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Argonne National Laboratory

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The pick of the world's most fuel efficient vehicles are lining-up at the Michigan International Speedway this week for stage one of the $10 million Automotive X PRIZE. Thirty-six entrants are are taking part in the initial "Shakedown Stage" (April 26-May 7), where they will undergo official safety checks before hitting the track for final testing and an opportunity to iron-out any last minute bugs.  Read More

Diagram tracking the movement of gears turned by the bacteria (Image: Igor Aronson/Argonne...

Researchers have discovered that common bacteria suspended in a solution can be made to turn microgears. This opens up the possibility of building hybrid biological machines at the microscopic scale. The researchers say the discovery demonstrates how microscopic swimming agents, such as bacteria or man-made nanorobots, in combination with hard materials, can constitute a "smart material", which can dynamically alter its microstructures, repair damage, or power microdevices.  Read More

Nuclear engineer Ahmed Hassanein in his Purdue lab (Photo: Vincent Walter)

We recently looked at a technique that could help extend Moore’s Law by using DNA molecules as scaffolding to pack more power and speed into computer chips. Now researchers from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are working to achieve the same result by adapting the same methods used in fusion-energy research to create extremely thin plasma beams for a new class of 'nanolithography'.  Read More

Visualization of an astrophysics simulation to discover the mechanism behind the violent d...

Capturing complex visualizations, such as the above Dali-esque rendering of a supernova, don’t just produce pretty pictures ideal for desktop wallpapers. They also allow scientists to see simulations of complex physical, chemical and biological phenomena. Unfortunately generating the quadrillions of data points required for visualizations of everything from supernovas to protein structures is quickly overwhelming current computing capabilities. So scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are exploring ways to speed up the process using a technique called software-based parallel volume rendering.  Read More

Power Generating Shock Absorber
 Graphic: David Oxenreider

Recent developments in regeneration technology are almost ready for prime time. Both Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles and Power Generating Shock Absorbers are both being field tested and may be soon headed for mass production. UPS have committed to purchasing seven "series" hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicles while Electric Truck, LLC has exclusively optioned commercial rights to a technology from Tufts University that uses Regenerative Shock Absorbers to recharge the batteries of any hybrid electric and electric-powered vehicle while it is driven.  Read More

April 4, 2008 Here’s a futuristic, car-related technology you won’t see in the next summer sci-fi blockbuster: the algae-powered automobile. Some varieties of the unicellular plant are being tweaked to produce of hydrogen, which can be used to power efficient, environmentally clean vehicles. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory believe that algae’s ability to grow pretty much anywhere will enable it to be the energy farm of the near future.  Read More

Grancrete – could a new concrete solve many of the world’s most pressing problems?

October 20, 2006 The United Nations estimates there are almost a billion poor people in the world, 750 million of whom live in urban areas without adequate shelter and basic services. An ingenious new building technology from scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Casa Grande LLC could help alleviate and perhaps even solve that major humanitarian problem by providing affordable housing for the world's poorest. A tough new ceramic material that is almost twice as strong as concrete may be the key to providing high-quality, low-cost housing throughout developing nations. The ceramic is called Grancrete, which, when sprayed onto a rudimentary Styrofoam frame, dries to form a lightweight but durable surface. The resulting house is a major upgrade to the fragile structures in which millions of the world's poorest currently live. Using conventional techniques, it takes 20 men two weeks to build a house. A five person crew can construct two grancrete homes in one day. There’s also plenty of commercial upside in developed nations, making low-cost buildings viable for a variety of purposes – we can see inflatable technology marrying with Grancrete construction to evolve an entirely new way of building lavishly complex structures that would be impossible any other way.  Read More

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