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Berkeley Lab Researchers Help Map the Microbiome of Everything

In the Earth Microbiome Project, an extensive global team collected more than 27,000 samples from numerous, diverse environments around the globe. They analyzed the unique collections of microbes – the microbiomes – living in each sample to generate the first reference database of bacteria colonizing the planet. Thanks to newly standardized protocols, original analytical methods and open data-sharing, the project will continue to grow and improve as new data are added. The paper describing this effort, published November

Cool Roofs Have Water Saving Benefits Too

The energy and climate benefits of cool roofs have been well established: By reflecting rather than absorbing the sun’s energy, light-colored roofs keep buildings, cities, and even the entire planet cooler. Now a new study by Berkeley Lab has found that cool roofs can also save water by reducing how much is needed for urban irrigation.

The Puzzle to Plugging the Worst Natural Gas Release in History

By the time Berkeley Lab scientists Barry Freifeld and Curt Oldenburg visited the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in December 2015, the SS-25 well blowout had been leaking natural gas into the air for more than six weeks. The notoriously strong winds at Aliso Canyon carried the natural gas and its added odorant to the nearby Porter Ranch neighborhood, leading to thousands of families evacuating their homes.

Assessing Regional Earthquake Risk and Hazards in the Age of Exascale

With emerging exascale supercomputers, researchers will soon be able to accurately simulate the ground motions of regional earthquakes quickly and in unprecedented detail, as well as predict how these movements will impact energy infrastructure—from the electric grid to local power plants—and scientific research facilities.

Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project

Berkeley Lab will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.

Microbe Mystery Solved: What Happened to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Plume

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is one of the most studied spills in history, yet scientists haven’t agreed on the role of microbes in eating up the oil. Now a research team at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has identified all of the

Keeping California’s Natural Gas System Safe

The massive natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon shined a light on California’s aging natural gas infrastructure. And five years of extreme drought also exacted its toll on transmission pipelines. Now Berkeley Lab has been awarded $4.6 million by the California Energy Commission for two projects aimed at improving the safety and reliability of the state’s natural gas system.

How X-rays Helped to Solve Mystery of Floating Rocks

Experiments at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source have helped scientists to solve a mystery of why some rocks can float for years in the ocean, traveling thousands of miles before sinking.

Not All Cool Pavements Are Created Equal

Cool pavements can help keep cities cool, right? Yes, but according to new research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, more reflective pavements have some unexpected drawbacks relative to conventional pavements when considering the entire life cycle of the materials.

Study: Soils Could Release Much More Carbon Than Expected as Climate Warms

Soils could release much more CO2 than expected into the atmosphere as the climate warms. The findings are based on a field experiment that explored what happens to organic carbon trapped in soil when all soil layers are warmed, which in this case extend to a depth of 100 centimeters.