Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show


The Ice Harbor Dam in Washington state where Sensor Fish testing is done

It’s a tough row to hoe for young salmon in the Pacific Northwest as they make their perilous journey from upriver to the ocean. Besides hungry birds and sea lions, the regions many hydroelectric dams and their swirling turbines produce manmade currents and other obstacles that make it challenging for the fish to navigate. But now with the help of an artificial Senor Fish created by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), existing larger dams and newer, smaller hydroelectric facilities can become more fish-friendly.  Read More

This large buoy has an array of advanced scientific instruments to measure offshore wind e...

Offshore wind power in the United States is nowhere close to meeting the potential this renewable energy form has to offer. There are a myriad of reasons why, including lack of information on energy-harnessing possibilities at specific sites. The US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is looking to change this, by dropping two very advanced data-collecting buoys into coastal waters.  Read More

The smartphone microscope, in use at the PNNL lab

Suppose you were a first responder, who got called out to investigate a suspicious substance found in a public place. Instead of having to transport that material back to the lab, wouldn't it be better if you could just take a microscope image of it with your smartphone, email that image off to a remote lab, then receive the analysis within just a few minutes while you were still on location? Thanks to a very inexpensive new phone attachment developed at the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), that could soon be possible.  Read More

Scientists at PNNL have developed a new liquid alloy electrode that can improve the perfor...

A new battery electrode designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) combines liquid-state cesium and sodium to dramatically improve on the efficiency, safety and useful life of sodium-beta batteries (NBBs). If the technology is scaled up successfully, the advance could help build a smart electric grid that makes better use of renewables such as solar and wind.  Read More

A shield around the anode made from graphite, a material that is used in lithium-ion anode...

Increasing the range of electric vehicles and improving the storage of renewable energy systems are two examples of the benefits offered by lithium-sulfur batteries. Though they can hold four times the energy per mass of the lithium-ion batteries used today, their considerably shorter lifespan has proven something of a roadblock. Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have now designed a lithium-sulfur battery with four times the longevity, bringing the technology that little bit closer to maturity.  Read More

One of the new micro-batteries, amongst grains of rice for scale

In order to better understand and protect wild stocks of salmon, it's necessary to track their whereabouts using implanted acoustic tags. Needless to say, the longer that those tags are able to transmit a signal, the greater the amount of data that can be gathered. Scientists at Washington state's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are helping make that happen, by developing batteries that have both a smaller size and higher energy density than conventional fish tag batteries.  Read More

Biocrude produced using the new process

Engineers at the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have created a continuous process that produces useful crude oil minutes after harvested algae is introduced. This new process does not require drying out the algae, which grows in water, saving time and energy that would be otherwise wasted. The final product can be refined into aviation fuel, diesel, or gasoline.  Read More

Close-up look of PNNL’s concentrating solar power system

Solar power holds the promise of clean, limitless energy, but it currently suffers from high costs and an inherent disadvantage of not working when the sun isn't shining. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is taking a best-of-both-worlds approach by developing a hybrid solar/gas system that increases the efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint of natural gas power plants.  Read More

The highly efficient, small-scale SOFC system developed at PNNL features PNNL-developed mi...

A new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system developed at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DoE PNNL) could be used for household and neighborhood power generation. Fueled by methane, the system achieves an efficiency of up to 57 percent, improving on the 30 to 50 percent efficiencies seen previously in SOFC systems of similar size. The PNNL researchers say the pilot system they have built generates enough electricity to power the average American home, and can be scaled up to provide power for 50 to 250 homes.  Read More

The giant plug inflates to roughly 32 feet (9.7 m) long and with a diameter of 16 feet (4....

What’s the best way to plug a giant hole? Why with a giant plug, of course. That’s the thinking of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), which has created just such a giant plug to contain flooding or dangerous gases in mass transit tunnels. Measuring roughly 32 feet (9.7 m) long and with a diameter of 16 feet (4.9 m), the giant plug is an enormous inflatable cylinder that can be filled with air or water in minutes to quickly seal off a section of tunnel in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.  Read More

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