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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Technology Marketing Summaries

Here you’ll find marketing summaries for technologies available for licensing from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL). The summaries provide descriptions of the technologies including their benefits, applications and industries, and development stage.

107 Technology Marketing Summaries
CategoryTitle and AbstractLaboratoriesDate
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Clean Anodic Lithium Films for Longer Life, Rechargeable Lithium Ion Batteries

Researchers led by Berkeley Lab’s Nitash Balsara have developed an electrolytic refining technology by which polymer electrolytes are used to prepare clean anodic lithium films for use in safe, stable lithium ion batteries with high energy densities and good cycle life.

04/25/2016
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Overcharge Protection Prevents Exploding Lithium Ion Batteries

Berkeley Lab scientists Guoying Chen and Thomas J. Richardson have invented a new type of separator membrane that prevents dangerous overcharge and overdischarge conditions in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, i.e., exploding lithium ion batteries. This low cost separator, with electroactive polymers incorporated into a porous fiber membrane, provides electronic insulation and high ionic conduction during normal cell operation, enabling high charge and discharge rates for high... read more

01/26/2016
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Using SiO Anodes for High Capacity, High Rate Electrodes for Lithium Ion Batteries

Berkeley Lab developed an elegant and inexpensive fabrication method for high performance electrodes with unmatched specific / areal capacities and good capacity retention for application in lithium ion batteries.

01/13/2016
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Highly Efficient Multigap Solar Cell Materials

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have invented multiband gap semiconducting materials for developing solar cells that could achieve power conversion efficiencies of 50 percent or higher.

07/15/2015
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Membranes Optimized for High Conductivity and Low Crossover of Redox Flow Cells 2015-033

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have determined that membrane properties have a significant impact on the performance and efficiency of the bromine-hydrogen (Br2-H2) redox flow cell, a device that shows promise for high power, low cost energy storage. Specifically, the researchers identified a tradeoff between conductivity and crossover, where conductivity limits system efficiency at high current density and crossover limits efficiency at low current density.

05/19/2015
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High Performance Silicon Monoxide (SiO) Electrode for Next Generation Lithium Ion Batteries

Berkeley Lab’s High Performance Silicon Monoxide Electrode has a capacity retention of more than 90% after ~500 cycles, which translates into a ~20% improvement over the limited energy density of conventional graphite anode-based lithium-ion batteries, enabling next-generation mobile electronics and electric/plug-in vehicles.

02/27/2015
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Electrically Integrated Graphene on Silicon Nitride Liquid Flow Cells for High Resolution TEM

A Berkeley Lab research team led by Paul Alivisatos and Alex Zettl has developed liquid flow cells providing unprecedented resolution and contrast in continuous flow Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The cells can be used in sustained liquid flow and electric contact, facilitating the study and understanding of electrochemical processes at an atomic scale with diminished damage and alteration to samples. The fabrication method of the reusable cells guarantees little to no assembly on... read more

02/25/2015
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Dark Colored Cool Pigments for Materials Exposed to the Sun

For the building and automobile industries in need of dark-colored products that can stay cool in the sun, this technology uses fluorescent materials that re-radiate absorbed light rather than converting it all to heat. The Berkeley Lab invention promises a solar reflectance over 0.5 in dark colors — a significant improvement over commercially available products. 

01/21/2015
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Stick-on Electricity Meter

Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a sensor mounted by adhesive to the external face of a circuit breaker that replaces current and voltage sensors installed in circuit breaker panels to provide building submetering. The Stick-on Electricity Meter (SEM) generates current and voltage signals at a set sample rate to enable computation of real and apparent power and to capture harmonics created by non-linear loads. It uses low-voltage cabling and requires no conduit or special enclosures.

12/16/2014
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Aluminum-doped Zinc Oxide Nanoink

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a method for fabricating conductive aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) nanocrystals that provide a lower cost, less toxic, earth-abundant alternative to the widely used transparent conductive oxide (TCO) indium tin oxide while offering comparable optical and electronic properties. TCOs are used in devices such as flat screen displays, photovoltaic cells, photochromic windows, chemical sensors, and biosensors.

08/15/2014
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Enhanced Production of Biofuel Precursors in Microalgae

A research team at Berkeley Lab has uncovered important transcription factors (TFs) that can be manipulated to lead to overproduction of lipids in oil-rich microalgae. The gene and targeted genetic engineering approach also uncouples lipid accumulation from the yield-limiting nutrient starvation schemes that are currently used in algal lipid production, representing a major milestone on the path to making algal biofuels commercially viable.

08/12/2014
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Fully Integrated Nanosystem for Artificial Photosynthesis

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed an artificial photosynthesis system that can achieve a solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency of 0.12%, which is comparable to that of natural photosynthesis, under simulated sunlight.

08/12/2014
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Simergy: Practitioner-Oriented Graphical User Interface for EnergyPlus

Simergy is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the DOE building energy simulation program EnergyPlus for modeling building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation and other energy flows. 

08/11/2014
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Longer Life Lithium Ion Batteries with Silicon Anodes

Researchers have developed a new technology to advance the life of lithium-ion batteries. A catechol-based polymer binder, developed at Berkeley Lab, interacting with the oxide layer on the surface of commercial silicon (Si), generates powerful adhesion strength and maintains electrode integrity during the drastic volume changes experienced in lithiation and delithiation. The result is a better binding property and longer electrode life in lithium-ion batteries.

