Thursday, February 10, 2011
ORNL in the News

Lowering Energy Costs

(NY Times) With energy prices having gone from bad to worse and back to just bad in the last couple of months, homeowners are more determined than ever to find ways to save on heating bills. The solution, experts say, is simple. “Adding insulation is the first thing a homeowner should do,” said Jeff Christian, of the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn...2/10

A New Solar Bio Photo Conversion System Makes Hydrogen

(New Energy and Fuel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed a biohybrid photo conversion system – based on the interaction of photosynthetic plant proteins with synthetic polymers – that can convert visible light into hydrogen fuel.  This is another part of the first step to making solar panels for directly producing fuel. The research team’s work seeks to mimic photosynthesis, the natural process carried out by plants, algae and some bacterial species that converts sunlight energy into chemical energy and sustains much of the life on earth...2/7

 

Is Knoxville Ready for Electric Cars?

(Metro Pulse) Nissan and GM roll out their new battery-powered vehicles to an unlikely test market: East Tennessee...The Leaf is here because Nissan is here, just outside Nashville. Starting in 2012, the Leaf will be built here, on the Smyrna assembly line, once Nissan finishes building a new manufacturing facility nearby that will construct the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries. And because those batteries were designed in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and because the Tennessee Valley Authority is one of the nation’s largest energy providers...2/9

DOE designs energy-saving AC units

(CNET News) The U.S. government has released specifications for a highly-efficient rooftop air conditioning unit it believes could save the country a plethora of electricity, and commercial properties a considerable amount of money...To help achieve the best-in-class rooftop units requested by industry partners, DOE national laboratories, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Lab, will provide technical assistance to manufacturers or developers who want to build the more efficient units...2/9

DOE

Years after disposal, waste gets new scrutiny

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The U.S. Department of Energy has a special landfill on its Oak Ridge reservation that was set up specifically to receive hazardous and radioactive wastes generated during environmental cleanup activities. It also is approved for disposal of classified waste, which requires additional security...2/9

State & Regional

Tennessee projects revenue growth, but cuts still loom

(AP) Tennessee's improving economy means the state will begin collecting more money, but official projections indicate it won't be enough to avoid deep spending cuts...2/9

National

Obama to Unveil Wireless Broadband Initiative

(Wall Street Journal) President Barack Obama is set to unveil Thursday a plan to boost broadband wireless coverage across the U.S. and create a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety, White House officials said Wednesday...2/10

House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers

(Wired News) The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public...2/9

energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

2/9 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Republicans propose deep cuts at DOE
- Chevron sees new gulf drilling in 2011
- EPA defends rules, as Republicans attack
- Shaw CEO urges construction industry to press for new nuclear plants

science & technology

World's First Programmable Nanoprocessor

(Science Daily) Engineers and scientists collaborating at Harvard University and the MITRE Corporation have developed and demonstrated the world's first programmable nanoprocessor...2/9

Scientists are designing an Internet for robots

(USA Today) Robots are everywhere, so European scientists are working to give them a robo version of the web and Wikipedia, the BBC tells us...2/9

Speaking In Defense Of Science

(NPR)...While many countries are working hard to educate their young about the values of science and of scientific research, in the U.S. countless people are teaching them to mistrust science and scientists, taking every opportunity to politicize and theologize the scientific discourse in ways completely incompatible with the goals and modus operandi of the scientific enterprise...2/10

Attractive Italian Viaduct Has Wind Turbines Built In

(Popular Science) A new bridge concept incorporates wind and solar energy into its design, generating 40 million kilowatt-hours per year — and looking pretty slick to boot...2/2

Other Stories

Egypt foreign minister criticises US calls for change

(BBC) Egypt's foreign minister has rebuffed calls from Washington to speed up the pace of political reform...2/10