Energy

Distributed wind power keeps spinning, growing
August 8, 2017 03:38 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Both businesses and homeowners are increasingly using distributed wind power thanks to innovative business models and other trends, according to a new report released today.

Study finds that Choice of Cool Roofing Materials can Potentially Impact Region's Air Pollution
August 8, 2017 01:22 PM - South Coast Air Quality Management District

In a groundbreaking study released today, scientists at the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the University of Southern California have found that widespread installation of certain “cool roof” materials in the region could slightly increase ozone and fine particulate pollution levels.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Can Offer Cheaper Electricity for Urban and Suburban Areas
August 4, 2017 04:06 PM - American Institute of Physics

According to a prediction made by the U.S. Department of Energy, wind energy could provide 20 percent of electricity in the U.S. by the year 2030. This has motivated researchers from the University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering to investigate the performance capabilities and financial benefits of vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in urban and suburban areas. 

A VAWT is a wind turbine design where the generator is vertically oriented in the tower, rather than sitting horizontally on top. While there are many VAWT designs, the one used in this study is called the straight-blade Darrieus type or H-rotor turbine.

According to the researchers, small VAWTs possess the ability to effectively operate in the presence of high turbulent flow, which makes them ideal energy harvesting devices in urban and suburban environments. In an article in this week’s Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing, the authors present results indicating that an optimally designed VAWT system can financially compete with fossil-fuel based power plants in urban and suburban areas, and even spearhead the development of a net-zero energy building or city. 

Simultaneous Design and Nanomanufacturing Speeds Up Fabrication
August 4, 2017 03:59 PM - Northwestern University

Design and nanomanufacturing have collided inside of a Northwestern University laboratory.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has used mathematics and machine learning to design an optimal material for light management in solar cells, then fabricated the nanostructured surfaces simultaneously with a new nanomanufacturing technique.

Carbon Conversion
August 4, 2017 02:53 PM - California Institute of Technology

Chemists have figured out a new, more efficient way to create carbon-based fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2). In chemical reactions performed in the lab, a Caltech team has identified a new additive that helps selectively convert CO2 into fuels containing multiple carbon atoms—a step toward ultimately making renewable liquid fuels that are not derived from coal or oil.

"The results were quite shocking," says Jonas Peters, Bren Professor of Chemistry at Caltech and director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, who jointly led the research in collaboration with Theodor Agapie, professor of chemistry at Caltech. "Usually, in these types of reactions with CO2, you see a lot of by-products like methane and hydrogen. In this case, the reaction was highly selective for the more desirable fuels that contain multiple carbons—such as ethylene, ethanol, and propanol. We saw an 80 percent conversion to these multi-carbon fuel products, with only 20 percent or so going into hydrogen and methane."

Study reveals exactly how low-cost fuel cell catalysts work
August 3, 2017 02:40 PM - DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

In order to reduce the cost of next-generation polymer electrolyte fuel cells for vehicles, researchers have been developing alternatives to the prohibitively expensive platinum and platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts currently used in fuel cell electrodes. New work at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories is resolving difficult fuel-cell performance questions, both in determining efficient new materials and understanding how they work at an atomic level. The research is described this week in the journal Science.

Study reveals exactly how low-cost fuel cell catalysts work
August 3, 2017 02:40 PM - DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

In order to reduce the cost of next-generation polymer electrolyte fuel cells for vehicles, researchers have been developing alternatives to the prohibitively expensive platinum and platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts currently used in fuel cell electrodes. New work at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories is resolving difficult fuel-cell performance questions, both in determining efficient new materials and understanding how they work at an atomic level. The research is described this week in the journal Science.

A clean future
August 3, 2017 08:26 AM - University of Saskatchewan

A Métis student in the University of Saskatchewan School of Public Health, Adams is one of 16 young leaders from across Canada appointed to the Your Energy Future program.

Participants in the year-long program, delivered in partnership by the Public Policy Forum and leadership development fellowship Action Canada, will become change-makers in Canada’s energy agenda.  They develop strategies to prepare Canadian people, communities and governments to successfully transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future.

Science faculty researchers develop new way to measure fluid-rock interaction in oil reservoir
August 2, 2017 08:28 AM - University of Calgary

University of Calgary geoscientists have developed new technology that measures, at an extremely fine scale, the interaction between water and other fluids and rock from an unconventional oil reservoir.

Faculty of Science researchers used their micro-injection system coupled with live imaging to precisely measure fluid-rock interaction, called “wettability,” at the microscopic, or micro-scale, for the first time.

Chemical reaction - the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation
August 2, 2017 08:28 AM - University of Ottawa

Petroleum-derived chemicals are intrinsic to virtually every product in today’s society, from the medicines we take to the agrochemicals that produce our food and the plastics that encase our mobile devices. As pressure mounts to reduce the world’s fossil fuel consumption, developing greener manufacturing processes that use less energy and produce less waste is becoming increasingly urgent.

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