Cold as Ice — Using Titan to Build More Efficient Wind Turbines
Wind energy is one of the world's fast-growing energy sources -- and many of the regions that could benefit from wind energy happen to be in cold climates.
Since 2005, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been researching, developing and testing materials in freezing conditions. By developing more efficient materials for wind turbines, researchers can increase turbine efficiency and reduce potential downtime for wind turbines in cold climates.
The teams use Titan, the world's most powerful supercomputer, to simulate hundreds of water droplets as they freeze, with each droplet containing one million molecules. By simulating and studying how water freezes on a molecular level, scientists are gaining an understanding of how ice forms, which will help them design better, more efficient materials for these colder climates. Pictured here is an illustration of a single water droplet, filled with molecules freezing in slow motion. <a href="https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/2013/10/25/titan-propels-ge-wind-turbine-research-into-new-territory/" target=_blank">Learn more about their research here</a>.
Photo/visualization courtesy of M. Matheson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-01-10 12:15
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The 2014 Washington Auto Show
This week, the latest vehicles technologies are on display at the Washington Auto Show in Washington, D.C. In this photo, Secretary Moniz looks at the fuel cell and motor used to power Hyundai’s Tucson fuel cell vehicle. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to produce electricity, which powers an electric motor to make the vehicle and its accessories work. | Photo by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.
Date taken: 2014-01-23 16:30
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Up in the Air
In this August 2013 photo, Pete Johnson of Gemini Rope Access Solutions rappels down a 3 megawatt Alstom wind turbine, just having finished inspecting the blades above him. The turbine was undergoing testing at NREL's National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado. | Photo courtesy of Dennis Schroeder, NREL.
Date taken: 2014-01-31 10:10
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In this 1972 photo, two scientists worked in improved supplied-air suits, which protected workers from toxic environments and protected controlled atmospheric areas from exposure to human emissions. The suits were developed at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant in Tennessee. | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.
Date taken: 2014-02-06 11:12
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Located in the Mojave Desert, 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is the largest solar thermal energy facility in the world, with 392 MW of capacity – meaning it can produce enough renewable electricity to power nearly 100,000 homes. It uses 173,500 heliostat mirrors spread over approximately 3,500 acres, focusing solar energy on boilers located atop three solar power towers, generating steam to turn a conventional steam turbine. The facility is owned by NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource Energy. The Energy Department provided a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to the project. Pictured here is an aerial perspective of the nearly completed Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, taken in April 2013. | Photo courtesy of Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images for Bechtel.
Date taken: 2014-02-14 12:07
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Photo of the Week: The Forward Calorimeter
On June 6, 2013, researchers at Jefferson Lab completed the construction of the Forward Calorimeter in Hall D. The calorimeter was built to measure the energy of particles as they are created inside the target area and strike against lead glass blocks that make up the calorimeter. Upon striking the calorimeter, the particles will create a shower of light, which will then be digitized and used to measure energy of particles.
In this photo, John Leckey, a postdoctoral researcher from Indiana University, is assembling the Forward Calorimeter in Jefferson Lab’s newest experimental area, Hall D. Leckey helped assemble the calorimeter along with Manuel Lara and Daniel Bennett, postgraduate students from Indiana University. The calorimeter contains 2,800 lead glass blocks.
Photo courtesy of Jefferson National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-02-21 16:11
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Getting a Head Start for Women in STEM
Last week, 79 Chicago area high school students visited the Energy Department's Argonne National Lab for "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day," an educational outreach program designed to give 8th-grade girls an opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
While at the Lab, the girls participated in tours to explore different aspects of the Lab's work -- from learning about the organisms that live in soil to floating small objects in mid-air with an acoustic levitator. In the afternoon, the girls were given a car chassis with a motor and challenged to figure out the types of wheels and pulleys needed to build a battery operated transmission. At an engineering expo, the girls were able to learn about the inner workings of various scientific concepts -- from tornadoes to magnets and beyond. Throughout the day, the girls heard from scientists in a number of fields, including keynote speaker Joanne Manaster, a faculty lecturer in the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In the photo above, two students work with an Argonne National Lab scientist to complete the "Automotive Tycoon" challenge. | Photo courtesy of Mark Lopez, Argonne National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-02-28 14:38
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The Cosmic Frontier
This week on Energy.gov, we’ve covered space and beyond -- from technologies at our National Labs that are working to prevent traffic jams in space, to, to infographics about collecting space-based solar power, to the real-world scientific counterparts to lightsabers. Throughout it all, we've featured experts at the Energy Department and National Labs who are contributing to the U.S. space program.
