January 10: 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 13:49
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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.