Light-powered nano-bio hybrid organisms consume CO2, create plastics and fuels

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University of Colorado Boulder researchers have developed nanobio-hybrid organisms capable of using airborne carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce a variety of plastics and fuels, a promising first step toward low-cost carbon sequestration and eco-friendly manufacturing for chemicals. When illuminated by light, these QDs drive the renewable production of different biofuels and chemicals using carbon-dioxide (CO 2 ), water, and nitrogen (from air) as substrates.

2019 109

ARPA-E announces $11M for innovations in energy-water processing and agricultural sensing technologies; fourth, fifth OPEN+ cohorts

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The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $11 million in funding for 7 projects in the fourth and fifth cohorts of the agency’s OPEN+ program: Energy-Water Technologies and Sensors for Bioenergy and Agriculture. Energy-Water cohort teams will develop new, energy-efficient processing technologies for industrial (particularly oil and gas) and municipal wastewater. Energy-Water Technologies cohort. ARPA-E Sensors Water

2019 65

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Researchers create first soluble 2D supramolecular organic frameworks

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Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), China’s Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry and Fudan University have unveiled the first two-dimensional supramolecular organic frameworks (SOFs) that self-assemble in solution, an important breakthrough that holds implications for sensing and separation technologies, energy sciences, and, perhaps most importantly, biomimetics.

2013 78

USC team develops novel organic redox flow battery for large-scale energy storage

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Scientists at USC have developed a novel water-based Organic Redox Flow Battery (ORBAT) for lower cost, long lasting large-scale energy storage. ORBAT employs two different water-soluble organic redox couples on the positive and negative side of a flow battery. Aiming to overcome these disadvantages, we have demonstrated for the first time an aqueous redox flow battery that uses water-soluble organic redox couples at both electrodes that are metal-free.

2014 97

Researchers discover novel water-assisted approach to double or triple rate of furfural conversion

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Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, in collaboration with the University of Tulsa, have a novel approach for the water-assisted upgrading of the renewable chemical furfural, doubling or tripling the rate of conversion. Here, using furfural as an example, we reveal the important role of water-mediated protonation in a typical hydrogenation reaction over a supported Pd catalyst. Energy and water are interconnected in the production of renewable fuels.

2019 75

University of Kentucky chemist receives NSF grant to study atmospheric reactions of pollution

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University of Kentucky Chemistry Professor Marcelo Guzman has received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research, education and outreach efforts in the field of environmental and atmospheric chemistry. My work with environmental chemistry focuses on the interaction of gases with organic compounds present in low water activity environments such as the atmospheric aerosol, clouds and fog.

McGill team develops simple system for reversible H2 storage using organic cyclic hydrocarbons; alternative route to solar fuels

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A team at McGill University in Canada has developed a reversible hydrogen storage/release system based on the metal-catalyzed hydrogenation and photo-induced dehydrogenation of organic cyclic hydrocarbons at room temperature. clean H 2 produced from the water-splitting reaction is a very attractive energy storage carrier due to its exceptional mass energy density (142 MJ kg −1 ), which is at least three times higher than that of other chemical fuels.

2015 99

Colorado State University Professor Developing Anaerobic Digester With Lower Water Requirements; Targeted at US Western States

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A Colorado State University professor is developing an anaerobic digester that turns animal waste into methane using much less water than conventional technology, making it more economically feasible and easier for use by feedlots and dairies in Western states. In the arid West, you pay for water rights, so water use is very controlled and there’s a financial motivation for producers to conserve water, which is why management practices are different.

Novel microsphere photocatalysts show good performance for water splitting and water cleaning

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Researchers at the National University of Singapore and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore have produced novel microsphere catalysts that can improve water quality in daylight and also generate hydrogen as a green energy source. In addition to decomposing harmful molecules in water, photocatalysts are used to split water into its components of oxygen and hydrogen.

2014 76

Researchers split water by altering photosynthetic machinery in plants; semi-artificial photosynthesis

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A new study, led by academics at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, has used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. They used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and manmade technologies. Here, we report a bias-free semi-artificial tandem platform that wires photosystem II to hydrogenase for overall water splitting.

2018 76

Auburn University leads $2M DOE Co-Optima project to evaluate renewable butyl acetate as diesel fuel additive

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Auburn University researchers are leading a $2-million US Department of Energy Co-Optima project ( earlier post ) that will evaluate renewable butyl acetate (BA) as a bio-based fuel additive that can be blended with diesel fuel to reduce soot and greenhouse gas emissions and yield cleaner engine operation in cold-weather conditions. Joining as collaborators in the research are Cornell University, the University of Alabama, Virginia Tech and corporate partners Microvi Biotech Inc.

