Agricultural decarbonization gets new emphasis at ORNL

Finding a way to reduce metric tons of carbon dioxide while sustaining food products to feed the country and the world is becoming an area of increased focus in national decarbonization efforts and is attracting increased attention at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Lab in the living room: Summer interns delve into plasma and fusion research from their homes

Summer interns working for PPPL did hands-on research from their computers in their bedrooms or on their dining room tables all over the U.S. They worked closely with PPPL physicists and engineers on research aimed at understanding ionized gases called plasmas.

UCI is No. 2 in Sierra magazine’s 2021 ‘Cool Schools’ ranking of sustainability leaders

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 9, 2021 — The green streak continues! Sierra magazine has named the University of California, Irvine No. 2 overall in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among U.S. and Canadian universities and colleges, marking the 12th time in a row that UCI has placed in the top 10 of the widely acclaimed list.

LED Material Shines Under Strain

A team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley has demonstrated an approach for achieving LEDs with near 100% light-emission efficiency at all brightness levels.

First sort, then refurbish

Switzerland’s building stock is quite impressive. There are around 1.8 million buildings in the country, but only one percent of this building stock is renovated each year. In other words, it will take 100 years for the entire building stock in the country to be renovated – which would be too slow to achieve the energy transition. But before politicians decide on stimulating subsidies, this daunting task must first be structured: Which measures make sense for which buildings? And where to start?

Key Improvements to Efficiency and Safety Will Enable Expansion of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power plants produce about 20% of the United States’ electricity. In order to increase the amount of carbon dioxide-free energy these plants can yield, improvements in efficiency and safety must be made. With support from $1.5 million in grants from the Department of Energy (DOE), researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will lead projects aimed at upgrading nuclear power plants with those goals in mind. The grants are part of more than $61 million in awards recently announced by the DOE to support nuclear energy research.

Hydrogen Technologies Take Leading Role Toward Net Zero

Achieving Net Zero energy, where the total amount of energy used is equal to the amount of renewable energy created, is closer than ever before, and hydrogen technologies will play an important role in achieving that goal, but needs and gaps need to be addressed before a true hydrogen-powered future can take form. There are many opportunities in the global public and private sectors for research, development, and deployment collaboration.

Powering Navigational Buoys With Help of Ocean Waves

Traditionally used energy harvesting technologies, like photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, suffer from several limitations. In the absence of daylight and wind, neither of the two can supply any power. In the case of ocean buoys, a potential solution is omnipresent: wave energy. Abundant, predictable, and consistent, the ocean’s waves can be used to power navigation buoys. Researchers have developed sphere-based triboelectric nanogenerators that can be incorporated directly into navigational buoys to provide electricity from ocean waves.

Measuring Photovoltaic Performance Indoors

As photovoltaic technology continues to progress, PV devices’ applications in harvesting energy from indoor ambient light have become more realistic. Some combinations of PV material and light source can be more efficient in converting power than the same material under solar illumination, and a better understanding of these relationships is needed to fully characterize the behavior of solar cells under very low illumination conditions.

MEDIA ADVISORY: AIP Publishing Hosts Expert Sessions on Energy Storage and Conversion at Virtual Conference

Twelve distinguished speakers will be covering critical topics impacting energy storage and conversion at the upcoming AIP Publishing Horizons Virtual Conference on Aug. 4-6. The three-day event is organized by the journal Applied Physics Reviews and brings together leaders in the field of energy science to present their latest research in six sessions

UC San Diego Receives $35 Million in State Funding for New California Coastal Research Vessel

California legislators have allocated UC San Diego $35 million to design and build a new coastal research vessel with a first-of-its-kind hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system.

The new vessel, which will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, will serve as a platform for essential education and research dedicated to understanding the California coast and climate change impacts to the coastal ecosystem.

Sensor Data Identifies Turbine Wake Clustering, Improves Wind Farm Productivity Via Yaw Control

In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers describe a real-time method for potentially helping turbine farms realize additional power from the clustering of their turbines. Their method requires no new sensors to identify which turbines at any given time could increase power production if yaw control is applied, and validation studies showed an increase of 1%-3% in overall power gain.

