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Making Biofuels Cheaper by Putting Plants to Work

One strategy to make biofuels more competitive is to make plants do some of the work themselves. Scientists can engineer plants to produce valuable chemical compounds, or bioproducts, as they grow. Then the bioproducts can be extracted from the plant and the remaining plant material can be converted into fuel. But one important part of this strategy has remained unclear — exactly how much of a particular bioproduct would plants need to make in order to make the process economically feasible?

One Step Closer to a Fast-Charging Battery

Berkeley Lab researchers, working with a team at Brookhaven National Laboratory, have made a key discovery about the dynamic structural changes in a material called lithium titanate, putting scientists one step closer to achieving a fast-charging lithium battery. The scientists used both experimental and computational techniques to examine lithium titanate, or LTO, while it was

Nature-Inspired Green Energy Technology Clears Major Development Hurdle

A new material design has put the long-sought idea of artificial photosynthesis within reach.

The Wild World of Microbe-Made Products – Skis Now Included

Biomanufacturing – harnessing biological processes in cells and microbes to design and manufacture products – is revolutionizing how we make everything from futuristic consumer goods to sustainable fuels to breakthrough medicines. Every biomanufactured product can be traced back to discoveries in the lab, but translating that science into a real-world product can be tricky. Berkeley Lab is helping to move great ideas, like outdoor gear made from algae oil, from conception to commercialization.

A Peek into the Battery Technology Pipeline

With its deep expertise in materials research, materials design, and energy storage technologies, Berkeley Lab is working on better battery alternatives. Gerbrand Ceder, a battery researcher in the Materials Science Division, details four battery technologies being studied by Berkeley Lab scientists that could make a big difference in the future.

Berkeley Lab Names Robert Kostecki Director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division

Following an international search, Robert Kostecki has been appointed director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division in the Energy Technologies Area at Berkeley Lab. 

Go With the Flow: Scientists Design Better Batteries for a Renewable Energy Grid

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have designed an affordable ‘flow battery’ membrane that could accelerate renewable energy for the electrical grid.

Can Cellphones Help Cities Be More Energy Efficient?

Buildings currently consume about 40% of all the electricity used in the United States, most of them located in urban areas that are growing rapidly. Because electricity generation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, making urban buildings more energy efficient could help mitigate global climate change.  In order to achieve

Can’t Take the Heat? ‘Cool Walls’ Can Reduce Energy Costs, Pollution

A study by scientists at Berkeley Lab modeled several different types and ages of homes, retail stores, and office buildings in cities across California and the U.S. and found that sunlight-reflecting “cool” exterior walls can save as much or more energy than sunlight-reflecting cool roofs in many places.

Scientists Find a Molecular Switch for Better Biofuels

Adapted from an original release published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Read the full story here  Plant cell walls contain a renewable, nearly-limitless supply of sugar that can be used as a carbon source for microbe-based chemical and biofuel production. However, retrieving these sugars isn’t all that easy. Imidazolium ionic liquid (IIL) solvents are some