2018 85

Researchers discover new efficient lithium collection method using MOF membranes; Li from produced water

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Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Monash University (Australia) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. The team’s technique uses metal-organic-framework (MOF) membranes that mimic the filtering function, or “ion selectivity,” of biological cell membranes.

2018 65

Columbia University engineers make breakthrough in understanding electroreduction of CO2 for conversion to electrofuels

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Researchers at Columbia University have solved the first piece of the puzzle; they have proved that CO 2 electroreduction begins with one common intermediate, not two as was commonly thought. In addition, our insight into CO 2 activation at the solid-water interface will enable researchers to better model the prebiotic scenarios from CO 2 to complex organic molecules that may have led to the origin of life on our planet.

2018 73

UNSW Sydney team develops inexpensive water-splitting catalyst using 2D MOF framework array

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UNSW Sydney chemists have fabricated a new, inexpensive catalyst for water splitting based on an ultrathin nanosheet array of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) on different substrates. Their nickel-iron-based metal-organic framework array (NiFe-MOF) demonstrates superior electrocatalytic performance towards the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) with a small overpotential of 240 mV at 10 mA cm −2 and operates for 20,000 s with no detectable activity decay.

2017 69

Novel microbial biosensor platforms for early detection and treatment of oil leakage and produced waters

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Researchers at Mississippi State University are developing technology that would alert pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins, avoiding the environmental disasters and fuel distribution disruptions resulting from pipeline leaks. The microbial biosensor cell will generate high voltage spikes when availability of organic compounds increases.

2018 65

NREL modifies organism to produce ethylene via photosynthesis: alternative to fossil-fuel based ethylene for chemicals and transportation fuels

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PCC 6803—and demonstrated that the organism remained stable through at least four generations, producing ethylene gas that could be easily captured. The organism produced ethylene at a high rate and is still being improved. Conversely, the process recycles carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, since the organism utilizes the gas as part of its metabolic cycle. And it isn’t going to be a food buffet for other organisms.

2012 85

SwRI, UTSA researchers show biochar is low-cost, effective method to treat fracking water

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Researchers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) have determined that biochar, a substance produced from plant matter, is a safe, effective and inexpensive method to treat flowback water following hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Flowback water treatment is a critical sustainability issue for the oil and gas industry. Using biochar could help oil and gas companies save money and responsibly treat flowback water for reuse.

2014 88

MUCHACHAS study finds aging of organic aerosols is caused by OH radicals; climate models need to be updated

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An international team of researchers has discovered that chemical aging determines to a major extent the concentration and the characteristics of organic aerosol particles, which have a significant effect on climate. Aerosols are also essential for cloud formation in the troposphere: They act as condensation nuclei which even in the presence of low levels of water vapor do enable droplets to form. 2012) Aging of biogenic secondary organic aerosol via gas-phase OH radical reactions.

2012 80

Researchers Discover Inexpensive Catalyst That Generates Hydrogen from Buffered Water or Sea Water

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[(PY5Me 2 )Mo(CF 3 SO 3 )] 1+ reacts with water to form. A team of researchers with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley has discovered an inexpensive metal catalyst that can effectively generate hydrogen gas from water at neutral pH or from sea water. The electrolytic production of water requires a water-splitting catalyst.

2010 83

New robust triple-layer bifunctional catalyst for water splitting with earth-abundant materials

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A new robust and highly active bifunctional catalyst developed by Rice University and the University of Houston splits water into hydrogen and oxygen without the need for expensive metals such as platinum. The work, the team suggests, provides a facile strategy for fabricating highly efficient electrocatalysts from earth-abundant materials for overall water splitting. Credit: Desmond Schipper/Rice University).

2017 60

New silica-organic hybrid absorbents deliver among highest performance yet reported for CO2 capture from air

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A team from the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, reports on an improved material for capturing carbon dioxide from the air—silica?organic organic hybrid adsorbents—in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In the presence of water, these values were 230 and 124 mg CO 2 /g PEI, respectively.

