Energy News

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 10:07

Silicon, the material of high-tech devices from computer chips to solar cells, requires a surface coating before use in these applications. The coating “passivates” the material, tying up loose atomic bonds to prevent oxidation that would ruin its electrical properties. But this passivation process consumes a lot of heat and energy, making it costly and limiting the kinds of materials that can be added to the devices.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:35

Researchers seeking to improve production of ethanol from woody crops have a new resource in the form of an extensive molecular map of poplar tree proteins, published by a team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 14:38

Super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogen almost instantaneously, according to University at Buffalo researchers. In a series of experiments, the scientists created spherical silicon particles about 10 nanometers in diameter. When combined with water, these particles reacted to form silicic acid (a nontoxic byproduct) and hydrogen — a potential source of energy for fuel cells.

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 10:51

The mainly EU-funded DISCO project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed powerful enzymes, which accelerate plant biomass conversion into sugars and further into products such as bioethanol. The project's results include lignin-tolerant enzymes and enzyme cocktails for processing spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran. The commercialisation of these enzymes has now begun in the Netherlands.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 13:54

Communicating with light may soon get a lot easier, hints recent research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), where scientists have potentially found a way to overcome a longstanding barrier to cleaner signals.

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 12:26

An MIT researcher has developed a technique that provides a new way of manipulating heat, allowing it to be controlled much as light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors.