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The Lead

Physics of Champagne Key to Meeting Future Energy Needs

December 18, 2014 2:00 pm | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Uncork a bottle of champagne, and as the pressure of the liquid is abruptly removed, bubbles immediately form and then rapidly begin the process of "coarsening," in which larger bubbles grow at the expense of smaller ones. This fundamental non-equilibrium phenomenon is also seen in a wide range of scientific systems including spin systems, foams and metallic alloys and can be observed in a power-generating turbine.

All-electric Cars May Be Worse for Environment

December 16, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Seth Borenstein | News | Comments

People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the...

Nuclear Power Key to Protecting Biodiversity

December 15, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Adelaide | News | Comments

Leading conservation scientists from around the world have called for a substantial role for...

Exxon Foresees Abundant Oil, Gas

December 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Jonathan Fahey | News | Comments

North America, once a sponge that sucked in a significant portion of the world's oil, will...

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Burying Hydrogen Could Offer Energy Security

December 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Large-scale storage of low-pressure, gaseous hydrogen in salt caverns and other underground sites for transportation fuel and grid-scale energy applications offers several advantages over above-ground storage.

Societal Diversity Key to Climate Change Research

December 8, 2014 3:20 pm | by Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

There is cloud hanging over climate science, but one Cornell Univ. expert on communication and environmental issues says he knows how to help clear the air. Jonathon Schuldt, assistant professor of communication, argues that only by creating a “science of climate diversity” can climate science and the larger climate change movement overcome a crippling lack of ethnic and racial diversity.

Quantum Dots Move Us Closer to Spray-on Solar Cells

December 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Toronto | Videos | Comments

Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. Researchers have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots– a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.

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Research Key to Safer Nuclear Power, Cleaner Kettles

December 4, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Leeds | News | Comments

Taking inspiration from nature, researchers have created a versatile model to predict how stalagmite-like structures form in nuclear processing plants– as well as how lime scale builds up in kettles.

Nanoparticle Network Key to Fast-charging Batteries

December 4, 2014 7:00 am | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A new electrode design for lithium-ion batteries has been shown to potentially reduce the charging time from hours to minutes by replacing the conventional graphite electrode with a network of tin-oxide nanoparticles.

Battery Sparked Boeing 787 Fire

December 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Associated Press, Joan Lowy | News | Comments

A short circuit, likely because of a manufacturing defect in a Boeing 787 airliner battery, caused a fire last year that grounded the planes for more than three months, federal accident investigators have said.

Scientists Up Methyl Ketone Production in E. coli

December 2, 2014 7:00 am | by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Two years ago, researchers engineered Escherichia coli bacteria to convert glucose into significant quantities of methyl ketones, a class of chemical compounds primarily used for fragrances and flavors, but highly promising as clean, green and renewable blending agents for diesel fuel. Now, they have managed to dramatically boost the E. coli’s methyl ketone production 160-fold.

Graphene May Find Use in Hydrogen Fuel Cells

December 1, 2014 2:00 pm | by Chinese Academy of Sciences | News | Comments

Graphene, impermeable to gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, suggesting it could be a promising candidate for use in hydrogen fuel cells, according to a new study.

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Future of Energy Storage Will Be Shaped with Clay

December 1, 2014 7:00 am | by Drexel Univ. | Videos | Comments

In the race to find materials of ever increasing thinness, surface area and conductivity to make better performing battery electrodes, a lump of clay might have just taken the lead. Materials scientists have invented the clay, which is both highly conductive and can easily be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes.

Solar Tech Could Enable World’s First Underground Park

November 26, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Verena Dobnik | News | Comments

Inspired by the High Line's success, planners— including a NASA engineer— are now looking deep under Manhattan at a proposal to create the Lowline, billed as the world's first underground park. Street-level solar collectors would be used to filter the sun about 20 feet down to bedrock, turning the dank, subterranean space into a luminous, plant-filled oasis.

Research Yields Gasoline from Sawdust

November 26, 2014 7:00 am | by KU Leuven | News | Comments

Researchers have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline, or as a component in plastics.

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 plan released today will allow a form of natural gas drilling known as fracking to occur in parts of the largest national forest on the East Coast.

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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 green energy— isn't producing as much energy as planned. One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: the sun isn't shining as much as expected.

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 federal court to block the U.S. government from releasing information about how many birds are found dead at its facilities. Pacificorp of Portland, Oregon, is seeking an injunction in U.S. District Court in Utah to prevent the Interior Department from releasing information it considers confidential.

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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