- Number 375 |
- November 5, 2012
From a distance, a wind farm can seem almost placid, turbines turning slowly, steadily, churning out electricity. But there's more to it than meets the eye.
The wind, though it can seem consistent, often has varying degrees of turbulence that impact wind turbine performance. Heating and cooling change the wind over the course of the day. A wind farm's turbines interact in ways that reduce performance and add to structural loads on the turbines, increasing maintenance costs and the overall cost of wind energy.
Researchers at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are learning how to better understand these issues and are working toward effective solutions for the wind industry. Their goal is to maximize turbine performance and minimize structural loads, which will ultimately result in lower-cost wind energy. Toward that goal, NREL researchers are leveraging the lab's supercomputing resources and have developed high-tech modeling and simulation capabilities.
Examining battery materials on the nano-scale reveals how nickel forms a physical barrier that appears to impede the shuttling of lithium ions in the battery's electrode, reducing how fast the materials charge and discharge, according to research led by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Nickel is an essential component of cathode compounds for lithium-ion batteries. Published in Nano Letters, the research also suggests a way to improve the materials.
The researchers, led by Dr. Chongmin Wang, created high-resolution 3D images of electrode materials made from lithium-nickel-manganese oxide layered nanoparticles, mapping the individual elements. These maps showed that nickel formed clumps at certain spots in the nanoparticles. A higher magnification view showed the nickel blocking the channels through which lithium ions normally travel when batteries are charged and discharged.
How to explain synthetic biology to the masses? And how to link it to the DOE mission? This is what the DOE Joint Genome Institute and the Joint BioEnergy Institute sought to accomplish with Bioscriber, an online tutorial that debuted on October 13, 2012 at the Berkeley Lab Open House.
The initial phase of this educational module captures how information gleaned from organisms found in nature, bioprospecting, coupled with genome sequencing can lead to improved breakdown and conversion of plant biomass into an advanced, non-ethanol biofuel.
DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has launched a new era of scientific supercomputing with Titan, a system capable of churning through more than 20,000 trillion calculations each second – or 20 petaflops – by employing a family of processors called graphic processing units first created for computer gaming. Titan will be 10 times more powerful than ORNL's last world-leading system, Jaguar, while overcoming power and space limitations inherent in the previous generation of high-performance computers.Titan will provide unprecedented computing power for research in energy, climate change, efficient engines, materials and other disciplines and pave the way for a wide range of achievements in science and technology.