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Airlines Won't Ship Rechargeable Batteries for Fear of Fires

March 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | News | Comments

Some of the world's largest airlines are banning bulk shipments of rechargeable batteries in the face of mounting evidence of their potential to cause catastrophic in-flight fires. Citing safety concerns, United Airlines has become the second major U.S. airline to announce it will no longer accept bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power everything from smartphones to laptops to power tools.

Cheap Catalyst Performs as Well as Traditional

February 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | News | Comments

For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to replace precious metal catalysts in...

Location Influences Electric Car Range, Emissions

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Many car buyers weighing whether they should go all electric to help the planet have at least...

First Direct Observation of CO2 Effect at Earth's Surface

February 25, 2015 3:00 pm | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect at the Earth's...

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Pretreatment Cuts Biofuel Cost by 30 Percent

February 24, 2015 3:00 pm | by UC Riverside | News | Comments

Researchers have invented a novel pretreatment technology that could cut the cost of biofuels production by about 30 percent or more by dramatically reducing the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown the raw materials that form biofuels.

Heat Causes Groups of Nanorods to Change Shapes

February 23, 2015 7:00 am | by Argonne National Laboratory | Videos | Comments

Research has revealed previously unobserved behaviors that show how details of the transfer of heat at the nanoscale cause nanoparticles to change shape in ensembles. The new finds depict three distinct stages of evolution in groups of gold nanorods, from the initial rod shape to the intermediate shape to a sphere-shaped nanoparticle.

Shrimp Shells Yield Cheap Solar Cells

February 19, 2015 3:00 pm | by Queen Mary Univ. of London | News | Comments

Electricity-generating solar cells have been created from the chemicals found shells of shrimp and other crustaceans, for the first time. The materials chitin and chitosan, found in the shells, are abundant and significantly cheaper to produce than the expensive metals currently used in making nanostructured solar-cells.

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‘Tree’ Harvests Solar Power

February 18, 2015 7:00 am | by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a prototype of a “tree” that harvests solar energy from its surroundings— whether indoors or outdoors— stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs.  

Oklahoma's Small Quakes Raising Larger Risks

February 17, 2015 8:41 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily, linked to energy drilling, are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates. This once stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest risk places east of the Rockies.

China's Wind Power Reaches New Heights

February 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

China boosted its installed wind energy capacity last year to a record 19.81 million kilowatts as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter tries to switch its power grid to cleaner energy sources. The National Energy Administration says that wind farms produced 153.4 billion kilowatt hours of electric power in 2014, making up 2.8 percent of total generated electricity.

UN Announces Draft of Climate Deal

February 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Karl Ritter | News | Comments

Today, UN negotiators produced an early draft of what eventually should become a landmark climate deal in Paris next December, piling on suggestions to make sure the document reflected every country's wishes. Instead of shrinking to a more manageable size, the 38-page text from a previous climate change meeting swelled to 86 pages during the weeklong negotiating session in Geneva.  

Methane Emissions from Gas Higher than Thought

February 12, 2015 3:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

World leaders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s unclear just how much we’re emitting. In the U.S., the EPA has a new program to track these emissions, but scientists are reporting that it vastly underestimates methane emissions from the growing natural gas industry.

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Apple to Start $850M Solar Project

February 11, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Brandon Bailey | News | Comments

Apple will spend nearly $850 million on a solar energy project that will generate enough power for the computer giant's new corporate headquarters, retail stores and other operations in California. The tech company will be the biggest single consumer of energy from the new solar facility.  

Researchers, Native Americans Team to Protect Artifacts

February 10, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jennifer McDermott | News | Comments

Researchers are working with Native Americans to ensure that energy companies hoping to erect massive wind turbines off New England don't inadvertently disturb the tribes' ceremonial sites and burial grounds, now submerged under hundreds of feet of water.

Combo Could Make Western U.S. Carbon-negative

February 10, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | News | Comments

A new study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western U.S., power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the century.

Space-like Solar Cells Coming to Your Roof

February 6, 2015 7:00 am | by Penn State Univ. | Videos | Comments

Ultra-high efficiency solar cells similar to those used in space may now be possible on your rooftop thanks to a new microscale solar concentration technology developed by an international team of researchers.