08/04/2014
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Tunable Catalysts

For automobile manufacturers using expensive noble metals to make vehicle catalytic converters, often with limited lifetimes, Berkeley Lab Tunable Catalysts, made with affordable metals, utilize graphene to electrically tune the converting rate efficacy and efficiency of catalysts. 

06/17/2014
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Hollow Nanoreactors

Paul Alivisatos and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have developed a new one-pot method for creating hollow nanocrystals.  The geometrically novel particles can be used for highly controlled catalysis and drug delivery, as well as optics, energy storage, and other nanoelectronic and advanced materials applications.  Using this scalable and inexpensive chemical process, the inventors have also succeeded in generating nanoreactors ­– hollow nanocrystals with a catalyst fixed... read more

06/06/2014
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Nonflammable, Controlled Delivery of Performance-improving SLMP® Particles to Lithium Ion Battery Electrodes

Berkeley Lab researchers led by Gao Liu have developed a lithium ion battery fabrication technology that will deliver stabilized lithium metal powder (SLMP®) to the surface of electrodes without using highly volatile and flammable solvents.

05/28/2014
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ShaCS: Shaped-Charge Stimulation for Low-Permeability Oil and Gas Reservoirs

George Moridis of Berkeley Lab has proposed a technology that uses the most advanced developments in shaped charges and controlled explosions to stimulate well production. The Shaped-Charge Stimulation (ShaCS) technology can replace conventional hydraulic fracturing technologies, currently the main well stimulation technique for low- and ultra-low oil and gas reservoirs.

05/22/2014
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Reliable, High Performance Transistors on Flexible Substrates

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have produced uniform, high performance transistors on mechanically flexible, stretchable substrates by solution processing semiconductor-enriched single wall carbon nanotube (SWNT) networks.

03/28/2014
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Membrane-Electrode Structures for Low Cost Molecular Catalysts in Fuel Cells and Other Electrochemical Devices

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers has developed a technology to coat electrode surfaces with a homogeneous catalyst that has been immobilized within a polymer layer. The team demonstrated that a 3-D distributed array of nonplatinum catalysts can function well within the electrode layer of a membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) and showed that the method is practical for mounting homogeneous catalysts in scaled-up devices. By providing multiple layers of catalyst in a 3-D array, higher reaction... read more

03/04/2014
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Novel Electrolyte Enables Stable Graphite Anodes in Lithium Ion Batteries

Berkeley Lab researchers led by Gao Liu have developed an improved lithium ion battery electrolyte containing a solvent that remains liquid at typical operating temperatures but, unlike similar additives, will not degrade graphite anodes.

01/11/2014
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Direct Thin Film Path to Low Cost, Large Area III-V Photovoltaics

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers has invented the first vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth technology yielding III-V photovoltaics. The photovoltaics achieve 25% power conversion efficiency at a cost significantly lower than current approaches due to the non-epitaxial processing approach and high material utilization rate.

01/11/2014
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Folium - Biofuels from Tobacco

FOLIUM is a research project aimed at producing high-density liquid fuels in the green biomass of tobacco. By introducing genetic material from microorganisms and other plants, tobacco can synthesize hydrocarbon fuels in its leaves and stems. Also, tobacco can be engineered to increase efficiency of CO2 uptake and solar energy capture. Coupled with improvements in agricultural practices, these approaches will increase the yield of fuel production in tobacco.  

12/20/2013
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Electrostatic Graphene Loudspeaker

Alex Zettl and Qin Zhou of Berkeley Lab have developed a miniaturized graphene-based electrostatic audio transducer. The speaker / earphone is straightforward in design and operation and has excellent frequency response across the entire audio frequency range (20 Hz - 20k Hz) with performance matching or surpassing commercially available audio earphones. Details of this technology are available in the researchers' publication and other articles listed below.

12/20/2013
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Vanadium Dioxide Microactuators

Berkeley Lab researchers Junqiao Wu, Kai Liu, and Kevin Wang have developed a powerful new microscale actuator that simultaneously achieves high amplitude, high work output, and high speed in both air and water. In fact, this technology is the first to exceed performance limits in amplitude, force, and speed of standard microactuators and piezoelectric devices.

12/19/2013
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Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have demonstrated that the piezoelectric and liquid-crystalline properties of a modified virus, such as a recombinant M13 bacteriophage (phage), can be used to generate electrical energy. Using piezoresponse force microscopy, they characterized the structure-dependent piezoelectric properties of the phage at the molecular level and then showed that self-assembled thin films of phage can exhibit piezoelectric strengths of up to 7.8 pm V−1. They also... read more

12/18/2013
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Simplified Electrode Formation using Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder (SLMP®) Doping of Lithium Ion Battery Electrodes

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers led by Gao Liu has developed a doping process for lithium ion battery electrode formation that can boost a cell’s charge capacity and lower its cost while improving reliability and safety.

12/03/2013
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Lithium / Sulfur Cells with Long Cycle Life and High Specific Energy

A team of Berkeley Lab battery researchers led by Elton Cairns has invented an advanced lithium/sulfur (Li/S) cell that, for the first time, offers both long cycle life and a high discharge rate in addition to the inherently low cost and light weight of Li/S batteries.

