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The Lead

Glass Makes Better, More Efficient Solar Cells

July 31, 2014 12:00 pm | by Todd Shilton, Editor, The Conversation | News | Comments

Self-cooling, longer lasting and more efficient solar cells are within reach simply by adding a thin layer of glass. A new paper outlines a possible solution for better access to solar energy.
                       

Report: Worldwide Water Shortage by 2040

July 29, 2014 2:54 pm | by Aarhus Univ. | News | Comments

Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three...

U.S. Harms Globe By Sending Dirty Coal Abroad

July 29, 2014 7:00 am | by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press | News | Comments

As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming,...

Air Pollution, Climate Change Curb Food Supplies

July 29, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT | News | Comments

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these...

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Sweet Discovery: Sugar Transporters Key to 'Fuel Crops'

July 28, 2014 1:26 pm | by Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

A powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy has been developed. Researchers created an assay that enables the identification and characterization of the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls.

Industrial Lead Pollution Beat Explorers to the South Pole

July 28, 2014 9:03 am | by Desert Research Institute | News | Comments

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole in December of 1911. More than 100 years later, an international team of scientists have proven that air pollution from industrial activities arrived long before.                   

Molecule Puts Scientists Closer to Hydrogen Storage

July 25, 2014 1:21 pm | by ANSTO | News | Comments

Scientists say that the newly discovered “28copper15hydride” puts us on a path to better understanding hydrogen, and potentially even how to get it in and out of a fuel system, and is stored in a manner that is stable and safe – overcoming Hindenburg-type risks.

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Study Shows How to Power Cali With Wind, Water, Sun

July 25, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun. A new study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. 

Student Develops Screw-on Filter for Clean Water

July 23, 2014 2:18 pm | by ETH Zurich | News | Comments

According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. A research team spent a year researching a membrane filter and developing a prototype. What makes the DrinkPure filter unique is that you can screw it on to virtually any plastic bottle. It doesn't require a pump or a reservoir.

Popeye-approved: Spinach as Alternative Fuel

July 23, 2014 1:44 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel.                              

Infographic: British Supermarket Powered by Food Waste

July 23, 2014 9:03 am | by Sainsbury's | News | Comments

British supermarket Sainsbury's has announced plans for one of its grocery stores to come off the national grid. Industry partners Biffa and Sainsbury's have developed an innovative facility that will allow Sainsbury’s Cannock store to run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste.

Material Converts Solar Energy into Steam

July 21, 2014 2:49 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

A new material structure generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water.When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. 

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Research Finally Explains Bend in Appalachian Mountains

July 21, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Rochester | News | Comments

The 1,500 mile Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland— except for a curious bend. Now, researchers have found that a dense block of volcanic rock forces the mountains to bend to the east through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Fracking Industry Seeks Better Chemicals

July 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Inside Science News Service, Patricia Waldron | News | Comments

Scientists haven't solved every potential problem with fracking. But they are working to replace many of the chemicals in the fluid, which contains sand, biocides, mineral-dissolving acids and more.

UPDATE: Denton Rejects Partial Fracking Ban

July 16, 2014 12:00 pm | by Associated Press, Emily Schmall | News | Comments

The council governing a North Texas city that sits atop a large natural gas reserve rejected a bid early today that would have made it the first city in the state to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community.

New Tech May Produce Clean-burning Hydrogen Fuel

July 14, 2014 12:00 pm | by Rutgers Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel, which could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels. The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum for electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

Underground Lab Tackles Japan's Nuclear Waste Problem

July 14, 2014 8:40 am | by Associated Press, Mari Yamaguchi | News | Comments

Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below Horonobe, a sleepy dairy town. Despite government reassurances, some of the town’s 2,500 residents fear the lab could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site.

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Inventor Makes Solar Panels for Roads, Highways

July 11, 2014 12:00 pm | by Associated Press, Nicholas Geranios | News | Comments

The solar panels that Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw has built aren't meant for rooftops. They are meant for roads, driveways, parking lots, bike trails and, eventually, highways.

Japan’s Nuclear Workers Move to Solar Industry

July 10, 2014 12:00 pm | by Associated Press, Yuri Kageyama | News | Comments

Stigma, pay cuts and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left the utility at the center of Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster. Now, there's an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel-good solar energy industry.

X-rays Shed Light on Efficient Fuel Cells

July 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Using high-brilliance X-rays, researchers have tracked the process that fuel cells use to produce electricity. This is key to making large-scale alternative energy power systems more practical and reliable.

Sand Improves Battery Performance

July 9, 2014 7:00 am | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to produce sand-based lithium ion batteries that outperform the current industry standard by three times.

More Gas Stations Can Provide H2 than Thought

July 9, 2014 7:00 am | by Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

A study by researchers has concluded that a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen, suggesting a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach.

DOE to Clean Dangerous Nuclear Room

July 3, 2014 12:00 pm | by Associated Press, Nicholas Geranios | News | Comments

Workers are preparing to enter one of the most dangerous rooms on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. It's the room where a 1976 explosion exposed worker Harold McCluskey to a massive dose of radiation, leading to his nickname as the "Atomic Man." The space is located inside the closed Plutonium Finishing Plant and is scheduled for cleanup this summer.

Nuke-leak Probe Focuses on Los Alamos

July 3, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jeri Clausing | News | Comments

Officials investigating a mysterious radiation leak from the government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have turned their focus to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Study: New Gas Wells Leak More

July 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

In Pennsylvania's gas drilling boom, newer and unconventional wells leak far more often than older and traditional ones, according to a study of state inspection reports for 41,000 wells.

Nature Inspires More Efficient Water Splitting

July 1, 2014 12:00 pm | by RIKEN | News | Comments

Nature's water-splitting catalysts, based on manganese, are incredibly efficient, and scientists have long been studying why this is and how we can mimic the natural system. Now, researchers have discovered a mineral-based catalyst that can efficiently split water into oxygen and hydrogen ions at neutral pH.

Carbon-fiber Honeycombs Mimic Balsa Wood

June 27, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences | Videos | Comments

Sleek turbines equipped with state-of-the-art technology convert wind energy into electric power. Tucked inside the blades is a decidedly low-tech core material: balsa wood. Now, using a cocktail of fiber-reinforced epoxy-based thermosetting resins and 3-D extrusion printing techniques, materials scientists have developed cellular composite materials of unprecedented light weight and stiffness.

Obama: Climate Fight Showing Progress

June 26, 2014 12:00 pm | by Associated Press, Josh Lederman | News | Comments

Appealing for patience and perseverance from environmental activists, President Barack Obama claimed progress this week in his second-term drive to combat climate change, but says more must be done to address a generational problem.

Battery is Cheap, Rechargeable, Organic

June 26, 2014 12:00 pm | by Univ. of Southern California | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a water-based organic battery that is long lasting and built from cheap, eco-friendly components. The new battery, which uses no metals or toxic materials, is intended for use in power plants, where it can make the energy grid more resilient and efficient.

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