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.

Can Sodium-Ion Batteries Replace Trusty Lithium-Ion Ones?

Sodium-ion batteries are a potential replacement for lithium batteries, but different anodes are needed for the same level of performance. Amorphous carbon is known to be a useful anode, because it has defects and voids that can be used to store sodium ions. Nitrogen/phosphorus-doped carbon also offers appealing electrical properties. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers describe how they applied basic physical concepts of atomic scale to build high-performance anodes for sodium-ion batteries.

Cornell University to Extract Energy from Manure to Meet Peak Heating Demands

Cornell University is developing a system to extract energy from cattle manure to meet the campus’s peak demands for heat in the winter months. In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, scientists involved with the project give a detailed analysis of the issues required to make this work, including scientific, economic, and energy policy considerations.

Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Creating Higher Energy Density Lithium-Ion Batteries for Renewable Energy Applications

Lithium-ion batteries that function as high-performance power sources for renewable applications, such as electric vehicles and consumer electronics, require electrodes that deliver high energy density without compromising cell lifetimes. In the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, researchers investigate the origins of degradation in high energy density LIB cathode materials and develop strategies for mitigating those degradation mechanisms and improving LIB performance.

Gut Microbiome Manipulation Could Result from Virus Discovery

Scientists have discovered how a common virus in the human gut infects and takes over bacterial cells – a finding that could be used to control the composition of the gut microbiome, which is important for human health. The Rutgers co-authored research, which could aid efforts to engineer beneficial bacteria that produce medicines and fuels and clean up pollutants, is published in the journal Nature.

Genetic Code Evolution and Darwin’s Evolution Theory Should Consider DNA an ‘Energy Code’

Darwin’s theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability “energy code” – so-called “molecular Darwinism” – to further account for the long-term survival of species’ characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists. The iconic genetic code can be viewed as an “energy code” that evolved by following the laws of thermodynamics (flow of energy), causing its evolution to culminate in a nearly singular code for all living species, according to the Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics.

Improving High-Energy Lithium-Ion Batteries with Carbon Filler

Lithium-ion batteries are the major rechargeable power source for many portable devices as well as electric vehicles, but their use is limited, because they do not provide high power output while simultaneously allowing reversible energy storage. Research reported in Applied Physics Reviews aims to offer a solution by showing how the inclusion of conductive fillers improves battery performance.

$39 Million to better integrate renewables into power grid

The National Science Foundation has awarded $39 million to a team of engineers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego to build a first-of-its-kind testbed to better understand how to integrate distributed energy sources such as solar panels, wind turbines, smart buildings and electric vehicle batteries into the power grid. The goal is to make the testbed available to outside research teams and industry by 2025.

DIII-D Scientists to Work with PPPL to Find a Path to Sustained Fusion Energy

Researchers from the DIII-D National Fusion Facility are preparing to support their colleagues at the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in a quest to develop sustained fusion energy. Under recently announced DOE funding programs, two teams at DIII-D will perform research on physics and instrumentation for NSTX-U as the facility’s staff work to restart operations late next year.

Pandemic lockdowns caused steep and lasting carbon dioxide decline

An international team of climate experts, including Earth system scientists at the University of California, Irvine, today released an assessment of carbon dioxide emissions by industry, transportation and other sectors from January through June, showing that this year’s pandemic lockdowns resulted in a 9 percent decline from 2019 levels.