11/16/2013
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Indium Phosphide Polycrystalline Films on Metal Foil for PV Applications

Berkeley Lab researcher Maxwell Zheng and colleagues have developed technologies for economic, high volume production of high optical quality polycrystalline indium phosphide (InP), with optical properties nearly identical to those of InP on single-crystal wafers, on low cost metallic substrates. The technologies reduce costs at both the growth stage and in downstream processing.

10/24/2013
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Directing Biomolecules to Intracellular Microcompartments and Scaffolds

Cheryl Kerfeld and James Kinney at Berkeley Lab have identified peptide targeting signals that can direct selected enzymes, metabolites, and other macromolecules to microcompartments or scaffolds used to engineer reactions in cells and non-cellular systems.

To achieve methods of inserting microcompartments into cells and nonliving vesicles to engineer desirable reactions, a targeting signal can be required to bring the enzymes and necessary reaction components to the microcompartment or... read more

10/21/2013
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Energy Crops Engineered for Increased Sugar Extraction through Inhibition of snl6 Expression

Pamela Ronald and a team of researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered plants with inhibited expression of snl6, a cinnamoyl-CoA reductase-like (CCR-like) gene. As a result, the JBEI plants have reduced lignin or phenolic compounds compared to wild type plants and yield an increase of up to 10 percent of sugar extracted. The JBEI technology can be applied to a wide range of plants including rice, miscanthus, switchgrass, sugarcane, sugar beet, sorghum and corn, among... read more

10/21/2013
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Surface-Modified Active Materials for Lithium Ion Battery Electrodes

Berkeley Lab researcher Gao Liu has developed a new fabrication technique for lithium ion battery electrodes that lowers binder cost without sacrificing performance and reliability.

09/26/2013
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Low Temperature Sodium-Sulfur Grid Storage and EV Battery

Berkeley Lab researcher Gao Liu has developed an innovative design for a battery, made primarily of sodium and sulfur, that holds promise for both large-scale grid storage systems and for consumer products such as residential photovoltaic systems. The cathode is made of sulfur and a conductive polymer, while the solid electrolyte — based on cross-linked polyethylene oxide — forms a stable but ion-conducting barrier separating the liquid sodium anode.

09/26/2013
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Self-powered Gating and Other Improvements for Screening-engineered Field-effect Photovoltaics

 

IB-3094

Berkeley Lab scientists Alex Zettl and William Regan have developed a straightforward technology that enables fabrication of high efficiency, single junction photovoltaic (PV) cells from inexpensive, abundant, and nontoxic materials—notably metal oxides and sulfides. Berkeley Lab’s field-effect p-n junction lowers manufacturing costs and increases the efficiencies of PV cells and other electronic devices without the need for costly chemical doping... read more

05/21/2013
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Sulfur-Graphene Oxide Nanocomposite Cathodes for Lithium/Sulfur Cells

A Berkeley Lab team headed by Yuegang Zhang and Elton Cairns has developed a method to fabricate battery cathodes from nanoscale flakes of graphene oxide and sulfur. This innovation solves at once two design problems that have impeded efforts to make commercially viable lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries: 1) sulfur is a natural insulator, and designers must find ways to overcome its resistance; 2) Li-S batteries are notoriously short-lived because sulfur that dissolves in the electrolyte can... read more

04/30/2013
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Water Based Process for Fabricating Thermoelectric Materials

Berkeley Lab scientists Rachel Segalman, Jeffrey Urban and Kevin See have invented a water based process to make thermoelectric films. The resulting composite film displays both the high thermovoltage expected of nanocrystals and the high electrical conductivity of polymers—a beneficial pairing of traits. These traits can counteract in conventional thermoelectric materials to limit a thermoelectric device’s efficiency and economic utility.

04/30/2013
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Organic Flash Cycles for Intermediate and High Temperature Waste Reclamation

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a highly efficient technology for the reclamation of waste heat in mechanical heat engines widely used in solar-thermal, geothermal, and industrial processes. This new approach yields gains in efficiencies for both high temperature and intermediate temperature thermal sources, marking a significant advance over strategies that focus predominately on high temperature efficiency solutions.

04/30/2013
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Multiple Layer Graphene Optical Modulator

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a tiny optical modulator based on graphene, potentially leading to significantly improved data transmission speeds in digital communications. The extremely strong interaction between light and relativistic electrons in graphene, a single sheet of carbon atoms, allows the integration of an optical modulator within an ultra-small footprint while operating at a high speed with broad bandwidth under ambient conditions.

