Frontiers in Energy Research: May 2013

May 2013

Engineering Emergent Behavior to Tackle the Third Grand Challenge

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The premiere inventions of the 20th century—such as the internal combustion engine, the light bulb, and the microprocessor—required careful and thorough optimization and assembly of well-designed, small-scale components at multiple stages.

Energy Storage Everywhere

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The wait was over. After a year of preparing and months of anticipation, the Argonne National Laboratory-led team was awarded the coveted Batteries and Energy Storage Hub, funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

Science, Scholarship and Success: An Interview with Peter Green

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A conversation with Peter Green will undoubtedly leave you inspired about the future of energy research. As director of the Department of Energy-funded Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion, Green relies on his extensive science background to help develop innovative solutions to solar and thermal energy conversion technologies.

Research Highlights

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    Designing Displays that Recycle Light

    Kara Manke Only 8 percent of the light from your smart phone or tablet reaches your eyes. Recycling the wasted light into electricity could extend the battery life on these and other devices with liquid crystal displays. The challenge is efficiently capturing that light.
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    Creating the Next Generation of Porous Materials

    Gyu Leem Conventional batteries cannot store solar energy and provide it when needed. New energy storage devices mean new materials with open, uniform and interconnected pores that enhance specific energy storage reactions.
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    Catalyst Design Inspired by Nature

    Tyler Josephson and Ralph L. House In plants, bacteria and other living things, complex molecules known as enzymes increase the speed of life-sustaining reactions, such as photosynthesis. Synthetic catalysts are rarely as efficient, but adding natural features could improve their performance.
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    New Ways of Thinking About Heat Flow

    Dennis M. Callahan The performance of electronic devices, including laptop computers and cell phones, is often degraded because of the inefficient management of heat and energy. Squeezing more efficiency from these devices in the future will include better control of the flow of heat through them.
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    Building and Measuring the Nanoscale

    Ioannis (Yannis) Petousis Nanomaterials behave differently than the same material on a larger scale. Nanomaterial behaviors make them appealing as the nation works to revolutionize solar panels, fuel cells and other technologies. The challenge is making them uniform. To meet this challenge, scientists built a tool to follow the growth of individual grains.
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    Catalytic Sieves: A New Route to Selectivity

    Brandon O'Neill Sifting through a mixture so that only select molecules react is challenging, especially when the mixture involves biofuels. Most catalyst sieves, as such materials are called, are designed with pores that are simply too small.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this newsletter are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views or position of the Department of Energy.