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    Good Vibrations Give Electrons Excitations That Rock an Insulator to Go Metallic

    Good Vibrations Give Electrons Excitations That Rock an Insulator to Go Metallic

    A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has made an important advancement in understanding a classic transition-metal oxide, vanadium dioxide, by quantifying the thermodynamic forces driving the transformation. The results are published in the Nov. 10 advance online issue of Nature.

    Renewable Energy Support Programs: New Studies Examine How and When They Work

    Renewable Energy Support Programs: New Studies Examine How and When They Work

    In a pair of new papers, University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor John R. Birge, along with Ingmar Ritzenhofen and Professor Stefan Spinler of the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management (Germany) have quantitatively analyzed the effects of various schemes to support renewable energy generation and, consequently, to reduce carbon emissions and end fossil fuel dependence.

    Synthetic Fish Measures Wild Ride Through Dams

    Synthetic Fish Measures Wild Ride Through Dams

    A synthetic fish is helping existing hydroelectric dams and new, smaller hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The latest version of the Sensor Fish - a small tubular device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stresses fish experience - measures more forces, costs about 80 percent less and can be used in more hydro structures than its predecessor, according to a paper published in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments.

    Story Tips From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory November 2014

    Story Tips From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory November 2014

    1) With the addition of a dash of a common solvent, researchers realized an efficiency gain of about 36 percent for organic solar cells. 2) An innovative computational tool could reduce uncertainties and the time required to decide where to drill for gas and oil. 3) The current source inverter takes direct current and converts it into alternating current, boosting the voltage by up to three times. 4) Batteries that boast higher energy for the same weight, lower cost and longer life.

    New Process Transforms Wood, Crop Waste Into Valuable Chemicals

    New Process Transforms Wood, Crop Waste Into Valuable Chemicals

    Scientists today disclosed a new method to convert lignin, a biomass waste product, into simple chemicals. The innovation is an important step toward replacing petroleum-based fuels and chemicals with biorenewable materials, says Shannon Stahl, an expert in "green chemistry" at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    A New Look at AC-DC

    A New Look at AC-DC

    Feeding the world's energy appetite may take innovative approaches in the future. A book by Nilanjan Ray Chaudhuri, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Dakota State University, Fargo, is the first text of its kind to examine methods to bring offshore wind energy on shore to power industry, homes and businesses. "Multi-terminal Direct Current Grids: Modeling, Analysis, and Control," is published by the Wiley-IEEE Press.

    "Reverse Engineering" Materials for More Efficient Heating and Cooling

    "Reverse Engineering" Materials for More Efficient Heating and Cooling

    If you've gone for a spin in a luxury car and felt your back being warmed or cooled by a seat-based climate control system, then you've likely experienced the benefits of a class of materials called thermoelectrics. Thermoelectric materials convert heat into electricity, and vice versa, and have many advantages over traditional heating and cooling systems. Recently, researchers have observed that the performance of some thermoelectric materials can be improved by combining different solid phases.

    Super Stable Garnet Ceramics May Be Ideal for High-Energy Lithium Batteries

    Super Stable Garnet Ceramics May Be Ideal for High-Energy Lithium Batteries

    Scientists have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs.

    A Global Natural Gas Boom Alone Won't Slow Climate Change

    A Global Natural Gas Boom Alone Won't Slow Climate Change

    A new analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that expanding the current bounty of inexpensive natural gas alone would not slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to a study appearing today in Nature.

    New ORNL Electric Vehicle Technology Packs More Punch in Smaller Package

    New ORNL Electric Vehicle Technology Packs More Punch in Smaller Package

    Using 3-D printing and novel semiconductors, researchers have created a power inverter that could make electric vehicles lighter, more powerful and more efficient.

    Beyond LEDs: Brighter, New Energy -Saving Flat Panel Lights Based on Carbon Nanotubes

    Beyond LEDs: Brighter, New Energy -Saving Flat Panel Lights Based on Carbon Nanotubes

    Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source based on carbon nanotubes with very low power consumption of around 0.1 Watt for every hour's operation--about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.

