of poplar tree proteins.

Study Finds Energy Use in Cities Has Global Climate Effects

The heat generated by everyday energy consumption in metropolitan areas is significant enough to influence the character of major atmospheric circulation systems, including the jet stream during winter months, and cause continental-scale surface warming in high latitudes.

Research Paves Way for Larger, Safer Lithium Ion Batteries

Looking toward improved batteries for charging electric cars and storing energy from renewable but intermittent solar and wind, scientists have developed the first high-performance, nanostructured solid electrolyte for more energy-dense lithium ion batteries.

Study Reveals New Factor That Could Limit the Life of Hybrid and Electric Car Batteries

A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road.

Renewables and Storage Could Power Grid 99.9% of the Time

University of Delaware study finds wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid.

Sunshine, Biofuel & the Tides, Oh My!

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists will discuss improving solar power forecasting, measuring the resources needed to grow algae for biofuel and predicting the environmental impacts of ocean energy at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting this week.

DNA Analysis of Microbes in a Fracking Site Yields Surprises

Researchers have made a genetic analysis of the microbes living deep inside a deposit of Marcellus Shale at a hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," site, and uncovered some surprises.

Bioengineered Marine Algae Expands Environments Where Biofuels Can Be Produced

Biologists at UC San Diego have demonstrated for the first time that marine algae can be just as capable as fresh water algae in producing biofuels.

Research Reveals Nanotechnology Simplifies Hydrogen Production for Clean Energy

In the first-ever experiment of its kind, researchers have demonstrated that clean energy hydrogen can be produced from water splitting by using very small metal particles that are exposed to sunlight. In the article, "Outstanding activity of sub-nm Au clusters for photocatalytic hydrogen production," published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, Alexander Orlov, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Stony Brook University, and his colleagues from Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory, found that the use of gold particles smaller than one nanometer resulted in greater hydrogen production than other co-catalysts tested.

Researchers Discover Technique to Kick a Record Number of Electrons Out of an Atom with an X-Ray Laser

Supercharging is a technique no longer confined to automotive enthusiasts.

Technion Breakthrough: A New Chapter of Solar Energy Conversion and Storage?

Using solar power and ultrathin films of iron oxide, Israeli researchers have found a new way to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The breakthrough could lead to viable replacements for fossil fuels.

Researchers Develop Effective Thermal Energy Storage System

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a thermal energy storage system that will work as a viable alternative to current methods used for storing energy collected from solar panels.

November 2012 Story Tips

U.S. Forest Service and Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have found that rising levels of ozone may amplify the impacts of higher temperatures and reduce streamflow from forests to rivers, streams and other water bodies. A committee formed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council has released a report (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13430) of recommendations to accelerate climate modeling to learn more about climate's regional ramifications and future effects. When four of the nation's most energy-efficient houses are sold, the new homeowners can opt to allow the research project to continue, providing additional data that could make houses of tomorrow even better. Ethanol blends of 10 to 25 percent could potentially have more fuel pump compatibility issues than higher blends, according to a study conducted by a team led by Mike Kass of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Fuels and Engines Research Group.

Biofuel Breakthrough: Quick Cook Method Turns Algae Into Oil

It looks like Mother Nature was wasting her time with a multimillion-year process to produce crude oil. Michigan Engineering researchers can "pressure-cook" algae for as little as a minute and transform an unprecedented 65 percent of the green slime into biocrude.

Study Shows How Hopping Robots Could Conserve Energy

A new study shows that jumping can be more complicated than it might seem. In research that could extend the range of future rescue and exploration robots, scientists have found that hopping robots could dramatically reduce the amount of energy they use by adopting a unique two-part "stutter jump."

Next-Generation Antireflection Coatings Could Improve Solar Photovoltaic Cell Efficiency

Photovoltaic cell efficiency may soon get a big boost, thanks to next-generation antireflection coatings crafted from nanomaterials capable of cutting down on the amount of light reflected away from a cell's surface.