Insulation materials of tomorrow must be both efficient and environmentally friendly. Fraunhofer scientists are developing insulation foam made from wood that could re- place petrochemical plastics in the long term.
Being able to charge up to 30 electric cars at once requires some ingenious energy management. Researchers are incorporating a mix of renewables into the design of a smart grid for Germany's largest charging station.
LEDs are durable and save energy. Now researchers have found a way to make LED lamps even more compact while supplying more light than commercially available models. The key to success: transistors made of the semiconductor material gallium nitride.
Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have developed a method to carry out large-scale manufacturing of everyday objects - from cell phones to food containers and toys - using a fully degradable bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. The objects exhibit many of the same properties as those created with synthetic plastics, but without the environmental threat.
The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report that aligns solar policy and market success with state demographics. By organizing the 48 contiguous states into four peer groups based on shared non-policy characteristics, the NREL research team was able to contextualize the impact of various solar policies on photovoltaic installations.
Lab success doesn't always translate to real-world success. A team of Michigan State University scientists, however, has invented a new technology that increases the odds of helping algae-based biofuels cross that gap and come closer to reality.
Researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have studied with computer simulations the long-term global consequences of several 'climate engineering' methods. They show that all the proposed methods would either be unable to significantly reduce global warming if CO2 emissions remain high, or they could not be stopped without causing dangerous climate disruption.
A group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals without absorbing water. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and 'greener' method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.
The use of rapeseed cake in the production of livestock feed cuts methane and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 13%, according to the initial results of the research carried out by Neiker-Tecnalia within the framework of the Life-Seed Capital project.
Producing second-generation biofuel from dead plant tissue is environmentally friendly -- but it is also expensive because the process, as used today, needs expensive enzymes, and large companies dominate this market. Now a Danish/Iraqi collaboration presents a new technique that avoids the expensive enzymes. The production of second generation biofuels thus becomes cheaper, probably attracting many more producers and competition, and this may finally bring the price down.
Duckweed is a tiny floating plant that's been known to drive people daffy. It's one of the smallest and fastest-growing flowering plants that often becomes a hard-to-control weed in ponds and small lakes. But it's also been exploited to clean contaminated water and as a source to produce pharmaceuticals. Now, the genome of Greater Duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) has given this miniscule plant's potential as a biofuel source a big boost.