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Research at PNNL

Research is our business

With an unwavering focus on our missions, scientists and engineers at PNNL deliver science and technology. We conduct basic research that advances the frontiers of science. We translate discoveries into tools and technologies in science, energy, the environment and national security.

For more than four decades, our experts have teamed with government, industry and academia to tackle some of the toughest problems facing our nation. The result: We're delivering the science, technology and leadership our customers need to succeed.

Research Highlights Archive

To view previously featured research and scientist's achievements, select a year, below, then click on a month.

  • December

    • PNNL's Holiday Gifts Include S&T for the Nation

      A safer world, cleaner environment and cheaper energy are among the presents PNNL is delivering.[ Full Story ]

    • Unlocking the Secrets of Ebola

      Scientists identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.[ Full Story ]

    • ANS Dedicates Nuclear Historic Landmark Award to PNNL

      The American Nuclear Society honored PNNL's Radiochemical Processing Laboratory with the ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark Award for its noteworthy nuclear research. [ Full Story ]

    • Sprenkle Discusses PNNL Energy Storage Research with Senate

      Vincent Sprenkle, a leader in energy storage research, testified on the federal government's role in making significant scientific advancements that will bolster growth in energy storage markets. [ Full Story ]

    • A Triple-Threat Against Cyberthreats

      Three PNNL cybersecurity technologies were licensed to Cynash Inc. for integration into a suite of products and services that will enhance cybersecurity in private enterprise, the public sector and industrial control systems.[ Full Story ]

    • New Partnership to Focus on Grid Research

      National Grid and PNNL will collaborate on transmission grid modernization and energy storage research. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Protecting the Electric Grid from Cyberattack

      Researchers develop and deliver new technologies and approaches to better measure, analyze, predict and control the electric power grid. [ Full Story ]

    • Seaweed-Fueled Autos?

      Cars and trucks might one day run on biofuel made from seaweed with the help of two technologies being developed at PNNL. [ Full Story ]

    • Cybersecurity Tool a 2017 R&D 100 Award Winner

      PNNL's SerialTap is designed to stop adversaries from disrupting crucial industrial control systems, such as those for operating transportation systems and delivering water and electricity. [ Watch Video ]

    • Scientists Create Unprecedented Catalog of Microbial Life on Planet Earth

      Drawing on thousands of soil, tissue, and water samples from the Arctic to Antarctica, more than 300 scientists at scores of institutions worldwide created the first reference database of bacteria inhabiting the planet.[ Full Story ]

    • Available Technology: Device Identifies Contents in Sealed Containers

      The Container Screening Device uses sound waves to detect, classify and discriminate threat versus non-threat substances and materials, such as liquid explosives, hazardous and flammable liquids, and other dangerous liquids. [ Full Story ]

    • IRcell a 2017 R&D 100 Award Winner

      Experts need to rapidly identify trace gases when detecting toxic industrial chemicals, identifying disease indicators, or monitoring the proliferation of nuclear or chemical weapons. PNNL's compact tech provides solutions. [ Watch Video ]

  • October

    • WSU, UW and PNNL: Rival Schools Make for Good Partners

      Lab Director Steven Ashby describes how this partnership enhances the state's reputation as a scientific and engineering powerhouse. [ Full Story ]

    • Atmospheric Scientist Elected Member of National Academy of Engineering

      A leader in regional and global computer modeling of the Earth's climate and water cycles, Ruby Leung is among 106 new members—elected worldwide—to the 2017 class of the National Academy of Engineering. She was inducted earlier this month at the national meeting. [ Full Story ]

    • Senior Physical Chemist Elected Member of National Academy of Engineering

      Johannes Lercher's catalysis research is leading to better catalysts for cleaner fossil and renewable, biology-based fuels. He is among 106 new members of the 2017 class of the National Academy of Engineering and was inducted earlier this month at the national meeting. [ Full Story ]

    • Take a Tour of Our Shallow Underground Lab

      This unique lab houses some of the world's most sensitive radiation detection systems and supports ultra-low-background R&D for environmental, national security and fundamental physics.[ Full Story ]

    • Grid Friendly™ Water Heater Controller Available for Commercialization

      Water heaters can be simply retrofitted to incorporate the Water Heater Controller with the Grid Friendly™ Appliance chip to provide homeowners with control over the appliance to meet price or electric grid objectives without sacrificing the performance. [ Full Story ]

    • R&D 100 Award Finalist Detects Trace Levels of Chemicals

      Rapid identification of trace gases—offered by IRcell—is critical when working to detect toxic industrial chemicals, disease indicators or when monitoring for the proliferation of nuclear or chemical weapons. [ Watch Video ]

  • September

    • On the Cutting Edge of Making Extreme Weather Predictable

      Researchers are applying atmospheric science research capabilities to improve our understanding of long-term weather trends and better predict extreme weather events like these — and it all starts with studying clouds. [ Full Story ]

    • Available Technology: Biomarkers for Liver Fibrosis

      Scientists have identified blood-based protein markers that allow methods of diagnosing or prognosing liver fibrosis in patients. [ Full Story ]

    • Insights into Nanocrystal Growth in Liquid

      Understanding the process that creates complex crystals could be important for energy applications.[ Full Story ]

    • Energy Technologies Get a Boost Toward Commercial Use

      PNNL has been awarded $1.5 million to advance, commercialize six lab-developed technologies. [ Full Story ]

    • Research to Help Modernization Nation's Grid

      New funding from DOE will focus on validating technologies to make electric distribution systems more resilient.[ Full Story ]

    • Ecosystems Take Longer to Recover from Drought

      Study reveals that incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to increased tree death and emissions of greenhouse gases.[ Full Story ]

  • August

    • Secretary Perry Visits PNNL

      Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited PNNL, seeing firsthand research that supports basic science, energy, the environment and national security missions. [ Full Story ]

    • EMSL Has Expanded Far Beyond Original Focus 20 Years Ago

      Learn how in Lab Director Steven Ashby's monthly column.[ Full Story ]

    • FLOWER Software App Helps Stem Cyberattacks

      The software application collects two-way network conversations between computers to help mitigate cyberattacks.[ Full Story ]

    • Night Vision for Bird- & Bat-Friendly Offshore Wind Power

      PNNL's ThermalTracker software can aid responsible wind farm siting and operations.[ Full Story ]

    • Nanomaterials Show Promise for Chillers

      Discoveries might lower energy consumption for air conditioning by engineering tiny porous materials to hold onto a large amount of refrigerant gases.[ Full Story ]

    • Carbonated Science Cleans Power Plants

      Liquid solvents can efficiently capture and convert carbon dioxide from coal power plants—view how.[ Watch Video ]

    • World's Smallest Neutrino Detector Finds Big Physics Fingerprint

      This research will ultimately help scientists understand the universe better.[ Full Story ]

  • July

    • Novel Glimpses into Early Lung Development

      Researchers are creating molecular atlas of the developing lung during late pregnancy and early childhood to help save premature babies.[ Full Story ]

    • Lending a Hand and Technology to First Responders

      Researchers partner with emergency management and public safety professionals to define, develop, test and deploy technologies to improve response and recovery.[ Full Story ]

    • Designing Tomorrow's Exascale Supercomputers Today

      Supercomputers help design automobiles and aircraft, create new medical drugs and discover the mysteries of the universe. Here's what PNNL is doing to take them to the next level.[ Full Story ]

    • Analysis in Motion Initiative

      Researchers are looking for ways for humans and machines to work more intelligently together so that analysts can make correct, useful, and timely interpretations of data.[ Watch Video ]

    • Controls Can Lower National Power Bills

      If commercial buildings fully used controls nationwide, the U.S. could slash its energy consumption by the equivalent of what is currently used by 12 to 15 million Americans.[ Full Story ]

    • Protein Data Takes Leap Forward in Medicine

      PNNL is part of a nationwide effort to learn more about the role of proteins in cancer biology and to use that information to benefit cancer patients.[ Full Story ]

    • Video Captures Bubble-Blowing Battery in Action

      Researchers propose how bubbles form, which could lead to smaller, more stable lithium-air batteries.[ Watch Video ]

  • June

    • Fueling a Sustainable Future

      Imagine a world where agricultural, animal and even human waste is used to produce fuels and high-value chemicals. Learn more about our research in Lab Director Steven Ashby's column.[ Full Story ]

    • Guardian of the Genome

      Scientists have gotten a better look at the effects of a gene known as the "guardian of the genome" in causing premature births and miscarriages.[ Full Story ]

    • Sensor Suitcase Technology Moves from Lab to Commercial Markets

      A portable case that contains easy-to-use sensors and other equipment will make it possible for small commercial building owners to cut their power bills by 10%.[ Full Story ]

    • Purifying Copper Nuggets for New Knowledge

      Commercial, high-purity copper nuggets are sent through an electroforming process to further reduce background radioactivity. These nuggets are used in research like the search for dark matter.[ Virtual Tour ]

    • Scientists Study Unloved Fish

      Researchers collected snake-like lamprey fish and tagged them with a small acoustic tracking tag designed just for juvenile lamprey to study their movement over dams.[ Full Story ]

    • Video Captures Bubble-Blowing Battery in Action

      Researchers propose how bubbles form, which could lead to smaller, more stable lithium-air batteries.[ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Detecting, Preventing the Use of Chemical Weapons

      Like detectives looking for clues, researchers are working on ways to identify the "fingerprints" of potential chemical threats. The ability to classify a particular agent and attribute its source is key to responding to and even preventing these threats.[ Full Story ]

    • As Smooth as Glass

      Scientists work to predict how glass corrodes over thousands of years. This research helps them fine tune new glass corrosion models to ensure that vitrified nuclear waste is confined in glass for safe, long-term storage and disposal.[ Full Story ]

    • Radiochemical Processing Lab

      A Category 2 nuclear facility with modern instrumentation, scientific expertise, and specialized capabilities, the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory supports nuclear, environmental, national security and science missions.[ Watch Video ]

    • From Moo to Goo

      Oil and gas wells and even cattle release methane gas into the atmosphere, and researchers are working on ways to not only capture this gas but convert it into something useful and less polluting.[ Watch Video ]

    • Tweaking a Molecule's Structure Can Send It Down a Different Path to Crystallization

      What do silky chocolate, a better medical drug, and solar panels have in common? Read more to find out.[ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Particles Carry Hitchhiking Pollutants Far from Home

      Toxic PAH aerosol particles travel farther than previously thought, leading to higher global lung cancer risk.[ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Improve the Predictive Capability for Bioenergy Crop Yield

      Researchers uncovered the county-by-county variability of bioenergy crop yields in the USA using detailed statistical and numerical simulations. [ Full Story ]

    • Energy Storage at the Plate

      Researchers study zinc oxide plates to better understand how to make a more effective material for use in high-energy storage systems, such as lithium-air and zinc-air batteries. [ Full Story ]

    • Harnessing Molds to Make Valuable Products

      Researchers learned more about how molds become cellular factories that can synthesize a range of diverse products, including precursors to alternative fuels. [ Full Story ]

    • Available Technology: Transactive Control Demand Response

      Researchers developed smart grid technology that determines the optimal operation for smart loads and utility devices based upon consumer preferences and geography that will enable grid operators a way to manage demand on peak days. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • PNNL helps Hanford cleanup

      Cleaning up Hanford is no easy task: it is one of the world's largest and most complex environmental remediation projects.[ Full Story ]

    • Smartphone Microscope Wins FLC Award

      An invention that turns a smartphone into an inexpensive, powerful, portable microscope wins Federal Laboratory Consortium for innovative technology commercialization.[ Watch Video ]

    • Hackers Beware

      The Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool discovers potential vulnerabilities by analyzing how cyber and physical systems affect each other, identifying vulnerabilities not found by looking at the systems independently—software wins FLC Award for innovative tech commercialization.[ Watch Video ]

  • February

    • Biofuel Matchmaker

      Researchers are developing a streamlined process to find the perfect strain of algae for renewable energy—which could lower biofuel production costs.[ Watch Video ]

    • A Chilling Innovation

      A new material developed at PNNL offers outstanding refrigerant capacity and high thermal conductivity—promising for many advanced chiller applications, including air conditioning in buildings, U.S. Navy vessels and automobiles, as well as for power generation.[ Full Story ]

    • Speeding Up Catalysts for Energy Storage

      Chemical bonds in hydrogen gas can be harnessed to power fuel cells or internal combustion engines. Researchers have now reported the fastest synthetic catalyst for hydrogen gas production to date, using a natural bacterial catalyst as inspiration.[ Full Story ]

    • Microbial Communities Thrive by Transferring Electrons

      A newly discovered microbial metabolic process that links different microbes in a community could enhance bioenergy production.[ Full Story ]

  • January

    • Detecting Nuclear Explosions Around the World

      Laboratory Director Steven Ashby shares how PNNL-developed technology aides the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization.[ Full Story ]

