Pacific Northwest National Laboratory delivers breakthrough
science and technology to meet key national needs. The laboratory
applies its capabilities to meet selected environmental, energy,
health and national security objectives, strengthen the economy,
and support the education of future scientists and engineers.
One reason we can't bottle summer sunshine and save the solar energy for rainy days is that we don't have an efficient way to store it. Nature stores energy in chemical bonds, like when plants photosynthesize our food. Researchers are trying to design catalysts based on inexpensive metals to store energy like nature does.
Scientists have witnessed the birth of atmospheric ice clouds, creating ice cloud crystals in the laboratory and then taking images of the process through a microscope, essentially documenting the very first steps of cloud formation. The team took time-lapse movies of the first few seconds when a particle attracts water vapor, forming ice crystals that become the core of icy cirrus clouds - the high, wispy clouds that act much like a blanket for our planet.
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.