A Q&A with scientist Jeff Urban, who explains forward osmosis and how Berkeley Lab is pushing the frontiers of this emerging technology.
As populations boom and chronic droughts persist, coastal cities like Carlsbad in Southern California have increasingly turned to ocean desalination to supplement a dwindling fresh water supply. Now Berkeley Lab scientists investigating how to make desalination less expensive have hit on promising design rules for making so-called “thermally responsive” ionic liquids to separate water from salt.
Black carbon, commonly known as soot, is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes. Produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels – emitted from large trucks, trains, and marine vessels – it is an air pollutant of particular concern to residents in urban areas. Sensors available on the market today are expensive, making black carbon difficult to track.
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.
Researchers have shown that an algorithm with no training in materials science can scan the text of millions of papers and uncover new scientific knowledge. A Berkeley Lab-led team collected 3.3 million abstracts of published materials science papers and fed them into an algorithm. By analyzing relationships between words the algorithm was able to predict discoveries of new thermoelectric materials years in advance and suggest as-yet unknown materials as candidates for thermoelectric materials.
Planck’s Law, which describes electromagnetic radiation from heated bodies, forms the basis of quantum theory. However, with the advent of micro- and nanotechnology, it is easy to fabricate materials where Planck’s Law will not hold. In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers at Berkeley Lab set out to explore how deviations from Planck’s Law
Four Berkeley Lab scientists – Allen Goldstein, Sung-Hou Kim, Susannah Tringe, and Katherine Yelick – have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. They are among the 416 scientists awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year.
An online data management tool for water/energy retrofits, and a device that recycles carbon dioxide into renewable fuels have both been recognized in the 2018 R&D 100 Awards given to Berkeley Lab.
Berkeley Lab indoor air experts Brett Singer and Woody Delp advise: stay indoors, consider a mask, limit activities, use air filtration systems, or even build your own.
Applying artificial intelligence to self-driving cars to smooth traffic, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality predictions may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two research projects to do just that.