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No Vote for Keystone Pipeline, Republicans Vow it Will Be Back

November 19, 2014 8:06 am | by Associated Press, Dina Cappiello | News | Comments

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising the new Republican majority will quickly resurrect Keystone XL pipeline legislation killed by Democrats, potentially setting up an early 2015 veto confrontation with President Barack Obama. Democratic divisions were on vivid display in a bill that pitted environmentalists against energy advocates.

Federal Plan OKs Fracking in National Forest

November 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Brock Vergakis | News | Comments

Over the objection of environmental groups and Virginia's governor, a federal management...

Huge Solar Plant Isn't Getting Results

November 18, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Michael Blood | News | Comments

The largest solar power plant of its type in the world— once promoted as a turning point in...

Wind Firm Aims to Block Bird-death Data

November 18, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Dina Cappiello | News | Comments

A company that operates at least 13 wind energy facilities across three states is suing in...

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Will US-China Climate Agreement Ease Global Accord?

November 14, 2014 2:31 pm | by Chris Gorski, Senior Editor, Inside Science News | News | Comments

Despite an agreement between the world's two two polluting countries this week, a global agreement is still needed to limit future warming to levels that experts deem acceptable. Research on negotiations suggests that getting all countries to agree on an overall agreement is still a big job.

Fuel Production Method May Enable Mobile Processing

November 12, 2014 2:00 pm | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have demonstrated a new process to convert all biomass into liquid fuel, and the method could make possible mobile processing plants. The new method, called fast-hydropyrolysis-hydrodeoxygenation, works by adding hydrogen into the biomass-processing reactor and is made possible by development of a new catalyst and innovative reactor design.

Billions of Holes Make Up Battery

November 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

Researchers have invented a single tiny structure that includes all the components of a battery that they say could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components. The structure is called a nanopore: a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end.


Artificial Photosynthesis Could Replace Fossil Fuels

November 10, 2014 2:00 pm | by Monash Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have made significant progress toward developing a process of artificial photosynthesis— the industrial process of preparing fuels and chemicals from nothing more than carbon dioxide, water and sunlight— that could replace the use of fossil fuels in the future.

Institute Aims for Intelligent Transportation, Alternative Fuel

November 7, 2014 7:00 am | by Tel Aviv Univ. | News | Comments

Tel Aviv Univ.'s National Research Institute for Transportation Innovation is poised to launch an accelerator program for budding entrepreneurs in the fields of intelligent transportation and alternative fuels. The new research institute will open the program in December.

Fuel Cell Can Run Sans High Heat

November 6, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Utah | News | Comments

Engineers have developed the first room-temperature fuel cell that uses enzymes to help jet fuel produce electricity without needing to ignite the fuel. These new fuel cells can be used to power portable electronics, off-grid power and sensors.

Synthetic Fish Key to Fish-friendly Hydropower

November 5, 2014 2:00 pm | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A synthetic fish is helping existing hydroelectric dams and new, smaller hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The latest version of the Sensor Fish— a small tubular device filled with sensors that analyze the physical stresses fish experience— measures more forces, costs about 80 percent less and can be used in more hydro structures than its predecessor.

'Island' May Standardize Self-sustaining Electric Grids

November 5, 2014 2:00 pm | by Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Microgrids can disconnect from larger utility grids and continue to provide power locally. And, they are designed to not only continue power to local units such as neighborhoods, hospitals and industrial parks, but also improve energy efficiency and reduce cost when connected to the main grid.


Chemists Create Film for Energy Storage, Hydrogen

November 4, 2014 2:00 pm | by Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists who want to gain an edge in energy production and storage have reported that they have found it in molybdenum disulfide. They turned molybdenum disulfide’s two-dimensional form into a nanoporous film that can catalyze the production of hydrogen or be used for energy storage.

Canola Biodiesel More Lethal than Traditional

November 4, 2014 2:00 pm | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

Exhaust from pure canola oil biodiesel is more lethal for human epithelial cells than that from traditional diesel, new research contends. The research found that the ultrafine size of fuel exhaust particles from refined and blended canola oil can lead to respiratory health problems.