 

01/30/2013
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Superhydrophilic Nanostructure for Antifogging Glass
Samuel Mao and a team of scientists at Berkeley Lab have created superhydrophilic nanostructures that can be used as a stable antifogging agent when applied to glass. The Berkeley Lab invention does not require UV irradiation and is nontoxic.
07/17/2012
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Multilayer Graphene-Silicon Structures for Lithium Ion Battery Anodes

 A team of Berkeley Lab researchers led by Yuegang Zhang and Liwen Ji has taken a major step toward an improved lithium ion battery with the development of anodes coated with vanishingly thin, alternating layers of graphene and silicon. Tests have shown that Berkeley Lab’s graphene-silicon layers create anodes with a much higher charge capacity than those made of graphite. In addition, the multilayer nanostructure of this easy-to-fabricate design resists the rapid degradation that... read more

01/21/2012
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Lower Cost, Nanoporous Block Copolymer Battery Separator

Although the polyolefin polymer material often used for lithium battery separators costs approximately $1.30/kg, the difficult process used to make it porous, to allow the flow of ions and electrons, raises its cost by two-orders of magnitude, to $120–$240/kg. A Berkeley Lab team led by Nitash Balsara has developed an inexpensive and easily controlled process yielding a nanoporous polymer separator that performs just as well as those made by conventional means.

01/21/2012
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Block Copolymer Cathode Binder to Simultaneously Transport Electronic Charge and Ions

A Berkeley Lab team led by Nitash Balsara has developed a highly efficient lithium ion battery in which a single inactive material—a polymeric binding agent—serves as a binder that holds active cathode materials together and as a two-lane conductor that simultaneously carries lithium ions and electronic charge.

01/21/2012
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Carbon Nanofiber Supercapacitor
Berkeley Lab scientist Yuegang Zhang and colleagues have invented an efficient method of fabricating carbon nanofiber supercapacitors using a nickel foam substrate. This technology eases the way for scaled-up production of versatile charge storage devices with a small form factor and high power-to-size ratio.
09/16/2011
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Carbon Dioxide Capture at a Reduced Cost

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a method that reduces the expense of capturing carbon dioxide generated by the combustion of fossil fuels. This technology would allow power plants and the chemical and cement industries to better sequester carbon dioxide and reduce the associated expenses passed on to consumers. The method uses novel promoters that kinetically favor the reactions for CO2 absorption and solvent regeneration.


09/15/2011
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Carbon Nanotube Field Emission Devices

Novel field emission sources using carbon nanotubes have been developed by Berkeley Lab researchers Alex Zettl and Marvin Cohen. The Berkeley Lab technology overcomes problems currently associated with field emission devices (FEDs).

08/22/2011
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Efflux Pumps to Increase Microbial Tolerance and Biofuel Production

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Jay Keasling, and Mary Dunlop at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a method for providing industrial host microbes with resistance to valuable but potentially toxic molecules, such as solvents and fuel-like compounds. Providing such tolerance is a crucial step in engineering organisms to produce desirable substances. The scientists used efflux pumps to confer resistance on E. coli and developed a library of the most effective pumps for protection... read more

08/22/2011
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Advanced Lithium Ion Battery Technologies
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have invented highly conductive polymer binder materials that significantly improve the viability of using silicon as an electrode material in lithium ion batteries. They have also combined lithium metal with the Berkeley Lab conductive binder, plus other materials, to create a hybrid electrode system for use in lithium ion batteries.
07/26/2011
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TOUGH +: Modeling Fluid and Heat Flow in Porous and Fractured Ground
TOUGH+ is a general-purpose numerical simulation program for modeling multiphase fluid and heat flow through porous and fractured media. It is the successor to the TOUGH2 suite of codes developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Various modules can be linked to the core of TOUGH+ to describe different fluids and their compositions, or to simulate more complex, coupled processes.
06/03/2011
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Accurate Identification, Imaging and Monitoring of Fluid-Saturated Underground Reservoirs
Use of seismic low frequencies has strong potential for prognoses of fluid content and mapping of productive highly permeable zones of reservoirs. The low-frequency effects are especially important when no noticeable fluid signature is found in the high-frequency domain of seismic reflections from the oil-saturated reservoirs. Frequency-dependent seismic imaging allows the characterization of the subsurface fluid reservoirs in situations where other approaches fail.