    UW Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

    UW Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal

    University of Washington engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.

    Researchers Pump Up Oil Accumulation in Plant Leaves

    Researchers Pump Up Oil Accumulation in Plant Leaves

    A series of detailed genetic studies points scientists to a new way to dramatically increase the accumulation of oil in plant leaves, an abundant source of biomass for fuel production.

    Batteries Included: A Solar Cell that Stores its Own Power

    Batteries Included: A Solar Cell that Stores its Own Power

    Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery? Actually, the patent-pending device invented at The Ohio State University is both: the world's first solar battery.

    Hide & Seek: Sterile Neutrinos Remain Elusive

    Hide & Seek: Sterile Neutrinos Remain Elusive

    The Daya Bay Collaboration, an international group of scientists studying the subtle transformations of subatomic particles called neutrinos, is publishing its first results on the search for a so-called sterile neutrino, a possible new type of neutrino beyond the three known neutrino "flavors," or types. The existence of this elusive particle, if proven, would have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, and could impact the design of future neutrino experiments.

    Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail

    Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail

    Scientists have discovered that lithium ions stress and strain on battery materials. These changes may help explain why most anodes made of layered materials eventually fail.

    Unexpected New Mechanism Reveals How Molecules Become Trapped in Ice

    Unexpected New Mechanism Reveals How Molecules Become Trapped in Ice

    Expanding our knowledge of the way molecules interact with ice surfaces is a key goal not only for climate change but also a much wider range of other environmental, scientific and defense-related issues. Now, a team of researchers has discovered a new mechanism they call "stable energetic embedding" of atoms and molecules within ice. The work is described in The Journal of Chemical Physics.

    New UT Dallas Technology May Lead to Prolonged Power in Mobile Devices

    New UT Dallas Technology May Lead to Prolonged Power in Mobile Devices

    Researchers from the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science have created technology that could be the first step toward wearable computers with self-contained power sources or, more immediately, a smartphone that doesn't die after a few hours of heavy use

    Sandia Magnetized Fusion Technique Produces Significant Results

    Sandia Magnetized Fusion Technique Produces Significant Results

    Working with two magnetic fields and a laser, Sandia's Z machine has released an amount of neutrons surprisingly close to 'break-even' fusion.

    Graphene Imperfections Key to Creating Hypersensitive 'Electronic Nose'

    Graphene Imperfections Key to Creating Hypersensitive 'Electronic Nose'

    UIC researchers have discovered a way to create a highly sensitive chemical sensor based on the crystalline flaws in graphene sheets. The imperfections have unique electronic properties that the researchers were able to exploit to increase sensitivity to absorbed gas molecules by 300 times.

    A Nanosized Hydrogen Generator

    A Nanosized Hydrogen Generator

    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale "hydrogen generator" that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element.

    X-Rays Unlock a Protein's SWEET Side

    X-Rays Unlock a Protein's SWEET Side

    Understanding just how sugar makes its way into the cell could lead to the design of better drugs for diabetes patients and an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables farmers are able to grow. Stanford University researchers have recently uncovered one of these "pathways" into the cell by piecing together proteins slightly wider than the diameter of a strand of spider silk.

    UChicago-Argonne National Lab Team Improves Solar-Cell Efficiency

    UChicago-Argonne National Lab Team Improves Solar-Cell Efficiency

    New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory.

    A More Efficient, Lightweight and Low-Cost Solar Cell

    A More Efficient, Lightweight and Low-Cost Solar Cell

    Scientists trying to improve the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells were long hampered by drawbacks of metal electrodes. Now comes a more efficient, easily processable and lightweight solar cell that can use any metal for the electrode, breaking down this barrier.

    American-Made Wind Turbine Blades

    American-Made Wind Turbine Blades

    Sandia National Laboratories is helping makers of wind turbine blades improve the labor productivity associated with blade fabrication and finishing. This improved productivity makes domestic blades more cost competitive with blades from countries that pay workers lower wages.