NREL's Teresa Alleman

Teresa Alleman

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 Number 200

January 9, 2006 

Prelude to an earthquake?

A geophysicist at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified possible seismic precursors to two recent California earthquakes, including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that wreaked havoc throughout the Bay Area. After sifting through seismic data from the two quakes, Valeri Korneev found a spike in the number of micro-earthquakes followed by a period of relative calm in the crust surrounding the quakes' epicenters — months before the quakes occurred. Although more work needs to be conducted to determine whether other large quakes are foreshadowed by a similar rise and subsequent decline in small-magnitude tremors, Korneev's analysis suggests that these peaks may be indicative of the total set of geological stresses that affect the timing and location of large earthquakes. Understanding this total stress picture may eventually make it possible to predict destructive earthquakes within a much shorter time frame than currently possible.

[Dan Krotz, (510)486-4019,]

Trees may warm the planet


Planting trees across the United States and Europe to absorb carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels may outweigh the positive effects of sequestering that CO². Using climate models, researchers from DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology found that forests in the mid-latitude regions of the Earth tend to warm the planet in the long run. The darkness of these forests absorbs abundant sunlight, warming the land. While the darkness of the forest lasts forever, the effect of the forest sequestering carbon dioxide slows down over time as the atmosphere exchanges CO² with the ocean. However, the story is different for the tropical forests. In tropical regions, forests help keep the Earth cool by not only absorbing carbon dioxide, but by evaporating plenty of water as well.

[Anne Stark, 925/422-9799,]

EISRG provides energy crisis support

When major power interruptions threaten the U.S. , questions about where the impact will be felt quickly arise. Through its Energy Infrastructure and Security Research Group (EISRG), DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory works in partnership with other national laboratories to supply critical answers. With access to comprehensive data on nationwide energy systems and GIS capabilities, EISRG provides vital pre- and post-event analyses when energy supplies are compromised, as was the case during the devastating hurricane season of 2005. Mapping critical components of the existing energy infrastructure and determining affected areas, EISRG will help DOE headquarters determine actual and potential outages and plan restoration efforts when future energy crises strike.

[David Anna, 412/ 386-4646,

Going Mobile with Climate Research

The ARM Mobile Facility deployment site in Niamey, Niger.
The ARM Mobile Facility deployment site in Niamey, Niger.

Beginning this month, scientists will begin taking data from Los Alamos National Laboratory's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Mobile Facility (AMF) deployed in Niger, West Africa at the Niamey International Airport. Los Alamos engineers and technicians are responsible for deploying the AMF and operating the facility during its 6 to 18 month deployment. The purpose of AMF is to collect atmospheric information in climatically important regions that are presently under sampled. Sponsored by DOE's Office of Science and managed by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the ARM Program is designed to advance our understanding of global climate by providing data for advanced climate models.

[Todd A. Hanson, 505/665-2085;

Thin-film tech may reduce battery bane

The ORNL-developed Thin-Film Array Slide pictured here allows biological samples such as proteins, whole cells or tissue samples to be analyzed in an environment where the samples can retain their native chemical activity. The technology is powered by thin film lithium batteries, the two gray squares on the gold disc shown here.
The ORNL-developed Thin-Film Array Slide pictured here allows biological samples such as proteins, whole cells or tissue samples to be analyzed in an environment where the samples can retain their native chemical activity. The technology is powered by thin film lithium batteries, the two gray squares on the gold disc shown here.

Those toys that Santa left under the tree were great fun as they drained their batteries. Advances in rechargeable thin-film lithium battery technology at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory might one day provide a solution to the dead-battery dilemma. Thin-film lithium batteries last longer, recharge faster and because they are solid are much less prone to leakage, corrosion and freezing. While still years from replacing cheap alkaline batteries in toys, the technology has other potential holiday applications, such as being used for radio frequency identification for holiday packages and "smart card" transactions during holiday spending.

[Mike Bradley, 865/576-9553,


NREL engineer spreads
the biodiesel word

teresa Alleman
Teresa Alleman

A recent trip to the Philippines gave Teresa Alleman, an engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Center for Transportation Systems and Technologies (CTTS), a unique opportunity to talk to government officials about a project that may one day influence the production of domestic biodiesel. During her visit, Alleman met with Philippines Secretary of Energy to talk about the technical assistance NREL lent to his country for a study of biodiesel made from coconuts.

