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Argonne National Laboratory

Environment

Mobile machine can make biofuel for military and humanitarian operations

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have created a device called the Endurance Bioenergy Reactor (EBR) that can produce bioenergy on location, using waste from kitchens and latrines. The fuel can go directly into engines and generators without any need for refining, avoiding the complications of distribution and supply chains associated with fuel production. The researchers say the EBR can produce 25 to 50 gallons (94.6 to 189.2 liters) of biofuel a day from waste streams or processed cellulosic materials. Read More

Automotive

Envia Systems claims energy density record for lithium-ion batteries

This Monday, California-based Envia Systems made an announcement that could mean big things for the mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles. The company claims to have broken the world record for energy density in a rechargeable lithium-ion cell, with an automotive-grade battery that reportedly has a density of 400 watt-hours/kilogram (Wh/kg). Not only is that figure two to three times higher than what is currently possible with commercially-available cells, but Envia also claims that its battery should cost less than half the price of existing li-ion batteries.Read More

Science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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