PPPL awarded more than $12 million to speed development of a fusion pilot plant

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded PPPL funding of more than $12 million to work with laboratories around the world to accelerate the development of a pilot plant powered by the carbon-free fusion energy that drives the sun and stars and can counter climate change.

Power Supply: Understanding Unstable Grids

A sustainable energy supply requires the expansion of power grids. However, new transmission lines can also lead to grids becoming more unstable rather than more stable, as would be expected. This phenomenon is referred to as the Braess paradox. For the first time, an international team, including researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), has now simulated this phenomenon in detail for power grids, demonstrated it on a larger scale, and developed a prediction tool, which is to support grid operators in decision-making. The researchers report in the journal Nature Communications. (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32917-6)

Europe can rapidly eliminate imports of Russian natural gas

Using a new power sector model, a team of researchers, including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York, have proposed a method for Europe to eliminate natural gas imports from Russia.

Game Changers in Fighting Climate Change: Refuels Are Suitable for Everyday Use

Synthetic fuels produced from renewable sources, so-called refuels, are deemed potential game changers in fighting climate change. Refuels promise to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional fuels and they allow for the continued use of existing vehicle fleets with combustion engines and of the refueling infrastructure, from fuel production to transport to sales. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) carried out extensive fleet tests in a large-scale project with industry partners and proved that refuels can be used in all vehicles and produced in large quantities in the foreseeable future. The results of the research project “reFuels – Rethinking Fuels” were presented on Monday, September 19, in Karlsruhe.

European energy standoff amid reports of damage to the Nord Stream pipelines. UNLV professor Christian Jensen specializes in the politics of the European Union.

With reports of heightened energy tensions following the escalation of the war in Ukraine, UNLV professor Christian Jensen is a perfect source for answers. He specializes in the politics of the European Union and its neighbors, and his work has…

Report reveals inequity in electricity pricing, calls for rate reform to help fight climate change

In a report released today, UC Berkeley researchers analyze the impact of a hidden electricity “tax” on Californians. They recommend two significant policy reforms to ease the burden on low-income households and spur consumer interest in the adoption of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and other electric technology.

UCI and national lab researchers develop a cobalt-free cathode for lithium-ion batteries

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 21, 2022 – Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and four national laboratories have devised a way to make lithium-ion battery cathodes without using cobalt, a mineral plagued by price volatility and geopolitical complications. In a paper published today in Nature, the scientists describe how they overcame thermal and chemical-mechanical instabilities of cathodes composed substantially of nickel – a common substitute for cobalt – by mixing in several other metallic elements.

Recycling Materials: Turning Old Batteries into New Ones

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is largely involved in a new battery recycling project. LiBinfinity focuses on a holistic concept for recycling materials of lithium-ion batteries. A mechanico-hydrometallurgical process without energy-intensive process steps will be transferred from the lab to an industry-relevant scale. KIT will then check whether the recycled materials are suited for the manufacture of new batteries. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) funds LiBinfinity with nearly EUR 17 million. Of these, about 1.2 million euros go to KIT.

The Race is On: Nevada is in the Driver’s Seat for Burgeoning Lithium Industry. UNLV economic geologist talks lithium battery supply chain, green energy, and self-sustainability

The ‘Lithium-Ion Battery State’ may not have the same ring to it as ‘Battle-Born’ or ‘Silver State,’ but the reality is that Nevada could soon be a leader in the lithium battery supply chain – potentially giving the U.S. an edge in the arms race for the in-demand metal that’s the key to powering everything from your cell phone to electric vehicles.

