LLNL engineer Monika Witte is helping underserved students Aim High by offering instruction in STEM as well as the humanities.Lawrence Livermore engineer helps educate underserved youth in California

Monika Witte aims high to improve the lives of disadvantaged students through education.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engineer took six weeks off last year to volunteer at a San Francisco Bay Area summer educational program designed to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income middle school students by offering classroom instruction and academic enrichment activities.

“I wanted to know how the educational system works in underserved communities,” said Witte, who is the deputy division leader of LLNL’s Laser Systems Engineering & Operational Division. “It was a very good experience for me.”

Full Story


NETL’s Energy Data eXchange.NETL’s Energy Data eXchange Connects Researchers to Fossil Energy Resources

The complex challenges associated with fossil energy research require collaborative, cross-disciplinary approaches and quick, efficient access to resources. However, collaboration between multiple organizations, from academia to industry, can be difficult. Multi-organizational teams working jointly on research projects often encounter problems with data sharing due to large file sizes, inappropriate file formats, or other inefficient options that make collaboration difficult. The Energy Data eXchange (EDX) from DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory helps to overcome these challenges by serving as an online system to facilitate internal access to research that crosscuts multiple NETL projects/programs and external access to technical products and data published by NETL research teams.

Full Story

See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 438  |
  • May 4, 2015
  • Packing heat: New fluid makes untapped geothermal energy cleaner

    Enhanced geothermal power. More American homes could be powered by the earth’s natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to tap into otherwise unreachable geothermal hot spots.

    The fluid, developed at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, might be a boon to a new approach to geothermal power called enhanced geothermal systems. These systems pump fluids underground, a step that’s called “reservoir stimulation,” to enable power production where conventional geothermal doesn’t work.

    PNNL’s reservoir stimulation fluid features an environmentally friendly polymer that greatly expands the fluid’s volume. This expansion creates tiny cracks in deep underground rocks to improve power production. As a result, the fluid could substantially reduce the water footprint and cost of enhanced geothermal systems. A paper describing the fluid has been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Green Chemistry.

    Full Story

  • Synthetic muscle rockets to International Space Station

    Lenore Rasmussen examines a titanium coupon used in her synthetic muscle as the metal is treated in an oxygen plasma at PPPL. Lenore Rasmussen's dream of developing a synthetic muscle that could be used to make better prosthetic limbs and more responsive robots became airborne at 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, when her experiment was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station National Laboratory from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

    Rasmussen, a synthetic polymer chemist and founder of Ras Labs, has worked closely with researchers and engineers at DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) to develop the material's ability to adhere to metal. The Synthetic Muscle™ could be used in robotics in deep space travel such as travel to Mars because of its radiation resistance.

    "Based on the good results we had on planet Earth, the next step is to see how it behaves in a space environment," said Charles Gentile, a PPPL engineering and scientific staff member who has worked closely with Rasmussen. "From there the next step might be to use it on a mission to Mars."

    Full Story

  • Neutrons measure high entropy alloys

    From left to right, Peter Liaw from University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Mikhail Feygenson and Louis Santodonato (seated) from ORNL; Yang Zhang from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Joerg Neuefeind from ORNL align a sample in the sample levitator, which was used in their experiment to study high entropy alloys. Just as a delicate balance of ingredients determines the tastiness of a cookie or cake, the specific ratio of metals in an alloy determines desirable qualities of the new metal, such as improved strength or lightness.

    A new class of alloys, called high entropy alloys, is unique in that these alloys contain five or more elements mixed evenly in near equal concentrations and have shown exceptional engineering properties, such as high strength at elevated temperatures. Alloys more typically are made up of two or three metals.

    A team of researchers at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), has found that this class of alloy retains enhanced mechanical properties even when the mixing is uneven or disordered, which opens up new possibilities for future alloy design.

    Full Story

  • Assuring solar modules will last for decades

    Sarah Kurtz leads NREL's participation in the International PV Quality Assurance Task Force to develop standards to help customers quickly assess a PV product's ability to withstand regional stresses and gain confidence that purchased PV products will be of consistent quality. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is co-leading an international push to assure the reliability of solar panels—an assurance demanded by customers, manufacturers, lenders, and utilities.

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems affected by defective or underperforming panels is very low—just 0.1% per year according to new data of 50,000 systems analyzed by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). But in the face of pressure to keep lowering prices, it is essential that quality be maintained and assured, said Sarah Kurtz, a Research Fellow at NREL who manages the lab's PV Module Reliability Test and Evaluation Group.

    The International PV Quality Assurance Task Force (PVQAT) was formed in 2011 to develop standards to help customers quickly assess a PV product's ability to withstand regional stresses and gain confidence that purchased PV products will be of consistent quality. The effort to forge an international consensus is led by NREL in the United States and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

    Full Story