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Argonne National Laboratory

— Science

Algal protein provides more efficient way to split water and produce hydrogen

By - December 26, 2011 2 Pictures
Recently, scientists from the Swiss research institute EMPA, along with colleagues from the University of Basel and the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois took a cue from photosynthesis and discovered that by coupling a light-harvesting plant protein with their specially designed electrode, they could substantially boost the efficiency of photo-electrochemical cells used to split water and produce hydrogen - a huge step forward in the search for clean, truly green power. Read More
— Science

1.7 billion supercomputer hours awarded to 57 research projects

By - December 2, 2010 1 Picture
There’s a lot of scientific research projects out there that could produce some interesting results, if only they had access to a supercomputer. With that in mind, this week the US Department of Energy (DoE) announced that it has awarded 57 deserving projects with a total of almost 1.7 billion processor hours on two of its (and the world’s) most powerful computers. It’s part of the DoE’s cleverly-acronymed Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, the aim is of which is primarily “to further renewable energy solutions and understand of the environmental impacts of energy use.” That said, the program is open to all scientists in need of heavy-duty data crunching. Read More
— Science

Scientists able to watch nanoparticles grow from earliest stages of development

By - October 19, 2010 1 Picture
We hear a lot about nanoparticles. The often unexpected properties of these tiny specks of matter are giving them applications in everything from synthetic antibodies to fuel cells to water filters and far beyond. Recently, for the first time ever, scientists were able to watch the particles grow from their earliest stage of development. Given that the performance of nanoparticles is based on their structure, composition, and size, being able to see how they grow could lead to the development of better growing conditions, and thus better nanotechnology. Read More
— Automotive

On-track testing underway for Automotive X-Prize

By - April 27, 2010 6 Pictures
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
— Science

Hybrid biological machines powered by bacteria

By - December 21, 2009 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Extending Moore’s Law using nuclear fusion

By - August 20, 2009 1 Picture
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
— Science

If Dali had a supercomputer: amazing supernova rendering

By - August 2, 2009 2 Pictures
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
— Automotive

Regeneration no longer just about braking

By - January 1, 2009 2 Pictures
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
— Environment

Researchers investigate hydrogen-producing algae farms

By - April 3, 2008 0 Pictures
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
— Good Thinking

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

By - October 19, 2006 1 Picture
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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