Colton Heaps of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.PE-licensed engineer takes sustainability worldwide

Colton Heaps of DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory is just one of the latest class of Professional Engineers (PEs) at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). And, he’s been around the world, from Alaska to Afghanistan, helping soldiers and indigenous peoples save energy while saving taxpayer dollars.

Nationwide, about 20% of engineers earn their PE license, gained only after several years of work under the eyes of a veteran engineer, studying for hundreds of hours, and passing a series of two grueling eight-hour tests.

"We completely missed the beautiful Colorado fall," recalled NREL's Colton Heaps, of the seven consecutive Saturdays the aspirants for the PE license spent at all-day review courses in preparation for the test.

Full Story


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has played a big role in the development of the imaging optics aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. In honor of SDO's fifth anniversary, NASA has released this video.LLNL finds a place in the sun

This year marks five years in space for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole sun 24 hours a day.

Capturing an image with one arcsecond spatial resolution at 10 different wavelengths once per 10 seconds, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt ever since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010. The imagery allows observers to watch the constant movement of solar material through the sun's atmosphere, the corona.

DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has played a large role in the development of the imaging optics aboard the SDO. Led by Regina Soufli in the Lab's Physics Division, the team, made up of Jeff Robinson, Eberhard Spiller, Sherry Baker and Jay Ayers as well as collaborators from Lawrence Berkeley Lab and other institutions, have been instrumental in the design, development, fabrication and calibration of the multilayer mirrors aboard the SDO imaging telescopes.

Full Story

See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 437  |
  • April 20, 2015
  • Under pressure: What’s causing the shake-up?

    This seismicity map of earthquakes in Oklahoma since 1970 shows activity of at least 3.0 magnitude on the moment magnitude scale with pre-2008 events in blue and post-2008 events in red. (Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey) Until recently, Oklahoma was not known as a hotbed for earthquake activity. Historically, California has been more famous for tremors, but last year Oklahoma surpassed California in seismic activity. What is causing this increase in seismicity? DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory is combining its expertise in geology, computer modeling, and predictive sciences to find answers.

    NETL and Virginia Tech gathered information on seismic activity dating from 1882 to 2014 (website of data compiled available here). Researchers compared this information to data on the locations of hydraulic fracturing sites and waste water injection wells. Their findings disagree with the popular perception that hydraulic fracturing causes earthquakes. The majority of well operations, like fracking, cause no increase in seismic activity, although a relationship does exist between some waste water injection wells and earthquake activity. This correlation indicates the possibility of induced seismicity—or earthquake activity that corresponds to human activity.

    Full Story

  • Goodbye, range anxiety? EVs may be more useful than previously thought

    Berkeley Lab study finds EV batteries have a longer useful life than current standards suggest. In the first study of its kind, scientists at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory quantitatively show that electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed. Many drivers and much prior literature on the retirement of EV batteries have assumed that EV batteries will be retired after the battery has lost 20 percent of its energy storage or power delivery capability. This study shows that the daily travel needs of drivers continue to be met well beyond these levels of battery degradation.

    Samveg Saxena, who leads a vehicle powertrain research program at Berkeley Lab, analyzed real-world driving patterns and found that batteries that have lost 20 percent of their originally rated energy storage capacity can still meet the daily travel needs of more than 85 percent of U.S. drivers. He and his research team also analyzed battery power fade and found that even after substantial loss in battery power capabilities performance requirements are still met.

    Full Story

  • New superconducting magnet achieves high-field milestone

    This accelerator magnet made of niobium-3-tin produced a record field of 11.5 Tesla. A superconducting magnet developed and fabricated at DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory reached its design field of 11.5 Tesla at a temperature nearly as cold as outer space. It is the first successful twin-aperture accelerator magnet made of niobium-3-tin in the world.

    Niobium-3-tin, or Nb3Sn, is brittle and requires high-temperature processing. Scientists only could achieve the latest milestone after decades of worldwide R&D efforts both in the Nb3Sn conductor itself and in associated magnet technologies.

    Superconducting magnets are at the heart of many particle accelerators for fundamental science and have other scientific and technological applications. Thanks to Nb3Sn's stronger superconducting properties, the alloy enables magnets of larger field than any in current particle accelerators.

    Full Story

  • Promising future of quantum dots explored in conference

    Quantum dot LSC devices under ultraviolet illumination. Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico to reflect on two decades of quantum dot research at a special topical conference, “20 Years of Quantum Dots at Los Alamos.” The conference is hosted by the New Mexico Consortium and its program committee includes several past and present members of the Nanotechnology and Advanced Spectroscopy Team (NanoTech team) of the Chemistry Division of DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “This research, which started two decades ago with a handful of fragments of semiconductor-doped colored glasses, has evolved into a wide-ranging program spanning different areas of quantum dot science from synthesis and spectroscopy to theory and devices,” said Victor Klimov, the NanoTech team’s leader and the founder of the Laboratory’s quantum dot program. Klimov gave a special introductory address at the conference with his personal perspective on the field’s evolution.

    Full Story