X

Posts

April 24, 2014

+
5:57 PM | Wind Turbines Can Produce Lightning Discharges
Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) have demonstrated the relationship between the movement of wind turbines and the generation of lightning. Read more »

Montanyà, J., van der Velde, O. & Williams, E. (2014). Lightning discharges produced by wind turbines, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119 (3) 1455-1462. DOI:

Montanyà, J., van der Velde, O., & Williams, E. (2014). Atmosphere: Turbines shoot upside-down lightning, Nature, 506 (7488) 268-268. DOI:

Citation
+
4:09 PM | Material That Prevents Plastic From Aging to Benefit Energy Industry
A new material that prevents plastic from aging has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia (CSIRO)—offering significant environmental and cost savings for the energy industry. Read more »

Lau, C., Nguyen, P., Hill, M., Thornton, A., Konstas, K., Doherty, C., Mulder, R., Bourgeois, L., Liu, A., Sprouster, D. & Sullivan, J. (2014). Ending Aging in Super Glassy Polymer Membranes, Angewandte Chemie, DOI:

Citation
+
3:45 PM | Don't Ask, Don't Tell
By Susan Cosier Rail cars are carrying a lot more crude through Oregon these days thanks to the U.S. fracking boom—250 percent more last year than the year before. The intrepid reporters at the Oregonian newspaper wanted to know if that increase in rail traffic poses a risk. After all, at least one rail car on average slips off the tracks in this country every day, and an oil train derailment in Canada last year killed 47 people and incinerated the […]
+
2:44 PM | EIA: U.S. Petroleum Exports Increase 10% in 2013
Exports of petroleum products from the United States averaged 3.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2013, 10% more than in 2012. Read more »
+
2:27 PM | Cowboys & Indians vs. KXL, Don't Frack with Families, Follow the Snail Trail
By Jason Bittel A fight worth fighting: An unlikely association of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans have descended upon the capital this week in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. They call themselves the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, and they think it’s insane that anyone would just roll over and give the oil companies their land in exchange for a pipeline and a few bucks. But their protest also reminds us that people can still be galvanized […]
+
1:02 PM | HELMETH Project to Store Solar, Wind Energy in Natural Gas
The HELMETH EU project coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims to use surplus solar and wind power for the production of chemical energy carriers. Read more »
+
12:55 PM | A culture of asking questions
When I worked at ConocoPhillips, I was quite involved in their knowledge sharing efforts (and I still am). The most important part of the online component is a set of 100 or so open discussion forums. These are much like the ones you find all over the Internet (indeed, they're a big part of what made the Internet what it is — many of us remember Usenet, now Google Groups). But they're better because they're highly relevant, well moderated, and free of trolls. They are an important part of […]

April 23, 2014

+
6:27 PM | Biofuels From Crop Residue May Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change (see footnote). Read more »

Liska, A., Yang, H., Milner, M., Goddard, S., Blanco-Canqui, H., Pelton, M., Fang, X., Zhu, H. & Suyker, A. (2014). Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions, Nature Climate Change, DOI:

Citation
+
4:49 PM | Scientists Use Airplane to Detect Methane From Fracking
Using an airplane to detect greenhouse gas emissions from freshly drilled shale gas wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus basin, Cornell and Purdue scientists have found that leaked methane from fracking is a tougher problem—between a hundred- and a thousandfold—than previously thought. Read more »

Caulton, D., Shepson, P., Santoro, R., Sparks, J., Howarth, R., Ingraffea, A., Cambaliza, M., Sweeney, C., Karion, A., Davis, K. & Stirm, B. (2014). Toward a better understanding and quantification of methane emissions from shale gas development, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI:

Citation
+
3:05 PM | Highest Efficiency Achieved for Small GaAs Solar Cells
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have achieved the highest efficiency ever in a 9 mm2 solar cell made of gallium arsenide. Read more »

Makableh, Y., Vasan, R., Sarker, J., Nusir, A., Seal, S. & Manasreh, M. (2014). Enhancement of GaAs solar cell performance by using a ZnO sol–gel anti-reflection coating, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 123 178-182. DOI:

Citation
+
1:40 PM | Wag the Humpback, El Niño Fortune Telling, Beware the Pollen Vortex!
By Jason Bittel Oh, Canada… : The Canadian government has de-listed the humpback whale! So good to hear that the animals are doing so well that they no longer need protections! If only it were, true. Alas, Canada’s quiet-as-a-mouse de-listing of the whale earlier this month is actually meant to help two new pipeline projects gain approval. The western end of one of the proposed pipelines—owned by our old buddies Enbridge—plans to go […]
+
1:30 PM | Volkswagen to Promote Electric Cars in China
According to Volkswagen CEO Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, the company will be “launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history.” Read more »
+
8:33 AM | From nuclear reactors to energy models
By Alan McDonald, IIASA Alumnus (1979-82 and 1997-2000) and member of the IIASA Alumni Advisory Board I stumbled on IIASA in 1975. I was 24 and working for General Electric’s Fast Breeder Reactor Department. I was supposed to figure out how safe General Electric should make its new breeder reactor, a type of nuclear reactor … Continue reading →
+
1:16 AM | Removal of crop residue for biofuels increases CO2 emissions
Back in 2007, Congress passed the US Energy Independence and Security Act, which was intended to be a mechanism towards removing our country’s dependence on petroleum and promote renewable energies.  The Senate opposed the original bill’s attempt to cut oil … Continue reading →

Liska, A., Yang, H., Milner, M., Goddard, S., Blanco-Canqui, H., Pelton, M., Fang, X., Zhu, H. & Suyker, A. (2014). Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions, Nature Climate Change, DOI:

Citation

April 22, 2014

+
7:25 PM | Panasonic Achieves 25.6% Conversion Efficiency for HIT Solar Cell
Panasonic Corporation announced that it has achieved a conversion efficiency of 25.6% (cell area: 143.7 cm²) in its HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer) solar cells, a major increase over the previous world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells. Read more »
+
6:27 PM | Plasmonic Metamaterials Could Improve Solar Cell Performance
New plasmonic metamaterials that operate at high temperatures could radically improve solar cell performance and bring advanced computer data storage technology that uses heat to record information on a magnetic disk. Read more »

Guler, U., Boltasseva, A. & Shalaev, V. (2014). Refractory Plasmonics, Science, 344 (6181) 263-264. DOI:

Citation
+
5:40 PM | Earth Day's Hot and Getting Hotter
By Melissa Mahony Since the first Earth Day 44 years ago, average temperatures have been rising across the globe—and they're going up even faster in the continental United States, according to records from the National Climatic Data Center. The change wouldn’t be enough for you to notice if you were, say, comparing the weather today with how warm you (or your mom) felt during those mass sit-ins in 1970. But the atmosphere has noticed. And the […]
+
3:46 PM | Americans Don’t Know What to Do With Used Car Batteries
A recent consumer survey commissioned by Johnson Controls found that seven out of 10 Americans don’t know what to do with used car batteries. Read more »
+
2:21 PM | Study Examines Future of Pumped Storage Systems
A new study of Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen University) about the future role of pumped storage power systems in Germany, commissioned by Voith Hydro, was presented in Berlin. Read more »
+
2:09 PM | Chick-fil-A’s New Recipe, a Sailor's Almanac, 56 Earth Day Ideas for the Kiddos
By Jason Bittel Flower power: Judging by the Google doodles, today is the 44th annual Earth Day. The day of environmental action was born in 1970 when 20 million Americans—one in ten—took a page out of the anti-Vietnam War movement and rallied to demand better protection for the environment. Because of their voices, Earth Day and the Environmental Protection Agency were established in the same year. While Earth Day will probably always include […]
+
1:28 PM | Private public data
Our recent trip to the AAPG Annual Convention in Houston was much enhanced by meeting some inspiring geoscientist–programmers. People like... Our old friend Jacob Foshee hung out with us and built his customary awesomeness. Wassim Benhallam, at the University of Utah, came to our Rock Hack and impressed everyone with his knowledge of clustering algorithms, and sedimentary geology. Sebastian Good, of Palladium Consulting, is full of beans and big ideas — and is a much more […]

