Wednesday, December 15, 2010
ORNL in the News

Tennessee grant program supports solar industry upgrades

(Brighter Energy) The Tennessee Solar Institute has awarded more than $7 million in grants to 21 businesses for businesses working in or seeking work in the solar industry. Also on Monday the TSI, a center of excellence between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, invited applications for a further $7.25 million in grant funding....12/14

Oak Ridge supercomputing opens doors for drug discovery

(Oak Ridger) A team led by Jerome Baudry of the University of Tennessee-ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics adapted a widely-used existing software to allow supercomputers such as ORNL's Jaguar to sift through immense molecular databases and pinpoint chemical compounds as potential drug candidates....12/14

DOE grants $3.9m for SiC HEV charger development

(Semiconductor Today) A $3.9m award from the US Department of Energy aims to develop a compact and highly efficient silicon carbide battery charger for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The grant will benefit a collaborative partnership that includes five private and public entities: project leader Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc of Fayetteville, AK; its private partner the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission at the University of Arkansas; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Cree Inc; and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc....12/14


Secretary Chu Announces up to $30 Million for Research to Advance the Next Generation of Biofuels

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the Department is now accepting applications for up to $30 million in total funding for small-scale process integration projects that support the development of advanced biofuels that will be able to replace gasoline or diesel without requiring special upgrades or changes to the vehicle or fueling infrastructure....12/14

Energy Department Completes Cool Roof Installation on DC Headquarters Building to Save Money by Saving Energy

(DOE Press Release) Secretary Steven Chu today announced the completion of a new cool roof installation on the Department of Energy's Headquarters West Building. There was no incremental cost to adding the cool roof as part of the roof replacement project and it will save taxpayers $2,000 every year in building energy costs....12/14


Senate spending bill contains thousands of earmarks

(Washington Post) Weeks after swearing off earmarks, many senators stand to gain tens of millions of dollars for pet projects in a massive $1.2 trillion measure....12/15 [Registration Required]

Obama To Nominate A Defender For Whistle-Blowers

(NPR) The White House plans to nominate Carolyn Lerner to run the Office of Special Counsel, which represents federal whistle-blowers and other victims of discrimination within the government....12/15

East Tennessee

Relocating firm clears hurdle for nuke material

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Members of Oak Ridge's Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday voted to grant a variance to Omega Consultants Inc. to allow "hazardous and nuclear material" functions at a building located in front of the former K-25 uranium enrichment site....12/15

energy & science policy

U.S. Called Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages

(New York Times) The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products — from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines....12/15

Effort Falters on San Francisco Bay Delta

(New York Times) Four years into an effort to re-engineer a delta, the distance between competing water constituencies has been widening as self-imposed deadlines come and go....12/15

Inside Energy Extra

12/14 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Energy programs gain under Senate bill
** DOE closes $400M solar loan guarantee
** DOE offers $30M for biofuel research
** Upton names top energy panel aide
** Senate poised to extend tax credits for ethanol, renewables

science & technology

Musk Oxen Live to Tell a Survivors' Tale

(New York Times) According to Arctic biologists, the quintessential example of megafaunal fortitude in the face of really bad weather is the musk ox, or Ovibos moschatus, a blocky, short-legged, highly social ungulate with distinctively curved horns and long hair that looks like shag carpeting circa 1975....12/14

With assistance from streetlights, the early bird catches the female's favor

(Washington Post) Light pollution may give certain male songbirds a reproductive edge, according to German scientists who have been studying small birds called blue tits for the past decade....12/13 [Registration Required]

Massive Volcanism May Have Caused Biggest Extinction Ever

(Wired) The greatest extinction in the history of life may have been caused, in part, by ozone-depleting gases spewed in a massive volcanic eruption, a new study suggests....12/15

'Ice volcano' identified on Saturn's moon Titan

(BBC) Scientists think they now have the best evidence yet for an ice volcano on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The Cassini probe has spotted a 1,500m-high mountain with a deep pit in it, and what looks like a flow of material on the surrounding surface....12/15