To date, the low... read more
01/25/2011
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Gas Exploration Software for Reducing Uncertainty in Gas Concentration Estimates
Estimating reservoir parameters for gas exploration from geophysical data is subject to a large degree of uncertainty. Seismic imaging techniques, such as seismic amplitude versus angle (AVA) analysis, can provide good information about the physical location and porosity of potential gas-bearing sands but cannot discriminate between economical and uneconomical gas concentrations. Using seismic AVA data alone, even with high resolution, it is difficult to distinguish high or low gas... read more
01/25/2011
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EMGeo: Risk Minimizing Software for Finding Offshore Fossil Fuels by Fluid Identification
Berkeley Lab researchers Greg Newman and Michael Commer have developed advanced software for discovering and mapping offshore fossil fuel deposits. When combined with established seismic methods, this software makes possible direct imaging of reservoir fluids.
01/21/2011
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Carbon Nanohoops: Molecular Templates for Precision Nanotube Synthesis
Ramesh Jasti and Carolyn Bertozzi of Berkeley Lab have developed a technique to build carbon-ring “nanohoops,” molecular building blocks for the formation of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanohoops might serve as seeds, or templates, for the efficient and large-scale synthesis of nanotubes of exceptional precision and uniformity. Nanohoops are cycloparaphenylenes, carbon-ring structures that are the smallest sub-units of “armchair” nanotubes, which have unique electrical and... read more
01/21/2011
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Tunable Graphene Electronic Devices
Alex Zettl and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have induced a two-dimensional superconducting order on a graphene sheet and tuned its material properties—transition temperature, critical field, and critical current—via an electrostatic gate. The technology enables the properties of diverse electronic devices to be controlled by the simple addition of dopants (or coatings) combined with the application of an electric field via external circuitry. In addition to control, properties of... read more
01/21/2011
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Custom Engineered Microcompartments for Enzyme Efficiency
Cheryl Kerfeld and Dominique Loque at Berkeley Lab have developed a technology that can be used to introduce new or enhanced metabolic pathways to bacteria, yeast, algae, and plant and animal cells for the purpose of providing additional functions for biofuel production, CO2 sequestration, fixation, etc. The technology involves colocalizing metabolic enzymes within microcompartments in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and in cell-free non-living systems such as vesicles.
01/21/2011
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Lead-free Thin Film Piezoelectric Devices
In a breakthrough discovery, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Robert Zeches, and their research team at Berkeley Lab have developed a technology for lead-free piezoelectric materials using thin-film bismuth ferrite. In addition to being less hazardous to human health and the environment, the Berkeley Lab invention offers an order of magnitude more efficient performance, for all applications, than conventional lead-based piezoelectric materials. The invention can be used to fabricate rewritable data storage... read more
01/21/2011
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Novel Tube-in-Tube System Simplifies Subsurface Fluid Sampling
Barry Freifeld of Berkeley Lab has developed a device that simplifies subsurface fluid sampling. The technology’s tube-within-a-tube construction is a substantial improvement to the U-tube sampling system widely used for borehole sampling today. Using only one line, instead of two, the tube-in-tube system enables the sampling device to get lowered easily through a pressure control device (such as a grease head or pack-off) for discrete level sampling of live oil and gas wells.... read more
01/21/2011
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First Diode for Thermal Management of Micro and Macro Devices
Alex Zettl, Arun Majumdar and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have invented the first solid state thermal rectifier. The device consists of a boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) loaded at one end with a high mass density material - specifically, trimethyl cyclopentadienyl platinum (C9H16Pt). The researchers achieved thermal rectifications as high as 7 percent at room temperature. Mass loaded carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were found to display thermal rectification of 2 percent.
12/27/2010
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Wiki-based Techno Economic Analysis of a Lignocellulosic Biorefinery

JBEI has developed a model for a lignocellulosic biorefinery and posted it on an open wiki, making it the first open and widely accessible tool of its kind. The model can be used to estimate the economic impact of various aspects of lignocellulosic biorefinery processing technology. The model can be used to calculate the economic, environmental, and energetic performance of the corn stover-to-ethanol process, and allows users to model the scenarios that are of most interest to them. For... read more

