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Subatomic Particles May Help Detect Damaged Pipes

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Charles Choi | News | Comments

Of all the parts of the nation's infrastructure that one might want least to fail, nuclear power plants might rank the highest. U.S. nuclear power plants are on average more than 30-years-old. Now, researchers have suggested they could noninvasively scan infrastructure for weak points with the aid of subatomic particles streaking down from the sky.

Fermentation Discovery Key to New Biofuels

June 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Engineering | News | Comments

Researchers have, for the first time, uncovered the complex interdependence and orchestration of...

Ultralow-power Circuit Aids Solar Power

June 23, 2015 2:20 pm | by MIT, Larry Hardesty | News | Comments

Researchers have presented a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of...

Owls May Help Make the World Quieter

June 22, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

An investigation into how owls fly and hunt in silence has enabled researchers to develop a...

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Massive Study Shows Mega Wastewater Injections Cause More Quakes

June 19, 2015 2:20 pm | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

The more oil and gas companies pump their saltwater waste into the ground, and the faster they do it, the more they have triggered earthquakes in the central U.S., a massive new study found. An unprecedented recent jump in quakes in America's heartland can be traced to the stepped up rate that drilling wastewater is injected deep below the surface.

Today in Lab History: Gaslights

June 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Lily Barback, Associate Editor | News | Comments

An ordinance was passed on June 19, 1816 to allow the Gas Light Company of Baltimore to lay pipes in the city of Baltimore for gas-powered streetlights. Baltimore was the first city to allow it so broadly. London had some gaslights but not the systemic, city-wide version Baltimore was embracing.

Mold May Be Key to Better Biofuels

June 18, 2015 2:20 pm | by The Univ. of Manchester | News | Comments

Scientists have made an important discovery that forms the basis for the development of new applications in biofuels and the sustainable manufacturing of chemicals. They have identified the exact mechanism and structure of two key enzymes isolated from yeast molds that together provide a new, cleaner route to the production of hydrocarbons.

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Battery Turns Light Into Power

June 18, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | Videos | Comments

To move the world toward sustainability, scientists are continuing to explore and improve ways to tap the vast power of sunlight to make fuels and generate electricity. Now, they have come up with a brand-new way to use light— solar or artificial— to drive battery power safely.

Algal Blooms Behind Dams Create Health Risks Far Downstream

June 17, 2015 7:00 am | by Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study has found that toxic algal blooms in reservoirs on the Klamath River can travel more than 180 miles downriver in a few days, survive passage through hydroelectric turbines and create unsafe water conditions on lower parts of the river in northern California.

After Pope’s Statement, IEA Has Some Hope on Climate Change

June 16, 2015 2:29 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Pope Francis’s much-anticipated encyclical calling for a global call to action painted a potentially grim future for the planet. The same day, the International Energy Agency threw a bit of hopeful optimism into the mix. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remained flat, despite the global economy growth of 3 percent last year and renewable energy sources made up half of all new power generated in 2014.

Climate Change Skeptic’s Funding by Energy Companies Questioned, Investigated

June 11, 2015 4:17 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and noted climate-change skeptic, is being investigated by several of his science publishers for his funding ties to energy companies, according to critics.

‘Nano-raspberries’ May Bear Fruit in Fuel Cells

June 10, 2015 7:00 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a fast, simple process for making platinum "nano-raspberries"— microscopic clusters of nanoscale particles of the precious metal. The berry-like shape is significant because it has a high surface area, which is helpful in the design of catalysts. The research could help make fuel cells more practical.

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EPA: Fracking Hasn't Caused Widespread Harm to Water

June 5, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Matthew Daly | News | Comments

Hydraulic fracturing to drill for oil and natural gas has not caused widespread harm to drinking water in the U.S., the EPA says. But a draft report issued by the agency found several specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells and improper wastewater management affected drinking water resources.

Gas, Oil Scapegoat Coal

June 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Karl Ritter | News | Comments

Chemistry books say there are three fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. But, as a global agreement to rein in climate-warming carbon emissions draws closer, oil and gas companies are increasingly talking about coal as the problem and describing themselves as a crucial part of the solution, together with renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

Tesla Co-founder Aims for Electric Commercial Trucks

June 2, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Terence Chea | News | Comments

Twelve years ago, Ian Wright and some fellow engineers launched Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley company that has helped jumpstart the market for electric cars. Now, the Tesla co-founder wants to electrify noisy, gas-guzzling trucks that deliver packages, haul garbage and make frequent stops on city streets.