This photo of the Milky Way Galaxy was taken near the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, about 500 km north of Santiago, Chile. The observatory is home to a four-meter telescope, part of the Dark Energy Survey, which is a research collaboration between institutions from the U.S., Brazil, U.K., Germany, Spain and Switzerland. The survey aims to explore the dynamics of the universe’s expansion.
Photo by Reidar Hahn, Dark Energy Survey, Fermilab.
Date taken: 2014-03-07 16:09
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Pi + NASA + Supercomputing
Happy Pi Day! Today, NASA released this awesome photo of a NASA-themed pie with NASA's Pleiades supercomputer at Moffett Field, near Mountain View, California. Fun fact: in 2011, researchers calculated the sixty-trillionth binary digit of Pi-squared. The work behind the calculation was based on a mathematical formula discovered more than a decade ago by David H. Bailey, the Energy Department's Chief Technologist of the Computational Research Department at Berkeley National Lab. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Date taken: 2014-03-14 16:55
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The CAVE at LANL
Over the past several years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has invested in providing state-of-the-art tools to help scientists understand and explore their data. In this photo, researchers are investigating the details of an astronomical simulation in the CAVE (cave automatic virtual environment) -- a cube-shaped room with high-resolution projections on all six surfaces. Using 3D glasses, these researchers can see objects floating in air, and even walk around the objects, allowing them to observe simulations from all angles. | Photo by LeRoy Sanchez, LANL.
Date taken: 2014-03-20 14:58
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In 1961, chemists at Brookhaven National Laboratory studied how to detect small brain tumors by analyzing the decay of radioactive material injected into the patient's bloodstream and absorbed by the tumor. To help them, BNL's Instrumentation Division built different arrays of detectors, and this circular type proved best. In the 1970s, BNL helped reconstruct the raw data received by the detectors into an image of the working brain. This breakthrough led to more practical devices for imaging areas of the brain: today's Positron Emission Tomography (PET) machines. BNL scientists have used PET technology to study major areas of medical research including drug and alcohol addiction, obesity and eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aging, and neurodegenerative disorders. | Photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-03-26 16:31
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Power Up! Twenty Steps to Zip a Zipper
On Feb. 18, 2014, Argonne hosted its 19th annual regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at the Chicago Children's Museum. This year, the competition called on teams to build a complex machine that took at least 20 steps to zip a zipper. Pictured here are students from Reavis High School of Burbank, Illinois, who defeated nine other teams in the contest with their Super Mario-themed Rube Goldberg machine. By winning Argonne's contest, these students will compete in the National High School Rube Goldberg Machine Championship this weekend, on Saturday, April 5, at Waukesha Country Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. View more photos from the competition here. | Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-04-04 10:30
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Smashing Atoms with 80-ton Magnets
The cyclotron, invented by Ernest Lawrence in the 1930s, is a unique circular particle accelerator, which Lawrence himself referred to as a "proton merry-go-round." In reality, the cyclotron specialized in smashing atoms. Part of this atom-smashing process requires very large, very heavy magnets -- sometimes weighing up to 220 tons. In this photo, workers at the Federal Telegraph facility in Menlo Park, California, are smoothing two castings for 80-ton magnets for use in one of Lawrence's cyclotrons at the University of California, Berkeley. Lawrence passed away in 1958 -- and just 23 days later, the Regents of the University of California voted to rename two of the university's nuclear research sites: Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. | Photo courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-04-11 13:24
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Sequencing the Genome of the Poplar Tree
What do poplar trees have to do with climate change? In addition to their status as a fast-growing candidate for biofuels production, poplar trees play an important role in influencing plant and animal communities in forest ecosystems. By studying the genetic variants in poplar trees, researchers are working to better understand the impacts of climate change -- and working to develop specific strains of poplars for various applications, like biofuel production. In 2006, researchers at the Energy Department’s Joint Genome Institute led the effort to successfully sequence the genome of the poplar tree. They now have identified the candidate genes that will help domesticate poplar for biomass and reduce the cost of biofuel production. | Photo courtesy of the DOE Joint Genome Institute.
