Public Release: 5-Oct-2015
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A simpler way to estimate the feedback between permafrost carbon and climate
Researchers led by a scientist from Berkeley Lab have developed a simple model of permafrost carbon based on direct observations. Their approach could help climate scientists evaluate how well permafrost dynamics are represented in the Earth system models used to predict climate change.
Public Release: 29-Sep-2015
Nature Plants Large trees -- key climate influencers -- die first in drought
In forests worldwide, drought consistently has had a more detrimental impact on the growth and survival of larger trees, new research shows. In addition, while the death of small trees may affect the dominance of trees in a landscape, the death of large trees has a far worse impact on the ecosystem and climate's health, especially due to the important role that trees play in the carbon cycle.
DOE/Office of Science, Smithsonian Competitive Grants Program for Science, Laboratory Directed Research and Development
Public Release: 22-Sep-2015 NREL collaborates with trucking industry to prioritize R&D opportunities
Six to seven seconds -- that's the typical time between a pair of tractor-trailers traveling together at 65 mph. But, through the work of the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and its partners in the medium- and heavy-duty truck market, that gap may be shrinking.
Public Release: 22-Sep-2015
Nature Communications Dirty, crusty meals fit for (long-dormant) microbes
Deploying a set of tools he calls 'exometabolomics,' Trent Northen, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, and his team harnessed the analytical capabilities of the latest mass spectrometry techniques to quantitatively measure how individual microbes and the biocrust community transform complex mixtures of metabolites, in this case, from soil. The study published Sept. 22, 2015 in Nature Communications.
Public Release: 2-Sep-2015
Chemical Communications Making fuel from light
Photosynthesis has given life to the planet. While scientists have been studying and mimicking the natural phenomenon in the laboratory for years, understanding how to replicate the chemical process behind it has largely remained a mystery -- until now.
DOE/Basic Energy Sciences
Public Release: 26-Aug-2015 DOE event marks beginning of landmark ecosystem experiment
Scientists are getting a glimpse of the future with a large-scale experiment designed to answer questions about how carbon-rich peatlands will respond to projected warming of the climate and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Public Release: 25-Aug-2015 NREL helps federal agencies reach new efficiency targets
When it comes to energy use, what the federal government wants is more of less. That means fewer greenhouse gases, fewer buildings powered solely by electricity generated from fossil fuels, and fewer gas-guzzling fleets on the road.
Public Release: 17-Aug-2015
American Chemical Society 250th National Meeting & Exposition Energy in chemical bonds and the plant-pollution connection
Researchers from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will be honored and present new work at the 250th American Chemical Society national meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, Aug. 16-20.
Public Release: 11-Aug-2015 Ethylene production via sunlight opens door to future
Here's the future of ethylene production as Dr. Jianping Yu sees it. 'We envision some farms in the field that cover many acres. We will have cyanobacteria harvesting sunlight and C02 and then produce ethylene or ethylene derivatives,' said Yu, a research scientist in the Photobiology Group at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
US Dept of Energy
Public Release: 7-Aug-2015 Warning Area in Arctic airspace to aid research and exploration
A 700-mile-long, 40-mile-wide airspace that stretches north from Alaska nearly to the North Pole has been put under the stewardship of Sandia National Laboratories to create safer conditions for climate studies of clouds, retreating sea ice, and search-and-rescue missions. Initial participants include the Coast Guard, a major oil company, and unmanned aircraft manufacturers.
US Department of Energy, Office of Science
Public Release: 4-Aug-2015
Nature Plants Keeping algae from stressing out
Some algae like Chlamydomonas reinhardtii produce energy-dense oils or lipids when stressed, and these lipids can then be converted into fuels. However, researchers must stress the algae just enough to produce lipids, but not enough to kill them. In Nature Plants, a team led by DOE Joint Genome Institute scientists analyzed the genes being activated during algal lipid production; particularly the molecular machinery that orchestrates these gene activities inside the cell when it produces lipids.