    • Pining for Carbon

      Microbial communities located in the Northwest's Central Cascades pine forest are studied to understand how they help stabilize carbon in soils. The research is featured this month in our 2017 Science as Art calendar.[ Full Story ]

    • Special Tags for Special Fish

      Researchers developed the sturgeon transmitter to better study species with extraordinarily long lives. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers to Play Key Role in New Manufacturing USA Institute

      PNNL is part of a new institute aimed at improving efficiency and productivity in chemical manufacturing industries by 20% in five years.[ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Shares the Gift of Innovation

      Lab Director describes how PNNL moves technologies from lab to market.[ Full Story ]

    • An ARC to Enhanced Cybersecurity

      Through the ARC (Asymmetric Resilient Cybersecurity) Initiative, scientists study ways deliver resilient cyber infrastructure by moving the advantage from the attacker to the defender.[ Watch Video ]

    • Water: Finding the Normal Within the Weird

      Scientists measured properties of water at deeply supercooled temperatures—which may help theorists flesh out their understanding of water and help atmospheric scientists better understand rain and clouds. [ Full Story ]

  • December

    • Check out PNNL at AGU

      Peat. Cloud physics. Carbon cycling in soil. Sea ice, monsoons, and fracture zones. These topics and more will be discussed by PNNL researchers presenting at AGU. [ Full Story ]

    • Energy Storage for the Power Grid

      The iron vanadium redox flow battery offers large-scale energy storage for the power grid in a reliable, stable, safe and low-cost storage alternative for a cleaner, efficient energy future. Learn how. [ Watch Video ]

    • PNNL Supports the White House Efforts on Soil

      Dozens of scientists are performing research on planet Earth's fragile 'skin' [ Full Story ]

    • Where the Rains Come From

      More frequent, more intense and longer-lasting storms cause heavier spring rain in central U.S. [ Full Story ]

    • As Smooth as Glass

      Material scientists are developing a pioneering high-throughput imaging technique to understand long-term glass corrosion behavior. The process enables rapid development of new glasses for nuclear waste vitrification over geologic time scales. [ Visit Website ]

    • Take a Virtual Tour of the Shallow Underground Lab

      Where some of the world's most sensitive radiation detection systems are developed to support environmental, national security and fundamental physics purposes. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Research Fuels Nuclear Energy Solutions

      Director Steven Ashby discusses how science is helping to ensure nuclear power plants operate safely, reliably well into the future. [ Full Story ]

    • Connected Building Challenge - Seattle Demonstration

      Teams offered solutions to advance the smart buildings market using PNNL's VOLTTON platform—a system that enables devices within buildings to be continually monitored for energy consumption. [ Watch Video ]

    • Cyclone Identity Crisis in the Bay of Bengal

      The El Niño-La Niña weather cycle strengthens Indian Ocean spring cyclones in the north and weakens them in the south. [ Full Story ]

    • Biogenic Particles Contribute to Formation of Aerosols

      In collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, researchers provided molecular-level insights into how alpha-pinene, a compound emitted in large quantities by pine trees, helps form new atmospheric aerosols. The findings can help improve the accuracy of models that simulate the effect of certain aerosols on climate and air quality. [ Full Story ]

    • Characterizing Chemical and Physical Interactions of Biofilms

      Researchers characterize the chemical and physical interactions of biofilms produced by microbes. The results provide insight on how microorganisms influence larger reactions and processes, like the migration of chemicals underground or precipitation reactions that influence the sequestration of carbon. [ Visit Website ]

    • Turning Waste into Glass

      PNNL material scientists are developing a pioneering high-throughput imaging technique to understand long-term glass corrosion behavior. The process enables the rapid development of new glasses for nuclear waste vitrification over geologic time scales. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Great Jobs in Science!

      PNNL researchers are featured in the "Great Jobs in Washington State" video. A five-year outlook points to exciting opportunities in computational science. [ Watch Video ]

    • Sniffing Out Explosives, Narcotics

      An imaging technology that enables researchers to take four-dimensional views of the subsurface for the first time has been nominated for an R&D 100 Award. [ Watch Video ]

    • Software Uniquely Blends Cyber and Physical Security Protection

      A first-of-its-kind software that identifies vulnerabilities in critical facilities and infrastructures is in the running for an R&D 100 Award. [ Watch Video ]

    • The Ants Go Marching — to Detect a Hacker

      A cyber-defense software system that mimics the behavior of an ant colony to protect against hackers is in the running for an R&D 100 Award. [ Watch Video ]

    • What Lies Beneath Can Be Imaged

      An imaging technology that enables researchers to take four-dimensional views of the subsurface for the first time has been nominated for an R&D 100 Award. [ Watch Video ]

  • September

    • Hydraulic Fluids Hospitable for Microbes

      Microbial communities adapt and thrive in extreme fracking conditions. [ Full Story ]

    • Making better "stuff" at PNNL

      There is a science website for kids that defines materials science as "the study of stuff" and, in the simplest of terms, that's right. [ Full Story ]

    • Grabbing an Electron by the Tail

      Future cell phones, laptops must have materials able to operate more efficiently on a smaller scale. Scientists found a way to control the electrical current in a new ultra-thin layered material, representing a substantial step forward [ Full Story ]

    • The Hunt for Signs of Ancient Life on Mars

      An expert in rock chemistry and microbial life is taking part in research advancing the types of detection strategies that could support the search for fossilized life on Mars. [ Full Story ]

    • Targeting Technetium

      Technetium-99 is long-lived, highly mobile and a significant risk for environmental cleanup at legacy nuclear waste sites. Researchers may have an answer in a promising technique that would use metal organic frameworks to safely remove the substance. [ Full Story ]

    • Estimates of Diesel Soot Pollution Will Help Arctic Environment

      Scientists calculated a detailed soot inventory in Russia that can inform climate modeling projections and policy efforts. [ Full Story ]

    • Plutonium Keeps Its Electrons Close to Home

      A recent study shows that radioactive material acts like a salt, a nuance that could benefit nuclear detectors and reactors. [ Full Story ]

    • A Global View of Energy Use for Water

      Scientists found rising energy use for water purposes, with significant differences among regions, sectors, and processes. [ Full Story ]

  • August

  • July

    • PNNL saving energy, money through innovation

      New technologies developed at PNNL improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption. [ Full Story ]

    • Ultra-Sensitive Nuclear Measurements Initiative Contributes to Discoveries in Particle Physics

      Through the initiative, among other things, PNNL researchers isolate and measure Argonne 39 to date waters from aquifers in an effort to forecast the impact of changing weather patterns or changing climate. [ Watch Video ]

    • Many Muons: Underground Imaging with Help from the Cosmos

      Muons—elementary particles originating from cosmic rays—now enable researchers to see underground with a breakthrough from PNNL. Scientists successfully tested the borehole muon detector for imaging carbon dioxide plumes and other subsurface features. [ Full Story ]

    • Magnetic Attraction Extracts Rare Earth Elements at Geothermal Power Plants

      A new process to extract rare earth elements from geothermal brine using magnets and a unique nanomaterial was discovered at PNNL. Geothermal energy plants have the potential to generate enough electricity to meet the nation's power needs many times over without emitting greenhouse gases. [ Full Story ]

    • Jet Stream Response to Global Warming Decoded

      Large-scale climate simulations uncover how climate warming is affecting the seemingly erratic behavior of the jet stream caused by vying forces. [ Full Story ]

    • Can PNNL's next-generation of bomb "sniffing" technology outdo dogs on explosive detection?

      The illicit use of explosives has become a daily event in the modern world. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • PNNL a world leader in subsurface science

      The earth is a complex system and its study is the focus of research at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL to Lead Regional Smart Manufacturing Center

      Advances in smart sensors, digital process controls and information technology could radically reduce energy use in manufacturing and improve manufacturing productivity in the Northwest. [ Full Story ]

    • Foresight into the Future of Buildings

      Listen to what researchers envision as the capabilities and characteristics of our buildings 100 years from now. [ Watch Video ]

    • Signatures of Illicit Nuclear Trafficking

      Hear how researchers developed methods that enable analysts to string together thousands of organizations' purchases and shipments into a single network to look for anomalies. The method could lead to identifying illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. [ Watch Video ]

    • What Lies Beneath Can Be Modeled

      Listen as Tim Johnson shares how he uses geophysical imaging to provide real-time images of contaminants below the surface. [ Watch Video ]

    • The Fueling Power of Plants

      Rich Hallen is fueling our nation's ability to be less dependent on imported oil. He imagines ways to use plants and other biological organisms as cost-effective and clean alternatives for crude oil for aviation fuel, gasoline or diesel. [ Watch Video ]

    • Weird, Water-Oozing Material Could Help Quench Thirst

      Researchers accidently created nanorods that could lead to real-world applications, including low-energy water harvesting and purification for the developing world and fabric that automatically pulls sweat away from the body and releases it as a vapor. [ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Microbiomes: Have the Power to Help or Hinder Your Health

      Listen as Senior Scientist Janet Jansson describes how tiny microorganisms play a role in influencing our ecosystem and bodies. [ Watch Video ]

    • Watering Down Barriers to Hydropower

      Hear Fisheries Biologist Ken Ham describe the delicate balance between improving performance of hydropower and protecting fish. [ Watch Video ]

    • A Cleansing Rain Falls; A Soil-Filled Mist Arises

      Rain doesn't simply cleanse the air of particles. It also spurs release of a soil-filled mist into the air, a finding with consequences of its own for how scientists model our planet's climate and future. [ Full Story ]

    • Advances Made in Extracting Uranium from Seawater

      The oceans hold enough uranium to meet global energy needs for 10,000 years—if only it could be captured from seawater to fuel nuclear power plants. Improved adsorbents may be the key. [ Full Story ]

    • Cleaning up Hybrid Battery Electrodes Improves Capacity and Lifespan

      PNNL researchers built a higher-capacity, longer-lasting electrode using the basic science technique: soft landing. This work will help unravel questions about hybrid storage systems made from lithium rechargeables and supercapacitors. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Microbes in "River's Liver"

      Rising river waters deliver a feast of carbon to hungry microbes where water meets land. The gluttony triggers increased activity, which could naturally boost emissions of greenhouse gases, researchers discovered. [ Full Story ]

    • On the Matter of Dark Matter

      Could there really have been seeds of gravitational material matter present early in the universe around which all of the galaxies and stars formed? Particle Physicist John Orrell describes his search for dark matter. [ Watch Video ]

    • More Frequent Extreme Precipitation Ahead for Western North America

      Research indicates Western North America and Canada can expect a 28 percent increase in the number of extreme precipitation days, thanks to global climate warming. [ Full Story ]

    • PACRAT (Physical And Cyber Risk Analysis Tool)

      A 17-year-long experiment shows that climate shifts change how well the underworld of soil bacteria functions. Researchers believe that a study of this length of time will be extremely useful in calibrating climate models with real-world data. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Aim to Identify Trends in Data through AIM Initiative

      Award-winning technologies give international treaty verification authorities "eyes and ears" around the globe. Listen as Nuclear Scientist Ted Bowyer explains. [ Full Story ]

    • Preventing Blackouts by Building a Better Power Grid

      Technologies being developed here will shape the future of the U.S. power grid—it's the largest and most complex machine ever made by humans. [ Watch Video ]

  • March

    • A Catalyst for Change

      PNNL's catalysis research serves as a catalyst for changing how our nation will secure a strong, clean energy future. Here we develop catalysts that efficiently make fuels from alternate feedstocks. Listen to Johannes Lercher explain. [ Watch Video ]

    • Big Data, Big Solutions

      Massive data generated daily is simply too great for a single analyst to review alone. How do they sort through all that information? Scientist Bill Pike describes PNNL analytical tools that come to their aide. [ Watch Video ]

    • Pollutants Slower to Degrade in Cool, Dry Air

      For the first time, researchers detect the link between industrial-produced atmospheric particles' stickiness and sunlight's inability to degrade them in cool, dry air. The findings ultimately will lead to more detailed air pollution models. [ Full Story ]

    • Maladaptive Soil Microbes Warn of Rocky Road Ahead

      A 17-year-long experiment shows that climate shifts change how well the underworld of soil bacteria functions. Researchers believe that a study of this length of time will be extremely useful in calibrating climate models with real-world data. [ Full Story ]

    • Make the World Safer from Nuclear Weapons

      Award-winning technologies give international treaty verification authorities "eyes and ears" around the globe. Listen as Nuclear Scientist Ted Bowyer explains. [ Watch Video ]

    • Meeting America's Pressing Needs — One Reaction at a Time

      Contributing to the DOE Blog, PNNL Director Steven Ashby discusses the importance of chemistry and catalysis to address our nation's greatest challenges. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Biofuel Tech Straight from the Farm

      New research shows that fungi common in barnyard manure may be a key to less-expensive biofuel and bio-based products. [ Full Story ]

    • How to Make a Modern Grid

      A newly published PNNL report describes seven paradigm shifts that have proven useful for electrical grid architecture work. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Innovation for Building Energy Efficiency Evaluation

