Energy News

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 15:44

In the search for renewable alternatives to gasoline, heavy alcohols such as isobutanol are promising candidates. Not only do they contain more energy than ethanol, but they are also more compatible with existing gasoline-based infrastructure. For isobutanol to become practical, however, scientists need a way to reliably produce huge quantities of it from renewable sources.


Monday, February 18, 2013 - 07:44

To make fuel cells more economical, engineers want a fast and efficient iron-based molecule that splits hydrogen gas to make electricity. Online Feb. 17 at Nature Chemistry, researchers report such a catalyst. It is the first iron-based catalyst that converts hydrogen directly to electricity. The result moves chemists and engineers one step closer to widely affordable fuel cells.


Friday, February 15, 2013 - 13:33

Recently a Los Alamos National Laboratory quantum cryptography (QC) team successfully completed the first-ever demonstration of securing control data for electric grids using quantum cryptography.


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.