April 21, 2014

+
8:43 PM | The Governator’s Back—and Going After Climate Change
By Jason Bittel Last week on Showtime’s climate-change miniseries, Years of Living Dangerously, Harrison Ford hit the peat swamps of Indonesia, Don Cheadle tried to reconcile religion and science in the Bible Belt, and Thomas Friedman braved the frontlines of Syria’s civil war. It was a star-studded episode, filled with human drama, high stakes, and good journalism. So, how did it stack up against other prime time premieres?Well, according to […]
+
6:49 PM | Most Efficient Thermoelectric Material Created
Northwestern University scientists have discovered a material—tin selenide—that is, according to a press release, “the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity.” Read more »

Zhao, L., Lo, S., Zhang, Y., Sun, H., Tan, G., Uher, C., Wolverton, C., Dravid, V. & Kanatzidis, M. (2014). Ultralow thermal conductivity and high thermoelectric figure of merit in SnSe crystals, Nature, 508 (7496) 373-377. DOI:

Citation
+
4:30 PM | Pyrolysis Biofuel Production Process Simplified
Innovations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are bringing researchers one step closer to developing “green” biofuel production systems farmers can use to meet on-farm energy needs, or to produce renewable fuels for commercial markets. Read more »

Pourhashem, G., Spatari, S., Boateng, A., McAloon, A. & Mullen, C. (2013). Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Tradeoffs of Using Fast Pyrolysis Products for Power Generation, Energy & Fuels, 27 (5) 2578-2587. DOI:

Citation
+
3:00 PM | Tracking cellulosic bioenergy targets, production, and capacity
Check out the new page on RFS2 cellulosic biofuel RIN production volumes!  The figure presented builds off previous simple analyses here and here, and will be updated periodically based on EPA EMTS numbers (which appear to be published with only … Continue reading →
+
2:19 PM | No KXL Decision for Now
By The Editors The State Department announced today that it will provide more time for comments on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, which would carry dirty, corrosive crude 1,700 miles from northern Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The section of the pipeline from the U.S.-Canadian border to Cushing, Oklahoma, has been under consideration by the Obama administration for six years now, with various delays pushing back a decision […]
+
1:44 PM | The Wolf of BP, Swedish Meatballs to the Rescue?, Hippo and Croc Swarm!
By Jason Bittel All eyes on Nebraska: The State Department announced Friday that it will extend its consideration of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, in light of a recent ruling in Nebraska that the governor’s decision to let the pipeline to traverse the state was unconstitutional. Because a new proposed route may be in the offing, government agencies will have an extended period to comment on the potential environmental, cultural, and […]

April 18, 2014

+
6:42 PM | X-Rays Help Understand High-Temperature Superconductivity
A new study pins down a major factor behind the appearance of laser-induced high-temperature superconductivity in a promising copper-oxide material. Read more »

Först, M., Tobey, R., Bromberger, H., Wilkins, S., Khanna, V., Caviglia, A., Chuang, Y., Lee, W., Schlotter, W., Turner, J. & Minitti, M. (2014). Melting of Charge Stripes in Vibrationally Driven La1.875Ba0.125CuO4: Assessing the Respective Roles of Electronic and Lattice Order in Frustrated Superconductors, Physical Review Letters, 112 (15) DOI:

Citation
+
4:35 PM | Scientists Reduce Solar Panel Glare, Increase Efficiency
Scientists at Loughborough University have found a way to reduce solar panel glare while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of a solar installation. And they didn’t even need to use gold to achieve this goal. Read more »
+
4:22 PM | Weekend Reads: The Beauty of Death, Googling the Great Outdoors, the Coming Climate Barons
By Jason Bittel Where the Wild Things AreThe Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park, the Galapagos Islands—thanks to Google, you can now visit these places without leaving the comfort of your computer chair. Or “no thanks,” as it were. Jason Mark explains why putting every inch of wilderness on the World Wide Web may not be such a good idea for the protection of these places. In fact, he argues that […]
123456
169 Results