"Having the opportunity to talk to Secretary Raphael Lotilla about the study results is something I'll remember for the rest of my life," Alleman said. "It gave me the chance to talk to people outside of my peer group and to teach politicians about the science that will help them make better decisions for their country."

Alleman supports the CTTS' Fuels Performance Group by working on advanced and alternative liquid fuels, such as biodiesel and Fischer-Tropsch diesel, for buses, delivery trucks and other heavy duty vehicles. She came to NREL in 2000 after working as a research associate for the Colorado Institute for Fuels and High Altitude Research at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Alleman earned her bachelor's and master¹s degrees in chemistry at CSM.

"I always knew I'd pursue a technical career because my dad is an engineer, but I didn't plan to go into heavy duty engine research, that just happened," Alleman said. "However, I think it's a good fit because in fuels work my chemistry background is an important tool I use almost daily."

Looking ahead to 2006, Alleman will continue to monitor the Philippine biodiesel project as well as support DOE's Vehicle Technologies Fuels Technology subprogram on biodiesel related projects.

Alleman continues to serve as the principal investigator on a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and NREL. Under the CRADA, she will look at ways to reduce emissions from transport refrigeration units (TRU) mounted on heavy duty diesel delivery vehicles. NREL has a long standing relationship with SCAQMD and Alleman is looking forward to continuing the good work the two organizations do.

"The partnership between NREL and SCAQMD, a regulatory agency, allows our organizations to leverage the strengths of each to achieve our common goals," Alleman said.

Submitted by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Check out symmetry—the
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Fermilab and SLAC.


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Labs help Russian Federation open new nuclear security training center

Russian Federation Navy officials and security managers now have a new curriculum of courses and a new training center to assist them in providing stronger protection for the Russian navy's nuclear materials.

The upgraded security training, accomplished through Russian and U.S. efforts under the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Material Protection Control and Accounting (MPC&A) Program, has involved work by employees from Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Known as the Kola Technical and Training Center, the new facility represents a unique training complex for nuclear security professionals, established cooperatively by the Department of Energy, NNSA and the Russian Ministry of Defense.

“Our goal has been to work with the Russian Navy to assist them in developing an upgraded security infrastructure for protecting their weapons-grade materials,” said Livermore's Mary Elliott, the Kola training program lead.

“This is about international security. The NNSA has installed these systems to keep those who shouldn't have nuclear materials from obtaining them, but without regulations, procedures and training, the systems won't operate as designed,” Elliott added.

The latest chapter in the four-and-a-half year project working with the Russian Navy came Sept. 30 when Ambassador Linton Brooks, administrator of NNSA, and Russian leaders dedicated a new training center in northern Russia.

Located in Severomorsk, about 400 miles northeast of Moscow on the Barents Sea, the Kola Technical and Training Center will serve as a security training hub for the western third of Russia, including 11 Navy bases and sites.

About 400 Russian Navy security managers, system operators and others are expected to receive training on MPC&A security systems at the Kola center in fiscal year 2006 and at least 600 more annually in future years, Elliott said.

To date, about 30 courses have been developed to address security areas such as console operations, badging, access control, alarm systems, management training, and the design and maintenance of security systems. Ten more courses are due to be developed to complete the project.

Built with U.S. funds, the $9 million Kola Technical and Training Center has almost 30,000 square feet that includes space for offices, classrooms, conference rooms, and maintenance and testing workshop areas.

The Russian government acquired the land, cleared the building site, provided transportation and lodging for the construction workers, and supplied the training instructors.

Construction on the Kola center started in March 2003 and was completed in June 2005, with the Kurchatov Institute serving as the project's construction manager and Russian firms doing the building.

“The Russians are very proud of the center and of the courses that have been developed,” Elliott said. “The center is well built and it is a very appropriate building to serve as a training center.”

The training courses for the MPC&A program, developed by Russian firms with input from U.S. security specialists, have been offered since December 2001 at four interim locations in Russia. Those sites will now be consolidated into the Kola center.

Submitted by DOE's Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory

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