Self-Cleaning Anodes Facilitate Coal-Fired Fuel Cells

Using barium oxide nanoparticles, researchers have developed a self-cleaning technique that could allow solid oxide fuel cells to be powered directly by coal gas at operating temperatures as low as 750 degrees Celsius. The technique could provide an alternative for generating electricity from the nation's vast coal reserves.

ORNL Neutrons, Simulations Reveal Details of Bioenergy Barrier

A first of its kind combination of experiment and simulation at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing a close-up look at the molecule that complicates next-generation biofuels.

The Heat Is on for Sodium-Manganese Oxide Rechargeable Batteries

By adding the right amount of heat, researchers have developed a method that improves the electrical capacity and recharging lifetime of sodium ion rechargeable batteries, which could be a cheaper alternative for large-scale uses such as storing energy on the electrical grid.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory

1) Researchers are working alongside state troopers to test and validate screening technologies that can automatically detect problems as a vehicle enters the weigh station; 2) High-resolution subsurface exploration could get a boost with innovative approaches that take advantage of the underlying dynamics of atomic force microscopy; 3) Climate models still provide useful information that should be considered by civil engineers and planners making decisions about infrastructure.

Stamping Out Low Cost Nanodevices

A team of Vanderbilt engineers have developed a rapid and low-cost imprinting process that can stamp out a variety of devices that have unique optical, electrical, chemical and mechanical properties.

Code Green: Energy-Efficient Programming to Curb Computers' Power Use

A new system called EnerJ helps computer programmers go green, letting them cut a program's energy consumption by as much as 50 percent.

SUNY-ESF Produces 'Next Generation of Biofuels'

Researchers are making biobutanol from a sustainable resource: wood.

Journal Article Examines Effectiveness of State-Level Energy Policies

Sanya Carley, an assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, examines the state-level policies and assesses their effectiveness for meeting energy and policy goals in the current issue of Review of Policy Research.

Water Conservation Can Save Energy and Reduce Pollution

Consumers may not be aware of the connection between water and energy consumption--or the greenhouse gases emitted as a byproduct. A new report offers steps industry and state leaders and consumers can take to reduce water consumption and save energy.

Global Warming Won't Harm Wind Energy Production, Climate Models Predict

The production of wind energy in the U.S. over the next 30-50 years will be largely unaffected by upward changes in global temperature, say a pair of Indiana University Bloomington scientists who analyzed output from several regional climate models to assess future wind patterns in America's lower 48 states.

New ORNL Solar Cell Technology Cranks Up Efficiency

With the creation of a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jun Xu has boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80 percent.

Green UV Sterilization: Switching on LEDs to Save Energy and the Environment

Ultraviolet light can safely sterilize food, water and medical equipment by disrupting the DNA and other reproductive molecules in harmful bacteria. Traditionally, mercury lamps have supplied this UV light, however mercury release from power generation and lamp disposal have generated discussion of harmful environmental impact. A potentially energy efficient and non-toxic alternative is the light-emitting diode, or LED, which can be made to emit at almost any desired wavelength.

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

A new polymer-based solar-thermal device is the first to generate power from both heat and visible sunlight - an advance that could shave the cost of heating a home by as much as 40 percent.

Solar Power without Solar Cells: a Hidden Magnetic Effect of Light Could Make It Possible

A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells.

The Heat Is On: NIST Zeroes In On Energy Consumption of Ice Makers

In tests of four different refrigerators, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent, with most of that additional energy cost due to the electric heaters used to release ice from molds.

Using Computers and Sensors to Curb Electricity Use in Buildings

To reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings, computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have come up with a way to use real-time occupancy sensors and computer algorithms to create 'smart' heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Based on early test results, the software- and sensor-based solution produced electrical energy savings of between 9.54 and 15.73 percent on their test deployment on one floor of a 5-floor campus building.

Algae Could Replace 17% of U.S. Oil Imports

A new study shows that 17 percent of the United States' imported oil for transportation could be replaced by biofuel made from algae. Researchers also determined that the water needed to grow that algae could be substantially reduced by cultivating it in the nation's sunniest and most humid regions.

Methane Leaks Can Make Fracking Gas 'Dirtier' than Coal Or Oil

Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale could do more to aggravate global warming than mining coal, according to a Cornell study. Ecologist Robert Howarth warns about methane leaking into the atmosphere during hydraulic fracturing.

Research Digs Deep into the Fracking Controversy

The turmoil in oil-producing nations is triggering turmoil at home, as rising oil prices force Americans to pay more at the pump. Meanwhile, there's a growing industry that's promising jobs and access to cheaper energy resources on American soil, but it's not without its controversy. Deborah Kittner, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in geography, presents, "What's the Fracking Problem? Extraction Industry's Neglect of the Locals in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Region," at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Kittner will be presenting April 14 at the meeting in Seattle.

Researchers Resurrect Four-Billion-Year-Old Enzymes, Reveal Conditions of Early Life on Earth

A team of scientists from Columbia University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Granada in Spain have successfully reconstructed active enzymes from four-billion-year-old extinct organisms. By measuring the properties of these enzymes, they could examine the conditions in which the extinct organisms lived. The results shed new light on how life has adapted to changes in the environment from ancient to modern Earth.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge national Laboratory - April 2011

MILITARY -- H2O from diesel; ELECTRONICS -- Plasmonic sensors; SENSORS -- Thwarting tax evaders; CLIMATE -- Extreme cold still in forecast; ELECTRONICS -- Phase transitions breakthrough; VEHICLES -- "Just in time" .

Economics, Physics Are Roadblocks for Mass-Scale Algae Biodiesel Production

Companies looking to engineer an eco-friendly diesel fuel have more red lights in their path. According to Kansas State University researchers, making petroleum diesel completely green would not only bend the laws of physics, it would cost too much green.

Nanoparticles Improve Solar Collector Efficiency

Using minute graphite particles 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers at Arizona State University hope to boost the efficiency--and profitability--of solar power plants.

Fast-Recharge, Lithium-Ion Battery Could be Perfect for Electric Cars

The next-generation battery, like next-generation TV, may be 3-D, scientists reported at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Anaheim, CA. They described a new fast-recharge lithium-ion (Li-on) battery, already available in a prototype version, with a three-dimensional interior architecture that could be perfect for the electric cars now appearing in auto dealer showrooms

Waste Ash from Coal Could Save Billions in Repairing U.S. Bridges & Roads

Coating concrete destined to rebuild America's crumbling bridges and roadways with millions of tons of underused flyash waste from burning coal could extend the life of the structures significantly, saving billions of dollars, scientists reported here.