Study Sheds Light on Residential Energy Use

Now that the U.S. Senate has passed the Inflation Reduction Act—expected to provide homeowners with access to thousands of dollars in cash incentives for new hot water heaters, HVAC, insulation, and other enhancements—a spotlight has been cast on the residential energy…

Smaller, stronger magnets could improve devices that harness the fusion power of the sun and stars

PPPL researchers have found a way to build powerful magnets smaller than before, aiding the design and construction of machines that could help the world harness the power of the sun to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Photovoltaics: Fully Scalable All-Perovskite Tandem Solar Modules

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a prototype for fully scalable all-perovskite tandem solar modules. These modules have an efficiency of up to 19.1 percent with an aperture area of 12.25 square centimeters. This result, the first of its kind reported worldwide, was made possible by improving efficiency with optimized light paths, high-throughput laser scribing, and the use of established industrial coating methods. The researchers present their results in the journal Nature Energy. (DOI: 10.1038/s41560-022-01059-w)

Nitrogen Footprint: Heavy Pollution and Resource Losses Due to Liquid Manure

Factory farming for meat production is harmful to the environment. In addition to its direct emissions of methane, its use of liquid manure releases climate-damaging nitrogen compounds such as ammonia and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere and pollutes the groundwater with nitrates. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have analyzed how the liquid manure produced by livestock farming, which is often used as fertilizer, affects its nitrogen footprint. They showed that the nitrogen pollution caused by liquid manure from the production of beef is three times higher than that for pork and eight times higher than that for poultry

Schaeffler and KIT: Strategic Partnership Boosts Mobility Research

Electric drives, batteries, hydrogen technology, autonomous vehicles: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the industrial supplier Schaeffler have been cooperating on pioneering mobility solutions for many years. Now a strategic partnership aims to strengthen their efforts to develop and deploy new technologies and ideas; the partners signed an agreement in Karlsruhe on July 4, 2022.

GeoLaB: Future with Geothermal Energy

Locally available, emission-free and baseload-capable: geothermal energy is an essential component of the energy transition. With GeoLaB, a new and unique underground research infrastructure, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) are looking to expedite research and prepare the technology for broad application. The facility is to be built in the Black Forest or the Odenwald range, with the Helmholtz Association providing 35 million euros in funding.

$2.3 million NIH grant to fund research on ’smart’ knee replacements

A researcher at Binghamton University, State University of New York has received a five-year, $2,326,521 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to further her research into smart knee replacements.

Uncovering a novel way to bring to Earth the energy that powers the sun and stars

PPPL scientists have uncovered critical new details about fusion facilities that use lasers to compress the fuel that produces fusion energy. The new data could help lead to the improved design of future laser facilities that harness the fusion process that drives the sun and stars.

UCI scientists observe effects of heat in materials with atomic resolution

As electronic, thermoelectric and computer technologies have been miniaturized to nanometer scale, engineers have faced a challenge studying fundamental properties of the materials involved; in many cases, targets are too small to be observed with optical instruments. Using cutting-edge electron microscopes and novel techniques, a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions has found a way to map phonons – vibrations in crystal lattices – in atomic resolution, enabling deeper understanding of the way heat travels through quantum dots, engineered nanostructures in electronic components.

Frontier supercomputer debuts as world’s fastest, breaking exascale barrier

The Frontier supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory earned the top ranking today as the world’s fastest on the 59th TOP500 list, with 1.1 exaflops of performance. The system is the first to achieve an unprecedented level of computing performance known as exascale, a threshold of a quintillion calculations per second.

Desperate for change, island nations explore suing polluters

Facing an increasing amount of extreme weather and ever-rising sea levels, two island nations raised the possibility of claiming damages from major polluting countries through judicial means. The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda and the Pacific nation of Tuvalu…

100% Renewable Energy Using Building Science

In the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory describe results from a techno-economic analysis aimed at identifying pathways to 100% renewable power systems. By analyzing readily available supply and demand strategies within specific U.S. regions, the team found a combination of resource diversification, excess generation, building efficiency, and demand flexibility improvements could reduce or even eliminate the need for long-duration energy storage in some regions.

UCI becomes two-time recipient of STARS Platinum rating for sustainability efforts

For a second time, the University of California, Irvine has achieved a rare platinum rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, maintaining its status as one of the environmentally outstanding universities in the world.

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.