New SOFC Seal Could Help Bring Efficient Energy Technology to Market

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have great potential for stationary and mobile applications. But SOFCs have had a flaw "" the integrity of the seals within and between power-producing units. A materials science professor has invented a self-healing seal that will provide strength and long-term stability.

A Genome May Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Acquiring cheap genome sequence data can improve the quality of feedstocks used to create biofuels, according to a new study published in The Plant Genome.

Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers from NIST and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Smart Charger Controller Simplifies Electric Vehicle Recharging

PNNL's Smart Charger Controller simplifies electric vehicle recharging, protects the grid and saves consumers money; device automatically activates the vehicle's battery to recharge at times of least stress on the grid.

Biofuel Production: a Drink-Or-Drive Issue?

Federal requirements to increase the production of ethanol has developed into a "drink-or-drive issue" in the Midwest as a result of biofuel production's impact on water supplies and water quality, says an environmental engineering researcher at Missouri University of Science and Technology in the latest issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Discovery of an Unexpected Boost for Solar Water-Splitting Cells

A research team from Northeastern University and NIST has discovered, serendipitously, that a residue of a process used to build arrays of titania nanotubes--a residue that wasn't even noticed before this--plays an important role in improving the performance of the nanotubes in solar cells that produce hydrogen gas from water.

Cheap and Efficient White Light LEDs

Roughly 20 percent of the electricity consumed worldwide is used to light homes, businesses, and other private and public spaces. Though this consumption represents a large drain on resources, it also presents a tremendous opportunity for savings. Improving the efficiency of commercially available light bulbs -- even a little -- could translate into dramatically lower energy usage if implemented widely.

New Approach to Splitting Water

Weizmann Institute scientists have identified a new mode of bond generation between oxygen atoms. This work is a step toward development of an efficient artificial catalyst for solar-driven splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is a major goal of renewable, clean energy research.

"First Economical Process" for Making Biodiesel Fuel from Algae

Chemists are reporting development of what they termed the first economical, eco-friendly process to convert algae oil into biodiesel fuel "" a discovery they predict could one day lead to U.S. independence from petroleum as a fuel. The study is scheduled for presentation in March at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers Create Catalysts for Use in Hydrogen Storage Materials

A team of scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Uppsala in Sweden, and the Savannah River National Laboratory have identified that carbon nanostructures can be used as catalysts to store and release hydrogen, a finding that may point researchers toward developing the right material for hydrogen storage for use in cars.

"Ice That Burns" May Yield Clean, Sustainable Bridge to Global Energy Future

In the future, natural gas derived from chunks of ice that workers collect from beneath the ocean floor and beneath the arctic permafrost may fuel cars, heat homes, and power factories. Government researchers are reporting that these so-called "gas hydrates," a frozen form of natural gas, show increasing promise as an abundant, untapped source of clean, sustainable energy. The study is scheduled for presentation in March at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Researcher Work in Ghana to Create Biofuels Native Tree Seeds

Kansas State University biologists are working with a researcher in Ghana to create biodiesel from the seeds of trees that are common and well adapted to the climate of northern Ghana.

Scientists Discover New Platinum Catalysts for the Dehydrogenation of Propane

The process to turn propane into industrially necessary propylene has been expensive and environmentally unfriendly. That was until scientists at U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory devised a greener way to take this important step in chemical catalysis.

Nanowires May Lead To Better Fuel Cells

The creation of long platinum nanowires at the University of Rochester could soon lead to the development of commercially viable fuel cells by providing significant increases in both the longevity and efficiency. Nanowire enhanced fuel cells could power many types of vehicles, helping reduce the use of petroleum fuels for transportation.

Researchers Developing Renewable Energy for Ethanol Industry

Researchers from Iowa State University, Frontline BioEnergy and Hawkeye Energy Holdings are using a $2.37 million grant from the Iowa Power Fund to develop new burner and catalyst technologies. The technologies will use gas made from biomass to efficiently produce ethanol and provide clean, renewable power for heating and drying equipment.

Recycling a Greenhouse Gas for High-Energy Fuel

A team of researchers at Penn State has come up with an ingenious method of turning captured CO2 into methane using the energy of the sun.

Research Examines Dependence on Ethanol

Ethanol production used less than 5% of the nation's corn in 1990-91 but used as much as 24% in 2007-08. South Dakota, one of the top five ethanol producing states, used 60% of corn grown in that year affecting availability of corn for feed and exports.

New Biomass Heater: a "New Era" of Efficiency and Sustainability

Millions of homes in rural areas of Far Eastern countries are heated by charcoal burned on small, hibachi-style portable grills. Scientists in Japan are now reporting development of an improved "biomass charcoal combustion heater" that they say could open a new era in sustainable and ultra-high efficiency home heating.

Two-Step Chemical Process Turns Raw Biomass Into Biofuel

Taking a chemical approach, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a two-step method to convert the cellulose in raw biomass into a promising biofuel. The process, which is described in the Wednesday, Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, is unprecedented in its use of untreated, inedible biomass as the starting material.

Biofuels Can Provide Viable, Sustainable Solution to Reducing Petroleum Dependence

An in-depth study by Sandia National Laboratories and General Motors Corp. has found that plant and forestry waste and dedicated energy crops could sustainably replace nearly a third of gasoline use by the year 2030.

New Coal Dewatering Technology Turns Sludge to Powder

The ultrafine coal particles that are the residue of the coal cleaning process have been discarded into hundreds of impoundments. Now, a dewatering technology developed at Virginia Tech has succeeded in reducing the moisture content of ultrafine coal to less than 20 percent.

Research Helps Protect Against Lightning Damage

Firing bolts of lightning at expensive electrical equipment is all in a day's work at NEETRAC "" the National Electric Energy Testing Research and Applications Center. The goal for the lightning research and other testing done by the center is to improve reliability for the nation's electric energy transmission and distribution system.

Company Expects Sun to Shine on Chicago Invention

Solarmer Energy Inc. is developing plastic solar cells for portable electronic devices that will incorporate technology invented at the University of Chicago. The company is on track to complete a commercial-grade prototype later this year.

Nations That Sow Food Crops for Biofuels May Reap Less than Previously Thought

Global yields of most biofuels crops, including corn, rapeseed and wheat, have been overestimated by 100 to 150 percent or more, suggesting many countries need to reset their expectations of agricultural biofuels to a more realistic level.

New Method Accelerates Stability Testing of Soy-Based Biofuel

NIST researchers have developed a method to accelerate stability testing of biodiesel fuel made from soybeans and identified additives that enhance stability at high temperatures, work that could help overcome a key barrier to the practical use of biofuels.