09/17/2010
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Non-Cross-Linked Gel Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries
Berkeley Lab scientists have invented nanostructured gel polymer electrolytes for lithium ion batteries. The electrolytes have high ionic conductivity, high mechanical strength, and they can be easily and affordably processed for lithium ion batteries.
08/20/2010
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High Performance OLEDs with Air-stable Nanostructured Electrodes
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have modified the cathode-organic layer of an OLED device to significantly enhance electron injection efficiency and reduce the sensitivity of the cathode to environmental degradation by water and oxygen. Two approaches are used:
1. An ordered arrangement of nanostructures (top-down processing) or
2. A nanomaterial interfacial layer (bottom-up processing).
07/28/2010
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High Power Performance Lithium Ion Battery
Gao Liu and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have increased the power performance of lithium ion batteries by over 20 percent by optimizing the ratio of polymer binder to conductive additive (acetylene black) in the cathode. The new electrode compositions also significantly improve mechanical resilience and promise longer cycling lifetimes.
07/28/2010
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Water-retaining Polymer Membranes for Fuel Cell Applications
While polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells offer promising power alternatives, the performance of current state-of-the-art PEMs is hindered by water loss when operating at temperatures greater than 60°C, and under low humidity (relative humidity of about 50%). This is a disadvantage, because proton conductivity, which is essential for a functioning fuel cell, is directly related to the ability of the PEM to retain water. Although low temperatures and high humidity are the ideal... read more
07/28/2010
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Fail-Safe, Inexpensive Electrochemical Device Stack Design
Craig Jacobson, Steven Visco, and Lutgard DeJonghe have invented a robust and low cost electrochemical device stack system based on a modified segmented-cell-in-series design. In this invention a number of small cylindrical cell segments are in contact with a planar metallic interconnect sheet that electrically connects one cell segment to the one above and/or below it as well as to the cell segments on the same interconnect sheet. This system allows one or more cells to malfunction without... read more
07/28/2010
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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technologies: Improved Electrode-Electrode Structures for Solid State Electrochemical Devices
Berkeley Lab researchers Lutgard DeJonghe, Steven Visco, and Craig Jacobson have focused their attention on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and related technologies. Fuel cells "burn" hydrogen or hydrocarbons to produce electricity. They are highly fuel-efficient and almost non-polluting, making them an attractive alternative for energy generation. Some solid oxide fuel cells burn hydrocarbons by first converting them to hydrogen, while others burn them directly. The latter are the... read more
07/28/2010
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Low Cost Fabrication of Thin-Film Ceramic Membranes for Nonshrinking Substrates
Certain fuel cell manufacturing specifications require deposition of a thin ceramic membrane onto a substrate that doesn't shrink over it's lifetime. Pre-firing the substrate improves substrate reliability and may lower its cost. This requires a film that has minimal volume change during drying and sintering.
07/28/2010
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Metal Current Collector Protected by Oxide Film
Steven Visco, Craig Jacobson, and Lutgard DeJonghe have designed a cost-efficient, structurally sound technology for current collection and cell-to-cell interconnection of high temperature (>600 C) planar electrochemical devices. Current collection is normally achieved using expensive metal oxides or metals such as platinum or nickel.
07/28/2010
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Surface Additives for Enhanced Electrode Performance
Berkeley Lab researchers Lutgard DeJonghe, Steven Visco, and Craig Jacobson have focused their attention on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and related technologies. Fuel cells "burn" hydrogen or hydrocarbons to produce electricity. They are highly fuel-efficient and almost non-polluting, making them an attractive alternative for energy generation. Some solid oxide fuel cells burn hydrocarbons by first converting them to hydrogen, while others burn them directly. The latter are the... read more
07/28/2010
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Hot Electron Photovoltaics Using Low Cost Materials and Simple Cell Design
"Third-generation" PV technologies are being actively pursued in academic research labs. These include nano-optics, multi-junction architectures, multi-exciton, plasmonics, and lower cost tandem cells. The goal is a module cost of less than $0.60/watt. Many of these technologies are in exploratory or early research stages but still can be evaluated according to their material requirements, processing complexity, and potential scalability. For example, concepts that utilize... read more
07/28/2010
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Bore II - Advanced Wellbore Technology Characterizes Groundwater Flow and Contamination
Bore II, co-developed by Berkeley Lab researchers Frank Hale, Chin-Fu Tsang, and Christine Doughty, provides vital information for solving water quality and supply problems and for improving remediation of contaminated sites. Termed "hydrophysical logging," this technology is based on a new concept for measuring fluid flow that enables characterization of groundwater problems more quickly, more cost effectively, and with higher resolution than ever before.
07/28/2010
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Braze for Robust Seals with Ceramic
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a composite braze material that can be used to manufacture strong, gas-tight joints where one of the joining members is ceramic – typically yttrium stabilized zirconium (YSZ). The braze composition can be controlled to reduce the stress due to mismatched thermal expansion between the ceramic and the braze. Joints made using the new braze were failure-free after rapid thermal cycling up to 700°C.
07/28/2010
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Durable Joining of Dissimilar Materials
One barrier to solid oxide fuel cell manufacturing is forming robust joints between materials that don’t chemically bond with each other and/or differ greatly in form or particle size, such as metals and ceramics. Berkeley Lab scientists solve this problem by decorating the surface of the more ductile material with particles of the less ductile material via milling and then sinter-bonding this composite to the less ductile materials and/or another material that will sinter with either of... read more
07/28/2010
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Robust, Multifunctional Joint for Large Scale Power Production Stacks
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a multifunctional joint for metal supported, tubular SOFCs that divides various joint functions so that materials and methods optimizing each function can be chosen without sacrificing space. The functions of the joint include joining neighboring fuel cells in series, sealing cells so that distinct atmospheres don’t interact, providing electrical connections between neighboring cells, and insulating electrodes in the same cell.
07/28/2010
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High Conductivity Single-ion Cross-linked Polymers for Lithium Batteries and Fuel Cells
