Tuesday, August 24, 2010
ORNL in the News

ORNL scientists help explain graphene mystery

(Physorg.com) Nanoscale simulations and theoretical research performed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are bringing scientists closer to realizing graphene's potential in electronic applications. A research team led by ORNL's Bobby Sumpter, Vincent Meunier and Eduardo Cruz-Silva has discovered how loops develop in graphene, an electrically conductive high-strength low-weight material that resembles an atomic-scale honeycomb..."Graphene is a rising star in the materials world, given its potential for use in precise electronic components like transistors or other semiconductors," said Bobby Sumpter, a staff scientist at ORNL...8/23

ARPA-E funding supports research on carbon dioxide removal from flue gases

(Chemie News) Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are using funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy – also known as ARPA-E – to pursue two different, but related, approaches for removing carbon dioxide from the flue gases of coal-burning power plants...In one project, awarded directly to Georgia Tech, researchers are developing hollow-fiber composite membranes that will use nanoporous metal-organic framework materials to separate carbon dioxide from the flue gases. In the other project, Georgia Tech researchers are assisting colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in developing hollow-fiber sorbents that will soak up carbon dioxide like a sponge – then release it when heated...8/23

Tapping into the Electric Power of Heat

(National Geographic News) An enormous amount of heat is lost when a 3,000ºF (1,650ºC) furnace melts quartz rock to extract silicon at a West Virginia Alloys plant near Charleston, but a Recycled Energy Development system aims to capture that heat to generate electricity. More ideas for converting heat to power are on the horizon...The opportunity could be huge. According to a 2008 report from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, more than two-thirds of the fuel used to generate power in the United States is lost as heat...8/24

Schools to receive climate change grant

(Seymour Herald) The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in partnership with the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Minnesota, are the recipients of a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the project "Understanding Climate Change: A Data Driven Approach." UT Knoxville's segment of the total grant will be $900,000 over a five-year period. Auroop Ganguly, a senior research and development staff member at ORNL and a joint faculty member with the CEE, is the lead principal investigator (PI) from UT Knoxville. The overall project director and lead PI is Vipin Kumar from the University of Minnesota...8/24


State & Regional

Possible Tennessee-Georgia interstate eyed

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Federal Highway Administration is studying a possible new interstate that would connect Knoxville to Savannah, Ga., despite opposition from groups that say the project could destroy pristine lands. Federal Highway Administration spokesman Doug Hecox told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that the study of the project, which would be called Interstate 3, started in June, but there's no timeline for the completion...8/22

TVA losing millions to keep from overheating TN river in Alabama

(AP) The Tennessee Valley Authority is losing tens of millions of dollars in power generation at its largest nuclear plant to avoid overheating the Tennessee River in Alabama. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the nation's largest public utility has already lost nearly $50 million in power generation at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Ala...8/23


Pond rehab's success now murky; state, DOE in formal dispute on milestone

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Last year, as part of the makeover of an Oak Ridge pond, the Dept. of Energy and its contractors took extraordinary measures -- including killing most of the pond's fish population in order to start over with more desirable species that wouldn't destroy the vegetation and disrupt the pond's contaminated sediments...8/24


Fed Split on Move to Bolster Sluggish Economy

(Wall Street Journal) The Aug. 10 meeting of top Federal Reserve officials was among the most contentious in Ben Bernanke's four-and-a-half year tenure as central bank chairman. With the economic outlook unexpectedly darkening, the issue was a seemingly technical one: whether to alter the way the Fed manages its huge portfolio of securities...8/24




energy & science policy

U.S. Judge Rules Against Obama’s Stem Cell Policy

(NY Times) A federal district judge on Monday blocked President Obama’s 2009 executive order that expanded embryonic stem cell research, saying it violated a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos...8/23

Inside Energy Extra

8/23 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- EPA delays power-plant smog rules
- Better lights may lead to more use
- DOE offers geothermal research grants
- Reliability law unnecessary: Pepco exec
- Gulf claims switch from BP to Feinberg

science & technology

Inside Neurosurgery’s Rise

(NY Times) Two floors below the main level of Yale’s medical school library is a room full of brains. No, not the students. These brains, more than 500 of them, are in glass jars. They are part of an extraordinary collection that might never have come to light if not for a curious medical student and an encouraging and persistent doctor...8/23

Diamonds Are a Supercomputer's Best Friend

(Discovery News) ...Scientists in California have used commercially available technology to pattern large sheets of diamonds with tiny, nitrogen-filled holes. The nitrogen-vacancy diamonds, as the sheets are called by scientists, could store millions of times more information than current silicon-based systems and process that information dozens of times faster...8/24

Scientists find 10 new coral species in Hawaii

(AP) Scientists returning from a 30-day research expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands found what they believe are 10 new species of coral...8/24

Other Stories

iPads and Kindles are better for the environment than books

(Washington Post) ...There will be no Sophie's Choice when it comes to e-books. As long as you consume a healthy number of titles, you read at a normal pace and you don't trade in your gadget every year, perusing electronically will lighten your environmental impact...[Registration required] 8/24