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.

Process Holds Promise for Production of Synthetic Gasoline

A chemical system developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago can efficiently perform the first step in the process of creating syngas, gasoline and other energy-rich products out of carbon dioxide.

Better Combustion Through Plasma

Scientists know that by introducing plasma to combustion, new chemical species are produced that catalyze the reaction. But no one knows precisely what species are involved, what the reactions are, and what their rates are. To better understand plasma-assisted combustion and to develop future technology, researchers are conducting experiments and creating computer models to determine which chemical processes are involved.

Scientists Capture 'Redox Moments' in Living Cells

Scientists have glimpsed key chemical events, known as redox reactions, inside living cells of fast-growing Synechococcus. The work marks the first time that redox activity has been observed in specific proteins within living cells.

Scripps Oceanography Researchers Engineer Breakthrough for Biofuel Production

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae.

Study Uses Neutron Scattering, Supercomputing to Demystify Forces at Play in Biofuel Production

Researchers studying more effective ways to convert woody plant matter into biofuels have identified fundamental forces that change plant structures during pretreatment processes used in the production of bioenergy.

Structure of Bacterial Nanowire Protein Hints at Secrets of Conduction

Tiny electrical wires protrude from some bacteria and contribute to rock and dirt formation. Researchers studying the protein that makes up one such wire have determined the protein's structure. The finding is important to such diverse fields as producing energy, recycling Earth's carbon and miniaturizing computers.

Methane-Munching Microorganisms Meddle with Metals

A pair of microbes on the ocean floor "eats" methane in a unique way, and a new study provides insights into their surprising nutritional requirements. Learning how these methane-munching organisms make a living in these extreme environments could provide clues about how the deep-sea environment might change in a warming world.

New Aluminum Alloy Stores Hydrogen

We use aluminum to make planes lightweight, store sodas in recyclable containers, keep the walls of our homes energy efficient and ensure that the Thanksgiving turkey is cooked to perfection. Now, thanks to a group of Japanese researchers, there may soon be a new application for the versatile metal: hydrogen storage for fuel cells.

Crafting a Better Enzyme Cocktail to Turn Plants Into Fuel Faster

Scientists looking to create a potent blend of enzymes to transform materials like corn stalks and wood chips into fuels have developed a test that should turbocharge their efforts. Efforts revolve around the fungus Trichoderma reesei, which churns out enzymes that chew through molecules like complex sugars.

Geoengineering the Climate Could Reduce Vital Rains

Although a significant build-up in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would alter worldwide precipitation patterns, geoengineering would also interfere with rainfall and snowfall. An international study, led by NCAR scientists, finds that "geoengineering" could result in monsoonal rains in North America, East Asia, and other regions dropping by 5-7 percent compared to preindustrial conditions because of less evaporation and reduced plant emissions of water.

Staggering Turbines Improves Performance 33%

Researchers at the University of Delaware found staggering and spacing out turbines in an offshore wind farm can improve performance by as much as 33 percent.