News Center

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

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.

More Potent than Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide Levels in California May be Nearly Three Times Higher Than Previously Thought

Using a new method for estimating greenhouse gases that combines atmospheric measurements with model predictions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have found that the level of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in California may be 2.5 to 3 times greater than the current inventory. At that level, total N2O emissions—which are believed to come primarily from nitrogen fertilizers used in agricultural production—would account for about 8 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Rust Never Sleeps

A multi-institutional team led by scientists at Berkeley Lab have directly observed electron hopping in iron oxide particles, a phenomonon that holds huge significance for a broad range of environment- and energy-related applications.

Measuring the “Other” Greenhouse Gases: Higher Than Expected Levels of Methane in California

New research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that levels of methane—a potent greenhouse gas emitted from many man-made sources, such as coal mines, landfills and livestock ranches—are at least one-and-a-half times higher in California than previously estimated.

CSI: Microbial Version without PCR

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed PCR-free techniques for identifying the most active microbial populations in samples based on the PhyloChip, the Lab’s award-winning, high-density DNA microarray. These new techniques will be used in a wide variety of applications including the development of advanced biofuels.

Lessons Learned from the Two Worst Oils Spills in U.S. History

One year after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and two decades after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, the scientific lesson is clear – microbes matter! Despite vast differences in the ecosystems and circumstances of these two worst oil spills in U.S. history, oil-degrading microorganisms played a significant role in reducing the overall environmental impact of both spills, a Berkley Lab scientist reports.

Shipping Out to Boston for ACS Meeting: Berkeley Lab researchers present on medicine, energy, the environment and more – Part 3

Berkeley Lab scientists delivered nearly 100 presentations at the American Chemical Society’s Fall 2010 national meeting in Boston, August 22-26, 2010. This post features reports on two unique approaches to environmental studies, one employing medical imaging technologies such as PET and SPECT, the other employing synchrotron light from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source.

Shipping Out to Boston for ACS Meeting: Berkeley Lab researchers present on medicine, energy, the environment and more

Berkeley Lab scientists delivered nearly 100 presentations at the American Chemical Society’s Fall 2010 national meeting in Boston, August 22-26, 2010. Major areas of emphasis included chemistry for medical applications. Here are some highlights.

Caution Required for Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up

A Berkeley Lab bioremediation expert says extreme caution must be used in cleaning up the fragile Gulf Coast ecosystem in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil is a biological product that can be degraded by microbes, whereas detergents used to clean up oil contaminated sites can make a bad situation even worse.

Extreme Makeover Chemistry Style: Reaction Remake Could Replace Petrochemicals with Biomass Renewables

In revisiting a chemical reaction that’s been in the literature for several decades and adding a new wrinkle of their own, researchers with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have discovered a mild and relatively inexpensive procedure for removing oxygen from biomass. This procedure, if it can be effectively industrialized, could allow many of today’s petrochemical products, including plastics, to instead be made from biomass.