Date taken: 2014-04-18 14:45
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For years, scientists have tracked the movements of salmon through rivers in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Now a smaller, more powerful battery will allow them to track even younger, smaller fish over longer distances. Slightly larger than grains of rice, the new batteries power a transmitter small enough to inject into these fish -- rather than surgically implant them. The result is less stressful for the fish and less costly for the researcher. | Photo courtesy of PNNL.
Date taken: 2014-04-25 13:02
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The 2014 National Science Bowl
This weekend, middle and high school students from across the country competed in the 24th annual National Science Bowl. After a series of round robin and double elimination competitions over the weekend, the final teams went head-to-head in the final rounds at the National Building Museum Monday morning. Mira Loma High School from Sacramento, California, won first prize for the high school competition, while the Greater Boston Science and Math Team emerged victorious in the middle school competition. In this photo, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz addresses the students before final competition awards are announced. | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.
Date taken: 2014-05-02 12:00
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What Happens in Vegas...
… Will blow you away. This week, 150 students at 10 universities across the U.S. competed in the Collegiate Wind Competition, which took place at the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference. Over the course of three intense days, the students put their wind turbines through rigorous performance testing, crafted their own business plans and pitched their turbine designs to wind industry leaders.
Date taken: 2014-05-09 14:17
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LBNL Takes Over @Energy's Instagram!
All day today, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is taking over our Instagram account! Jeff Neaton, director of the Molecular Foundry at LBNL, will be posting photos to share what's happening over at Berkeley Lab. So far, he's posted some pretty amazing views of the San Francisco Bay, wildlife around the lab and even a selfie with the attendees of a seminar he's participating in today. Follow Jeff's day on @Energy, and while you're at it, check out @BerkeleyLab's Instagram, too. | Photo courtesy of Jeff Neaton, Berkeley Lab.
Date taken: 2014-05-15 15:16
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Sandia's Centrifuge Test Complex
Sandia National Laboratories are home to the state-of-the-art Centrifuge Test Complex, with both indoor and outdoor centrifuges designed to simulate environments and situations with high inertial forces, like atmospheric reentry and jet aircraft acceleration. This photo shows the 29-foot-radius indoor centrifuge that's housed in an underground, temperature-controlled environment. The centrifuge can accelerate a maximum payload of 16,000 pounds to 100 Gs, or lighter loads to 300 Gs, allowing researchers to develop satellite and rocket components, geotechnical loads and sensing devices, to name a few. Pictured here, Glenn Yarborough inspects the centrifuge arm while Orlando Abeyta (left) and Ed Romero (right) work above. Photo by Randy Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories.
Date taken: 2014-05-20 16:30
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The Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor
The Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR) was the first reactor built in the U.S. for peacetime atomic research following World War II. Over 18 years, an estimated 25,000 scientific experiments were carried out using the neutrons produced in the facility's 700-ton graphite core. In addition to advancing the understanding of atomic nuclei and the structures of solid materials, the BGRR helped produce groundbreaking medical isotopes that are particularly useful in diagnosing and treating cancer and other diseases. In this 1957 photo, a researcher works on the south face of the BGRR. Photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Date taken: 2014-05-30 13:07
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Photo of the Week: We Mustache You a Question
What in the world is happening in this photo?
The person pictured here is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technician, making adjustments to a particle accelerator, part of the Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility (HHIRF) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This photo was taken in January 1987.
HHIRF’s last experimental run was in 1992, but during its decade of operation it set the stage for a wide range of scientific research experiments at Oak Ridge National Lab. By accelerating intense beams of light ions to strike a target, the facility creates short-lived, radioactive nuclei that are used for astrophysics research. Fun fact: The nuclei exist for just about one-billionth of a second. | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.