Combining sunlight and wastewater nitrate to make the world’s No. 2 chemical

Engineers at the University of Illinois Chicago have created a solar-powered electrochemical reaction that not only uses wastewater to make ammonia — the second most-produced chemical in the world — but also achieves a solar-to-fuel efficiency that is 10 times better than any other comparable technology.

Microspheres Quiver When Shocked

A challenging frontier in science and engineering is controlling matter outside of thermodynamic equilibrium to build material systems with capabilities that rival those of living organisms. Research on active colloids aims to create micro- and nanoscale “particles” that swim through viscous fluids like primitive microorganisms. When these self-propelled particles come together, they can organize and move like schools of fish to perform robotic functions, such as navigating complex environments and delivering “cargo” to targeted locations.

New NUS technology completes vital class of industrial reactions five times faster

Researchers from NUS Engineering have developed a new method to increase the rate of an important chemical reaction known as hydrogenation by more than 5 times. Hydrogenation is used in the production of everyday items like plastics, fertilisers, and pharmaceuticals. The NUS team’s novel approach is a more direct and effective method that can lead to higher yields for industries and lower environmental impacts.

A silver lining for extreme electronics

Tomorrow’s cutting-edge technology will need electronics that can tolerate extreme conditions. That’s why a group of researchers led by Michigan State University’s Jason Nicholas is building stronger circuits today. Nicholas and his team have developed more heat resilient silver circuitry with an assist from nickel. The team described the work, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program, on April 15 in the journal Scripta Materialia. The types of devices that the MSU team is working to benefit — next-generation fuel cells, high-temperature semiconductors and solid oxide electrolysis cells — could have applications in the auto, energy and aerospace industries.

Do You Know the Way to Berkelium, Californium?

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have demonstrated how to image samples of heavy elements as small as a single nanogram. The new approach will help scientists advance new technologies for medical imaging and cancer therapies.

Research promotes ‘doubly green’ renewable energy captured from biowaste

Cities around the United States could use their own biowaste from food scraps or manure to produce renewable energy for vehicles to the tune of $10 billion a year, according to a researcher at Missouri S&T. The proposed operation creates renewable natural gas (RNG) from biowaste and renewable hydrogen (RH2) from surplus electricity generated by solar or wind energy.

Better together: Scientists discover far-reaching applications of nanoparticles made of multiple elements

As catalysts for fuel cells, batteries and processes for carbon dioxide reduction, alloy nanoparticles that are made up of five or more elements are shown to be more stable and durable than single-element nanoparticles.

UCI engineers reveal molecular secrets of cephalopod powers

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 17, 2020 — Reflectins, the unique structural proteins that give squids and octopuses the ability to change colors and blend in with their surroundings, are thought to have great potential for innovations in areas as diverse as electronics, optics and medicine. Scientists and inventors have been stymied in their attempts to fully utilize the powers of these biomolecules due to their atypical chemical composition and high sensitivity to subtle environmental changes.

Microfluidics helps MTU engineers watch viral infection in real time

Watching a viral infection happen in real time is like a cross between a zombie horror film, paint drying, and a Bollywood epic on repeat. Over a 10-hour span, chemical engineers from Michigan Tech watched viral infections happen with precision inside a microfluidics device and can measure when the infection cycle gets interrupted by an antiviral compound.

High-precision electrochemistry: The new gold standard in fuel cell catalyst development

As part of an international collaboration, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have made a pivotal discovery that could extend the lifetime of fuel cells that power electric vehicles by eliminating the dissolution of platinum catalysts.

‘Artificial Chemist’ Combines AI, Robotics to Conduct Autonomous R&D

Researchers have developed a technology called “Artificial Chemist,” which incorporates artificial intelligence and an automated system for performing chemical reactions to accelerate R&D and manufacturing of commercially desirable materials.

Investigating the dynamics of stability

Scientists have gained important insight into the mechanisms that drive stability and activity in materials during oxygen evolution reactions. This insight will guide the practical design of materials for electrochemical fuel production.

Crab-shell and seaweed compounds spin into yarns for sustainable and functional materials

Researchers from Aalto University, the University of São Paulo and the University of British Columbia have found a way to make a new kind of fibre from a combination of chitin nanoparticles, extracted from residual blue crab shells and alginate, a compound found in seaweed.

$1.7 M grant to Wayne State College of Engineering aims to improve oral delivery of insulin

With the help of a $1.7 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, a team of researchers in Wayne State’s College of Engineering will explore ways to address urgent need for a safe and efficient oral delivery technology for insulin to improve the lives of diabetes patients.

NEW TWIST ON CRISPR TECHNOLOGY

Researchers at the University of Delaware, using the revolutionary new genetic technology known as CRISPR/Cas9 have found a way to improve the efficiency and precision of the way enzymes work together to produce certain biochemical reactions in cells. Their new application essentially creates a dynamic assembly line that can lead to advances in pharmaceuticals, agriculture and biofuels.