Science Snapshots From Berkeley Lab – Week of March 29, 2021

India’s Ambitious Clean Energy Goals, a Secret Pathway to Harnessing the Sun for Clean Energy, and a Supersmart Gas Sensor for Asthmatics

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U.S. Department of Energy Announces $34.5 Million for Data Science and Computation Tools to Advance Climate Solutions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $34.5 million to harness cutting-edge research tools for new scientific discoveries, including clean energy and climate solutions. Two new funding opportunities will support researchers using data science and computation-based methods—including artificial intelligence and machine learning—to tackle basic science challenges, advance clean energy technologies, improve energy efficiency, and predict extreme weather and climate patterns.

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U.S. Department of Energy Announces $30M for Research to Secure Domestic Supply Chain of Critical Elements and Minerals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced up to $30 million to support scientific research that will ensure American businesses can reliably tap into a domestic supply of critical elements and minerals, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, needed to produce clean energy technologies.

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Low-Level Jets Create Winds of Change for Turbines

Global wind power capacity has increased more than fivefold over the past decade, leading to larger turbines, but low-level jets are one cause for concern. The effects of these strong, energetic wind flows depend on how high the wind flows are in relation to the turbines. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers considered three different scenarios in which the LLJs were above, below, and in the middle of the turbine rotors.

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Photovoltaics Industry Can Help Meet Paris Agreement Targets

To meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of preventing Earth’s average temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial level, one of the best options for the energy economy will involve a shift to 100% renewable energy using solar energy and other clean energy sources. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers describe a model developed to predict what is necessary for the solar industry to meet Paris Agreement targets.

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Hydrogen Embrittlement Creates Complications for Clean Energy Storage, Transportation

Hydrogen is becoming a crucial pillar in the clean energy movement, and developing safe and cost-effective storage and transportation methods for it is essential but complicated, because hydrogen can cause brittleness in several metals including ferritic steel. Recent advancements are starting to provide insight into the embrittlement process. A review of various methods in Applied Physics Reviews improves the understanding of the structure, property, and performance of ferritic steels subjected to mechanical loading in a hydrogen environment.

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Scientists Capture Candid Snapshots of Electrons Harvesting Light at the Atomic Scale

A team of scientists led by Berkeley Lab has gained important new insight into electrons’ role in the harvesting of light in artificial photosynthesis systems.

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AI software enables real-time 3D printing quality assessment

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed artificial intelligence software for powder bed 3D printers that assesses the quality of parts in real time, without the need for expensive characterization equipment.

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Making a Material World Better, Faster Now: Q&A With Materials Project Director Kristin Persson

Berkeley Lab’s Kristin Persson shares her thoughts on what inspired her to launch the Materials Project online database, the future of materials research and machine learning, and how she found her own way into a STEM career.

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Solar researchers across country join forces with industry to boost U.S. solar manufacturing

The University of Washington, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Toledo have formed the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium to accelerate the domestic commercialization of perovskite technologies.

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Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Air Quality During COVID-19

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 9, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Monica Mazurek is available for interviews on air quality

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DIII-D Researchers Use Machine Learning to Steer Fusion Plasmas Near Operational Limits

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility recently achieved a scientific first when they used machine learning calculations to automatically prevent fusion plasma disruptions in real time, while simultaneously optimizing the plasma for peak performance. The new experiments are the first of what they expect to be a wave of research in which machine learning–augmented controls could broaden the understanding of fusion plasmas. The work may help deliver reliable, peak-performance operation of future fusion reactors.

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