John Kerr and co-workers at Berkeley Lab have developed single-ion cross-linked comb-branched polymer electrolytes with high conductivity for use as membranes in lithium batteries, fuel cells, and electrochromic windows. Solid polymer electrolyte separators are used in lithium batteries instead of common organic solvents because (1) they are non-volatile, (2) they inhibit the growth of dendrites, the tiny metallic snowflake structures in lithium metal electrodes that lead to battery failure,... read more
07/28/2010
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Graphitized Conductive Carbon Coatings for Composite Electrodes
Robert Kostecki and Marek Marcinek of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a method to improve the performance and operational life of composite electrodes by direct deposition of a continuous, uniform film of graphitic carbon coating on the active materials.
07/28/2010
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Tunable Thermal Link
Thermal links are incorporated into everything from frying pans to internal combustion engine spark plugs and heat sinks on integrated circuit boards. Typically, the link’s thermal resistance is fixed and cannot be tuned after manufacture. While the ability to tune electrical resistors is widespread, virtually no tunable thermal resistance link exists, which has held back the development of thermal systems.
07/28/2010
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Ultraclean Low Swirl Combustion
Burners are used in industry for a wide range of applications including water heaters, power generators, oilers, and HVAC systems. Parallel consumer applications include gas-fired home water heaters, heating systems, and clothes dryers. Natural gas is more efficient and less expensive than electricity and is the current and future fuel of choice. However, conventional gas burners emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) creating ozone in the lower atmosphere due to incomplete fuel combustion and high... read more
07/28/2010
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Low Cost, Stable Switchable Mirrors: Lithium Ion Mirrors with Improved Stability
Switchable mirrors are a new generation of electrochromic windows that can alternate between a reflecting state and a transparent or absorbing state when a small voltage is applied. These energy saving devices have advantages over traditional absorbing electrochromics for radiant energy control because of their large dynamic range in both transmission and reflection for visible light and infrared radiation.
07/28/2010
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Lean Flame Stabilization Ring
Robert Cheng at Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a means for retrofitting existing burners to burn lean, premixed natural gas/air mixtures to reduce NOx emissions without sacrificing efficiency and burner design simplicity.
07/28/2010
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EnergyPlus: Energy Simulation Software for Buildings
EnergyPlus is a building energy simulation program for modeling building heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows. While it is based on the most popular features and capabilities of BLAST and DOE-2, it includes many innovative simulation capabilities such as time steps of less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, and photovoltaic systems.
06/24/2010
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Energy Efficient Laboratory Fume Hood
Fume hoods, used to protect the user from breathing harmful chemical vapors, consume large amounts of energy, estimated to be 1GW in California alone. This power load comes from the fan power need to move air out the hood, and to condition make-up air.
06/24/2010
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Energy Efficient Condensing Side-arm Gas Water Heater
James Lutz of Berkeley Lab has invented a gas water heater that promises to be up to thirty percent more efficient than conventional gas water heaters.
06/24/2010
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Novel Electrochromic Device Controlled by Sunlight
Frank McLarnon and Robert Kostecki at Berkeley Lab have designed a two-component electrode, fabricated with titanium and nickel oxides, reacts to both light and electricity.
06/24/2010
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Clog-free Atomizing and Spray Drying Nozzle
Duo Wang and Mark Modera have designed an atomizing nozzle that eliminates clogging. The Berkeley Lab nozzle uses the high velocity gas efflux to create a layer of ambient temperature air around the tube containing the liquid to be atomized. This feature minimizes heat transfer from the gas to the liquid, thus eliminating premature drying. Several other design features also help to eliminate clogs.
06/24/2010
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Aerosol Remote Sealing System
Mark Modera and Francois Remi Carrie from Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a rapid, economical technique to seal duct and other enclosed systems by means of an internally injected aerosol.
06/24/2010
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Recovery of Sugars by Solvent Extraction
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to extract 5C and 6C sugars directly at two points in an ionic liquid biomass pretreatment process and deliver a concentrated solution of fermentable sugars. The process minimizes toxic byproducts and facilitates ionic liquid reuse.
06/24/2010
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Novel Thermophilic Cellobiohydrolase
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a hyperthermophilic cellobiohydrolase protein (CBH) to break down cellulose into cellobiose at high temperatures. The JBEI CBH can be used in concert with JBEI endoglucanases (or any other endoglucanase with a similar temperature and ph profile) in high concentrations of ionic liquid. There is no loss of activity in ionic liquid concentrations up to 20%, and the enzyme cocktail is tolerant of ionic liquid concentrations of up to... read more
06/24/2010
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Fractionation and Removal of Solutes from Ionic Liquids
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to fractionate and recover biomaterials dissolved in an ionic liquid and to purify water miscible ionic liquids. The JBEI technology utilizes specific mixtures of solvents to precipitate or extract compounds dissolved in an ionic liquid without high pressure, high temperature, salts, or other reagents that cannot be recovered and reused in a closed cycle process. Compared to existing approaches, the JBEI technology... read more
06/24/2010
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Thermophilic Endoglucanase Enzymes Engineered for Increased Activity
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have generated and identified new enzyme variants of cellulase from the thermophile Thermotoga maritima with catalytic activities significantly higher than naturally existing (wild type) endoglucanases. The JBEI enzymes allow for more efficient cellulose hydrolysis at high temperatures, and they are more stable at high temperatures than commercially available enzymes.
06/24/2010
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Stress Tolerant Plants Expressing Mannosylglcerate Enzymes
Henrik Scheller of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University have identified genes in eukaryotes encoding mannosylglycerate synthases. Mannosylglycerate, a thermoprotectant compound, had been thought to occur only in archaea and eubacteria.
06/24/2010
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Thermophilic Cellulases Compatible with Ionic Liquid Pretreatment
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified an efficient method for the saccharification of lignocellulose using thermophilic endoglucanases compatible with ionic liquid pretreatment. The enzymes are used directly in a solution of ionic liquids and biomass to produce sugars from cellulose. They can solubilize the cellulosic sugars without the need to remove the ionic liquid first as well as when the cellulose is precipitated from the solution with antisolvents, such as... read more
06/23/2010
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Irreversible Low Load Genetic Switches
