Public Release: 27-Jan-2015 NREL reports examine economic trade-offs of owning versus leasing a solar photovoltaic system
Two new reports from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. NREL analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 26-Jan-2015
Nature Materials How ionic: Scaffolding is in charge of calcium carbonate crystals
Nature packs away carbon in chalk, shells and rocks made by marine organisms that crystallize calcium carbonate. Now, research suggests that the soft, organic scaffolds in which such crystals form guide crystallization by soaking up the calcium like an 'ion sponge,' according to new work in Nature Materials. Understanding the process better may help researchers develop advanced materials for energy and environmental uses, such as for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 19-Jan-2015
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Self-destructive effects of magnetically-doped ferromagnetic topological insulators
A new atomic-scale study of the surface properties of certain ferromagnetic topological insulators reveals that these materials exhibit extreme, unexpected, and self-destructive electronic disorder.
US Department of Energy, Institute of Basic Science of Korea
Public Release: 16-Jan-2015
Nature Communications Solving an organic semiconductor mystery
Berkeley Lab researchers have uncovered the mysterious source of performance issues in organic semiconductors -- nanocrystallites cluttering domain interfaces!
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Public Release: 15-Jan-2015 Argonne model analyzes biofuel impacts
Argonne researchers today released a new version of an online analysis tool that will help biofuels developers gain a detailed understanding of water consumption of various types of feedstocks, aiding development of sustainable fuels that will reduce impact on limited water resources.
Department of Energy
Public Release: 13-Jan-2015 Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2015
While researchers in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's buildings group focus on increasing energy efficiency using new foam insulation panels, the nanophase materials sector experiments with catalyst performance, revealing an oxidation discovery that could help reduce vehicle emissions.
Additionally, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers aim to reduce the size, weight and power for some particle accelerators with development of a new voltage supply. And by using water and nano-sized particles isolated from trees and plants, scientists explore low-cost and nontoxic metal oxides.
Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Nature Materials Solar cell polymers with multiplied electrical output
A team from Brookhaven Lab and Columbia University has paired up photovoltaic polymers that produce two units of electricity per unit of light instead of the usual one on a single molecular polymer chain. Having the two charges on the same molecule means the light-absorbing, energy-producing materials work efficiently when dissolved in liquids, which opens the way for a wide range of industrial scale manufacturing processes, including 'printing' solar-energy-producing material like ink.
US Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation, 3M
Public Release: 12-Jan-2015
Nature Nanotechnology From the bottom up: Manipulating nanoribbons at the molecular level
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new precision approach for synthesizing graphene nanoribbons from pre-designed molecular building blocks. Using this process the researchers have built nanoribbons that have enhanced properties -- such as position-dependent, tunable bandgaps -- that are potentially very useful for next-generation electronic circuitry.
US Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation
Public Release: 9-Jan-2015 World's most powerful camera receives funding approval
Plans for the construction of the world's largest digital camera at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have reached a major milestone. The 3,200-megapixel centerpiece of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will provide unprecedented details of the universe and help address some of its biggest mysteries, has received key 'Critical Decision 2' approval from the DOE.
Public Release: 8-Jan-2015
Science Compact batteries enhanced by spontaneous silver matrix formations
The formation of a highly conductive silver matrix inside an otherwise poorly performing battery enhances its efficiency and offers new potential applications. Scientists used x-rays to see where, when, and how these nanoscale 'bridges' emerge and develop new material designs and optimization techniques.
US Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences
Public Release: 7-Jan-2015 Argonne partners with industry on nuclear work
Argonne National Laboratory will work with three of the world's leading nuclear products and services companies on projects that could unlock the potential of advanced nuclear reactor designs, helping create a new generation of safer, more efficient reactors.
US Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy
Public Release: 6-Jan-2015
Nature 'Iron Sun' is not a rock band, but a key to how stars transmit energy
Creating the conditions of the sun, researchers for the first time have been able to experimentally revise figures used by theorists to define iron's key role in passing sunlight from the sun's core to its radiative surface.
National Nuclear Security Administration, DOE Office of Science
Public Release: 29-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Microscopy reveals how atom-high steps impede oxidation of metal surfaces
A new study reveals that certain features of metal surfaces can stop the process of oxidation in its tracks. The findings could be relevant to understanding and perhaps controlling oxidation in a wide range of materials -- from catalysts to the superalloys used in jet engine turbines and the oxides in microelectronics.
DOE Office of Science
Public Release: 23-Dec-2014 NREL receives Editors' Choice Awards for supercomputer research
Two prestigious scientific magazines have awarded the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory with Editors' Choice awards for the Peregrine high-performance computer and the groundbreaking research it made possible.
Public Release: 23-Dec-2014 Three new fellows to help guide NREL research
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently named Richard DeBlasio, Sarah Kurtz and Suhuai Wei to its Research Fellows Council, the laboratory's top advisory council, comprised of internationally recognized NREL scientists and engineers.
Along with the nine current members of the Research Fellows Council, DeBlasio, Kurtz and Wei will advise NREL executive management on the strategic direction of science and technology research at the laboratory.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 23-Dec-2014 NREL demonstrates 45.7 percent efficiency for concentrator solar cell
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has announced the demonstration of a 45.7 percent conversion efficiency for a four-junction solar cell at 234 suns concentration. This achievement represents one of the highest photovoltaic research cell efficiencies achieved across all types of solar cells.
US Dept of Energy
Public Release: 23-Dec-2014
Science Breakthrough in predictions of pressure-dependent combustion chemical reactions
Researchers at Sandia and Argonne national laboratories have demonstrated, for the first time, a method to successfully predict pressure-dependent chemical reaction rates. It's an important breakthrough in combustion and atmospheric chemistry that is expected to benefit auto and engine manufacturers, oil and gas utilities and other industries that employ combustion models.
Department of Energy's Office of Science
Public Release: 22-Dec-2014
Nature Nanotechnology Piezoelectricity in a 2-D semiconductor
Berkeley Lab researchers have opened the door to low-power off/on switches in micro-electro-mechanical systems, MEMS, and nanoelectronic devices, as well as ultrasensitive bio-sensors, with the first observation of piezoelectricity in a free standing two-dimensional semiconductor.
DOE/Office of Science
Public Release: 19-Dec-2014
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Making a good thing better
Berkeley Lab researchers carried out the first X-ray absorption spectroscopy study of a model electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries and may have found a pathway forward to improving LIBs for electric vehicles and large-scale electrical energy storage.
US Department of Energy
Public Release: 17-Dec-2014
Nature Switching to spintronics
Berkeley Lab researchers used an electric field to reverse the magnetization direction in a multiferroic spintronic device at room temperature, a demonstration that points a new way towards spintronics and smaller, faster and cheaper ways of storing and processing data.
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.