      PNNL researchers have developed an energy rating tool to evaluate buildings. The Building Energy Asset Score rates commercial and multi-family buildings and identifies potential savings. [ Full Story ]

    • Optimizing Microbial Bioproduction of Fuels

      Recent research sheds light on the underlying causes of microbial cell-to-cell variability in lipid production. The findings could lead to microbial strains engineered for biofuels and chemical production. [ Full Story ]

    • Icy Clouds Deform Soot Particles, Impact Earth's Energy

      Research shows that soot particles transform in cold clouds, affecting soot's influence on the Earth's energy balance. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • Atmospheric Carbon Chemistry Insights

      New research significantly improves our fundamental understanding of brown carbon chemistry in the atmosphere. The study may lead to more accurate predictions of the impact of brown carbon on climate. [ Full Story ]

    • The Truth about Microdiversity

      Researchers collected near-complete genomic information for microbes that comprise two diverse communities in blue-green algae. The results show how these communities may be used as a future energy source. [ Full Story ]

    • How Seashells get their Strength

      New materials research shows why seashells are strong and hard while chalk is soft enough to write on sidewalks. [ Full Story ]

    • Tracking 'Vitamin Mimics' in Bacteria

      Scientists have made a "vitamin mimic" that offers a new window into the inner workings of living microbes that are crucial to the world's energy future. [ Full Story ]

    • Evolving the 21st Century Power Grid

      PNNL is helping to create open-access power grid datasets for researchers and industry. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy has awarded PNNL $3 million for two major projects. [ Full Story ]

  • December

    • Low-Cost Energy Storage

      Renewable energy can be stored for less with a new organic aqueous flow battery, which uses inexpensive and readily available materials. [ Full Story ]

    • Impacts of Thawing Permafrost

      A warming Arctic is mobilizing previously frozen dissolved organic matter — a process that may substantially increase carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere. [ Full Story ]

    • Where There's Waste, There's Energy

      Small, tailored mini-refineries located where waste is produced — farms, treatment plants, food processing companies and similar locations — may one day convert the nation's abandoned carbon into useful energy. [ Full Story ]

    • Mapping the Reactions of Turning Electrons into Fuel

      PNNL scientists mapped a reaction that turns wind-generated electricity into fuel — and the amount of energy needed for each step along the way. [ Full Story ]

    • Advanced Material Captures and Sequesters Radioiodine

      A team of researchers is developing silver-functionalized silica aerogel for the removal and immobilization of iodine compounds from the off-gas of nuclear fuel reprocessing plants. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Can Paris Pledges Avert Severe Climate Change?

      New research published in the journal Science shows that coordinated international reductions of greenhouse gases over time have the strong potential to reduce the highest levels of global warming. [ Full Story ]

    • Identifying the Onset of Stress Corrosion Cracking

      Pressurized water nuclear reactors are made up of nickel-base alloy components that can crack under stress. New research is helping to identify and understand what leads to cracking. [ Full Story ]

    • Microbes Map Path Toward Renewable Energy

      In the quest for renewable fuels, scientists are working with a bacterium that fills oceans and covers moist surfaces the world over. [ Full Story ]

    • Platinum Can be an Efficient Fuel Cell Catalyst

      Scientists developed a new class of catalysts by positioning all platinum atoms on the surface and minimizing the use of atoms in the core, resulting in platinum-efficient fuel cells. [ Full Story ]

    • Visualizing Single Cell Growth Dynamics

      Scientists introduced a novel microfluidic system capable of precisely controlling the chemical environment around cells, providing insights into cellular dynamics, such as cell growth, environmental sensing and communication. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • More Frequent, Severe Droughts and Floods for California

      New research suggests that El Niño and La Niña weather patterns could double extreme droughts and floods in California later this century. [ Full Story ]

    • The Color of Haze over Large Cities

      Scientists examined the chemistry of brown carbon and found that increased nitrogen oxide levels result in particles that hold significantly more heat and cause the atmospheric mix to turn a familiar yellowish brown. [ Full Story ]

    • Using Precious Metal-Free Materials to Speed Fuel Cell Reactions

      Replacing fossil fuel technologies with fuel cells that use precious metals is unsustainable. So, PNNL scientists combined two simple, inexpensive, metal-free catalysts to speed reactions in fuel cells. [ Full Story ]

    • Focus on Microbial Community Behavior

      Scientists demonstrated how the 24-hour cycle of night and day impacts the production of chemicals in microbial mats. This research may help efforts to use microbes to produce biochemicals and bioenergy. [ Full Story ]

    • Molecular Research Sheds Light on Soil Processes

      Research is shedding light on the molecular-scale roles that calcium and other cations play in determining the structure and behavior of large natural organic matter aggregates commonly found in nature. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • A New Promise for Greenhouse Reductions

      Growing rice contributes up to 17% of the world's methane emissions. But now, with the addition of a single gene, rice can be cultivated to emit virtually no methane. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Solve Challenge for Catalysis Research

      By carefully mapping out the energy profiles of reactions, scientists discovered why certain catalytic reactions that should occur easily ... fail. [ Full Story ]

    • A New Material for Transparent Electronics

      An international team of scientists developed a new material that efficiently conducts electricity and is optically transparent. [ Full Story ]

    • Forecasting Tool Reduces Errors

      PNNL researchers built a new power grid forecasting tool that delivers up to a 50% increase in accuracy ... with potential to save millions in wasted energy costs. [ Full Story ]

    • Producing High-Value Products from Bacteria

      PNNL scientists have directed a common bacterium to produce more lauric acid - a valuable fatty acid that is a useful component of biofuels. [ Full Story ]

  • August

    • Power Grid Challenges Tackled in New Facility

      The new Systems Engineering Building opens, providing a suite of capabilities to researchers who tackle challenges in grid modernization, building efficiency and renewable energy integration. [ Full Story ]

    • Revealing the Impacts of Urban Sprawl

      Global urbanization is accelerating, and it is transforming Earth's natural ecosystems. Scientists are mapping urban growth to better understand global environmental changes and impacts. [ Full Story ]

    • How Clouds Get their Brightness

      A study of clouds over the world's remotest ocean shows that sea life is responsible for up to half the cloud droplets that pop in and out of existence during summer. [ Full Story ]

    • 3-D Images Give Clues to Extending Catalyst Life

      An international team of scientists created the first 3-D atomic map of zeolite to improve catalysts used to produce fuel, biofuel and other chemicals. [ Full Story ]

    • IQ of Northwest Power Grid Raised

      Smart grid technologies and approaches can improve energy efficiency and possibly reduce power costs, according to the results of a comprehensive, five-year regional smart grid pilot project. [ Full Story ]

    • Better Views of Biofilms

      Smart grid technologies and approaches can improve energy efficiency and possibly reduce power costs, according to the results of a comprehensive, five-year regional smart grid pilot project. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • How to Get Your Clean-Energy Technology to Market Sooner

      From product development to operational scale-up, researchers offer long-term technology assistance to help small businesses in bioenergy, water power, and building energy industries bring innovations to market. [ Full Story ]

    • Could Computers Reach Light Speed?

      PNNL research shows that trapped light waves go farther than expected, giving insights on designing computer circuit interconnects that work at nearly the speed of light. [ Full Story ]

    • First Complete Genomes Reveal Role in Global Carbon Cycle

      Scientists reconstructed the first complete genomes for Archaea, a single-celled microorganism. The study revealed how these organisms may be involved in processing the sizeable reservoir of organic carbon. [ Full Story ]

    • Finding the Missing Particles

      PNNL-led research has clarified the nature of carbon-rich secondary organic aerosols and corrected long standing scientific assumptions. This research will reduce uncertainty in climate model projections. [ Full Story ]

    • Low-Dose Radiation Impacts Skin Sensitivity

      Using a systems approach, PNNL scientists are studying the effects of low-dose radiation exposure on human skin tissue. This research is important for protecting people from potentially harmful effects of radiation exposure. [ Full Story ]

    • Fueling America's Transportation Industry

      What if we could replace liquid transportation fuels with fuels derived from biomass? PNNL scientists have experimented with this possibility for decades, and have now advanced their capabilities to the large-scale. [ Full Story ]

    • Exploring Molecular Channels

      Scientists at PNNL's Institute for Integrated Catalysis are studying the fundamental mechanics of zeolites - crystalline structures that play a key part in catalysis. Learn more about the study and synthesis of these important materials in this new video. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • Detecting Cyberattack Patterns

      As computer network traffic surges, the threat of cyberattack increases. To enhance detection, scientists developed a technology that identifies and categorizes cyberattacks as graph patterns. [ Full Story ]

    • Solving the Unknown Mass of the Neutrino

      For the first time, researchers detected the energy given off by single electrons trapped in a magnetic field, which may offer a new way to measure the mass of a neutrino. [ Full Story ]

    • Broadening the Potential of Fuel Cells

      A new nanoparticle preparation system provides the means to understand the fundamental science of replacing platinum-based catalysts with catalysts based on cheaper, Earth-abundant metals. [ Full Story ]

    • New Hypothesis for Environmental Restoration

      Scientists discovered a potential remediation strategy for environmental contamination using mineral structures that form naturally underground. [ Full Story ]

    • Expanding Use of Aluminum in Autos

      Researchers have demonstrated a new process for the expanded use of lightweight aluminum in cars and trucks - at the speed, scale, quality and consistency required by the auto industry. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • A Faster-Changing Climate

      The Earth is entering a period of climate change that will likely be faster than what has occurred naturally over the last thousand years, according to a new study by scientists at PNNL. [ Full Story ]

    • Mapping Redox Switches

      New research will help determine the conditions that photosynthetic cyanobacteria - a potential energy source - need to thrive in industrial settings, such as such as biofuel refineries. [ Full Story ]

    • Creating Algal Biofuels Out of Thin Air

      To produce sustainable biofuels with microalgae, PNNL scientists are using a combination of techniques to maximize the transfer of CO2 from air into algal pond cultures. [ Full Story ]

    • Better, Less Expensive Fuel Cells

      PNNL scientists studied how single-atom catalysis oxidizes carbon monoxide. This new understanding could lead to more efficient and less expensive catalysts. [ Full Story ]

    • Metal Mechanisms

      A proteomics study at EMSL sheds light on metal reduction pathways in key microbial species, paving the way for future widespread use in bioremediation efforts. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • New Battery Exceeds Energy Density of Previous Designs

      Ensuring the continuity of the power grid could be easier with a new battery technology that packs far more energy than any other battery of its kind and size. [ Full Story ]

    • Reducing Impacts of Coal-Fired Power Plants

      To quickly transform CO2 into minerals, PNNL researchers used a computation model to determine if and when minerals form. [ Full Story ]

    • An Ideal Microbe for Industrial Purposes

      Scientists identified a novel cyanobacterial strain that grows rapidly and is amenable to genetic manipulation - qualities that make it useful for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. [ Full Story ]

    • Oral Exposure Does Not Create High-BPA Risk in Humans

      PNNL-led research shows that oral exposure to bisphenol A does not lead to higher than expected levels of the compound in human blood. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Discovering and Responding to Cyber Security Threats

      PNNL researchers developed a bio-inspired analysis and characterization tool to discover evolving cyber security threats. [ Full Story ]

    • Understanding Enzymes for Agriculture and Biofuels

      New research on plant enzymes may enhance sustainable agriculture and biofuel production. [ Full Story ]

    • Fundamental insights into catalyst design

      New research provides fundamental insights into the behavior of polyoxometalate anions and how to control them. This work may help in the design of new catalysts. [ Full Story ]

    • New Soot Study Could Improve Climate Models

      Understanding the chemical nature of soot particles could lead to improved climate models ... and cleaner aviation engines. [ Full Story ]

    • Novel Electrode Coating for Longer Lasting Batteries

      A coating that makes high capacity silicon electrodes more durable could lead to a replacement for lower-capacity graphite electrodes ... and longer longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium rechargeable batteries. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • Algae to Crude Oil: Million-Year Natural Process Takes Minutes in the Lab

      PNNL engineers have created a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae. The process simplifies transformation of algae to oil, water and usable byproducts. [ Full Story ]

    • Studying CO2 Reactions at Low Temperatures

      PNNL researchers, using instruments in EMSL, are applying electron microscopy to understand the secondary mineral phase and its chemistry. The studies inform efforts to capture and store carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases deep underground. [ Full Story ]

    • Plugging Water's Effects into an Earth System Model

      PNNL researchers simulated how agriculture irrigation from surface and groundwater affects the Earth's water and energy budget. The studies highlight the challenges for Earth system models to include a more complete representation of irrigation, surface and subsurface hydrology, as well as water management to simulate realistic irrigation effects on climate. [ Full Story ]

    • Chemical Forensics Aids in Detecting Perpetrators

      PNNL’s research in chemical forensics is addressing critical national security challenges by developing methods for tracing chemical attacks back to their source. In this video, Analytic Chemist Carlos Fraga discusses chemical forensics and having the capability to find the perpetrators of a chemical attack on our nation or our allies. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Modeling Buildings by the Millions: Building Codes in China Tested for Energy Savings

