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Center for Energy: News of the Day
  1. Extract from a common kitchen spice could be key to greener, more efficient fuel cells
    Researchers have discovered a novel way to combine curcumin -- the substance in turmeric -- and gold nanoparticles to create an electrode that requires 100 times less energy to efficiently convert ethanol into electricity.

  2. A new heat engine with no moving parts is as efficient as a steam turbine
    Engineers have developed a heat engine with no moving parts that is as efficient as a steam turbine. The design could someday enable a fully decarbonized power grid, researchers say.

  3. You've heard of water droughts. Could 'energy' droughts be next?
    Drawing on 70 years of historic wind and solar-power data, researchers built an AI model to predict the probability of a network-scale 'drought,' when daily production of renewables fell below a target threshold. Under a threshold set at the 30th percentile, when roughly a third of all days are low-production days, the researchers found that Texas could face a daily energy drought for up to four months straight. Batteries would be unable to compensate for a drought of this length, and if the sy...

  4. Lack of marshaling ports hindering offshore wind industry
    A new study finds that the nation's existing and planned marshaling ports, the assembly areas critical to building and deploying offshore wind turbines, will be insufficient by 2023 to meet commitments and will fail to meet projected demand through 2050.

  5. Modeling Earth's magnetosphere in the laboratory
    Scientists report a method to study smaller magnetospheres, sometimes just millimeters thick, in the laboratory. The new experimental platform combines the magnetic field of the Large Plasma Device with a fast laser-driven plasma and a current-driven dipole magnet. The LAPD magnetic field provides a model of the solar system's interplanetary magnetic field, while the laser-driven plasma models the solar wind and the dipole magnet provides a model for the Earth's inherent magnetic field. Motoriz...

  6. Bacteria generate electricity from methane
    Generating power while purifying the environment of greenhouse gases should be achievable using bacteria. Microbiologists have demonstrated that it is possible to make methane-consuming bacteria generate power in the lab.

  7. Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new study
    New research highlights the areas in Europe and North Africa where the construction of wind turbines or power lines is likely to increase the risk of death for migrating birds.

  8. Converting solar energy to electricity on demand
    A new energy system that makes it possible to capture solar energy, store it for up to eighteen years and release it when and where it is needed has now taken the system a step further. After previously demonstrating how the energy can be extracted as heat, they have now succeeded in getting the system to produce electricity, by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator.

  9. Engineers point the way to more affordable, sustainable urban neighborhoods
    Analysis presents a first-of-its-kind framework to design the most efficient mix of urban buildings along with integrated systems to supply power and water services. The approach could significantly reduce costs and pollution compared to traditional systems.

  10. Solar cell keeps working long after sun sets
    Researchers have constructed a photovoltaic cell that harvests energy from the environment during the day and night, making use of the heat leaking from Earth back into space. At night, solar cells radiate and lose heat to the sky, reaching temperatures a few degrees below the ambient air. The device under development uses a thermoelectric module to generate voltage and current from the temperature gradient between the cell and the air. The setup is inexpensive and, in principle, could be incor...