NREL's Kirstin Alberi NREL solar scientist has come a long way from the swimming pool

Kirstin Alberi just wanted to have fun.

It’s taken her a long way, from coastal Maine, to MIT and Cal-Berkeley, and ultimately to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where her ability to see connections between disparate data was critical to the success of a game-changing new silicon ink.

Alberi, 30, grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, on the chilly North Atlantic, where she swam for the high school team and immersed herself in math and science classes.

Full Story


LLNL's Steve Homann, who served as DOE's senior science adviser for the NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission, holds a filter for an Environmental Continuous Air Monitor (shown in the background).LLNL scientists monitor recent Mars lab launch

When an Atlas V rocket lifted the Mars Science Laboratory into space on Nov. 26, one of the most comprehensive radiological emergency preparedness systems was on the ground monitoring the event.

In preparation for the launch, NASA had installed 30 radiological monitors – called Environmental Continuous Air Monitors, or ECAMs – on and around the Kennedy Space Center.

Full Story

See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 352  |
  • December 12, 2011
  • Long Island Solar Farm turns on

    Aerial view of the 200-acre Long Island Solar Farm at Brookhaven National Laboratory. All systems are “go” at the Long Island Solar Farm (LISF), the largest solar power plant in the eastern United States. Built on 200 acres in the southeast corner of Brookhaven Lab’s property, the LISF is owned by BP Solar and Met Life. Its 164,312 photovoltaic panels can produce 32-megawatts (MW) of electricity, feeding it to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) grid to power up to 4,500 homes and businesses.

    Brookhaven scientists will have access to data from the array as a condition of the easement agreement granted by DOE for use of the land. They are installing sensors and imagers to collect large amounts of data from LISF systems. The data will be used by researchers at the Lab and across the country to address the key issues facing deployment of large-scale solar power plants.

    Full Story

  • Unlocking algal secrets may help clean up radioactive isotopes

    Algae could form the basis of new technologies

    Using the Advanced Photon Source at DOE's Argonne National Laboratory, a group of Northwestern University and Argonne scientists have figured out the secrets of algae that can preferentially take up strontium over calcium-a task so difficult that it's not easily done even in a laboratory. The algae could form the basis of new technologies to clean up contaminated land or water.

    Strontium-90 is one of the deadly isotopes produced by nuclear weapons and reactors. If it's ingested in contaminated food or water, the human skeleton may take it up instead of calcium-where it can sit for decades, poised to trigger bone cancer or leukemia.

    Full Story

  • Test paves way for 15,000-ton neutrino detector

    Engineers at Fermilab designed and tested a hydraulic system that will move and rotate 200-ton blocks of detector components for the assembly of the NOvA neutrino detector. Last month, the preparations for the assembly of the NOvA neutrino detector passed a pivotal test in an assembly building at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Scientists, engineers and technicians from Fermilab, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Minnesota successfully operated for the first time the NOvA pivoter, the hydraulic system used to move and rotate huge, 200-ton blocks of detector components for the assembly of the 15,000-ton particle detector. 

    Full Story

  • Novel catalyst technology helps convert diesel to syngas

    Incorporating active metals into the crystal structure of pyrochlore minimizes catalyst poisoning. Methods for generating synthesis gas from simple hydrocarbons such as methane routinely involve the use of a catalyst, but the high sulfur and aromatic content of fuels such as diesel poses a major challenge, since these components can deactivate conventional catalysts. Unfortunately, no economically feasible reforming catalyst is available for converting diesel and coal-based fuels into hydrogen-rich synthesis gas necessary for use in SOFCs. 

    Full Story

  • Measuring soil carbon

    PVC collars placed in the forest sampling area, located between tree rows. Scientists applied one of five vegetation treatments inside each collar to measure surface soil respiration sources. Carbon in, carbon out. Uncovering better methods to distinguish the sources of carbon emitted into the atmosphere was the goal of a research team led by the Joint Global Change Research Institute.  The team found more efficient methods to separate components of soil respiration in forests, replacing labor-intensive techniques. JGCRI is a partnership between DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland.  

    Full Story