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Latest Department of Energy Stories

2011-05-03 22:41:54

Fungi play significant ecological and economic roles. They can break down organic matter, cause devastating agricultural blights, enter into symbiotic relationships to protect and nourish plants, or offer a tasty repast. For industrial applications, fungi provide a source of enzymes to catalyze such processes as generating biofuels from plant biomass. One large fungal group with such enzymes are the rust plant pathogens which cannot survive on their own so they use crops as hosts, leading to...

2011-04-25 16:42:21

Novel properties of ferroelectric materials discovered at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are moving scientists one step closer to realizing a new paradigm of electronic memory storage. A new study led by ORNL's Peter Maksymovych and published in the American Chemical Society's Nano Letters revealed that contrary to previous assumptions, domain walls in ferroelectric materials act as dynamic conductors instead of static ones. Domain walls, the separation zones only a...

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2011-04-21 05:55:00

The Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that it would invest up to $130 million for projects in its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E. The funding, which came in part from this month's federal budget deal, will go to five new program areas: producing biofuels as an alternative to oil, finding viable alternatives to rare-earth minerals, storing thermal energy, maintaining electric grid reliability and reducing solar power costs, the Department of Energy said. "ARPA-E...

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2011-04-15 07:16:23

In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds. With only one-fourth of the extra energy actually used to cool and freeze water, "there are substantial opportunities for efficiency improvements merely by optimizing the...

2011-03-17 20:35:45

New electrolyte mix increases energy storage by 70 percent Though considered a promising large-scale energy storage device, the vanadium redox battery's use has been limited by its inability to work well in a wide range of temperatures and its high cost. But new research indicates that modifying the battery's electrolyte solution significantly improves its performance. So much so that the upgraded battery could improve the electric grid's reliability and help connect more wind turbines and...

2011-03-14 08:00:00

DANVERS, Mass., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) have awarded OSRAM SYLVANIA a 2011 ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of its continued leadership in protecting our environment through energy efficiency. This is the tenth consecutive year the company has received an ENERGY STAR award and is a true testament to the lighting manufacturer's dedication to developing innovative,...

2011-03-11 14:38:22

ASSR could reduce amount of heat needed in purification process Natural gas extracted from the nation's coal beds and methane-rich geologic features must first be purged of hydrogen sulfide before it can be used as fuel. Until now, processing methods have often proved to be inefficient, requiring large amounts of heat. But a team of Battelle researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has discovered a method that could dramatically cut the amount of heat...

2011-03-04 00:00:30

In March, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites across the country will begin training with AlphaACTâ“ž¢ HAZMAT, a web-based training solution developed by AlphaTRAC, Inc., for emergency responders who must deal with hazardous chemical releases. Denver, CO (Vocus/PRWEB) March 03, 2011 DOE's Office of Emergency Management funded a complex-wide pilot program. Through sponsorship from this office, the use of AlphaACT HAZMAT Basic by DOE contractors, subcontractors...

2011-03-03 23:32:46

Polluted snow causes early runoff, stronger monsoons in Asia In some cases, soot "“ the fine, black carbon silt that is released from stoves, cars and manufacturing plants "“ can pack more of a climatic punch than greenhouse gases, according to a paper published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Michigan and NOAA found that soot landing on snow on the massive Tibetan...

2011-02-15 00:02:56

Boston-area water jet contractor AK Services cut a 55-inch access hole into a nuclear waste storage tank at the Hanford Site in Washington. The hole is the largest-ever access cut into an active Department of Energy radioactive waste storage tank. It was cut to accommodate a robotic retrieval system that will remove the waste for safer storage. RICHLAND, Washington (Vocus/PRWEB) February 14, 2011 Waterjet contractor AK Services made history recently by cutting the largest-ever access hole...