2012 73

Nielsen global survey finds concerns about climate change slipping behind concerns over other environmental issues; air and water pollution top worries, pesticide use #3

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Concern about climate change/global warming among online consumers around the world took a back-seat to other environmental issues such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of pesticides, according to Nielsen’s 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey of more than 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries. Boykoff, Senior Visiting Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

NSF announces $55M toward national research priorities; intersection of food, energy and water systems

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 11 awards totaling $55 million aimed at building research capacity to develop new innovations at the intersection of food, energy and water systems and to address fundamental questions about the brain. Research at the nexus of food, energy and water. Lead organization. Montana State University. Murray State University. University of Southern Mississippi. University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Algal Biomass Organization Questions Findings of Recent Algae Life Cycle Study

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The Algal Biomass Organization (ABO), the trade association for the algae industry, challenged the findings of a paper published 19 January in Environmental Science and Technology by researchers at the University of Virginia which determined, among other things, that “ conventional crops have lower environmental impacts than algae in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and water. ” ( Earlier post.). > Assumptions about water use.

2010 80

University of Tennessee to head $250M advanced composites manufacturing institute; Ford, Honda and Volkswagen members

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The Department of Energy and a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250 million—$70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds—to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites—the fifth institute to be awarded of the eight national institute competitions launched earlier ( earlier post ).

2015 81

Free piston/ORC system for automotive waste heat recovery being tested at University of Brighton

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A prototype automotive waste heat recovery system has been fired up on a recently commissioned test rig at the University of Brighton. The organic Rankine cycle test rig uses a novel linear free piston expander from Libertine ( earlier post ) to overcome the technical and economic barriers to using Rankine cycle technology for automotive waste heat recovery. In addition, the system provides a larger single-stage expansion ratio which suits ethanol/water Rankine cycles.

2015 78

UTSA, SwRI researchers developing low-cost method to treat fracking water using biochar

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Researchers at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) are investing $200,000 in new research to develop a low-cost method to treat flow-back water following hydraulic fracturing. Over the next year, the researchers will optimize an inexpensive charcoal product called biochar for the water treatment solution. It will be tested on water samples from the Eagle Ford Shale.

2013 75

GE and Berkeley Lab developing water-based high energy density flow battery for EVs

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Conceptual design of a water-based flow battery GE scientists are researching as part of ARPA-E’s RANGE program. Researchers from GE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are developing a water-based flow battery targeted at EVs. The system uses water-based solutions of inorganic chemicals that are capable of transferring more than one electron, providing high-energy density.

2013 92

Study finds high sodium bicarbonate concentrations in water from coal-bed natural gas production harms aquatic life; water treatment can mitigate effects

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Produced water from coal-bed natural gas (CBNG) production may contain sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) at concentrations that can harm aquatic life, according to a new study by the US Geological Survey; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Bureau of Land Management and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Salts such as sodium bicarbonate are found naturally in the water along the coal-bed natural gas seams. Produced water is a by-product of the coal-bed natural gas extraction.

2012 78

Qatar University provides first update on R&D on sustainable aviation biofuels; scaling up production

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Qatar University (QU) provided the first public update on the progress of its work on developing sustainable alternative biofuels for aviation on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference COP-18. The university’s state-backed QR45.5-million (US$12.5 The research group grew these cultures, eliminating weaker variations, and scaled up growth from small test-tubes to water tanks to monitor their growth. The Peninsula.

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Study finds removing corn residue for biofuel production can decrease soil organic carbon and increase CO2 emissions; may miss mandated 60% GHG reduction

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Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and under some conditions can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a major, multi-year study by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Changes in SOC occur via two dominant processes: soil erosion by water and wind; and soil respiration where SOC is oxidized to CO 2.

2014 78

Petrobras and the Federal University of RN inaugurate a pilot plant to cultivate microalgae for biofuel

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Petrobras and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte inaugurated a pilot plant in Extremoz (state of Rio Grande do Norte) for the cultivation of microalgae for biodiesel production. Microalgae production is one of Petrobras’ priority research projects, not just because of the yield potential, but also because the microalgae are active both in CO 2 capture and cleaning up water.

2012 84

Ionic liquid-enhanced solvent extraction for oil sands bitumen shows high recovery rates, less water use and no tailing water

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Researchers from Tianjin University and the National Engineering Research Centre for Distillation Technology, Tianjin, China, report on the use of an ionic liquid (IL) with low viscosity to enhance bitumen recovery from oil sands by solvent extraction while reducing adverse impacts in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Canadian oil sands are a complex mixture of sand, clays, water, and bitumen. Organic solvent extraction technology was developed as an alternative.

Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks Made from Food-Grade Natural Products; Edible MOFs for Gas Storage and Other Applications

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A team of researchers from Northwestern University, UCLA and the University of St. Andrews (UK) have developed new robust nanoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) using a sugar—?-cyclodextrin Metal-organic frameworks (MOF) are well-ordered, lattice-like crystals. The nodes of the lattices are complexes of transition metals (such as copper, zinc, nickel, or cobalt); organic molecules make up the connections between the nodes.

2010 69

MIT Researchers Engineer Viruses as Scaffolds for Photocatalytic Water Oxidation

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A team of MIT researchers, led by Dr. Angela Belcher, has engineered a common bacteriophage virus (M13) to function as a scaffold to mediate the co-assembly of zinc porphyrins (photosensitizer) and iridium oxide hydrosol clusters (catalyst) for visible light-driven water oxidation. The viruses become wire-like devices that can very efficiently split the oxygen from water molecules using solar energy. TEM images of the virus-templated IrO 2 nanowires.

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U Maryland and US Army Research Lab furthering “water-in-salt” electrolyte Li-ion battery; targeting EV use

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University of Maryland (UMD) and US Army Research Lab (ARL) researchers are spearheading a public-private sector collaboration to further develop a lithium-ion battery that would be safer to operate and less costly to dispose of than those currently available on the market. The water-in-salt electrolyte idea was derived from the high concentration salt use in organic electrolytes for traditional lithium batteries.

2016 65

Researchers Produce Biocrude from Switchgrass with Subcritical Water

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Researchers at Auburn University have shown a subcritical water treatment (hydrothermal liquefaction) that effectively liquefies switchgrass to produce a biocrude at a comparatively low temperature (235 °C) in a flow reactor. Since water is used both as a reactant and as the reaction medium, the moisture content of biomass is not an issue. They pumped subcritical water through a tubular reactor packed with switchgrass particles of 40-60 mesh size.

2009 73

New Findings Show Increased Ocean Acidification in Alaska Waters

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Alaska’s oceans are becoming increasingly acidic, which could damage Alaska’s king crab and salmon fisheries, according to new findings by a University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist. They show that ocean acidification is likely more severe and is happening more rapidly in Alaska than in tropical waters. The increasing acidification of Alaska waters could have a destructive effect on all of our commercial fisheries.

Rochester researchers demonstrate robust photogeneration of hydrogen in water using semiconductor nanocrystals and a nickel catalyst

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Researchers at the University of Rochester (New York) have developed a robust and highly active system for solar hydrogen generation in water using semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) and a nickel catalyst. We report here a system that provides light-driven H 2 production with exceptional longevity, maintaining its high activity with no decrease for over two weeks using water as solvent. Organic molecules are typically used to capture light in photocatalytic systems.

2012 80

Sandia team boosts hydrogen production activity by molybdenum disulfide four-fold; low-cost catalyst for solar-driven water splitting

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The improved catalyst has already released four times the amount of hydrogen ever produced by MoS 2 from water. Still, while HER in organisms evolved with time and increasing complexity, artificial HER aims to replicate the same with minimalism and simplicity. To determine what was happening, and the best way to make it happen, the Sandia team used computer simulations generated by coauthor Na Sai from the University of Texas at Austin that suggested which molecular changes to seek.

2015 75

New Water Oxidation Catalyst Could Boost Potential for Solar Production of Hydrogen

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Chemists from Emory University and the Paris Institute of Molecular Chemistry have developed a stable and fast homogeneous water oxidation catalyst (WOC), considered a crucial component for generating hydrogen using only water and sunlight, that is easily prepared from readily available salts and oxides of earth abundant elements. A viable abiological water splitting system—i.e., Developing a viable water oxidation catalyst (WOC) has proven particularly challenging.

2010 85

IBM opens first global research lab in Africa; smarter cities with focus on water and transportation

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Key research areas that will be explored by IBM Research - Africa include: Smarter Cities – with initial focus on water and transportation: Rates of urbanization in Africa are the highest in the world. The single biggest challenge facing African cities is improving access to and quality of city services such as water and transportation, according to IBM. The initial focus will be on smarter water systems and traffic management solutions for the region.

UAF installs ocean acidification buoy in Alaska waters; first such in high-latitude coastal sea

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A new set of buoys in Alaska waters will help scientists understand how climate change may be affecting the pH level of northern seas. University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) researchers placed the first buoy last month. The first set, at the water’s surface, measures the water’s pH, as well as water temperature, carbon dioxide levels and other data. These factors increase the transport of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into surface waters.