ORNL Microscopy System Delivers Real-Time View of Battery Electrochemistry

Using a new microscopy method, researchers can image and measure electrochemical processes in batteries in real time and at nanoscale resolution.

Artificial Leaf Jumps Developmental Hurdle

‚ÄčIn a recent early online edition of Nature Chemistry, ASU scientists, along with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, report advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf.

Solar-Induced Hybrid Fuel Cell Produces Electricity Directly from Biomass

Researchers have developed a new type of low-temperature fuel cell that directly converts biomass to electricity with assistance from a catalyst activated by solar or thermal energy.

Research Leads to 20 Percent Cuts in Energy Consumption in Buildings

OU researcher creates virtual sensors to detect unreliable heating, vent and air conditioning systems in buildings. The method is a low cost, reliable process to reduce a company's utilities bills and carbon footprint.

Harvesting Light, the Single-Molecule Way

New insights into one of the molecular mechanisms behind light harvesting, which enables photosynthetic organisms to thrive, even as weather conditions change from full sunlight to deep cloud cover, will be presented at the 58th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting. Researchers will describe how probing these natural systems is helping us understand the basic mechanisms of light harvesting -- work that could help improve the design and efficiency of devices like solar cells in the future.

Superconductivity in Orbit: Scientists Find New Path to Loss-Free Electricity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have combined atoms with multiple orbitals and precisely pinned down their electron distributions. Using advanced electron diffraction techniques, the scientists discovered that orbital fluctuations in iron-based compounds induce strongly coupled polarizations that can enhance electron pairing--the essential mechanism behind superconductivity.

New Understanding Could Result in More Efficient Organic Solar Cells

Designing more efficient organic solar cells should be easier with an explanation of how charge separation works.

Helping a Greenhouse Gas Turn Over a New Leaf

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has developed a highly selective catalyst capable of electrochemically converting carbon dioxide -- a greenhouse gas -- to carbon monoxide with 92 percent efficiency. The carbon monoxide then can be used to develop useful chemicals. The researchers recently reported their findings in Nature Communications.

Modeling Buildings by the Millions: Building Codes in China Tested for Energy Savings

PNNL scientists at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership with the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., have created a unique model that projects how much energy can be saved with changes to China's building energy codes.

Sweet Science: Virginia Tech Researcher Develops Energy-Dense Sugar Battery

A Virginia Tech research team has developed a battery that runs on sugar and has an unmatched energy density, a development that could replace conventional batteries with ones that are cheaper, refillable, and biodegradable.

Energy Storage in Miniaturized Capacitors May Boost Green Energy Technology

"Supercapacitors" take the energy-storing abilities of capacitors (which store electrical charge that can be quickly dumped to power devices) a step further, storing a far greater charge in a much smaller package. In AIP Advances, researchers describe the possibility of fabricating a new class of high heat-tolerant electronics that would employ supercapacitors made from a material called calcium-copper-titanate, or CCTO, which the researchers have identified for the first time as a practical energy-storage material.

Renewable Chemical Ready for Biofuels Scale-Up

Using a plant-derived chemical, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have developed a process for creating a concentrated stream of sugars that's ripe with possibility for biofuels.

Hugging Hemes Help Electrons Hop

Researchers simulating how certain bacteria run electrical current through tiny molecular wires have discovered a secret Nature uses for electron travel. This is the first time scientists have seen this evolutionary design principle for electron transport,

Battery Development May Extend Range of Electric Cars

Electric cars could travel farther on a single charge and more renewable energy could be saved for a rainy day if lithium-sulfur batteries can last longer. PNNL has developed a novel anode that could quadruple the lifespan of these promising batteries.

WUSTL Engineers Provide Free Code to Help Build Better Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in electric vehicles, are in high demand, with a global market value expected to reach $33.1 billion in 2019. But their high price and short life need to be addressed before they can be used in more consumer, energy and medical products. Venkat Subramanian, PhD, associate professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, and his team are working to solve this problem buy developing optimal charging profiles for the batteries.

Fusion Instabilities Lessened by Unexpected Effect

Introduction of relatively weak magnetic fields into Sandia's Z machine unexpectedly lessened plasma instabilities that have sunk previous fusion efforts.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2014

1) The road to efficiency. 2) Zero Energy Ready Homes. 3) Cross-disciplinary research is yielding new insight into the carbon cycle, contaminated soils and soil fertility.

Enlisting Cells' Protein Recycling Machinery to Regulate Plant Products

Scientists have developed a new set of molecular tools for controlling the production of (poly)phenols, plant compounds important for flavors, human health, and biofuels.

Algae to Crude Oil: Million-Year Natural Process Takes Minutes in the Lab

Engineers have created a chemical system that continually produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in raw algae material - a green paste with the consistency of pea soup. The technology eliminates the need to dry the algae and recycles ingredients such as phosphorus, cutting costs.

Small Size Enhances Charge Transfer in Quantum Dots

In a study published in the journal Chemical Communications, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University, and Syracuse University show that shrinking the core of a quantum dot can enhance the ability of a surrounding polymer to extract electric charges generated in the dot by the absorption of light.

Can We Turn Unwanted Carbon Dioxide Into Electricity?

Researchers are developing a new kind of geothermal power plant that will lock away unwanted carbon dioxide (CO2) underground--and use it as a tool to boost electric power generation by at least 10 times compared to existing geothermal energy approaches.

Harvesting Electricity: Triboelectric Generators Capture Wasted Power

Researchers are developing a family of generators that provide power for portable electronic devices and sensors by harnessing the triboelectric effect to capture mechanical energy that would otherwise be wasted.

At Agu: Shale Sequestration, Water for Energy & Soil Microbes

PNNL scientists will present research on carbon sequestration at shale gas sites, water needs for energy production and climate-induced changes in microbes at the 2013 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Dec. 9-13.

Highly Insulating Windows Are Very Energy Efficient, Though Expensive

Highly insulating triple-pane windows keep a house snug and cozy, but it takes two decades or more for the windows to pay off financially based on utility-bill savings.

New Thermoelectronic Generator

Through a process known as thermionic conversion, heat energy can be converted into electricity with very high efficiency. Because of its promise, researchers have been trying for more than half a century to develop a practical thermionic generator, with little luck. That luck may soon change, thanks to a new design -- dubbed a thermoelectronic generator -- described in Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.