      China can build its way to a more energy efficient future one house, apartment and retail store at a time — by improving the rules regulating these structures, a PNNL-study reports. [ Full Story ]

    • Boosting Transportation Technologies

      An immense challenge facing the auto industry how to make vehicles both lighter and cleaner is discussed by PNNL's expert George Muntean. Increasing fuel economy, while reducing emissions at the same time is a formidable task facing scientists and automakers. [ Full Story ]

    • The Purest Copper in the World Used in Ultra-Low-Background Radiation Detectors

      PNNL scientists developed an electrochemical method for purifying copper, a key material that makes possible radiation detection systems of unprecedented sensitivity. These systems are used to support environmental, national security and basic research [ Full Story ]

    • GridPACK" Packs Powerful Modeling Capabilities

      A PNNL-developed toolkit strengthens power grid modeling capabilities and is expected to be a key resource for building future power grid applications. [ Full Story ]

    • Hugging Hemes Help Electrons Hop

      Researchers simulating how certain bacteria run electrical current through tiny molecular wires have discovered a secret Nature uses for electron travel. The results are key to understanding how the bacteria do chemistry in the ground, and will help researchers use them in microbial fuel cells, batteries, or for turning waste into electricity. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • Remembering the Japan Nuclear Disaster

      Three years later, scientist Harry Miley recalls how PNNL-developed, ultra-trace, nuclear detection technology picked up the first reading of radiological materials over the United States following the nuclear power plant explosion in Japan. [ Full Story ]

    • Eliminating the Superbug

      Antibiotics are designed to stamp out the microbes that make us sick, but their overuse has resulted in drug-resistant bacteria. These "superbugs" have modified their behavior to defy even the best medical efforts and are a growing public health concern. Using proteomic analyses, PNNL scientists help study how these superbugs could be prompted to self-destruct. [ Full Story ]

    • Models Put a Global Spin on U.S. Agricultural and Land Use Practices

      Growing crops for food rather than energy may be the most efficient way for U.S. Midwest farm land to contribute to combating climate change, say PNNL researchers. They conducted a series of model simulations that indicate an intensification of food and feed crop production is the most effective contribution to global climate mitigation for land in the Midwest. [ Full Story ]

    • Virtual Retina Display Technology Recognized for Innovation in Marketplace

      PNNL has been recognized for creating three-dimensional headset display technology that could improve the sight of soldiers in dark battlefields and gamers immersed in virtual reality. The goggles use micromirrors similar to a projector to reflect light into the eye. [ Full Story ]

    • Battery Small Enough to be Injected, Energetic Enough to Track Salmon

      A microbattery the size of a grain of rice developed at PNNL packs twice the energy compared to current microbatteries used to monitor the movements of salmon through rivers in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Agencies use the information to chart the welfare of endangered fish and to help determine the optimal manner to operate dams. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • The Ants Go Marching One-by-One... in Cyberspace

      PNNL researchers have developed a bio-inspired technology for detecting security threats to the electric grid. The technology, "DigitalAnts" can roam a computer network looking for security breaches the same way that real ants patrol a nest. [ Full Story ]

    • Indian Monsoon Reacts to Desert Whims

      A new analysis of satellite data reveals a link between dust in North Africa and West Asia causes stronger monsoons in India. [ Full Story ]

    • Iron-Bearing Minerals in Sediments Naturally Reduce Contaminant Levels

      PNNL conducted a study that showed iron-bearing minerals that are naturally abundant in sediment can stop the movement of contaminants such as technetium. Implications are clear for the Hanford Site and others undertaking remediation efforts. [ Full Story ]

    • How Old is the Water You’re Drinking?

      PNNL scientists are using trace amounts of natural radioactivity to estimate the age of a groundwater aquifer in an effort to forecast the impacts of changing rainfall patterns on groundwater resources. [ Full Story ]

    • New Energy Research Lab Coming to PNNL

      Construction begins on a $10-million facility that will house a variety of energy research that addresses challenges in the power grid's reliability and resiliency, the integration of renewable energy onto the power grid, and reducing energy use in buildings. [ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Lithium-sulfur batteries may power!

      Lithium-sulfur batteries may power tomorrow's electric vehicles, but first, they must last longer and be able to be repeatedly recharged. New research shows a metal organic framework could help solve this challenge. [ Full Story ]

    • Possible Advances in Biofuels and Human Health!

      Plants put out molecular signals and invite attack from pathogens. Recent research offers new insights into microbial signaling, which could lead to advances in areas as diverse as biofuels and human health. [ Full Story ]

    • Better Models to Assess Groundwater Contamination

      New research reveals fundamental processes of uranium transport ... and shows that release of this contaminant slows over time. The findings will enable scientists to construct better models to assess the risk of groundwater contamination. [ Full Story ]

    • Better Catalysts for Alternative Energy

      A fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must first tear open a hydrogen molecule. Scientists have now viewed the catalyst with its cleaved quarry, providing insight for better catalysts for alternative energy. [ Full Story ]

    • Unique Modeling Technique

      A unique modeling technique is allowing scientists to better understand the global-scale effect of tiny pollution particles on the Pacific storm track. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • Better Method to Study Reduction-Oxidation

      Scientists at PNNL have developed an innovative redox proteomics method to understand how nature regulates protein functions and interactions. [ Full Story ]

    • Keep Current on PNNL Science & Technology

      Subscribe to Currents, a new email newsletter that highlights scientific collaborations, opportunities for students, opportunities at our scientific user facilities, and opportunities to partner with PNNL research teams. [ Full Story ]

    • Energy Storage for the Power Grid

      Video: A solution for large-scale energy storage for the power grid, the iron vanadium redox flow battery offers reliable, stable, safe and low-cost energy storage for a cleaner, efficient energy future. [ Full Story ]

    • Water Woes for U.S. Southwest

      PNNL research identified a trajectory of spring drying that will alter water availability across the U.S. Southwest. The findings indicate future challenges for regional water resource managers and agricultural production. [ Full Story ]

    • Better, Longer-Lasting Batteries

      Imagine a cell phone battery that lasts a whole week. Recent research shows how replacing lithium with other metals could increase battery capacity. [ Full Story ]

    • Concentrating Solar Power Systems

      PNNL was recently awarded PNNL $2.9 million to develop a system that extends solar energy into the night by capturing the sun’s energy during the day and releasing it when it’s dark. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • Study of an Ant's Garden May Improve Biomass Conversion

      Studies of nutrient turnover in the gardens of leaf-cutter ants may ultimately improve the process to converting biomass to biofuels and other advanced bioproducts.[ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Receives R&D 100 Awards

      PNNL receives three R&D 100 Awards for technologies taht feature virtual retinal displays, enable new molecular analysis, and reduce our nation's dependence on fossil fuels. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Translate the Chemical Language of Microbes

      Researchers com bined genomics and proteomics with an automated computational tool, known as RiPPquest, to help translate the chemical language of microbes into biological function. [ Full Story ]

    • New Research Helps Scientists Predict Impact on Climate

      Lofted in sea spray, the remains of tiny sea organisms affect the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. New research can help scientists predict how this may impact the climate over time. [ Full Story ]

    • VOLTTRON Improves Energy Efficiency and Reliability

      PNNL has released the source code for VOLTTRON", an innovative software platform developed by the Lab's Future Power Grid Initiative to improve energy efficiency and reliability. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Develop Silicon Nanomateria

      PNNL researchers developed a silicon nanomaterial with 10 times the energy storage capacity of graphite. The potential result: Better batteries with longer life than today's lithium-ion batteries. [ Full Story ]

  • August

    • Bacterial Nanowires are Really Wires

      Scientists found electricity-conducting proteins within bacterial extensions, known as nanowires. This research may help scientists harness the bacteria to make microbial fuel cells, batteries, or to turn waste into electricity. [ Full Story ]

    • Changing the Game in Biomass Conversion

      To make aviation fuels from biomass, PNNL researchers are crafting catalytic zeolites with wider "lanes" to prevent molecular crashes and extend the life of catalysts designed to turn bio-oil to fuel. [ Full Story ]

    • Cherry Picking Molecules

      Manufacturing everyday plastic products from ethylene is an energy-intense process. To reduce the energy required, scientists designed a material that binds with the electrons around ethylene's double-bonded carbon atom. [ Full Story ]

    • Dust Increases Cloud Cover

      In a 150-year climate simulation, researchers expected that heat radiating off of West African dust would reduce ocean cloud cover. Instead, they discovered that dust increases clouds over the Atlantic. [ Full Story ]

    • Promising Remediation Strategy for Technetium

      Technetium-99 is a common radioactive contaminant in groundwater at nuclear waste sites. Research is showing how iron and sulfide can promote long-term environmental restoration. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • New Approach Enables Automatic Mapping of Human Impact

      At night, satellite images reveal earth’s most populous urban areas. These images can also help scientists uncover the extent of human impacts on land, water and energy use. [ Full Story ]

    • Observing the Birth of a Mineral

      PNNL scientists studied the formation of calcium carbonate crystals in real time to understand ancient environmental conditions at the time these minerals formed – and how to lock CO2 out of our atmosphere. [ Full Story ]

    • Mapping Molecules in the Human Lung

      PNNL scientists will perform an unprecedented study, mapping the molecular components of normal lung development during late term and early childhood – a critical step toward promoting proper lung formation in preterm infants. [ Full Story ]

    • Discovery May Speed Biofuel Production

      Studying the chemistry that turns plant material into energy-rich fuels, PNNL scientists discovered that water in the conversion process forms an impurity that slows important chemical reactions. [ Full Story ]

    • Building the Next-Generation Earth Climate Model

      PNNL scientists joined a multi-institutional team to develop the most complete climate and earth system model to date. Using high-performance computing, the project will address our nation’s most daunting climate change challenges.[ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Securing our nation’s cyber infrastructure

      PNNL provides critical research and solutions to better secure our nation from evolving cyber threats. Some of PNNL's recent work includes internal investments such as the Asymmetric Resilient Cybersecurity Initiative. [ Full Story ]

    • Gathering grid data

      Today, millions of sensors collect data on power grid operations. PNNL developed the Framework for Network Co-Simulation (FNCS), as open source software, to improve grid operations and efficiency. [Watch our video ]

    • Natural gas and climate change

      Published in Nature, an analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that without new climate policies, expanding the current supply of cheap natural gas would not slow the long-term growth of global greenhouse gas emissions. [ Full Story ]

    • Improving biofuel production research

      PNNL scientists identified more than 300 proteins in Synechococcus, a bacterium adept at converting carbon dioxide into other molecules of interest to energy researchers. This research has implications for future biofuel production. [ Full Story ]

    • Palladium atoms reduce emissions

      Scientists discovered that isolated palladium atoms efficiently turn carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide during the first 30 seconds after a vehicle engine starts. The findings may lead to improved catalytic converter technology — and reduced emissions. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Sensor Fish Reduce Impact of Hydropower

      PNNL’s “Sensor Fish” are helping scientists measure the forces that impact salmon as they pass through dams, helping reduce the environmental impact of hydropower. [ Full Story ]

    • Detecting Deadly Toxins

      PNNL scientists developed a new assay platform that allows simultaneous detection of 10 deadly toxins. [ Full Story ]

    • Commercializing Clean Energy Technologies

      To accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies, PNNL will bring forward technologies related to energy efficiency, biofuels, vehicles, wind and water power as a part of DOE’s Lab-Corps program. [ Full Story ]

    • Artificial Intelligence Helps Advance Scientific Research

      In an op-ed in the journal Science, researchers from PNNL and other institutions took on the question of artificial intelligence helping to advance scientific research. [ Full Story ]

    • Noteworthy Scientific Achievements of 2014

      PNNL’s 2014 Key Accomplishments — Fundamental and Computational Sciences is now available as a downloadable PDF. The 32-page brochure highlights some of the most noteworthy achievements of the past year. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • How do Microbes do Chemistry?

