Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Can Offer Cheaper Electricity for Urban and Suburban Areas

Small vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) possess the ability to effectively operate in the presence of high turbulent flow, which makes them ideal energy harvesting devices in urban and suburban environments. In this week's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers present results indicating that an optimally designed VAWT system can financially compete with fossil-fuel based power plants in urban and suburban areas, and even spearhead the development of a net-zero energy building or city.

'Perfect Liquid' Quark-Gluon Plasma Is the Most Vortical Fluid

Particle collisions recreating the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) that filled the early universe reveal that droplets of this primordial soup swirl far faster than any other fluid. The new analysis from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) shows that the "vorticity" of the QGP surpasses the whirling fluid dynamics of super-cell tornado cores and Jupiter's Great Red Spot, and even beats out the fastest spin record held by nanodroplets of superfluid helium.

New Simulations Could Help in Hunt for Massive Mergers of Neutron Stars, Black Holes

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed new computer models to explore what happens when a black hole joins with a neutron star - the superdense remnant of an exploded star.

Story Tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2017

New method turns used cooking oil into biofuel with carbon from waste tires; novel technique protects fusion reactor interior wall from energy created when hydrogen isotopes reach sun-like temps; new catalyst-making process doubles output of BTX used in plastics and tires; thin film vanadium dioxide makes outstanding electrode for Li-ion batteries.

A Semiconductor That Can Beat the Heat

A newly discovered collective rattling effect in a type of crystalline semiconductor blocks most heat transfer while preserving high electrical conductivity - a rare pairing that scientists say could reduce heat buildup in electronic devices and turbine engines, among other possible applications.

Energy Storage Solution Combines Polymers and Nanosheets

Lightweight composite material for energy storage in flexible electronics, electric vehicles and aerospace applications has been experimentally shown to store energy at operating temperatures well above current commercial polymers.

It's Something in the Water: LLNL Scientists Extract Hydrogen as Potential Fuel Source

Lawrence Livermore scientists have developed a technique that helps extract hydrogen from water efficiently and cheaply.

Scientists Watch 'Artificial Atoms' Assemble into Perfect Lattices with Many Uses

Some of the world's tiniest crystals are known as "artificial atoms" because they can organize themselves into structures that look like molecules, including "superlattices" that are potential building blocks for novel materials. Now scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have made the first observation of these nanocrystals rapidly forming superlattices while they are themselves still growing.

Critical Materials Institute Manufactures Magnets Entirely From U.S.-Sourced Rare Earths

The Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub, has fabricated magnets made entirely of domestically sourced and refined rare-earth metals.

New Light-Activated Catalyst Grabs CO2 to Make Ingredients for Fuel

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a "spongy," light-activated material that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be used to turn into liquid fuels and other useful products. This is done without generating unwanted by products, a significant step forward in developing technology that could help mitigate levels of a potent greenhouse gas while generating solar-powered fuel.

A New Picture Emerges on the Origins of Photosynthesis in a Sun-Loving Bacteria

A research group led by Raimund Fromme has gained important new insights by resolving with near-atomic clarity, the very first core membrane protein structure in the simplest known photosynthetic bacterium, called Heliobacterium modesticaldum (Helios was the Greek sun god). By solving the heart of photosynthesis in this sun-loving, soil-dwelling bacterium, Fromme's research team has gained a fundamental new understanding of the early evolution of photosynthesis, and how this vital process differs between plants systems.

Seeing More with PET Scans: Scientists Discover New Way to Label Chemical Compounds for Medical Imaging

Researchers have found a surprisingly versatile workaround to create chemical compounds that could prove useful for medical imaging and drug development.

Atomic Movies May Help Explain Why Perovskite Solar Cells Are More Efficient

Experiments with a powerful "electron camera" at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered that light whirls atoms around in perovskites, potentially explaining the high efficiency of these next-generation solar cell materials and providing clues for making better ones.

Strange Electrons Break the Crystal Symmetry of High-Temperature Superconductors

Scientists have found surprising electron behavior that may help unravel the ever-elusive mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity--a phenomenon in which electrical current flows freely without resistance through a material at unusually high temperatures relative to those of conventional superconductors.

A New Optimization Model Could Bring Higher Solar-Power Integration

With numerous installations of solar power systems for residential homes at or near the distribution site, there is a challenge to balance supply and demand to make these intermittent energy sources reliable. Demand response is one promising way to increase operational flexibility and energy efficiency, and researchers in Malaysia have incorporated DR scenarios in case studies based on 100 urban low-voltage network samples to learn more. They report their findings in this week's Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Making Polymer Chemistry 'Click'

A team including Berkeley Lab scientists has developed a faster and easier way to make a class of sulfur-containing plastics that will lower the cost of large-scale production.

Imaging Technology Reveals Copper Is Key to Meeting Future Food and Energy Needs

For the first time, Cornell University researchers are using imaging capabilities at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to explore how copper affects plant fertility. The work could provide key insights into how plants can be bred for better performance in marginal soils.

PPPL Researchers Perform First Basic Physics Simulation of the Impact of Recycled Atoms on Plasma Turbulence

Article describes simulation of impact of recycled atoms on plasma turbulence.

"Hindcasting" Study Investigates the Extreme 2013 Colorado Flood

Using a publicly available climate model, Berkeley Lab researchers "hindcast" the conditions that led to the Sept. 9-16, 2013 flooding around Boulder, Colo. and found that climate change attributed to human activity made the storm much more severe than would otherwise have occurred.

Ultrathin Device Harvests Electricity From Human Motion

Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting down. A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University's Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that.

Energy-Efficient Accelerator Was 50 Years in the Making

With the introduction of CBETA, the Cornell-Brookhaven ERL Test Accelerator, Cornell University and Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists are following up on the concept of energy-recovering particle accelerators first introduced by physicist Maury Tigner at Cornell more than 50 years ago.

Scientists Program Yeast to Turn Plant Sugars into Biodiesel

Redox metabolism was engineered in Yarrowia lipolytica to increase the availability of reducing molecules needed for lipid production.

Soils Could Release Much More Carbon than Expected as Climate Warms

Deeper soil layers are more sensitive to warming than previously thought.

3-D Models Help Scientists Gauge Flood Impact

Using one of the world's most powerful supercomputers--Titan, the 27-petaflop Cray XK7 at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)--a University of Iowa team performed one of the first highly resolved, 3-D, volume-of-fluid Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulations of a dam break in a natural environment. The simulation allowed the team to map precise water levels for actual flood events over time.

Titan Simulations Show Importance of Close 2-Way Coupling Between Human and Earth Systems

A new integrated climate model developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other institutions is designed to reduce uncertainties in future climate predictions as it bridges Earth systems with energy and economic models and large-scale human impact data.