Public Release: 1-Mar-2016
Nature Energy NREL collaboration boosts potential for CdTe solar cells
A critical milestone has been reached in cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cell technology, helping pave the way for solar energy to directly compete with electricity generated by conventional energy sources.
Public Release: 1-Mar-2016 Belgium's Red Electrical Devils win $1 million for innovative inverter design
Google and IEEE announced today that Belgium's Red Electrical Devils, a team from CE+T Power, has won the Little Box Challenge, a competition to invent a much smaller inverter for interconnecting solar power systems to the power grid. The success earned the team a $1 million prize while proving that inverters can be the size of a tablet or smaller rather than the size of a picnic cooler, more than a factor of 10 reduction in size.
Public Release: 29-Feb-2016 Cyclotron Road announces the selection of its second cohort of innovators
Today, Berkeley Lab's Cyclotron Road program announced the selection of its second cohort of innovators, whose projects include next generation batteries, advanced materials, biomanufacturing, and solar technologies. Cyclotron Road recruits entrepreneurial researchers and embeds them at Berkeley Lab for up to two years in a mentored technology entrepreneurship program.
Dept. of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office
Public Release: 23-Feb-2016
Global Change Biology: Bioenergy A new recipe for biofuel: Genetic diversity can lead to more productive growth
A team of national laboratory and university researchers led by the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory is growing large test plots of switchgrass crops with the farmer in mind. For the first time, researchers have mixed different genetic varieties of switchgrass on production-size plots, hypothesizing this could increase yield by extending the growing season, varying the size of the switchgrass plants to produce a fuller crop and potentially reducing the crop's vulnerability to weather fluctuations.
Public Release: 22-Feb-2016
Physics of Plasmas PPPL researchers advance understanding of turbulence that drains heat from fusion reactors
Physicists at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory appear to have gained important new insights into what affects plasma turbulence, which can impact the leakage of heat from the fusion plasma within tokamaks. Understanding how fusion plasmas lose heat is crucial because the more a plasma is able to retain its heat the more efficient a fusion reactor can be.
US Department of Energy's Office of Science
Public Release: 18-Feb-2016
Science Biofuel tech straight from the farm
Nature's figured it out already, how to best break down food into fuel. Now scientists have caught up, showing that fungi found in the guts of goats, horses and sheep could help fill up your gas tank too.
US Department of Energy Office of Science, US Department of Agriculture, Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Public Release: 16-Feb-2016
Algal Research Renewable fuels from algae boosted by NREL refinery process
A new biorefinery process developed by scientists at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has proven to be significantly more effective at producing ethanol from algae than previous research.
Public Release: 12-Feb-2016
Resources Policy How true is conventional wisdom about price volatility of tech metals?
Preliminary research by the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) and funded by the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) suggests that conventional wisdom about the high price volatility of by-product metals and minerals is generally true, but with several caveats.
Critical Materials Institute
Public Release: 12-Feb-2016
Scientific Reports Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics
Scientists have developed a simple and powerful method for creating resilient, customized, and high-performing graphene: layering it on top of common glass. This scalable and inexpensive process helps pave the way for a new class of microelectronic and optoelectronic devices -- everything from efficient solar cells to touch screens.
DOE/Office of Science, Brookhaven Laboratory Directed Research and Development
Public Release: 8-Feb-2016 Claims for solar cell efficiency put to test at NREL
The sheet of paper taped to the door of Keith Emery's office tells the story. On the paper is a simple fever chart showing the improvements made in increasing the efficiency of two dozen types of solar cells. Some of the lines marking record efficiencies date to the mid-1970s. Others start much more recently, with the advent of newer technologies.
Public Release: 8-Feb-2016
Science Advances NREL explains the higher cellulolytic activity of a vital microorganism
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) say better understanding of a bacterium could lead to cheaper production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels.
Public Release: 8-Feb-2016 NREL patents method for continuous monitoring of materials during manufacturing
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was recently issued a patent for a novel method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process. This approach significantly improves on standard quality control techniques by allowing for complete monitoring of materials without interrupting workflow.