      PNNL researchers are characterizing chemical and physical interactions of biofilms produced by microbes. This information is used to provide insight on how the tiny microorganisms influence much larger reactions and processes, such as the migration of chemicals and radionuclides underground for environmental research. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Put Spotlight on Samples Smaller than a Period

      Scientist studying toxin-eating microbes, cancer cell propagation and other processes involving tiny samples need powerful microscopes that can focus on objects nearly 1,000 times smaller than a period. PNNL researchers recently developed an incredibly small and intense spotlight that can do just that. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL to Map the Wind

      Using Doppler technology, PNNL researchers are mapping the wind patterns off the Oregon coast. The study is part of the U.S. government's "all of the above" strategy to develop secure domestic energy sources. [ Full Story ]

    • Activity-Based Protein Profiling Suggests How Fungus Becomes Pathogenic

      Two unique chemical probes designed at PNNL are helping scientists determine how a pathogenic organism responsible for a severe lung infection thrives in human serum, a protein found in blood plasma. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Technology to Keep Troops Cool, Use Less Fuel

      Researchers at PNNL are adapting an energy-efficient air chiller system for field military bases on the front lines of battle that will use 50 percent less fuel. The system’s decreased fuel consumption also could save lives by reducing attacks on troops who transport fuel in supply convoys. [ Full Story ]

    • New Modeling Method Captures Cotton-Ball Clouds' Shading Effects

      PNNL researchers updated a frequently used computer model that represents the impact of small, fair-weather clouds on the amount of sunshine reaching Earth's surface. The new method includes changes in temperature and humidity near the surface will lead to improved climate forecasts. [ Full Story ]

    • Sunlight Absorbing Black Soot from Human Activities Contributes to Climate Warming

      Soot, or black carbon, has twice the climate-warming strength than previously thought. An international team that included PNNL used a new method to identify the black carbon signature in atmospheric warming. [ Full Story ]

    • New Protein Probes Find Enzymes for Biofuel Production

      New protein probes and proteomics tools at EMSL are helping PNNL researchers find the best biomass-to-biofuel production enzymes that nature has to offer. [ Full Story ]

    • The Point at which Light and Nanomaterial Films Intersect Could Lead to Energy Applications

      PNNL scientists are investigating the interaction of light with nanomaterial films for potential energy applications. This optical microscope image shows an edge region of a nanomaterial film. Multi-colored sections indicate different thicknesses of the film. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Study Fabrication Techniques for Advancing Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

      PNNL researchers are developing cost-effective materials, such as coated stainless steel interconnects, and fabrication techniques for components in solid oxide fuel cell stacks. Fuel cells are highly efficient devices for converting chemical energy from fuel into electricity. Their high efficiency conserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • Unique Solvent Removes Hydrogen Sulfide from Natural Gas

      Natural gas, an affordable energy source, also harbors hydrogen sulfide—a toxin that must be removed. PNNL discovered a method to remove hydrogen sulfide that is more effective and efficient than current techniques. [ Full Story ]

    • Explosives Vapor Detection Technology: the New "Sniff Test"

      A quick and sensitive "sniffing" process to detect minute traces of explosives on luggage, cargo or passengers was demonstrated by PNNL. The discovery could lead to safer passage through airports. [ Full Story ]

    • BPA Found in Plastics Too Low to Be Harmful

      A controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make the world's food supply safer has come under attack: bisphenol A. Widely known as BPA, it has the potential to mimic the sex hormone estrogen if blood and tissue levels are high enough. Now, exposure studies show that in the general population, people's exposure may be many times too low for BPA to effectively mimic estrogen in the human body. [ Full Story ]

    • Synthetic Molecule First Electricity-Making Catalyst to Use Iron to Split Hydrogen Gas

      PNNL scientists discovered the first iron-based catalyst that converts hydrogen directly to electricity. The result moves chemists and engineers one step closer to widely affordable fuel cells. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Unlocking the Parkinson's Puzzle

      PNNL is part of a team looking to identify components in protein structures that will aid in diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease. [ Full Story ]

    • Water for Power

      Generating electricity using new low-emissions technologies is not likely to increase water demand, PNNL researchers discovered. They used an integrated model of human and earth systems to find how the choice of technologies may impact the global and regional economy, water use and emissions. [ Full Story ]

    • Suspicious Powder Incidents Require Right Tools for Quick Action

      First responders know that suspected biological threats require quick and decisive action. Having the right field-deployable equipment available to determine what the suspicious substance is can be complicated, challenging and expensive. A PNNL-developed report that summarizes these commercially available technologies will help first responders make informed procurement decisions. [ Full Story ]

    • Clouds Pull Rank in the Tropical Atmosphere

      A cloud's class and status matters to the climate, PNNL scientists found when separating tropical clouds into categories. Clouds with low bases are more influential than high clouds, because they have a greater effect on the amount of solar energy that reaches the ground. The discovery helps scientists better understand climate change issues. [ Full Story ]

    • Micromodels Redefine How Bubbles Characterize Carbon Dioxide Gas Flow

      Using EMSL's microfabrication and subsurface flow and transport capabilities, PNNL scientists modeled how mobile bubbles in reservoir storage conditions create a flow barrier from exsolved carbon dioxide that can affect global climate. The research shows promise for the future storage of carbon dioxide emissions into geological formations. [ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Dust Storms Induce Climate Change

      Scientists at China's Lanzhou University and PNNL found that dust lifted from the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China during a dust storm had a significant effect on that region’s climate. The ability to accurately model such storms will help in understanding the climatic impact of dust. [ Full Story ]

    • Canopy: Making Sense of Data

      PNNL researchers developed a visual analytic software suite to help intelligence analysts make sense of massive amounts of data to identify threats and take action. Canopy enables intelligence analysts to quickly explore and comprehend connections within large amounts of data in multiple formats including video, image and text. [ Full Story ]

    • A Solar Booster Shot for Natural Gas Power Plants

      Natural gas power plants can use 20 percent less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system being developed by PNNL researchers. The system converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel that power plants can burn to make electricity. [ Full Story ]

    • Smashing Glass at the Molecular Level

      Whether gas trapped under a frozen water layer flows through cracks or bursts out depends on the layer's depth and temperature, PNNL scientists discovered. Understanding the basic principles behind how solid water releases gases, or doesn't, could answer questions about how astrophysical ices, a component of comets, and can be used to understand the stability and failure mechanisms in certain glasses, potentially leading to improved properties. [ Full Story ]

    • Fires, Hurricanes and the Climate

      Fires and hurricanes are examples of natural disturbances that drastically affect millions of people worldwide. PNNL scientists now are considering how these events also might limit the negative impacts on our climate. Their study is the first to quantify the effect of future natural disturbances on climate change strategies. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • New Atmospheric Study to Help Understand Climate Change

      Using tools located in EMSL, PNNL scientists analyzed the molecular composition of atmospheric organic aerosols, or OA. Our understanding of OA composition is limited. Scientist uncovered a new method for investigating OA that may lead to more precise climate models used to understand impacts from weather changes. [ Full Story ]

    • $18 million Study of Deadly Secrets Behind Flu, Ebola, West Nile Viruses

      Viruses such as Ebola, West Nile and Influenza have the potential to kill those infected, as antiviral drugs either don't exist or are losing effectiveness. A new $18 million will lead to a detailed molecular understanding of how humans respond to these viral pathogens. The study's goal is to develop new drugs to thwart infection. [ Full Story ]

    • Gel Technology Offers Promising Approach toward Cancer Treatment

      An injectable radiogel technology developed by PNNL delivers the yttrium-90 medical isotope to a precise location in the body for targeted radiation therapy, while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Safe, effective and relatively low-cost cancer treatments are needed for solid tumors that can’t be surgically removed. [ Full Story ]

    • Stop Hyperventilating, Say Energy Efficiency Researchers

      A single advanced building control now in development at PNNL could slash 18 percent – tens of thousands of dollars – off the overall annual energy bill of the average large office building, with no loss of comfort. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • Salmonella Infection: A Battle between Good and Bad Bacteria in the Gut

      A new study that examined food poisoning infection as-it-happens in mice revealed harmful bacteria, such as a common type of Salmonella, take over beneficial bacteria within the gut amid previously unseen changes to the gut environment. The results provide new insights into the course of infection and could lead to better prevention or new treatments. [ Full Story ]

    • Inspectors Use PNNL Technologies to Detect Nuclear Explosions

      Experts from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization rely on PNNL’s research and development advancements to detect radioactive xenon gas released from explosions and other processes. [ Full Story ]

    • Award-winning Instrument Will Lead to Rapid Medical and Environmental Tests

      An instrument developed at PNNL can aid early diagnosis and customized treatment of disease. Identification of small molecules that indicate disease, known as biomarkers, promises to significantly improve human heath through early diagnosis and customized treatment. [ Full Story ]

    • Irrigation's Impact on Clouds and Climate

      The simple act of watering a plant alters the balance of moisture in soil and the climate. Knowing this, PNNL atmospheric scientists included irrigation in a climate model and found that it shifts the balance of water vapor and upward moving air. Their findings show that irrigation may play a role in forming shallow clouds, which alter the local climate. [ Full Story ]

  • August

    • Unlocking Fire Ice

      A PNNL-developed software is being used to study a new way of producing methane hydrates—a massive and largely untapped source of energy. Dubbed “fire iceâ€? because you can burn the methane while it’s in the ice, methane hydrates hold a massive supply of natural gas. [ Full Story ]

    • A Crystal of a Different Color

      While studying a special kind of molecular connection called an agostic bond, chemists unexpectedly made two differently colored crystalsâ€᾿one orange, the other blueâ€᾿from one chemical in the same flask. The discovery is providing new insights into important industrial chemical reactions such as those that occur while making plastics and fuels. [ Full Story ]

    • Field Test Could Lead to Reducing CO2 Emissions Worldwide

      An injection of carbon dioxide, or CO2, has begun at a site in southeastern Washington to test deep geologic storage. Researchers are injecting CO2 one-half mile underground to see if the greenhouse gas can be stored safely and permanently in ancient basalt flows. [ Full Story ]

    • Novel Integration of Mass Spectrometry Techniques Wins R&D 100 Award

      An instrument that quickly and effectively analyzes complex biological and environmental samples was named one of the past year's 100 most significant scientific and technological products or advances. The instrument potentially will aid in biomedical research, clinical practice, natural product management and environmental studies. [ Full Story ]

    • Detecting the Secrets of the Universe Deep Underground

      Working as part of a team, PNNL is bringing its signature capability in ultra-low-level detection to help search for a rare form of radioactive decay—never before detected—called “neutrinoless double beta decay.â€? If observed, the discovery could provide insight into the origin of the universe. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • Lights Out: Testing CORE During a Blackout Simulation

      PNNL hosted power system operators from throughout the Northwest for a blackout restoration simulation. The training took place at PNNL’s Electricity Infrastructure Operations Center and included testing data collection software called Common Operating and Response Environment, or CORE. The software monitors power operators as they communicate via instant text messaging. It was recently adapted for power grid operators under PNNL's Future Power Grid Initiative. [ Full Story ]

    • Technology Aids in Explosives Detection

      Physicists at PNNL developed the Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging technology, which can be used to better identify explosives hidden in mail, luggage or other objects. [ Full Story ]

    • How the Newest Diesel Engines Emit Very Little Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide

      The newest catalytic converters in diesel engines blast away a pollutant from combustion with the help of ammonia. Common in European cars, the engines exhaust harmless nitrogen and water. How they do this hasn't been entirely clear. New research by PNNL scientists shows that the catalyst attacks its target pollutant in an unusual way, providing insight into how to make the best catalytic converters. [ Full Story ]

    • Refrigerated Trucks to Keep Their Cool Thanks to Fuel Cell Technology

      Refrigerated trucks equipped with hydrogen fuel cells are making deliveries in three markets. The trucks whose refrigeration units are powered by fuel cells, a clean technology that makes energy silently and with dramatically reduced emissions that makes energy silently and with dramatically reduced emissions. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Cutting Greenhouse Gases to Curb Climate Change also Saves Lives

      PNNL was part of a multi-institutional research team that found the toll in long-term, human-health costs justifies cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which often go hand-in-hand with harmful air pollutants. Using a prominent human-Earth systems model linked with international community climate projections, the team showed that reducing greenhouse gases not only slows climate change, it prevents millions of premature deaths. [ Full Story ]

    • Understanding Biofilm Roles in Reactions and Processes

      Biofilms, or groups of microorganisms that form on surfaces, are tiny but mighty. They play a significant role in much larger reactions and processes, such as the migration of chemicals and radionuclides underground. To enhance our understanding of them, PNNL is characterizing biofilms and their chemical and physical interactions. [ Full Story ]

    • Identifying Materials for Environmental Solutions

      PNNL researchers studied and synthesized the mineral spinel as a host for volatile radionuclides. Spinel could help increase retention of radionuclides during vitrification, a process that encapsulates radioactive waste in glass for long-term storage. [ Full Story ]

    • Studying Nanofibers for Energy Storage Solutions

      To optimize their promise, PNNL researchers are applying a design material synthesis approach to nanofibers. The research is expected to improve the effectiveness of sodium-ion batteries and lead to low-cost energy storage solutions for the nation. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • PNNL, ADM Honored as Finalist for Commercialization Success

      PNNL, with industry partner Archer Daniels Midland Company, was named a finalist for the most noteworthy chemical-engineering technology commercialized in the previous two years worldwide. They collaborated to create the world’s first industrial-scale process for producing propylene glycol from renewable sources such as soybeans. [ Full Story ]

    • Reaction Performs Differently in Various Size Soil Pores

      PNNL researchers found that predictive models of biogeochemical interactions in soils are more accurate if they consider the reaction chemistry that occurs in distinct soil pores. The findings could assist in developing new environmental remediation techniques and in climate studies. [ Full Story ]

    • Exploring Bacteria as a Fuel Source

      A new model predicts how much isoprene will be produced when the bacterium Bacillus subtilis is stressed or nourished. Isoprene is a volatile liquid derived from oil and is used in aviation fuel. This insight is helping advance synthetic biology approaches to using bacteria as a fuel source. [ Full Story ]

    • It’s Electric!

