Environment

Inexpensive radial ZnO nanowire brushes ‘scrub’ toxic compounds from water

By / September 30, 2010

Low-magnification SEM image of the hierarchical nanostructure consisting of radially aligned ZnO nanowires grown on electrospun poly-l-lactide nanofibers. Inset: schematic representation of the hierarchical nanostructure. Credit: JACerS. In a story just published in one of ACerS’ technical journals, a group of researchers from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) report they have discovered what appears…

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Sandia research to forecast solar plant output

By / September 27, 2010

Sandia National Lab researchers have developed a new system that provides a way for utility companies to predict and prepare for fluctuations in power output due to changes in weather. By observing cloud shape, size and movement, the system can monitor how clouds affect large-scale photovoltaic power plants. According to a Sandia news release, the…

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Scientists look to nature to develop carbide materials

By / September 23, 2010

A simple chemical process converts a leaf skeleton into iron carbide, which is magnetic and conducts electricity. (Image: Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces via Nanowerk.) Via Nanowerk, researchers have developed a simple technique that could be used to make a new generation of carbide materials. Zoë Schnepp of the Max Planck Institute of…

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Carbon nanotube solar funnel as powerful solar array

By / September 13, 2010

This filament containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes absorbs energy from the sun as photons and then re-emits photons of lower energy, creating the fluorescence seen here. The red regions indicate highest energy intensity, and green and blue are lower intensity. (Credit: Geraldine Paulus/MIT.) MIT News reports that chemical engineers have devised a way to…

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Ceramists shed new light on amorphous calcium carbonate changes, effects of CO2 storage

By / September 9, 2010

Schematic of proposed CO2 underground storage by Spectra Energy in western Canada. With several proposals related to the conversion of sequestered CO2 to carbonates being considered by the science community, a team of University of California at Davis researchers say their new discoveries about the transformational and crystallization of amorphous calcium carbonate will help fill…

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DOE awards millions for carbon capture, storage and for solar grid integration

By / September 7, 2010

The Department of Energy made two major funding announcements today. One regards $575 million going to 22 advanced carbon-capture R&D projects. The other announcement is of $8.5 million for projects related to integrating solar energy with the nation’s electrical grids. The carbon-capture projects are being funded from Recovery Act monies, and are targeted at four…

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Lux predicts winners, losers among CIGS and concentrated solar photovoltaics, and peak-energy demand solutions

By / September 7, 2010

SMA solar energy inverter Lux Research has a couple of interesting reports out regarding who the winners and losers are likely to be in several key energy-related categories. Lux, it should be pointed out, is in the business of providing governments, businesses and investors with proprietary information on emerging technologies. The company uses a combination…

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Materials stories that also may be of interest

By / September 3, 2010

At the end of each week, I end up with a list of a bunch of stories I started to write about, or started to investigate or didn’t even get that far even though the topic looked intriguing, but, I had a meeting to go to … Anyway, it’s Friday, and rather than have these…

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Missouri S&T researchers question need for silver additive to ceramic water filter

By / September 2, 2010

Pot-shaped filters, like those above, are used to remove bacteria from water in Guatemala. The filters are typically made out of native sawdust and clay, and imported colloidal silver. (Credit: Missouri S&T.) Ceramic pot filters are crucial for accessing clean water in third-world countries and underdeveloped regions of emerging nations. For a variety of reasons,…

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DOE establishes two of three U.S.–China clean energy research centers

By / September 2, 2010

U.S. and Chinese energy officials announced plans for cooperative clean energy research centers in July 2009. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the formation of two new joint United States—China Clean Energy Research Centers to focus on clean coal and clean vehicle technology. Each CERC is expected to be backed by $50 million over the…

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