BP's latest attempt to plug the Gulf oil leak is now more than 24 hours old, and initial assessments look promising. While we're by no means out of the woods yet, government and BP officials are cautiously optimistic that the so-called top kill is succeeding to stem the flow of oil from the busted riser into the Gulf of Mexico.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab wanted to model and simulate the next generation of nuclear power facilities. While software that models a partial nuclear core or radiation transport exists in spades, the ORNL team wanted to model entire facilities at once. So they did what anyone would do: They started from scratch, merging a decade of research with the world's fastest supercomputer to build Denovo, the most sophisticated modeling software in the industry, to simulate entire nuclear facilities in one comprehensive snapshot.
In what the BBC is calling "a claim that is likely to be met with some scepticism," North Korea has announced that it has made huge strides toward developing thermonuclear power, going so far as to claim that the nation's scientists have built a "unique thermo-nuclear reaction device."
We've got your skepticism right here.
If you’re an ocean-transiting container ship, friction is a drag. The bigger your load, the more energy it takes to propel you through the water, and that means increased fuel costs and increased emissions. But by mimicking the hydrophobic characteristics of the water fern, researchers at the University of Bonn think they can create container ships that move faster – and more efficiently – from port to port.
It's abundantly clear that we need to get off fossil fuels for various reasons (try Googling "oil spill"), but our infrastructures are far better tuned for the hydrocarbon fuels of the past century than the renewables of the next. So why don't we just make fuels that work in our existing technology from renewable energy?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but it can be difficult and costly to get at the raw gaseous stuff, at least in the kind of commercial volumes that could sustainably fuel a hydrogen economy. But researchers at the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have made a substantial leap toward a hydrogen-based future by devising a cheap, metal catalyst that can split hydrogen gas from water.
America may have taken her first steps in what is sure to be a long, incremental, and sometimes painful shift toward a large-scale clean energy future. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar finally approved the Cape Wind project today, allowing for the construction of 130 turbines at Horseshoe Shoal south of Cape Cod.
The project will be the first major offshore wind project backed by the federal government, and if successful it might not be the last. Salazar said today that Cape Wind is only the first of many wind projects that will dot the Atlantic coast, piping carbon-free electricity back to shore for use in public power grids.
When we think of farming energy, we generally think of feedstocks like corn that can be processed into ethanol, or perhaps other plant life we can culture and harvest like algae. But don't underestimate the livestock; we've recently seen methane-trapping schemes that can power farms and giant cattle treadmills that turn idle dairy drones into power-producing machines.
In the French city of Toulouse, the newest craze in sustainable energy is about to hit the streets. Literally. Inspired by a nightclub in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the city of Toulouse has begun investigating the installation of energy-absorbing sidewalk panels that would harvest pedestrian power to fuel the street lights.