      There are such things as an electrically conductive bacteria bristling with nanowires. PNNL researchers are helping to understand how those nanowires work – a potential step to better biofuels processes, bio-computers, and nanowire manufacturing. [ Full Story ]

    • Cyber Security Test Bed Will Lead to More Robust Critical Infrastructures

      PNNL researchers have developed powerNET, a “cyber-physical test bed,” where experts develop and test solutions to protect the nation’s energy and transportation critical infrastructures. [ Full Story ]


    • Sneak Peek

      For the first time, with just a click you can view laboratories, equipment and learn about projects located in the Shallow Underground Laboratory. The facility is the only certified U.S. lab to support the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. [ Full Story ]

    • Tracking Young Salmon’s First Moves in the Ocean

      Basic conditions, like current directions, play a huge role in determining the behavior of migrating salmon as they move from rivers and hit ocean waters, PNNL research found. The discoveries will inform restoration policies and practices focused on boosting endangered salmon species in the Pacific Northwest. [ Full Story ]

    • Lingering Clouds

      Pollution causes thunderstorms to leave behind bigger, longer-lasting clouds that can shorten the daily temperature range. Results from a PNNL study reveal how this happens and how pollution plays a role in climate waming. [ Full Story ]

    • Highly Insulating Windows, Energy Efficient, though Expensive

      Highly insulating triple-pane windows keep a house snug and cozy, but it takes two decades or more for the windows to pay off financially based on utility-bill savings, according to a report by PNNL energy efficiency experts. [ Full Story ]

    • Preparing for Hell and High Water

      Changes are already happening to Earth's climate due to burning fossil fuels, deforestation and large-scale agriculture. As changes get more pronounced, people everywhere will have to adjust, according to scientists. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • Cutting Air Pollution Got Boost from Weather

      New research suggests that China's impressive feat of cutting Beijing's pollution up to 50 percent for the 2008 Summer Olympics had some help from Mother Nature. Rain just at the beginning and wind during the Olympics likely contributed about half of the effort needed to clean up the skies, scientists found. The results also suggest emission controls need to be more widely implemented than in 2008 if pollution levels are to be reduced permanently. [ Full Story ]

    • Squeezing the Most out of U.S. Natural Gas Reserves

      Researchers discovered a method that could dramatically cut the amount of heat needed during the processing of natural gas by at least 10 percent. Currently, natural gas extracted from the nation's coal beds and methane-rich geologic features must first be purged of hydrogen sulfide before it can be used as fuel. [ Full Story ]

    • Translating Data into Decisions

      A new tool developed by PNNL helps grid operators respond to complex outage predictions more effectively and even predict potential network failures. [ Full Story ]

    • MARS on the Move

      PNNL adapted the Multi-Sensor Airborne Radiation System (MARS) for first-time deployment on a helicopter. The technology, developed for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, could be used for detecting radiation at distances of up to ten meters. [ Full Story ]

    • Cloud Droplets Ready for Primetime

      Scientists were looking for promising atmospheric particles that turn into cloud droplets and then plotting their origins. Separating the formed droplets from the inactive particles, they uncovered the chemical structure of those that formed droplets. Results will help solve some of the mystery of clouds and their effects on floods and droughts. [ Full Story ]

    • Fingerprinting Uranium

      It may become easier to determine if uranium zips through the soil or not. Researchers from PNNL and the University of Texas used x-rays to identify mobile, stationary forms of atomic pollutant. Using this method allows scientists to more accurately predict the atomic pollutant's behavior. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • The Great Gas Hydrate Escape

      Computer simulations revealing how methane and hydrogen pack into gas hydrates could enlighten alternative fuel production and carbon dioxide storage. Researchers have explored flammable ice for low-carbon or alternative fuel or as a place to store carbon dioxide. Now, a computer analysis of the ice and gas compound reveals key details of its structure. [ Full Story ]

    • Characterizing Protein-Nanoparticle Interactions in Biofluids

      PNNL researchers using equipment at EMSL devised an elegant, novel method to characterize blood plasma proteins that attach to nanoparticles. Their work offers new insights into how the human body interacts with nanoparticles and resulted in the largest protein-nanoparticle dataset to date. [ Full Story ]

    • Gauging Water's Future—Earth System Model Tested to Estimate Watershed Runoff

      Scientists found ways to improve the capabilities of a land model within global and regional Earth system models to estimate water runoff. Accurate runoff predictions can lead to better information for managing sustainable water for personal and industrial consumption. [ Full Story ]

    • An About-Face on Electrical Conductivity at the Interface

      To improve the electronic devices that keep our modern, hyper-connected world organized, scientists are on the hunt for new semiconductor materials, which control the flow of electricity that powers smart phones and other electronic devices. [ Full Story ]

    • New Mass Spec Raises Bar for Mass Accuracy, Resolving Power

      A new high-resolution mass spectrometer developed by PNNL researchers using equipment at EMSL now allows the biological research community to identify and map the location of biomolecules on a sample with higher mass accuracy and mass resolving power than ever before. Because biological molecules with very different functions can have almost identical masses, this holistic analysis will open new doors in biological research and offer scientists unique insights into biological systems and how they work [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • Using Graphene Oxide to Examine Molecules in Living Cells Proves to be Popular

      Whether indicating the onset of disease or exposure to toxins, the molecular machinery of cells can provide a wealth of information if scientists can track and examine the molecules. Scientists at PNNL and Tsinghua University in China devised a novel method to track certain molecules inside live cells. [ Full Story ]

    • Catalyst Masters Reverse

      When it comes to driving hydrogen production, a new catalyst built at PNNL can do what was previously shown to happen only in nature: store energy in hydrogen and release that energy on demand—an essentiality for viable energy alternatives to fossil fuels. This new nickel-based complex drives the reaction, but is not consumed by it. While slow, the catalyst wastes little energy. It turns electrons and protons into hydrogen. [ Full Story ]

    • Toppling Raman Shift in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

      Just as a wine glass vibrates and sometimes breaks when a diva sings the right note, carbon dioxide vibrates when light or heat serenades it. When it does, carbon dioxide exhibits a vibrational puzzle known as Fermi resonance. With that researchers studying geologic carbon storage learned a bit more about the nature of carbon dioxide [ Full Story ]

    • Studying Chemistry as It Happens in Catalytic Reactions

      While retaining their speed, catalysts have lost some of their secrets, thanks to a new probe built by PNNL to help clarify the steps catalysts take in promoting reactions. Making existing catalysts more effective or devising new ones could reduce costly inefficiencies in current processes, and could enable new commercial processes to generate fuels and chemicals. [ Full Story ]

    • When Atoms Collide

      A novel technique for materials research is unexpectedly contributing to the nuclear safety efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency. PNNL scientists developed an analytical method for measuring the concentration of oxygen atoms at different depths in solid samples. The technique can be used to detect metal corrosion as well as to validate theoretical models of complex nuclear interactions. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Turning Plants into Biofuels

      Known for carrying green leaves as they march through tropical forests, leafcutter ants also cultivate underground gardens of fungi and bacteria. New PNNL research about the roles bacteria play in those gardens could eventually help scientists turn plants into biofuel. [ Full Story ]

    • Better Models for Forecasting Extreme Weather

      Uncertainty just became more certain. PNNL’s atmospheric and computational researchers used a novel scientific approach called “uncertainty quantification� that allowed better precipitation simulation. They applied a method to select model inputs for precipitation representations, one of the most difficult climate components to simulate. Better atmospheric model simulations give planners the tools to forecast the probability of extreme weather and climate events. [ Full Story ]

    • Diatom Biosensor Could Shine Light on Future Nanomaterials

      A PNNL biosensor made of fluorescent proteins embedded in the shell of microscopic marine algae called diatoms could someday help us detect chemicals and other substances in water samples. The discovery also could help researchers develop a variety of new, diatom-inspired nanomaterials that could solve problems in sensing, catalysis and environmental remediation. [ Full Story ]

    • Making Homes More Energy Efficients

      Two research facilities at PNNL will serve as a test bed for studying energy efficient and smart homes. The project—the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest—will be used to test smart and energy-efficient technologies that ultimately may be used in homes in the Northwest and throughout the U.S. [ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Research Provides Insights to Alzheimer’s Disease

      In Alzheimer's disease, brain neurons clog with tangled proteins. Scientists suspect these tangles arise partly due to malfunctions in a little-known regulatory system within cells. Now, researchers have dramatically increased what they know about this particular regulatory system in mice. Such information will help scientists better understand Alzheimer's and other diseases in humans and could eventually provide new targets for therapies. [ Full Story ]

    • Save Big on Heating, Cooling Costs with Efficiency Controls

      U.S. commercial building owners could save between 28 and 67 percent on their heating and cooling bills if they installed four energy efficiency controls to their rooftop HVAC systems, according to research at PNNL. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Use New Method to Zero In On Source of Tropical Clouds

      PNNL scientists found a technique to identify the clouds' origins. Using several satellite data sources, they identified cloud formation mechanisms that occur in two distinct conditions. Knowing the different formation mechanisms will help scientists predict the amount of water vapor in the upper atmosphere, which affects the balance of warming and cooling that determines the Earth's climate change. [ Full Story ]

    • Regional Stakeholder Input Helps Construct Better Models for Climate Change Decisions

      PNNL researchers built a modeling structure for policy-making decisions addressing climate change. Their research identified specific regional stakeholder needs, including real-world decisions faced by industry, regional planners, and policy makers. This unique modeling framework will provide decision support for regional climate mitigation and adaptation planning. [ Full Story ]

    • New Computer Program Detects Texting While Driving

      What if we could effectively and inexpensively detect a driver who is significantly distracted by texting and—with the flick of a switch—stop the distraction? PNNL researchers engineered a computer algorithm that enables a cell phone to recognize when a driver is texting versus a passenger. Current apps do not have the ability to make that distinction. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • New computer program detects texting while driving

      [ Full Story ]

    • Collaborative study looks for clues on hard-to-treat breast cancer

      PNNL teams with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on a research project that aims to find new diagnostic tools and options for treating triple negative breast cancer. The cancer is more common in young and black women. [ Full Story ]

    • New Small Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Reaches Record Efficiency

      Individual homes and entire neighborhoods could be powered with a new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell system developed by PNNL that achieves up to 57 percent efficiency. [ Full Story ]

    • Pollution + Storm Clouds = Warmer Atmosphere

      PNNL scientists discovered that dust kicked up from the desert floor acts like a heat pump in the atmosphere, fueling the annual climate system called the North American Monsoon. As the climate warms, more regions of the world will be affected by drought. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Discover that Carbon Dioxide Moves into and Expands a Common Mineral in Carbon Sequestration Caprocks

      For the first time, PNNL scientists have direct evidence that high-pressure carbon migrates into clay causing it to expand. By understanding the fundamental reactions, including those of caprocks, scientists can inform industry and the public about the cost and safety of different options for carbon sequestration. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • PNNL Technology Probes the Depths of Radioactive Waste

      PNNL scientists are collaborating with Hanford Site contractors in eastern Washington state to deploy—for the first time—telescopic Raman spectroscopy to remotely identify mineral and chemical compounds in radioactive waste left at the bottom of waste storage tanks after liquid waste has been pumped out. Monitoring the many types of chemically complex radioactive waste found at Hanford is challenging, expensive and potentially hazardous to workers and the environment. The technology will help mitigate these concerns. [ Full Story ]

    • Annotating Plague with Proteogenomics

      Strains of bacteria from the genus Yersinia are infectious and virulent: one causes intestinal distress, another plague. To better understand and potentially design ways to mitigate Yersinia's effects on human health, PNNL researchers and others refined the genome maps of three Yersinia strains. They used the proteome and transcriptome, collections of proteins and transcripts in the bacteria, to discover new information about the genome. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Environmental Reviews Inform NRC Decisions

      Construction permits for the first nuclear power plants in several decades were issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. PNNL is the NRC’s prime contractor for environmental reviews for new nuclear power plants. Environmental impact studies conducted by PNNL played a key role in the NRC’s decision to issue the permits. Nuclear energy is considered one of a diverse mix of technologies needed to produce clean, carbon-free power for our nation. [ Full Story ]

    • Utilities Leading the Way to Grid Security with New Assessment Tool

      A first-of-its-kind, self-evaluation model and survey developed with the help of PNNL will provide utilities with a way to benchmark and measure their cybersecurity readiness. Available online, the model provides a common language and point of reference for utilities to understand, describe and share information anonymously about cybersecurity practices. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Develop a New, Efficient Aerosol Module for Climate Models

      Thinking small, scientists achieved big impact. PNNL researchers led a team developing a new computational module to depict tiny atmospheric particles that have a large effect on climate. Coming closer to a realistic depiction of these atmospheric bits MAM also achieves a new level of computational efficiency. [ Full Story ]

