Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

US Department of Energy

A new coating material developed by UCSD researchers could help make concentrated solar po...

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat.  Read More

Electron microscope images of the nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide that cover the ...

Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have created a dye-sensitized solar cell that stores its own power by "breathing" air to decompose and re-form lithium peroxide. Its creators believe the device, which effectively combines a battery and a solar cell in one, could reduce renewable energy costs by 25 percent.  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 will attempt to discover if the universe is 'real' or a holographic 3-D illusio...

In what may be one of the most mind-bogglingly surreal experiments ever floated, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) will attempt to discover if the universe is "real" or merely a holographic 3-D illusion that we just think is real. Using high-powered lasers, the scientists intend to determine if space-time is a quantum system made up of countless tiny bits of information.  Read More

Carbon black from tires reportedly makes a better anode material than the traditional grap...

There may soon be a new use for discarded tires ... besides turning them into mattresses for cows, that is. Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method of harvesting the carbon black from them, and using it to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

A new type of dual-functioning electrolyte developed at ORNL could result in an improved c...

The three main components of a battery's makeup: the anode, cathode and the ion-conducting electrolyte, have been long understood to serve separate, independent functions. A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking to challenge this theory, experimenting with a dual functioning electrolyte that supplements the cathode to significantly improve the capacity and longevity of long-life batteries.  Read More

EcoCAR 3 tasks students with updating the iconic Chevrolet Camaro muscle car into a hybrid...

For the past 26 years, the US Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the North American auto industry, has sponsored Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) to provide the next generation of automotive engineers with a practical learning experience. The previous EcoCAR Challenge saw students convert and massage GM Malibus into super-efficient models, and this time for EcoCAR 3, teams are tasked with updating the iconic Chevrolet Camaro muscle car into a hybrid-electric vehicle.  Read More

Georgia Tech researchers Pamela Peralta-Yahya and Stephen Sarria examine the production of...

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium that could yield a new source of high-energy hydrocarbon fuel for rocketry and other aerospace uses. High-energy, specific-use hydrocarbon fuels such as JP-10 can be extracted from oil, along with more commonly used petroleum fuels, but supplies are limited and prices are high – approaching US$7 per liter. That’s where the new bacterium, engineered by Georgia Tech scientists Stephen Sarria and Pamela Peralta-Yahya, could come in.  Read More

US Atomic Energy Commission 14 kT Bunker Charlie test - October 30, 1951 (Photo: USAEC)

The best advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn't work out for you, though, a recent study carried out at the USDOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provides some simple guidance for maximizing your chances of survival.  Read More

An inexpensive high capacity organic battery has been developed by Professor Michael Aziz ...

Researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive, high capacity, organic battery that uses carbon-based materials as electrolytes rather than metals. The researchers say the technology stands to be a game-changer in renewable energy storage by solving the intermittent generation problems faced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The battery offers large volume electricity storage not possible with solid-state batteries and at a fraction of the cost of existing flow battery technology.  Read More

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