Train Accident Leads to Ethanol in Mississippi River

February 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Railroad officials say it's unclear how much ethanol has leaked into the Mississippi River following a train derailment in eastern Iowa, but they're working to monitor the environmental impact and offload fuel from the train.

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Flawed Studies Behind Policies for Biofuels

February 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone, according to a researcher who reviewed more than 100 papers published over more than two decades. Once the erroneous methodology is corrected, the results will likely show that policies used to promote biofuels actually make matters worse when it comes to limiting net emissions.

Better Biomass Needed for Future Energy

February 4, 2015 3:00 pm | by ACS | News | Comments

As many places in the U.S. and Europe increasingly turn to biomass rather than fossil fuels for power and heat, scientists are focusing on what this trend might mean for air quality— and people's health. Now, a study on wood-chip burners' particulate emissions, which can cause heart and lung problems, could help manufacturers reduce the negative impact of this fuel in the future.

Energizer Uses Recycled Batteries to Make New Ones

February 4, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jim Salter | News | Comments

Billions of discarded household batteries make their way into landfills every year and now one of the nation's largest battery makers says it is putting some of them to good use. Suburban St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings has introduced Energizer EcoAdvanced, described as the first disposable AA and AAA alkaline batteries made with recycled batteries.

Wind Turbines Need to Be Altered for Roofs

February 3, 2015 3:00 pm | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

Increasingly popular as a source of renewable energy, small wind turbines (SWTs) are designed using a turbulence model developed for open terrain, but research suggests this can be an expensive mistake. SWTs, intended for use in urban environments, should be designed to account for fatigue caused by rooftop gusts.

Rare Defeat: Mexico Dam Project Shut Down by Protest

January 30, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Peter Orsi, Ronnie Greene | News | Comments

When the U.S. government backed construction of a new hydroelectric plant in southwestern Mexico, residents rose up and defeated a three-year, $30 million project. It marked a rare instance of a community fighting off development in a country where projects are often pushed through over local objections.

Straw Houses Key to Sustainable Construction

January 30, 2015 3:00 pm | by EPFL | News | Comments

A laboratory has carried out a complete energy analysis of a straw house, from planting the grass to the destruction of the materials. The results are based on the specific case of an administrative building in the city of Lausanne, ECO-46.

Method Yields Biofuel, Food from One Crop

January 30, 2015 3:00 pm | by BioMed Central | News | Comments

The efficient production of both biofuel and animal feed from one crop is now possible, and can be done on a farm without the need for off-site processes. The research demonstrates the practical potential of an alternative to fossil fuels that does not compete with food resources.

Oil Spills Fuel Keystone Arguments

January 30, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Matthew Brown | News | Comments

Oil pipeline accidents have become increasingly frequent in the U.S. as Congress pushes for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline— a project that would pass near the spot where 30,000 gallons of crude spilled into Montana's Yellowstone River earlier this month. The recent spill temporarily fouled a city's water supply and became the latest in a string of accidents.

National Lab Scientist Gets Five Years for Spying

January 28, 2015 3:00 pm | by Associated Press, Russell Contreras | News | Comments

A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who pleaded guilty to trying to help Venezuela develop a nuclear weapon was sentenced today to five years in prison and three years of supervised release. According to a 22-count indictment, he told an undercover agent that he could help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb within 10 years.

Oversight of Gas Pipelines Has Systemic Flaws

January 28, 2015 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | News | Comments

Three powerful accidents in recent years show systemic weaknesses in how natural gas providers maintain the largest pipelines in their networks, accident investigators said, as they issued more than two dozen safety recommendations.

Bulletproof Batteries May Stop Plane Fires

January 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

A Kevlar membrane can enable more durable batteries that adapt to various environments. The membrane should be able to prevent the type of short circuit that is thought to have caused the Boeing 787 battery fires of 2013.

Tool Plots Future of Solar-fuel Refineries

January 23, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

The process of converting the sun’s energy into liquid fuels requires a sophisticated, interrelated series of choices. Now, scientists have outlined a tool to help engineers better gauge the overall yield, efficiency and costs associated with scaling solar-fuel production processes up into large-scale refineries.

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