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Leaving on a Biofueled Jet Plane

Air travels accounts for about two-percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. A new catalytic process for biofuels could significantly reduce this figure. (courtesy of Boeing)

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have developed a catalytic process for converting sugarcane biomass into a new class of aviation fuel and lubricant base oils that could help biorefineries achieve net life-cycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 80-percent.

Goodbye, Range Anxiety? Electric Vehicles May Be More Useful Than Previously Thought

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In the first study of its kind, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory quantitatively show that electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed. They found that batteries that have lost 20 percent of their originally rated energy storage capacity can still meet the daily travel needs of more than 85 percent of U.S. drivers.

A Better Way of Scrubbing CO2

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Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a means by which the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants might one day be done far more efficiently and at far lower costs than today. By appending a diamine molecule to the sponge-like solid materials known as metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs), the researchers were able to more than triple the CO2-scrubbing capacity of the MOFs, while significantly reducing parasitic energy.

Sweet Smell of Success: JBEI Researchers Boost Methyl Ketone Production in E. coli

Methyl ketones were discovered more than a century ago in the aromatic evergreen rue plant. They are now used to provide scents in essential oils and flavoring in cheese, but JBEI research shows they could also serve as advanced biofuels. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

JBEI researchers have engineered E. 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.

Two Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

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Two Berkeley Lab scientists, climate scientist William Collins and chemist Heinz Frei, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for 2014.

Berkeley Lab Report Quantifies the Financial Impacts of Customer-Sited Photovoltaics on Electric Utilities

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A new report prepared by analysts from Berkeley Lab examines the potential impacts of customer-sited solar photovoltaics (PV) on electric utility profitability and rates. The report shows that these impacts can vary greatly depending upon the specific circumstances of the utility and may be reduced through a variety of regulatory and ratemaking measures.

New Studies Find Significant Declines in Price of Rooftop and Utility-Scale Solar

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The price of solar energy in the U.S. continues to fall substantially, according to the latest editions of two annual reports produced by Berkeley Lab. A third Berkeley Lab report, written in collaboration with researchers at Yale University, the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), shows that local permitting and other regulatory procedures can significantly impact residential photovoltaic (PV) prices.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Moonlight in “Cleanweb” Sector

The Smarter Sprinkler team at the 2014 Berkeley Cleanweb Hackathon.

By day scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are researching ways to better tackle our country’s energy and environmental challenges. By night some of them are doing, well, the exact same thing. Using the knowledge from their day jobs some enterprising researchers are harnessing the power of big data to create innovative solutions for conserving water and energy.

Taking the Temperature of Deep Geothermal Reservoirs

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A lot can happen to water as it rises to the surface from deep underground. It can mix with groundwater, for example. This makes it difficult for scientists to estimate the temperature of a geothermal reservoir, which is an important step as they decide whether a site merits further exploration as a source of clean,

Manipulating and Detecting Ultrahigh Frequency Sound Waves

Gold plasmonic nanostructures shaped like Swiss-crosses can convert laser light into ultrahigh frequency (10GHz) sound waves.

Berkeley Lab researchers have demonstrated a technique for detecting and controlling ultrahigh frequency sound waves at the nanometer scale. This represents an advance towards next generation ultrasonic imaging with potentially 1,000 times higher resolution than today’s medical ultrasounds.