Peer-to-peer System Brings Power to Rural Villages

June 1, 2015 9:16 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

An estimated 1.3 billion people around the world lack access to electricity, and as a result spend scarce resources on kerosene and other fuels for lighting. Now, researchers have developed a system to enable those in rural villages who can afford solar panels to share power with their neighbors, providing both income for the owners and much-needed power for the neighbors.

Feds May Lower Requisite Level of Ethanol in Gas

May 29, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mary Jalonick | News | Comments

The Obama administration is proposing to reduce the overall amount of ethanol blended in the nation's gasoline in coming years, a blow to renewable fuel companies that have pushed to keep high volumes of their product flowing into drivers' gas tanks.

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Japanese Nuclear Plant Cleared to Restart

May 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mari Yamaguchi | News | Comments

All of Japan's more than 40 nuclear reactors are currently offline for repairs or safety inspections. Today, a nuclear plant in southern Japan obtained the final permit needed to restart its reactors, paving the way for it to become the first to go back online under new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

France Aims to Go Green, Cut Nuclear Power

May 26, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

France's lower house of parliament has approved a bill aimed at boosting renewable energy and reducing the country's reliance on nuclear power, among other environment-friendly measures. The French government wants to be exemplary this year in environmental matters, since Paris is hosting a UN-backed conference in December where 196 countries plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming.

How do Natural Gas Trucks Impact the Environment?

May 22, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Some major trucking companies are turning to natural gas to fuel their fleets— and to earn "green" credit among customers. But celebrating lower emissions could be premature.

How Microbes Gain Power While Making Methane

May 19, 2015 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about methanogens, unique microorganisms that transform electricity and carbon dioxide into methane. They have demonstrated how methanogens obtain electrons from solid surfaces. The discovery could help scientists design electrodes for microbial "factories" that produce methane gas and other compounds sustainably.

Cigarette Butts May Be Energy Solution

May 18, 2015 8:37 am | by ResearchSEA | News | Comments

Scientists in South Korea have developed a new way to store energy that also offers a solution to a growing environmental problem. The research team successfully converted used cigarette butts into a high performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electric vehicles and wind turbines to store energy.

ICYMI: A Storm from Space, a New State of Matter and a Disturbing Biology Class

May 15, 2015 7:00 am | by Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief | News | Comments

Welcome to Laboratory Equipment's new Friday series, In Case You Missed It (ICYMI), where we bring you three trending news stories from the week. Storms, matter and PETA are on the menu this week. 

Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson Launch Kickstarter for Sun-powered Spacecraft

May 14, 2015 3:51 pm | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

The Planetary Society is reaching out to the public through a new Kickstarter campaign to launch its two LightSail projects – sending spacecraft out the farthest reaches of the galaxy on the power of sunbeams. Leading the charge are the Society’s CEO, Bill Nye, known as the Science Guy, and celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Power Company to Provide Water to Owners of Tainted Wells

May 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Mitch Weiss, Michael Biesecker | News | Comments

Duke Energy says it will begin delivering bottled water to homeowners living near the company's coal ash pits in North Carolina who have been advised by state health officials not to drink or cook with their well water. More than 150 residential wells tested near Duke's dumps have failed to meet state groundwater standards. That represents more than 93 percent of the 163 tested thus far.  

Nuclear Reactor May Be Offline for Weeks

May 11, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

A reactor at a New York nuclear power plant could be offline for weeks because of a transformer fire and oil leak. Several thousand gallons of oil spilled into the Hudson River after a Saturday transformer fire on the non-nuclear side of the Indian Point plant.  

UN: Technology has Changed Carbon Politics

May 7, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Rod McGuirk | News | Comments

Technological advances that have reduced prices and improved efficiency of renewable energy have helped transform the politics around climate change since 2009 when an attempt to forge a global deal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions failed, the UN climate chief said today.

Fracking Wells Contaminated Pennsylvania’s Drinking Water

May 5, 2015 10:01 am | by Seth Augenstein, Digital Reporter | News | Comments

Fracking chemicals used to capture natural gas deep underground infiltrated the drinking water wells of a handful of Pennsylvania homes, according to a new study. The three homes in Bradford County, Penn., had wells containing a mish-mash of organic compounds that were similar to the mix used by the drilling companies.

Want to Go Green? GM Cuts Cost of Hybrid

May 4, 2015 9:20 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors is knocking nearly $1,200 off the price of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car. The company says the new Volt will start at $33,995 including shipping when it goes on sale in the fall. The current version costs $35,170.

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