News Center

New Technology Helps Pinpoint Sources of Water Contamination

When the local water management agency closes your favorite beach due to unhealthy water quality, how reliable are the tests they base their decisions on? As it turns out, those tests, as well as the standards behind them, have not been updated in decades. Now scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a highly accurate, DNA-based method to detect and distinguish sources of microbial contamination in water.

Leaving on a Biofueled Jet Plane

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.

Using Microbial Communities to Assess Environmental Contamination

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

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

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

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.