News Center

Using Microbial Communities to Assess Environmental Contamination

The Bear Creek watershed in Oak Ridge, TN, was a a crucial site for the early development of nuclear weapons under the Manhattan Project and harbors spectacular geochemical gradients.

A study sponsored by ENIGMA, a DOE “Scientific Focus Area Program” based at Berkeley Lab has found that statistical analysis of DNA from natural microbial communities can be used to accurately identify environmental contaminants and serve as quantitative geochemical biosensors.

Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment

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By combining biocompatible light-capturing nanowire arrays with select bacterial populations, a potentially game-changing new artificial photosynthesis system offers a win/win situation for the environment: solar-powered green chemistry using sequestered carbon dioxide.

Air Quality in San Joaquin Valley Improving: Study Shows Controls to Reduce Nitrogen Oxide Emissions Are Working

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A study led by Berkeley Lab’s Ronald Cohen has shown that nitrogen oxide emission controls are improving the notorious air quality in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

In Memoriam: Andrew Sessler, Former Laboratory Director, Acclaimed Physicist and Humanitarian

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Andrew Sessler, former Laboratory Director and acclaimed physicist and humanitarian, has died.

White, Green or Black Roofs? Berkeley Lab Report Compares Economic Payoffs

Looking strictly at the economic costs and benefits of three different roof types—black, white and “green” (or vegetated)—Berkeley Lab researchers have found in a new study that white roofs are the most cost-effective over a 50-year time span. While the high installation cost of green roofs sets them back in economic terms, their environmental and amenity benefits may at least partially mitigate their financial burden.

Andrew Sessler Wins Fermi Award

President Obama has named Andrew Sessler, award-winning theoretical physicist, acclaimed humanitarian, and former director of Berkeley Lab, as a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, the government’s oldest and most prestigious prizes for scientific achievement.
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Studies Find Methane Emissions in California and U.S. 1.5 Times Greater Than Expected

Current official inventories of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas released from landfills, livestock ranches and oil and gas facilities, may be underestimated both nationally and in California by a factor of about 1.5, according to new research from Berkeley Lab and others.

An Inside Look at a MOF in Action

A unique inside look at the electronic structure of a highly touted metal-organic framework (MOF) as it is adsorbing carbon dioxide gas should help in the design of new and improved MOFs for carbon capture and storage.

Hidden Dangers in the Air We Breathe

For decades, no one worried much about the air quality inside people’s homes unless there was secondhand smoke or radon present. Then scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made the discovery that the aggregate health consequences of poor indoor air quality are as significant as those from all traffic accidents or infectious diseases in the United States. They are now working on turning those research findings into science-based solutions, including better standards for residential buildings and easier ways to test for the hazardous pollutants.

Impact of Climate Change on California’s Electricity Infrastructure Could Be Costly

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If you think it’s been unusually hot lately, just wait—by the end of the century, temperatures in California are expected to rise significantly. Looking at a range of future climate scenarios, Larry Dale, an economist at Berkeley Lab, found that California may need as much as 30 to 40 percent more generation and transmission capacity per capita by the end of the century because of the negative effect of higher temperatures on equipment performance.