  • August

    • New Chemical Imaging Method Probes the Communications of Live Microbial Colonies

      Once impossible, researchers now can sample a microbial community more than once, gaining a time-lapse view of metabolite production and use. The new technique developed by PNNL and three universities will help advance microbial biology research in a variety of areas, ranging from biofuel production to bioremediation to health to defense. [ Full Story ]

    • Local, Global Pollution Suppress South Asian Summer Rainfall

      Billions in South Asia depend on the summer monsoon rains. Now, pollution exhaust threatens this primary water source for crops and daily living. PNNL researchers found that pollution from sources like motorcycles and coal-fired power plants reduce monsoon rainfall. Such pollution increases cloud cover to cool the Earth's surface, reduces evaporation and, in turn, slows the momentum of air current bands that drive the global climate. [ Full Story ]

    • New Lithium Ion Battery Strategy Offers More Energy, Longer Life Cycle

      EMSL equipment helped develop a new lithium ion battery system that compared to commercial batteries holds seven times more energy and can be discharged and recharged five times as many times before wearing out. [ Full Story ]

    • Modeling Microbes to Manage Carbon Dioxide

      Model Developed to Understand Microbial Processes in Cellulose Degradation

      In the past decade, microbiologists began realizing that communities of microbes process energy and materials, which affects their environments. To understand how microbial communities function in a natural ecosystem, PNNL scientists developed a novel kinetic model that represents microbial community dynamics in soil pores. The microbial breakdown of cellulose and related byproducts is a key process in the global carbon cycle. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • Stalking the Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay

      PNNL researchers and collaborators are on the hunt for the elusive neutrino mass. This difficult-to-detect elementary particle travels close to the speed of light, is electrically neutral, and can pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed. The discovery of neutrinoless double beta decay would lead to a revision of the Standard Model of particle physics that governs the laws of all visible matter in the universe, essentially revising the laws of physics. [ Full Story ]

    • Fueling Nuclear Power Plants with Seawater

      PNNL is testing an adsorbent that could more effectively extract trace amounts of uranium from seawater and help fuel future nuclear power development. [ Full Story ]

    • Fresh Water Feed Hurricanes' Furry

      PNNL researchers discovered that hurricanes and tropical cyclones become up to 50 percent more intense when passing over oceans inundated with fresh water. Their findings might help improve predictions of a hurricane's power in certain regions. [ Full Story ]

    • Unusual Reaction Keeps Away High Temperatures and Water to Lock Away Climate-Changing Carbon Dioxide

      When it comes to reducing the environmental impacts of coal-powered plants, one option is to remove gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2), pump it into underground reservoirs, and have it become part of the mineral formations. Keeping the CO2 trapped by transforming it into minerals takes place much more readily at high temperatures. But PNNL scientists discovered a reaction that breaks the rules. At relatively low temperature, and while recycling the water it needs, this reaction transforms CO2 into the mineral magnesite. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Use Satellites to Measure How Pollution Particles Affect Clouds

      Researchers directly linked a cloud's inclination to rain to its effects on the climate. Using global satellite data and complex calculations, they were able — for the first time — to develop a proxy measurement for one of the most vexing questions in atmospheric science: how tiny particles in the atmosphere affect the amount of water in and the size of clouds. Using this new metric, they showed that aerosols' effects on clouds are overestimated by as much as 30 percent in a global climate model. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Ranking Methane’s Impact on Future Climate Change

      Changing methane's relative importance as a greenhouse gas does little to change the overall outcome of climate change projections. PNNL researchers working at the Joint Global Change Research Institute tested the importance of methane compared to carbon dioxide. Policy makers need to assess the relative importance of all greenhouse gas emissions to forge effective climate change policies. [ Full Story ]

    • Research Helps Clarify How Minerals Grow and Disintegrate

      Rust — iron oxide — is a poor conductor of electricity, which is why an electronic device with a rusted battery usually won't work. But electrons do move through iron oxide — seemingly geologic timescales. Now, PNNL scientists and others explain how electrons do this and provide the strongest evidence yet for the leading theory of such movement. Electron mobility in iron oxide can hold huge significance for a broad range of environment- and energy-related reactions. [ Full Story ]

    • Images Show How Nickel Appears to Hinder Charging Rates

      PNNL scientists examining battery materials on the nano-scale reveal how nickel forms a physical barrier that impedes the shuttling of lithium ions in the electrode, reducing how fast the materials charge and discharge. Many ideas to reduce the nation's oil addiction, such as electric cars, require an effective battery. [ Full Story ]

    • Mass Spec Makes Clinical Grade

      PNNL researchers developed a new technique using mass spectrometers that matches the sensitivity and accuracy of antibody-based clinical tests to identify protein biomarkers associated with cancer and other diseases. The new technique, called PRISM, could speed drug discovery and basic biology research. [ Full Story ]

    • LEDs Winning Light Race to Save Energy, the Environment

      Today's light-emitting diode light bulbs have a slight environmental edge over compact fluorescent lamps. The gap is expected to grow significantly as technology and manufacturing methods improve in the next five years, according to a report from PNNL and UK-based N14 Energy Limited. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Identifying and Protecting Alaskan Fishery Habitats

      PNNL scientists employed satellite technology to characterize the impacts of oil development on the environment. They detected critical fish overwintering habitats by identifying where ice was grounded or floating. Fishery managers can use this information to suggest locations for energy-development activities that increase the sustainability of fishery resources and minimize the environmental impact. [ Full Story ]

    • Learning from the Past to Prevent the Spread of Nuclear Materials

      Shown here are soil particles from 1945 that were altered by the world’s first nuclear explosion in New Mexico. Using microscopic imaging tools, PNNL scientists and others rapidly identified the microstructure of crystalline and glassy particles altered by the intense heat of the explosion. This research is important to identify and examine forensic information extracted from samples at nuclear blast sites. [ Full Story ]

    • Environmental Conditions that Push Tropical Clouds from Fair-Weather to Stormy

      PNNL scientists developed a unique mathematical technique that integrates field observations and cloud-resolving models to identify environmental variables important for tropical storm-cloud creation. The research will enable better predictions of these climate forces in global climate models. [ Full Story ]

    • New Bacteria Divisions Discovered

      PNNL Proteomics experts contributed to a study centered on discovery of new bacteria and the metabolic roles, such as carbon cycling, of bacteria in the environment. The research contributes new insights into the physiology and diversity across several major branches of the tree of life. [ Full Story ]

  • December

    • Minerals for CO2 Capture to Reduce Adverse Effects of Energy Production

      Minerals for CO2 Capture to Reduce Adverse Effects of Energy Production Capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases deep underground is a promising option for reducing the effects of energy production on the Earth. PNNL scientists use electron microscopes to understand the reaction of CO2 and minerals found underground. [ Full Story ]

    • Pollution from Fossil Fuel and Forest Burning Hitches Ride to Arctic

      PNNL scientists found that secondary organic aerosols formed in the presence of the toxic pollutant known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) trapped the PAH molecules inside, shielding them from degradation. Scientists gained improved understanding of how pollution is transported over long distances far from the pollution sources to improve air-quality and particle transport models. [ Full Story ]

    • Experiments Validate Quantitative Model Predictions for Cell Activation Dynamics

      PNNL computational biology researchers used a model-based analysis approach to predict cell activation dynamics of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in different cellular compartments. Knowing whether surface and internal receptors function the same way can help better understand drug responses and determine correct types and levels of treatments. [ Full Story ]

    • Predicting the Future for Stroke Victims

      PNNL researchers developed a model for predicting what's happening during a stroke, how the process evolves over time, the potential outcomes, and the effects of different treatment options. The ability to model and simulate different treatments prior to administering them to a patient can help predict with more certainty which therapeutic approaches are the most effective. [ Full Story ]

    • New Software Provides Near Real-Time Look at Experimental Data

      A new tool developed at PNNL provides near real-time interactive analysis of mass spectrometry imaging data. The tool provides a critical component in moving away from post-experimental analysis toward active observation and influence to view the experiment as it unfolds. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • Even Algae Get Stressed—which Influences Photosynthetic Productivity

      Using large-scale mass spectrometers located at EMSL, scientists discovered how blue-green algae use proteins and how they respond to varying natural conditions. Blue-green algae are responsible for nearly half of the photosynthesis necessary for sustaining life on earth and can be used to create renewable, carbon-neutral biofuels [ Full Story ]

    • Digital Ants: One of Ten World Changing Ideas

      PNNL researchers have developed digital ants that roam a computer network looking for perceived threats—similar to how real ants protect a nest. The project was cited as one of ten innovative technologies in Scientific American. [ Full Story ]

    • Improving Commercial Building Energy Efficiency

      PNNL is working with partners to make existing and new buildings more energy efficient. The goal is to retrofit existing buildings to exceed current energy efficiency codes by 30 percent, and to construct new buildings that exceed the codes by at least 50 percent. Commercial buildings account for nearly one-fifth of U.S. energy consumption. [ Full Story ]

    • Uranium Movement in Groundwater Slower than Predicted

      A new approach developed by PNNL for calculating uranium diffusion challenges traditional equations. Sediments and groundwater are contaminated by mining and processing sites. Knowing how uranium spreads is critical to removing the contamination. [ Full Story ]

    • Outsmarting the Wind

      PNNL scientists are using meteorological instruments in new ways to predict wind behavior. The data will help operators more effectively bring wind power on to the electrical grid. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Discovery of New Proteins and Body Scanner Honored

      Two PNNL researchers received the Gordon Battelle Prizes for scientific discovery and impact. Awarded were the discovery of new proteins in spinal fluid that could help determine causes of neurological diseases and the millimeter wave technology incorporated into a body scanner that detects hidden contraband. [ Full Story ]

    • Material Found that May Trap Carbon Dioxide Pollutant

      PNNL and collaborators are hunting for materials to trap the pollutant carbon dioxide before it's released from fossil fuel combustion in industry and vehicles. They found a promising material. It inflates like an accordion, expanding to capture and hold the gas. [ Full Story ]

    • DADB Molecule Opposite than Expectations

      For nearly a century, nobody knew how the little molecule that's in the middle of many of today's hydrogen storage and fuel cell concepts was organized. Thanks to an interdisciplinary team of scientists at PNNL and other organizations, the structure of this molecule, known as DADB, has been determined. And DADB's structure was exactly opposite of what was expected in more ways than one. [ Full Story ]

    • Predictive tools to manage ecological changes

      PNNL scientists are using predictive tools to manage ecological changes driven by more frequent fires due to invasive plant species in the Mojave Desert. Collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists are integrating recent advances in fire science and remote sensing tools to characterize the relationship between non-native invasive plant species and wildfire in the desert under current and changing climate conditions. [ Full Story ]

    • Smart grid could reduce emissions by 12 percent

      A smart electrical power grid could decrease annual electric energy use and utility sector carbon emissions at least 12 percent by 2030, according to a new report from PNNL. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • Scientists Uncover Oxygen-Evolving Complex

      Scientists uncovered the structure of an oxygen-evolving complex, or OEC, found in plants and algae. OEC is involved in photosynthesis, the process by which intermittent sunlight is used to create fuels. Experts want to design industrial plants to do the same. [ Full Story ]

    • Tool Makes Search for Martian Life Easier

      Finding life on Mars could get easier with an adaption to a common analytical tool developed by PNNL that can be installed directly on the robotic arm of a space rover. Scientists are testing whether the combination of laser ablation and an ion funnel could make "in place" mass spectrometry possible to analyze samples directly on Mar’s surface. [ Full Story ]

    • New Platform for Catalytic Design

      A more durable catalytic material for fuel cells has been discovered by PNNL scientists and collaborators. They combined graphene with metal oxide nanoparticles to stabilize a fuel cell catalyst for better catalytic action. This material has great potential to make fuel cells cheaper and longer lasting. [ Full Story ]

    • Polluted Snow Causes Early Runoff, Stronger Monsoons in Asia

      Researchers at PNNL, the University of Michigan and NOAA found that soot landing on snow on the Tibetan Plateau can do more to alter snowmelt and monsoon weather patterns in Asia than carbon dioxide and soot in the air. The study contributes to better understanding global climate change. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Start Your Engines

      [ Full Story ]

    • Saharan Dust Impacts West African Monsoon Precipitation

      The Saharan Desert causes mineral dust particles to blanket African skies. PNNL scientists learned dust particles partially block sunlight and absorb heat during the day. At night, that heat warms the land, making conditions ideal for nocturnal precipitation. This knowledge could help predict climate changes by modeling potential changes in dust associated with increasing future aridity. [ Full Story ]

    • The Right Laser Wavelength Accelerates and Removes Oxygen from Thin Films

      Using instruments at EMSL, scientists from PNNL, the University College London and Tohoku University discovered a new way to accelerate and remove oxygen atoms from thin films of calcium oxide. The discovery has implications for research and development in photochemistry, catalysis and microelectronics. [ Full Story ]