Baylor Study Evaluates Biodiversity Impacts of Alternative Energy Strategies

Climate change mitigation efforts have led to shifts from fossil-fuel dependence to large-scale renewable energy. However, renewable energy sources require significant land and could come at a cost to ecosystems. A new study led by Ryan McManamay, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science at Baylor University, evaluates potential conflicts between alternative energy strategies and biodiversity conservation.

Calling all couch potatoes: this finger wrap can let you power electronics while you sleep

A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger into a source of power for small electronics and sensors. Engineers at the University of California San Diego developed a thin, flexible strip that can be worn on a fingertip and generate small amounts of electricity when a person’s finger sweats or presses on it. What’s special about this sweat-fueled device is that it generates power even while the wearer is asleep or sitting still.

Save The Date: AIP Publishing Horizons Meeting Examines Energy Storage and Conversion

Energy conversion and storage is a critical part of modern society as applications continue to develop at a rapid pace. At the 2021 AIP Publishing Horizons Virtual Conference, researchers will unveil and discuss the latest advances in energy science and how the field will change over the next decades. In addition to speaker sessions, a poster program will provide a wide view of the exciting research going on now by scientists around the world.

Alex Harris Named Energy Sciences Director at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY—The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has named Alex Harris as Director of the Lab’s Energy Sciences Department, effective May 1, 2021. In his new position, Harris will manage several divisions of the Laboratory, including the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the Chemistry Division, and the Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Division.

Changing a 2D Material’s Symmetry Can Unlock Its Promise

In research published today in Nature Nanotechnology, a team of materials scientists and engineers, led by Jian Shi, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, used a strain gradient in order to break inversion symmetry, creating a novel optoelectronic phenomenon in the promising material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) — for the first time.

Researchers unveil roadmap to expand NY solar energy, meet green goals

Solar-power developers need to explore using lower-quality agricultural land for solar energy, incentivize dual-use (combined agriculture and solar) options, avoid concentrated solar development and engage communities early to achieve New York’s green energy goals, according to forthcoming Cornell University research.

Battery parts can be recycled without crushing or melting

Researchers at Aalto University have discovered that electrodes in lithium batteries containing cobalt can be reused as is after being newly saturated with lithium. In comparison to traditional recycling, which typically extracts metals from crushed batteries by melting or dissolving them, the new process saves valuable raw materials, and likely also energy.

Thermal Power Nanogenerator Created Without Solid Moving Parts

As environmental and energy crises become more common, a thermal energy harvester capable of converting abundant thermal energy into mechanical energy appears to be a promising mitigation strategy. The majority of thermal power generation technologies involve solid moving parts, which can reduce reliability and lead to frequent maintenance. This inspired researchers in China to develop a thermal power nanogenerator without solid moving parts. In Applied Physics Letters, they propose a thermal power nanogenerator that converts thermal energy into electrical energy.

Shining, Colored LED Lighting on Microalgae for Next-Generation Biofuel

As biofuels continue to present challenges, microalgae are gaining momentum as a biofuel energy crop. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers show how a combination of monochromatic red and blue LED illumination on one type of microalga can enhance its growth and increase the biosynthesis of critical components, such as lipids, for microalgae feedstock development. The researchers focused on Dunaliella salina, typically extracted from sea salt fields and found in salt lakes.

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.

MTU Experts in Snow, Solar, and Power Outages

Michigan Technological University resides in the Keweenaw, a part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that gets more than 200 inches of snow every winter. Michigan Tech researchers—engineers, sociologists, computer scientists—study renewable energy grids, their strengths and weaknesses, community resilience and impact…

General Atomics Completes Fabrication and Testing of First ITER Central Solenoid Module

After nearly five years of fabrication and a battery of rigorous testing and troubleshooting, General Atomics (GA) has completed the first major milestone in one of the United States’ largest contributions to the ITER fusion project in France. The first module of the ITER Central Solenoid will join six others still in fabrication to make up the largest pulsed superconducting magnet in the world. The Central Solenoid will play a critical role in ITER’s mission to establish fusion as a practical, safe and nearly inexhaustible source of clean, abundant and carbon-free electricity.