Tag Archives: energy-efficient

Berkeley Lab Scientists Developing Paint-on Coating for Energy Efficient Windows

Low-cost coating would disrupt the building retrofit market and potentially save billions in electricity.

It’s estimated that 10 percent of all the energy used in buildings in the U.S. can be attributed to window performance, costing building owners about $50 billion annually, yet the high cost of replacing windows or retrofitting them with an energy efficient coating is a major deterrent. U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers are seeking to address this problem with creative chemistry—a polymer heat-reflective coating that can be painted on at one-tenth the cost. (more…)

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New research examines shellfish consumption

A pioneering Cornish research partnership is providing invaluable information to the UK’s shellfish industry by improving understanding of what seafood people choose to eat and why.

University of Exeter Medical School PhD student, Nick Boase, is conducting surveys across the country to shed light on what people understand about shellfish, and uncover reasons why they might shy away from consuming produce grown in the UK. (more…)

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Magnetic topological insulators developed at UCLA are 1,000 times more energy-efficient for switching

Topological insulators are an emerging class of materials that act as both insulators and conductors, and could potentially be used in smartphones, computers and other electronic devices.

A research team at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a new class of topological insulators in which one of two layers is magnetized. The advance could lead to the development of much more energy-efficient big-data processing systems and ultra-low power electronics. (more…)

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Scientists build thinnest-possible LEDs to be stronger, more energy efficient

Most modern electronics, from flat-screen TVs and smartphones to wearable technologies and computer monitors, use tiny light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. These LEDs are based off of semiconductors that emit light with the movement of electrons. As devices get smaller and faster, there is more demand for such semiconductors that are tinier, stronger and more energy efficient.

University of Washington scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The LED is based off of two-dimensional, flexible semiconductors, making it possible to stack or use in much smaller and more diverse applications than current technology allows. (more…)

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A Micro-Muscular Break Through

Berkeley Lab Researchers Make a Powerful New Microscale Torsional Muscle/Motor from Vanadium Dioxide

Vanadium dioxide is poised to join the pantheon of superstars in the materials world. Already prized for its extraordinary ability to change size, shape and physical identity, vanadium dioxide can now add muscle power to its attributes. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has demonstrated a micro-sized robotic torsional muscle/motor made from vanadium dioxide that for its size is a thousand times more powerful than a human muscle, able to catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over a distance five times its length within 60 milliseconds –  faster than the blink of an eye. (more…)

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The 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe: Brown/RISD/Erfurt team designs Techstyle Haus

Students at Brown, RISD, and the University of Erfurt are tackling a great challenge: Build a house that uses 90 percent less energy than a typical house, make it liveable, flexible, durable, and lightweight enough to be shipped from Providence to France — and design it better than 19 other top teams from around the world. That’s the Solar Decathlon. The Brown-RISD-Erfurt team calls its entry the “Techstyle Haus.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — For two weeks next July, the grounds of France’s Palace of Versailles will be transformed into a solar-powered village, showcasing sustainable homes built by college students from around the world. Among them will be a house like no other, with a roof and walls made not of wood or metal, but almost entirely of durable, highly insulated textiles. (more…)

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Engineers Improve Recycling System in Hydraulic Fracturing to Save Water and Energy

AUSTIN, Texas — Chemical engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed high-efficiency, durable filters to improve mobile water recycling systems used in hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking. The filters may significantly reduce the amount of water and energy that fracking requires.

Professor Benny Freeman and his research team in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering completed a study that shows their membrane-based filtration system improves the efficiency of treating and safely reusing water used for fracking at drill sites. The study shows that the team’s filter can produce up to 50 percent more water for reuse compared with other filtration systems, greatly reducing demand for fresh water. In addition to producing a higher volume of purified water, the new filter system also operates at lower pressure than traditional systems, meaning significant energy savings. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Membrane Science. (more…)

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Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance

Berkeley Lab scientists surprised to find significant adverse effects of CO2 on human decision-making performance.

Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that moderately high indoor concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can significantly impair people’s decision-making performance. The results were unexpected and may have particular implications for schools and other spaces with high occupant density.

“In our field we have always had a dogma that CO2 itself, at the levels we find in buildings, is just not important and doesn’t have any direct impacts on people,” said Berkeley Lab scientist William Fisk, a co-author of the study, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives online last month. “So these results, which were quite unambiguous, were surprising.” The study was conducted with researchers from State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. (more…)

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