News

July 29, 2022
Scientists have designed a new material system to overcome one of the biggest challenges in recycling consumer products: mixed-plastic recycling. Their achievement will help enable a much broader range of fully recyclable plastic products and brings into reach an efficient circular economy for durable goods like automobiles. We generate staggering quantities of plastic and plastic-containing... Read more
July 20, 2022
Converting petroleum into fuels involves crude chemistry first invented by humans in the 1800s. Meanwhile, bacteria have been producing carbon-based energy molecules for billions of years. Which do you think is better at the job? Well aware of the advantages biology has to offer, a group of biofuel experts led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) took inspiration from an... Read more
April 4, 2022
The third and final installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Sixth Assessment Report calls for aggressive and comprehensive actions if we are to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century. It finds we still need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically, beyond what governments have pledged, and that this emissions gap is exacerbated by implementation gaps... Read more
July 22, 2021
Companies like Purple Air and IQAir, with air pollution sensors that cost under $300, have brought air quality monitoring to the masses. But when Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Tom Kirchstetter looked at Purple Air’s map last year during wildfire season, he noticed a big hole in Richmond, a city of 110,000 to the north of Berkeley. “You can see what appears to... Read more
June 14, 2021
A multidisciplinary Berkeley Lab team has been working for several years to develop a game-changing plastic that, unlike traditional plastics, can be recycled indefinitely and is not made from petroleum. Their latest milestone was the release of an analysis showing the feasibility and potential outcomes of launching the unique material, called poly(diketoenamine) or PDK, into the market at an... Read more
April 21, 2021
Despite our efforts to sort and recycle, less than 9% of plastic gets recycled in the U.S., and most ends up in landfill or the environment. Biodegradable plastic bags and containers could help, but if they’re not properly sorted, they can contaminate otherwise recyclable #1 and #2 plastics. What’s worse, most biodegradable plastics take months to break down, and when they finally do, they... Read more
October 16, 2020
One day in March, the kids were there. The next day, there was no one. Then on a Saturday in August, a man came into an empty public school in suburban Boston carrying a container of dry ice, trying to figure out how to bring the students back to their desks.Since January, that man, Joseph Allen, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, has been saying to anyone who will listen that... Read more
August 5, 2020
Kristin Persson, a senior faculty scientist in the Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division within the Energy Technologies Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and director of the Materials Project, has been named director of the Molecular Foundry. Her new appointment is effective August 15, 2020. She will continue to hold an appointment as a professor of... Read more
March 12, 2020
Can scientists understand human behavior enough to figure out what drives the choices you make? In fact, it’s called “decision science,” and it’s something that Anna Spurlock, a behavioral economist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), specializes in.Spurlock (pictured) spearheads the WholeTraveler Transportation Behavior Study, a three-year project that has attempted... Read more
February 27, 2020
Data centers are the backbone supporting the world’s ever-increasing need for internet access, data storage, and networking. Demand for data center services has risen sharply over past decades, and data-intensive technologies promise to increase demand further. New research by a team including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab's) Arman Shehabi and Sarah Smith shows that... Read more
October 9, 2019
Six researchers in the Energy Technologies Area have been recognized in the annual Director's Awards, which applauds outstanding scientific contributions at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).Tom McKone received the Berkeley Lab Prize, a lifetime achievement award; Nihar Shah, a research scientist/engineer, received a societal impact award; and the... Read more
September 23, 2019
The National Alliance for Water Innovation, which is led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has been awarded a five-year, $100-million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE (pending appropriations) to address water security issues in the United States. The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development for energy-efficient and... Read more
May 2, 2019
