News

Bacteria Engineered to Eat Switchgrass and Make Transportation Fuels

Researchers with DOE’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered the first strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that can digest switchgrass biomass and synthesize its sugars into all three of those transportation fuels. The microbes are even able to do this without any help from enzyme additives.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Will the rover reveal that Mars might once have been hospitable for microbial life — or might even still be conducive to life?

This week's Question: The Curiosity rover, NASA's biggest extraterrestrial explorer, was launched toward Mars last week. The mobile laboratory, 10 feet long by 9 feet wide, will search for evidence that the planet was once hospitable to microbrial life. The device's on-board instruments are designed to hunt for organic compounds. What do you think? Will the rover reveal that Mars might once have been hospitable for microbial life — or might even still be conducive to life?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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"Fool's Gold" Could Lead to Cheaper Solar Energy

Pyrite - or “fool’s gold” - has recently helped researchers at Oregon State University discover related compounds that offer new, cheap, and promising options for solar energy. These new compounds would be benign and could be processed from some of the most abundant elements on Earth.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials
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Is Sustainability Science a Legitimate Science?

Creating a scientific field just out of societal and policy need is a bold concept. But Los Alamos National Laboratory and Indiana University researchers say that for the emerging field of sustainability science - sorting among theoretical and applied scientific disciplines, making sense of potentially divergent theory, practice, and policy - the gamble has paid off.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Government, Research Lab
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Efficient Method for Creating Flexible, Transparent Electrodes

As the market for liquid crystal displays and other electronics continues to drive up the price of indium — the material used to make the indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrodes in these devices — scientists have been searching for a less costly and more dynamic alternative, particularly for use in future flexible electronics.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Electronics, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Materials, Metals
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Will we be able to design an "operating system" for a living biological cell?

This week's Question: As part of a five-year, $1.58 million research project named AudACiOus, a group of University of Nottingham scientists will attempt to program the genetic components of a cell to perform any desired function, without requiring extensive modification to the cell. If successful, the team would develop a cell's equivalent of a computer operating system, which could be re-programmed with different "applications" and serve as an easier method for creating new life forms. Researchers say the project could lead to the creation of completely new cellular life forms that could do anything from cleaning up pollutants in the environment to detecting and treating viruses before they enter the human body. Although there have been successes in the bioengineering field, the manipulation of cell parts to run a reprogrammable "cellular operating system" remains a laborious and expensive endeavor. Additionally, it is difficult to predict the behavior of cells in a laboratory environment. What do you think? Will we be able to design an "operating system" for a living biological cell?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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Super Yeast Turns Pine into Ethanol

A research team from the University of Georgia has developed a "super strain" of yeast that can efficiently ferment ethanol from pretreated pine - one of the most common species of trees in the U.S. Their research could help biofuels replace gasoline as a transportation fuel.

Posted in: GDM, News, Videos, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Read November's Lighting Technology

The new issue of Lighting Technology is here! Check out more new feature articles, application stories, tech briefs, products, videos, and research news - all on the latest advances in LEDs and solid-state lighting.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Communications, Wireless, Power Management, Power Supplies, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Lighting, Materials
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Jet Fuel of the Future

With the DOE, Virent, Inc., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) working together, planes may soon take to the skies using less petroleum. In June, DOE announced an award of up to $13.4 million dollars to Virent and its partners to develop a process to cost effectively convert cellulosic biomass - in this case the non-edible parts of corn - into jet fuel.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Are you concerned that children are spending more time than ever in front of screens?

This week's Question: A new study from Common Sense Media shows that infants and toddlers spend twice as much time with screen media as they do with books. While television is still the dominant media device in most young children's lives, the study, based on responses of more than 1,300 parents, found that more than 38 percent of kids under 8 years old have used a smartphone, video iPod, or iPad. What do you think? Are you concerned that children are spending more time than ever in front of screens?
Posted in: Question of the Week
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