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The Lead

Expert: Shut Down Cali’s Last Nuclear Plant

August 29, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Michael Blood | News | Comments

A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults.

Old Tires Get a Second Chance in Batteries

August 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in...

Existing Plants Will Spew More than 300 B Tons of CO2

August 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by UC Irvine | News | Comments

Existing power plants around the world will pump out more than 300 billion tons of carbon...

China's Energy Plan Holds Climate Risks

August 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jack Chang | News | Comments

China wants to build 60 coal-to-gas plants as part of a controversial energy plan. The country...

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Water Splitter Runs on AAA Battery

August 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

Meeting of Rivers, Seas May Be Source of Power

August 20, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | News | Comments

Where the river meets the sea, there is the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy, according to a team of mechanical engineers. The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation, called pressure retarded osmosis, in which two waters of different salinity are mixed to produce energy.

Device Captures Solar Energy, Doesn’t Block View

August 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Michigan State Univ. | News | Comments

A team of researchers has developed a new type of solar concentrator that, when placed over a window, creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.

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U.S. Coal in Asia Could Slash Emissions

August 19, 2014 2:00 pm | by Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Under the right scenario, exporting U.S. coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning the fossil fuel at plants in the U.S. Despite the large amount of emissions produced by shipping the coal, total emissions would drop because of the superior energy efficiency of South Korea’s newer coal-fired power plants.

Old Batteries Could Be Recycled into Solar Cells

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | Videos | Comments

A system proposed by researchers recycles materials from discarded car batteries— a potential source of lead pollution— into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

Bionic Liquid Key to Closed Loop Biofuel Refineries

August 19, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the horizon— bionic liquids.

Solar Plant Scorches Birds Midair

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Ellen Knickmeyer, John Locher | News | Comments

Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays— "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes.

Shale Oil 'Dividend' Could Pay for Smaller Footprint

August 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Unanticipated economic benefits from the shale oil and gas boom could help offset the costs of substantially reducing the U.S.'s carbon footprint, agricultural economists say. They estimate that shale technologies annually provide an extra $302 billion to the U.S. economy relative to 2007, a yearly "dividend" that could continue for at least the next two decades.

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Salt Bolsters Lithium Battery Life

August 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Chemical engineers have achieved a breakthrough in the race for safer, longer-lasting batteries to power the world’s automobiles, cell phones, computers and autonomous robots. Adding certain halide salts to liquid electrolytes spontaneously creates nanostructured surface coatings on a lithium battery anode. The coating hinders the development of detrimental dendritic structures that grow within the battery cell.

Tattoo Batteries are Powered by Sweat

August 13, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | Videos | Comments

In the future, working up a sweat by exercising may not only be good for your health, but it could also power your small electronic devices. Researchers are reporting today that they have designed a sensor in the form of a temporary tattoo that can both monitor a person’s progress during exercise and produce power from their perspiration.

Rank Landfill Gas Could Be Clean Energy

August 12, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

A new technique that transforms stinky, air-polluting landfill gas could produce the sweet smell of success as it leads to development of a fuel cell generating clean electricity for homes, offices and hospitals, researchers say. The advance would convert methane gas into hydrogen.

Used Cigarettes are Energy Storage Solution

August 6, 2014 7:00 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A group of scientists from South Korea have converted used cigarette butts into a high-performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electrical vehicles and wind turbines to store energy.

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.                       

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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 years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today. It is a clash of competing necessities, between drinking water and energy demand.

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, energy companies have been sending more of America's unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution. 

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 studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study shows that these interactions can be quite significant.

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.

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. 

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.

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