Scientists have now discovered how organic carbon is stored in soil. Basically, the carbon only binds to certain soil structures. This means that soil's capacity to absorb CO2 needs to be re-assessed and incorporated into today's climate models.
Researchers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have discovered that an enzyme from a microorganism first found in the Valley of Geysers on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia in 1990 can digest cellulose almost twice as fast as the current leading component cellulase enzyme on the market.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a simple, effective and relatively inexpensive technique for removing lignin from the plant material used to make biofuels, which may drive down the cost of biofuel production.
Recently, a new website containing a wealth of information on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was made publicly available by NIST. PAHs are compounds that are produced during the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels and have significant adverse health and environmental effects. The website contains data on more than 650 PAH compounds, with many more to be added in the near future.
According to a new study, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities' extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits. Dominated by emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation, suburbs account for about 50 percent of all household emissions in the United States.
'Power to gas' is a key concept when it comes to storing alternative energy. This process converts short-term excess electricity from photovoltaic systems and wind turbines into hydrogen. Combined with the greenhouse gas CO2, renewable hydrogen can be used to produce methane, which can be stored and distributed in the natural gas network. Empa researchers have now succeeded in further optimising this process.
Researchers have found that an increase in the use of wind power generation can make the power grid more fragile and susceptible to disruptions. But the researchers didn't just identify the problem - they have also devised a technique for coordinating wind power generation and energy storage in order to minimize the potential for such power disruptions.
The solar cell developed by the researchers of the ICMol consists of a thin perovskite film sandwiched in between two very thin organic semiconductors. The total thickness of the device is less than half a micrometer.
In the lab, researchers can simulate almost any smart grid because the facility is equipped with control cabinets full of batteries as well as with a cogeneration plant, an emergency power unit, an adjustable local grid transformer, various loads and converters, two refrigeration units, and a water purification plant.
While climate change negotiators struggle to agree on ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they have paid inadequate attention to other greenhouse gases associated with livestock. One of the most effective ways to cut methane is to reduce global populations of ruminant livestock, especially cattle.
The Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is leading a European consortium to develop and test new methane measurement instruments for municipal shale gas extraction, waste water treatment plants and gas distribution.
Drexel University is opening a new research institute that will strive to answer some of the most challenging questions about energy and environmental sustainability facing the nation today. The A.J. Drexel Institute for Energy and the Environment will look at the science, economics and politics that influence decisions about energy and the environment; and serve as a resource for decision makers both in the region and around the world.