Public Release: 8-Feb-2016
Nature Structural & Molecular Biology Scientists propose 'pumpjack' mechanism for splitting and copying DNA
New close-up images of the proteins that copy DNA inside the nucleus of a cell have led a team of scientists to propose a brand new mechanism for how this molecular machinery works. The scientists studied proteins from yeast cells, which share many features with the cells of complex organisms such as humans, and could offer new insight into ways that DNA replication can go awry.
National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Brookhaven Lab Biology Department
Public Release: 8-Feb-2016
Nature Physics Chiral magnetic effect generates quantum current
Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have discovered a new way to generate very low-resistance electric current in a new class of materials. The discovery, which relies on the separation of right- and left-"handed" particles, points to a range of potential applications in energy, quantum computing, and medical imaging, and possibly even a new mechanism for inducing superconductivity-the ability of some materials to carry current with no energy loss.
DOE Office of Science
Public Release: 5-Feb-2016
58th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics PPPL physicists help celebrate first hydrogen plasma on W7-X
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) physicists collaborating on the Wendelstein 7-X (W 7-X) stellarator fusion energy device in Greifswald, Germany were on hand for the Feb. 3 celebration when German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed a button to produce a hydrogen-fueled superhot gas called a plasma.
DOE/Office of Fusion Energy Sciences
Public Release: 4-Feb-2016 Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2016
Batteries for grid, stationary uses get a boost with new technology; ORNL hosting neuromorphic computing workshop; ORNL part of team developing cleaner biomass cookstove; ORNL has key role in Critical Materials Institute work; Study of nanocrystal growth key to developing new materials; and US coastal populations face potential risks with climate change.
Public Release: 4-Feb-2016
Science Scientists guide gold nanoparticles to form 'diamond' superlattices
Using bundled strands of DNA to build Tinkertoy-like tetrahedral cages, scientists have devised a way to trap and arrange nanoparticles in a way that mimics the crystalline structure of diamond. The achievement of this complex yet elegant arrangement may open a path to new materials that take advantage of the optical and mechanical properties of this crystalline structure for applications such as optical transistors, color-changing materials, and lightweight yet tough materials.
DOE/Office of Science
Public Release: 3-Feb-2016 Algae raceway paves path from lab to real-world applications
In a twist of geometry, an oval can make a line. The new algae raceway testing facility at Sandia National Laboratories may be oval in shape, but it paves a direct path between laboratory research and solving the demand for clean energy.
Public Release: 29-Jan-2016
Nature Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric
Berkeley Lab researchers have observed polar vortices in a ferroelectric material that appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions. This discovery holds intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices and could also rewrite our basic understanding of ferroelectrics.
US Department of Energy Office of Science
Public Release: 28-Jan-2016
Nature Energy Putting silicon 'sawdust' in a graphene cage boosts battery performance
Scientists have been trying for years to make a practical lithium-ion battery anode out of silicon, which could store 10 times more energy per charge than today's commercial anodes and make high-performance batteries a lot smaller and lighter. But two major problems have stood in the way: Silicon particles swell, crack and shatter during battery charging, and they react with the battery electrolyte to form a coating that saps their performance.
Battery Materials Research program of the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office
Public Release: 27-Jan-2016
Nature Energy Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials
An international research team has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. Arrays of solar cells are used in solar panels to convert sunlight to electricity.
Public Release: 27-Jan-2016
Nature Communications Uncovering hidden microbial lineages from hot springs
Although global microbial populations are orders of magnitude larger than nearly any other population in, on or around the planet, only a fraction has been identified thus far. In a Nature Communications study published Jan; 27, 2016, a team led by researchers at the DOE Joint Genome Institute, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, utilized the largest collection of metagenomic datasets to uncover a completely novel bacterial phylum that they have dubbed "Kryptonia."
United States Department of Energy Office of Science
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.