Solar power accounts for less than 2 percent of U.S. electricity but could make up more than that if the cost of electricity generation and energy storage for use on cloudy days and at nighttime were cheaper. A Purdue University-led team developed a new material and manufacturing process that would make one way to use solar power – as heat energy – more efficient in generating electricity. The innovation is an important step for putting solar heat-to-electricity...

Spectrometers — devices that distinguish different wavelengths of light and are used to determine the chemical composition of everything from laboratory materials to distant stars — are large devices with six-figure price tags, and tend to be found in large university and industry labs or observatories. A new advance by researchers at MIT could make it possible to produce tiny spectrometers that are just as accurate and powerful but could be mass produced using standard...

To assess long-range risks to food, water, energy and other critical natural resources, decision-makers often rely on Earth-system models capable of producing reliable projections of regional and global environmental changes spanning decades. A key component of such models is the representation of atmospheric chemistry. Atmospheric simulations utilizing state-of-the-art complex chemical mechanisms promise the most accurate simulations of atmospheric chemistry. Unfortunately their size, complexity, and computational requirements have tended to limit such simulations to short time periods...

In the spring of 2016, while Emily Lindemer was working toward her PhD at MIT, she was also struggling with something closer to home: watching someone she knew well fall in and out of recovery from opioid addiction. Like many people in recovery, Lindemer’s friend had his ups and downs. There were promising periods of sobriety followed by relapses into old habits. As the months went by, Lindemer began to see patterns. For example, when he...

A super-absorbent material developed by Penn State scientists could dramatically reduce the environmental impact of oil spills on oceans and allow recovered oil to be refined normally. The synthetic material, called i-Petrogel, absorbs more than 40 times its weight in crude oil, and effectively stops the oil from spreading after a spill, according to the researchers. The researchers designed the material to maximize its ability to absorb oil, but not water. The oil collected can...

The secret ingredient in the world’s fastest marathon shoe lies primarily in its squishy midsole, not in its controversial carbon fiber plate, new CU Boulder research suggests. “This paper demonstrates that the bulk of the energy saved through this shoe comes through its softer, better foam,” said senior author and integrative physiology professor Rodger Kram. “The carbon fiber plate is just a cherry on top.” The study, published today in the journal Sports Medicine, marks the latest scientific...

In order to evaluate a material’s ability to withstand the high-radiation environment inside a nuclear reactor, researchers have traditionally used a method known as “cook and look,” meaning the material is exposed to high radiation and then removed for a physical examination. But that process is so slow it inhibits the development of new materials for future reactors. Now, researchers at MIT and Sandia National Laboratories have developed, tested, and made available a new system...

Sewage treatment — an unglamorous backbone of urban living — could offer a cost-effective way to combat climate change by flushing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. In an article analyzing several possible technical approaches in the journal Nature Sustainability on Dec. 18, 2018, researchers at Princeton University concluded that sewer plants serving municipalities worldwide offer a major option for capturing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Although cautioning that research and development is needed before the systems...

Andrew Cotter’s day does not begin until he’s had his “cup of Joe,” a ritual he takes seriously as one of a growing group of coffee consumers who grind and brew specialty coffee beans at home for a more flavorful and fragrant experience. One morning, as the scent of freshly brewing coffee enveloped his kitchen, he wondered if storing roasted coffee beans in the freezer — a popular preservation method — was helpful in maintaining...

Scientific research can be a costly undertaking, oftentimes so much so that projects become cost-prohibitive. So what happens when the research is too expensive, but the data is too important to leave uncollected? You get creative. And that is exactly what UConn ecology and evolutionary biology researchers James Mickley ’18 Ph.D. and Timothy Moore ’18 Ph.D. have done. Their article about the tools they developed for getting their research done has been published recently in Methods in Ecology and Evolution....