Although the use of recombinases for manipulation of genomic sequences is well established, only a few recombinases have been conclusively demonstrated to work orthogonally. That is, as non-cross-reacting recombinases, they do not cause unpredictable recombination events.
06/23/2010
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Feedstocks with Reduced Acetylation for Higher Product Yields and Improved Properties
Henrik Scheller of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has developed a method of using plants that have reduced levels of acetylation of their cellulose. The plants are positioned to provide higher yields of sugar for fermentation and improved properties as feedstocks for biofuels, paper production, and livestock feed. When degraded, the feedstocks produce lower levels of acetylation of their cellulose, which is inhibitory to organisms used in downstream fermentation.
06/23/2010
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Directed Evolution of Microbe Producing Biofuels Using in Vivo Transcription Factor Based Biosensors
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have invented a method of using transcription factors expressed in vivo to evolve, screen, and select for microorganisms producing an intracellular small molecule of interest, such as a short chain alcohol. In the JBEI invention, biosensors composed of transcription factors and their cognate promoters are designed and constructed to be capable of binding the particular molecule of interest.
06/23/2010
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Orderly Deposition of Uncontaminated Graphene
Xiaogan Liang of Berkeley Lab has invented an inexpensive, high-throughput process for depositing pure few-layer-graphene (FLG) in a desired pattern onto substrates, such as silicon wafers. This method uses electrostatic forces to print FLG in dimensions ranging from less than 20 nm to 100 μm and has the potential to be combined with step-and-repeat technology to cover large areas.
06/23/2010
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Ceramic-Metal Composites for Electrodes of Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium’s high energy density makes it desirable for use in rechargeable batteries, but its tendency to form dendrites has limited its use to primary batteries. This limitation can be addressed by using alloys, but their sticky consistency has proved an obstacle to manufacturing.
06/23/2010
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Self-Regulating, Nonflamable Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
Rechargeable lithium batteries are superior to other rechargeable batteries due to their ability to store more energy per unit size and weight and to operate at higher voltages. The performance of lithium ion batteries available today, however, has been compromised by their tendency to overheat during operation. This condition, called “thermal runaway,” can melt the battery’s lithium metal and, in the most serious cases, result in explosive chemical reactions.
06/23/2010
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Nanocomposite Carbon/Tin Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries
An approach developed by Robert Kostecki and Marek Marcinek of Berkeley Lab has given rise to a new generation of nanostructured carbon-tin films that can be produced quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively. These binderless carbon/tin thin-film anodes provide enhanced charge capacity and excellent cycleability in lithium ion battery systems compared with lithium ion anodes currently on the market.
06/23/2010
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Nanostructured Water Oxidation Catalysts
Heinz Frei and Feng Jiao of Berkeley Lab have developed a visible light driven catalytic system for oxidizing water. Efficient catalytic water oxidation is a critical step for any artificial sunlight-to-fuel conversion system.
06/23/2010
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Metal-Oxo Catalysts for Generating Hydrogen from Water
Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed an inexpensive, highly efficient catalyst that can be used in the electrolysis of water to generate H2—a source of clean fuel, a reducing agent for metal ores, and a reactant used to produce hydrochloric acid and other chemicals. The catalyst is a metal-oxo complex in which modified pyridine rings surround an earth-abundant, low cost metal, such as molybdenum. Compared to other molecular catalysts, the Berkeley Lab compound has a longer life,... read more
06/23/2010
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Processing Iron Pyrite Nanocrystals for Use in Solar Cells
For solar energy to become an economically viable energy source, alternative semiconductor materials to be used in solar cells must be found. Silicon, the longtime standard for solar cells, is expensive to process and in ever-growing demand. Thin films made of CdTe (cadmium telluride) and CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) have potential, but their raw material sources are too limited to meet the world’s growing energy needs.
06/23/2010
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Nanotubes as Robust Thermal Conductors
Multiwall nanotubes of carbon (CNT) and of boron nitride (BNNT) have a very high thermal conductance at room temperature. Their twin properties of high thermal conductivity along the axial direction and poor thermal conductivity in the radial direction provide an excellent heat conduction channel that can confine heat currents on the nano scale.
06/23/2010
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Engineered Biosynthesis of Alternative Biodiesel Fuel
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have invented a method of producing isoprenyl alkanoates that can be hydrogenated and blended into gasoline or diesel fuel. This invention also includes the design and manipulation of biosynthetic pathways to increase flux for enhanced production of fuel molecules.
02/12/2010
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5-Carbon Alcohols for Drop-in Gasoline Replacement
Jay Keasling and Howard Chou of Berkeley Lab and the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have invented a fermentation process to produce 5-carbon alcohols from genetically modified E. coli host cells regardless of the feedstock used. This is the first time isopentanol has been synthesized from the isoprenoid pathway.
02/12/2010
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Thinner Film Silicon Solar Cells
Berkeley Lab scientists have designed a new approach to create thin film silicon solar cells with a potential increase in photon energy conversion of up to 20%, a significant improvement over conventional thin film photovoltaic technologies. By using thinner photon energy absorber layers requiring less silicon than conventional photovoltaic devices of similar photon absorptive power, the technology also promises to lower solar cell material costs.
02/12/2010
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Direct Conversion of Light into Work
Alex Zettl, Jean M. J. Fréchet, and a team of Berkeley Lab researchers have discovered a mechanism for converting solar energy directly into mechanical work, thus eliminating the need for capital-intensive energy storage and distribution facilities.
02/02/2010
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Novel Biosynthetic Pathway for Production of Fatty Acid Derived Molecules
Jay Keasling and Eric Steen of Berkeley Lab have invented what may be the most efficient metabolic pathway for producing fatty acids, and their derived molecules of desired chain length, by utilizing fatty acid elongases.
02/02/2010
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Producing Beneficial Materials from Biomass and Biodiesel Byproducts
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have created a process to produce olefins from polyols that may be biomass derived. The team is also the first to introduce a method of producing high purity allyl alcohol at a large scale by using glycerol as the starting material instead propylene, a petroleum feedstock.
02/02/2010