News

December 15, 2023
Every year, airplanes crisscrossing U.S. skies burn 23 billion gallons of fuel, leaving contrails and 8% of the nation’s transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their wake. A recent study by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Sandia National Laboratories reveals which crop-based feedstocks offer the... Read more
August 29, 2023
Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment (CLEE) at the UC Berkeley School of Law are leading a project to explore the creation of a Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility that uses cutting-edge technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley (SSJV). This foundational... Read more
August 23, 2023
Since early July, the Earth has sweltered under record-breaking heat. In the United States, from California and the Desert Southwest to Texas and Florida, a long-lasting heat wave in the triple digits has broken dozens of heat records – and counting. To mitigate the risks of living in extreme heat, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more
August 9, 2023
In rooms where smoking has taken place regularly, tobacco’s imprint lingers on indoor surfaces, even long after regular smoking has stopped. The leftover residues, known as thirdhand smoke, can be a long-term source of indoor pollutants. New research from a team led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) zeroes in on carpets as an especially potent... Read more
July 27, 2023
Plastic waste is a problem. Most plastics can’t be recycled, and many use finite, polluting petrochemicals as the basic ingredients. But that’s changing. In a study published today in Nature Sustainability, researchers successfully engineered microbes to make biological alternatives for the starting ingredients in an infinitely recyclable plastic known as poly(diketoenamine), or PDK. The... Read more
April 6, 2023
Levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide in the air continue to rise. Cutting emissions by moving away from fossil fuels is a priority – but so is removing carbon that’s already been emitted. Of the many emerging technologies on the table, which ones will be most effective, and where? What about costs? What kinds of investments will have the most impact? Scientists at the Department of... Read more
March 10, 2023
Why isn't more plastic actually recyclable? Why don’t compostable forks actually compost? And when are we going to solve our waste problems? A recent episode of A Day in the Half-Life, a podcast about science from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), explores these and other questions related to plastics and recycling. There are reasons for optimism. Three Berkeley Lab... Read more
December 5, 2022
A building's indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a key role in the health, comfort, and performance of the people who spend countless hours in offices, homes, and other indoor spaces. From mold to cooking smoke to airborne viruses such as Covid-19 and the common cold, factors both seen and unseen come into play when determining IAQ. Experts at a recent conference hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for... Read more
December 1, 2022
By 2033, more than 1 billion laptops, cellphones, and other electronic devices could be entering the U.S. waste stream each year. That’s according to a new study in Nature Sustainability that projects a dramatic increase in the amount and complexity of U.S. waste electronics in the decade ahead. If not properly recycled, this influx represents a growing cause for environmental concern as it... Read more
November 28, 2022
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) research scientist Hanna Breunig was named co-director of the Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC). Breunig serves as Deputy-Head of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems Department within the Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts (EAEI) Division of Berkeley Lab. HyMARC was formed to address the scientific gaps... Read more
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
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