Mysterious Drones Seen Over French Nuclear Sites

November 4, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jamey Keaten | News | Comments

French security officials are investigating a spate of mysterious and illegal flights by drone aircraft over more than a dozen nuclear power stations in France, raising security concerns in a country that largely lives off atomic energy.

Process Yields Valuable Chemicals from Wood, Crop Waste

November 3, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Scientists today disclosed a new method to convert lignin, a biomass waste product, into simple chemicals. The innovation is an important step toward replacing petroleum-based fuels and chemicals with biorenewable materials.

Engineering Boosts Biogas Production in Microbes

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

In the ongoing effort to develop advanced biofuels as a clean, green and sustainable source of liquid transportation fuels, researchers have identified microbial genes that can improve both the tolerance and the production of biogasoline in engineered strains of Escherichia coli.


Water-fueled Microrockets Neutralize Threats

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. Now, they have created spherical micromotors that rapidly neutralize chemical and biological agents and use water as fuel.

Research Finds Key to Cheaper Biofuels, Improved Crops

October 31, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

By manipulating a plant’s metabolic pathways, two scientists have figured out a way to genetically rewire plants to allow for an exceptionally high level of control over the spatial pattern of gene expression, while at the same time boosting expression to very high levels. Now, they have launched a startup company to apply this technology for developing low-cost biofuels that could be cost-competitive with gasoline and corn ethanol.

Chip Can Up Battery Life, Save Energy in Cell Towers

October 29, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, Rob Matheson | News | Comments

Stream video on your smartphone, or use its GPS for an hour or two, and you’ll probably see the battery drain significantly. As data rates climb and smartphones adopt more power-hungry features, battery life has become a concern. But, a new chip can essentially “switch gears” to adjust voltage supply to power amplifiers in smartphones as needed, cutting power loss to improve battery life.

Plasma Key to Power Grid Upgrades

October 28, 2014 2:00 pm | by American Physical Society | News | Comments

A proposed change could contribute to a more advanced and reliable electric grid and help lower utility bills. The switch would consist of a plasma-filled tube that turns current on and off in systems that convert the direct current coming from long-distance power lines to the alternating current.

Global Hydropower Boom Underway

October 24, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

An unprecedented boom in hydropower dam construction is underway, primarily in developing countries and emerging economies. While this is expected to double the global electricity production from hydropower, it could reduce the number of our last remaining large free-flowing rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity.

Software Finds Tiny Leaks in Natural Gas Pipelines

October 22, 2014 2:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

Major leaks from oil and gas pipelines have led to home evacuations, explosions, millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts and valuable natural resources escaping into the air, ground and water. Now, scientists say they have developed a new software-based method that finds leaks even when they’re small, which could help prevent serious incidents— and save money for customers and industry.

Chemists Tackle Battery Fires, Explosions

October 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Kentucky | News | Comments

New research will help batteries resist overcharging, improving the safety of electronics from cellphones to airplanes. This work focused on the design, synthesis and testing of organic compounds that can be incorporated into the electrolytes of lithium-ion batteries to improve their safety profiles.

Catalyst May Improve Biofuels

October 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by Washington State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new catalyst, by mixing inexpensive iron with a tiny amount of rare palladium, which could lead to making biofuels cheaply and more efficiently.

Electric Vehicle Tech Packs Punch in Small Package

October 15, 2014 7:00 am | by Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Using 3-D printing and novel semiconductors, researchers have created a power inverter that could make electric vehicles lighter, more powerful and more efficient. At the core of this development is wide band gap material made of silicon carbide with qualities superior to standard semiconductor materials.

Design Key to Improved Nuclear Plants

October 14, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A university is playing a key role in an international project to develop a radical new type of nuclear power station that is safer, more cost-effective, more compact and much quicker and less disruptive to build than any previously constructed. Researchers are exploring whether the element thorium could help to meet the new design’s fuel needs.

Battery Charges in Two Minutes, Lasts 20 Years

October 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Nanyang Technology Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have developed ultra-fast-charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 percent in only two minutes. The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.

'Smart' Battery Warns of Fire Hazard

October 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a "smart" lithium-ion battery that gives ample warning before it overheats and bursts into flames. The new technology is designed for conventional lithium-ion batteries now used in billions of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices, as well as a growing number of cars and airplanes.

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