US Department of Energy Office of Science
Public Release: 3-Aug-2015
Cell Host & Microbe Gut microbes affect circadian rhythms in mice, study says
A study including researchers from the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago found evidence that gut microbes affect circadian rhythms and metabolism in mice.
Public Release: 3-Aug-2015 Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2015
This tip sheet includes: intelligent agent-based software to be showcased at Smithsonian; Supercomputer speeding design, deployment of lightweight powertrain materials; ORNL process produces hydrogen from switchgrass; Sampling probe system identifies bioactive compounds in fungi and ORNL technique could accelerate advances in materials science.
Public Release: 30-Jul-2015 Argonne National Lab finds butanol is good for boats
Argonne has collaborated with Bombardier Recreational Products and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to demonstrate the effectiveness of a fuel blend with 16 percent butane. This blend would incorporate more biofuels into marine fuel without the issues caused by increasing levels of ethanol, which can cause difficulties in marine engines at high concentrations.
Vehicle Technologies Office within DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Public Release: 29-Jul-2015
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Playing 'tag' with pollution lets scientists see who's 'it'
Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot and track where it lands, researchers have determined which areas around the Tibetan Plateau contribute the most soot -- and where. The model can also suggest the most effective way to reduce soot on the plateau, easing the amount of warming the region undergoes. The study, which appeared in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in June, might help policy makers target pollution reduction efforts.
US Department of Energy, National Basic Research Program of China
Public Release: 29-Jul-2015
Nature Tiny grains of rice hold big promise for greenhouse gas reductions, bioenergy
Rice is the staple food for more than half of the world's population, but the paddies it's grown in contributes up to 17 percent of global methane emissions -- about 100 million tons a year. Now, with the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane, more starch for a richer food source and biomass for energy production, as announced in the July 30 edition of Nature and online.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning, National Natural Science Foundation of China
Public Release: 16-Jul-2015
Science Unearthing cornerstones in root microbiomes
A plant's immune system can distinguish between friends and foes among these microbes, and upon detecting pathogens, can produce regulatory chemicals called phytohormones to activate a defensive response. In a study published online July 16, 2015, in Science Express, a team including scientists from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute looked at roles of three phytohormones in controlling the composition of the root microbiome in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 15-Jul-2015
FASEB Journal Closer look at microorganism provides insight on carbon cycling
An Argonne/University of Tennessee research team reconstructed the crystal structure of BAP, a protein involved in the process by which marine archaea release carbon, to determine how it functioned, as well as its larger role in carbon cycling in marine sediments.
Public Release: 14-Jul-2015 Battery second use offsets electric vehicle expenses, improves grid stability
Plug-in electric vehicles have the potential to dramatically drive down consumption of carbon-based fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the relatively high price of these vehicles -- due in large part to the cost of batteries -- has presented a major impediment to widespread market penetration. Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are playing a crucial role in identifying battery second use strategies capable of offsetting vehicle expenses while improving utility grid stability.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 14-Jul-2015
Nature Communications Gut microbes enable coffee pest to withstand extremely toxic concentrations of caffeine
Berkeley Lab scientists discovered that coffee berry borers worldwide share 14 bacterial species in their digestive tracts that degrade and detoxify caffeine. They also found the most prevalent of these bacteria has a gene that helps break down caffeine. Their research sheds light on the ecology of the destructive bug and could lead to new ways to fight it.
US Department of Agriculture, Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Berkeley Lab, Mexico's National Council for Science and Technology
Public Release: 12-Jul-2015
Science Advances How clouds get their brightness
How clouds form and how they help set the temperature of the earth are two of the big remaining questions in climate research. Now, a study of clouds over the world's remotest ocean shows that ocean life is responsible for up to half the cloud droplets that pop in and out of existence during summer.
US Department of Energy, NASA, US Department of Defense, National Science Foundation
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.