A select audience recently gathered for the 2019 Art Rosenfeld Symposium on Energy Efficient and Grid Interactive Buildings. The day was dedicated to the ongoing scientific discoveries and research inspired by Rosenfeld, a Berkeley Lab Senior Scientist, UC Berkeley Professor and former Commissioner of the California Energy Commission.Berkeley Lab Director Mike Witherell greeted the audience with a... Read more
April 3, 2019
A grid communications model that began as a research project at Berkeley Lab has now become an international standard, paving the way toward smart grid improvements around the world.The standard, OpenADR, aids in demand response, the practice of managing energy demand from customers with signals based on price or reliability. OpenADR offers a common language energy customers and grid operators can... Read more
February 25, 2019
Physics World interviewed the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division's Arman Shehabi on energy efficiency measures for data centers. “A lot of the efficiency gains [in] data centres so far have come from correcting some pretty egregious energy wasting practices – things like allowing cold and hot air to mix together, or continuing to run servers that aren’t actually doing... Read more
December 5, 2018
Alex Bayen, the Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley and a Faculty Scientist at LBL, recently spoke with ABC 7 News about his research with computer modeling to predict what self-driving cars can do to improve traffic. His computer models show how self-driving cars figure out on their own how to improve efficiency when cars are merging on to a road or moving through... Read more
November 15, 2018
Recent wildfire smoke has greatly impacted air quality in the Bay Area. Experts from the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) weigh in on tips and resources for the public. Brett Singer and Woody Delp are internationally recognized experts in the field of indoor air quality. Singer is a Principal Investigator, Staff Scientist and Leader in the Indoor Air group; Delp is a Research Engineer in the Indoor... Read more
November 13, 2018
In a recent Facebook post, Energy Secretary Rick Perry lauds the DOE’s national labs and “the incredible work being undertaken by our nation’s brightest minds.” The post includes a video that features his visit to all 17 national labs, including Berkeley Lab.... Read more
September 10, 2018
Three Berkeley Lab researchers, including Corinne Scown of the Energy Technologies Area, recently received the Secretary of Energy's Achievement Award as part of a larger team from the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Here's more from JBEI's announcement:The award is designed to recognize the contributions of Department of Energy (DOE) employees to the mission of the Department and to the benefit... Read more
August 22, 2018
Affordable indoor air quality monitors for the home can be worth the purchase, a recent product evaluation revealed, but all of the monitors tested by researchers were found to have either underreported or missed the presence of very small particles that can penetrate deeply into the lungs.Indoor air researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more
July 20, 2018
Ever wonder why it’s difficult to concentrate when office temperatures rise?A July 16, 2018 segment of NPR’s "Morning edition — Heat Making You Lethargic? Research Shows It Can Slow Your Brain, Too" - cites a 2006 Berkeley Lab study, "Effect of temperature on task performance in office environment" co-authored by William Fisk of the Sustainable Energy & Environmental Systems Department,... Read more
April 26, 2018
Hanna Breunig has always forged her own path in science. “If something feels right, I don’t hesitate to pursue an idea that could make the world a better place,” says Breunig, a senior scientific engineering associate in the Energy Technologies Area.Now with funding from an Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development award announced last November, she’s looking for affordable... Read more
March 15, 2018
Berkeley Lab is a co-recipient of four awards — three awards that will fund research related to climate science, and one award for a cybersecurity project — from the University of California National Laboratory Fees Research Program. The Lab’s site leads for the four projects are listed below:Climate Impact of Manure Management from California Dairies Berkeley Lab site lead: Marc Fischer... Read more
February 26, 2018
Ashok Gadgil redesigned a simple technology, the wood-burning stove, to help Sudanese refugee women cook more efficiently, thus sparing them from the dangers of gathering firewood far from camp.In the developing world, sometimes the simplest technology can have the largest payoff.That's the lesson learned by Ashok Gadgil, a UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering and Berkeley... Read more
February 20, 2018
A renowned Lab researcher presented information about coal-based industrialization in developing countries, the intermittency of wind and solar power, stubborn uncertainties regarding severe climate change, and the admissibility of geoengineering at a recent workshop.Rob Socolow, professor emeritus and senior research staff in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton... Read more