    • Grid Friendly Appliance Controller Licensed

      The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller developed by researchers at PNNL can temporarily shift how smart appliances use power to soften the blow for utilities during times of peak demand on the grid. The technology has been licensed to Encryptor of Plano, Texas, which plans to incorporate the controller into a new, low-cost chip that can be easily built into appliances. [ Full Story ]

    • Affordability of Batteries Key to Harnessing Wind and Solar Power

      Affordability of batteries key to harnessing wind and solar power Future batteries used by the energy grid to store power from the wind and sun must be reliable, durable and safe, but affordability is key to widespread deployment, according to research by PNNL scientists. Their findings are one of the most comprehensive reviews of electrochemical energy storage to date. [ Full Story ]

  • May

  • June

    • New Tool Presents Aerosol Research Community with Common Modeling Testbed

      The Aerosol Modeling Testbed provides the global modeling community with a way to systematically and objectively evaluate aerosol process modules to quantify uncertainties and improve global climate models. [ Full Story ]

    • Addressing High False-Positive Rates for Mammograms

      An antibody microarray analysis developed by PNNL and Duke University Medical Center holds promise for increasing accuracy of breast cancer screening. They found that different breast cancer subtypes produce distinct profiles of protein biomarkers in blood and that these biomarkers have the potential to differentiate between true and false positive screens. These subtype-specific biomarker panels may also be useful as an additional way to detect breast cancer. [ Full Story ]

    • The Heat is On for Sodium-Manganese Oxide Rechargeable Batteries

      By adding the right amount of heat, PNNL scientists and researchers from China have developed a method that improves the electrical capacity and recharging lifetime of sodium ion rechargeable batteries, which could be a cheaper alternative for large-scale uses such as storing energy on the electrical grid. [ Full Story ]

    • Research Details Structure of First Component in an Electricity-conducting Shewanella Bacterial Wire

      Shewanella bacteria can use metal ions in place of oxygen. By sending out wires made of proteins, Shewanella transform metals and trap them in minerals — useful for engineers who want to stop toxic metals from migrating in soil or groundwater. Researchers determined the structure of the first protein, providing insights into how bacteria live this way. [ Full Story ]

    • Resolving Water's Electrical Properties

      Scientists at PNNL ended a long-standing conflict regarding the behavior of electrons on the surface water by demonstrating that the contradictory measurements weren't wrong, but rather showed how water's electrons influenced one measurement more than the other. By clarifying the electrons actions, this study could change how scientists think about the electrical properties of water, aqueous chemistry, and other applications. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • New catalyst for ethanol made from biomass

      Using a protein as a guide, PNNL researchers designed a material that could make eventually energy-storing hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells. The synthetic material works 10 times faster than the original protein found in water-dwelling microbes. [ Full Story ]

    • Brightening Clouds

      What happens when tiny seawater particles are intentionally injected into low clouds over the ocean making them brighter? To answer this question, scientists at PNNL and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed a high-resolution model to better understand the effects of particle injection and evaluate whether this technique could be used to offset some effects of global warming. [ Full Story ]

    • New Thermodynamic Model Predicts Plutonium Solubility with Iron

      A hard-to-detect but stable form of iron helps convert subsurface plutonium from barely to very soluble PNNL scientists and collaborators discovered. Plutonium resides underground at weapons sites around the world. In one form, it stays put. But when soluble iron and a stable iron are present the plutonium becomes soluble, easily mixing with water. Soluble plutonium is a concern because it could mix with groundwater and flow into rivers and streams. [ Full Story ]

    • Extracellular polymeric substances stop migration of subsurface contaminants

      Scientists used a model organism isolated from a uranium seep of the Columbia River to quantify how extracellular polymeric substances in subsurface environments can be used to immobilize radionuclide contaminants such as uranium U (VI) at contaminated sites. Subsurface uranium is a significant contaminant at U.S. Department of Energy sites. [ Full Story ]

    • Chemical imaging of individual salt particles advances aerosol research

      By combining experimental approaches and molecular dynamics modeling, scientists gained new insights into the internal structure of sea salt particles and their fundamental chemical reactivity in the atmosphere. The research may lead to advances in aerosol research. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • Making Fuel Cells Practical for Large-Scale Commercial Applications

      Fuel cells hold the promise for green power, but a challenge in making them practical for commercial application is overcoming the high cost of platinum catalysts required for oxygen reduction reaction in the air cathode. Researchers, using specialized equipment at EMSL, reported new insights into how the atomic-scale structure of nanoengineered trimetallic alloy catalysts can be tuned to affect the fuel-cell performance over time. [ Full Story ]

    • Sustainable Doesn't Mean Stagnant—Getting the Most from Nuclear Power Plants

      The U.S. is looking to nuclear power as key in the sustainable energy mix of the future. To achieve higher power levels, researchers now are turning their attention to advanced fuel designs. PNNL is developing a new metal fuel for light water reactors intended to safely increase the power output of the existing reactors up to 10 percent, depending on the original reactor design. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Scientist Receives Presidential Award

      PNNL bioanalytical chemist Wei-Jun Qian received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House. The PECASE Award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers who are in the early stage of their research careers. Qian is developing more accurate methods using mass spectrometry to measure protein concentrations, which fluctuate as cells go about their daily tasks. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Research points to regional strategies to reduce urban air pollution

      Reducing air pollution in an urban area will require large, regional strategies, said PNNL scientists and collaborators. They studied the effects of emission reduction efforts at the Beijing Olympics. Strategies to curtail noxious emissions before and during the Games presented an opportunity to study emissions reduction physics and provide policy makers a basis of information to make future public health decisions. [ Full Story ]

    • Programming Language Gets New Support for Writing High-Performance Computer Codes

      PNNL researchers have expanded the Global Arrays (GA) Toolkit to include full support for Python language and make it easier for programmers to write codes and take advantage of GA features. Programmers rely on the easy-to-use language to write high-performance computing codes in scientific applications such as bioinformatics, visual analytics, molecular dynamics, hydrology, material sciences and more. [ Full Story ]

    • New Technology Enables Molecular-Level Insight into Carbon Sequestration

      A team of EMSL and PNNL scientists developed a technology that enables molecular-level insight into carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is a potential solution for reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, but its scientific challenges are complex. Analytical tools are needed that provide information about the mineral-fluid interactions of carbon dioxide at the molecular level. The team designed and patented a unique, nuclear magnetic resonance capability that operates in conditions characteristic of geologic carbon sequestration. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Shewanella Proteins Could Be Used to Generate Energy or Immobilize Contaminants

      PNNL Researchers have determined, for the first time, the molecular structure of the proteins that enable the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis to transfer an electrical charge. This new information is useful for the development of microbe-based agents that can be used to clean up legacy radioactive waste. [ Full Story ]

    • The Birth of a Cloud Droplet

      Wrapped in mystery, the formation of a cloud droplet comes down to physics. PNNL researchers led a team that helped peel away another layer of the cloud droplet conundrum. The team evaluated popular computational methods that describe how tiny particles in the atmosphere serve as seeds for cloud droplets. The findings will help scientists better quantify the impact of pollution, smoke and other emissions on the Earth’s climate. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL, Chinese researchers begin cooperative clean energy work

      PNNL, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have formed the Clean Energy Partnership to accelerate the development and deployment of emissions reducing technology. First, researchers will evaluate the challenges and costs of deploying emissions capture and storage technologies in China in depleted oil fields and deep geological formations. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Chosen as a Premier Proteomics Center for Cancer

      PNNL has been named one of five premier proteomics centers in the nation to study protein changes associated with cancer. The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, picked PNNL as part of the launch of the Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium. The goal of their research is to develop biomarkers that can be used to guide personalized therapies for individual patients. [ Full Story ]

  • December

    • Biomarkers Could Hold Ley to Early Detection of Breast Cancer

      PNNL researchers are looking for protein biomarkers that can be used for early breast cancer detection with blood tests. Current detection methods — including mammograms and self-exams — typically find breast cancer after it's established. The goal is to find a method to diagnose cancer before it can grow. [ Full Story ]

    • Bubbles Help Break Energy Storage Record for Lithium-Air Batteries

      Resembling broken eggshells, graphene structures built around bubbles produced a lithium-air battery with the highest energy capacity to date, said scientists from PNNL and Princeton University. This black, porous material could replace the traditional smooth graphene sheets in lithium-air batteries, which become clogged with tiny particles during use. As an added bonus, the team’s new material does not rely on platinum or other precious metals, reducing its potential cost and environmental impact. Lithium-air batteries could allow for the creation of long-range electric vehicles, able to travel up to 300 miles between charges. [ Full Story ]

    • Team Discovers Better Way to Identify Soil Carbon

      A research team from the Joint Global Change Research Institute uncovered ways to better identify soil carbon. JGCRI is a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland. The research team found more efficient methods to separate components of soil respiration in forests, replacing labor-intensive techniques and leading to better knowledge in a poorly understood area of the carbon cycle. Measuring the carbon released into the air from soil is important to distinguish it from carbon contributed from human activities. [ Full Story ]

    • Results Are In: Green Buildings Save Green

      A study conducted by PNNL researchers for the Government Services Administration finds that green, federal buildings cost 19 percent less to maintain, emit less carbon dioxide, and use less water. The PNNL team conducted the analysis to evaluate how well the sustainably designed buildings are performing in comparison to average commercial buildings and to GSA's baseline measurements of its sustainably constructed buildings. [ Full Story ]

    • Scientists Merge Spider Silk, Human Muscle to Design a Novel, Self-Assembling Peptide

      Because of its high water content and polymer network, peptide hydrogel is a promising material for protein storage and transfer without significant loss of their biological activity. These hydrogels have potential as injectable materials for medical applications. Using instruments at EMSL, scientists from PNNL Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska used two native functional sequences from spider flagelliform silk protein and a trans-membrane motif of human muscle L-type calcium channel to design a self-assembling peptide, h9e. [ Full Story ]

  • January

    • 24/7 atmospheric aerosol data

      A team of PNNL-led researchers solved a software and hardware problem that had perplexed scientists studying atmospheric aerosols. Not only did they fix the problem, but the LIDAR instrument now performs better than it did when it was new. [ Full Story ]

    • Simulation, calculations show hydroxide ions orientation in water

      Knowing how hydroxide ions are arranged in water could aid in fine-tuning industrial processes, such as manufacturing biodiesel, and assist in future industrial processes like turning poplar trees and other vegetation into automotive fuel. [ Full Story ]

    • Nothing but green fields ahead

      Cost-effective mercury treatment wins environmental award. Like little molecular sponges, SAMMS® particles can absorb more than half their weight in mercury, and can be chemically tailored to go after other heavy metals. Little wonder why SAMMS has been named Grand Award winner for Green Technologies in Popular Science’s prestigious Best of What’s New (BOWN) awards for 2009. [ Full Story ]

    • Unique uranium source in natrually bioreduced sediment

      A study of a natrually bioreduced sediment sample reveals insights into the long-term persistence of uranium in groundwater. This new understanding will help in developing strategies for keeping the contaminant out of aquifers and away from humans, animals and crops. [ Full Story ]

    • Growing up next to a volcano

      Evidence shows iron and manganese help seafloor biofilms thrive in extreme environments. [ Full Story ]

  • February

    • Scrubbing Out Acid Rain

      A unique reusable organic liquid developed at PNNL can remove and store harmful gases from power plant emissions, including sulfur dioxide, a primary cause of acid rain. [ Full Story ]

    • Shedding light on the organizational structure of bacterial genome

      Understanding how DNA-encoded information is organized to give rise to protein-mediated processes will unlock biotechnology breakthroughs in energy production, environmental protection, and medical science. [ Full Story ]

    • The Package Really Does Matter

      When it comes to squeezing hydrogen out of ammonia borane, the packaging matters. Remote outposts, such as telecommunications towers, or emergency back-up power in isolated locations could benefit from reliable long-lasting power supplies. Ammonia borane releases hydrogen with heating by a multi-step reaction, but the nominal heating required to release that hydrogen requires additional energy, decreasing the overall effciency. [ Full Story ]

    • Computer-simulated Thunderstorms Reveal Insights for Next-generation Computer Models

      Computer simulations of thunderstorms using data from a field campaign in Australia confirm that the "ice-phase" cloud processes in climate models contribute most to the wide discrepancy between model results and actual cloud measurements. [ Full Story ]

    • How to Catch a Terrorist Before the Terror

      PNNL's Millimeter Wave Holographic Body Scanner creates 240-degree, high-resolution, 3D scan of a body in less than 10 seconds — detecting weapons, explosives, plastics and other objects hidden under clothing. [ Full Story ]

  • March

    • First Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Signal of a Copper Site in Azurin Obtained

      Metalloproteins, such as the copper-containing azurin, play a major role in catalyzing electron transfer in cellular reactions. Understanding how their structure relates to function can give rise to advances in biotechnology and medicine. [ Full Story ]

    • Measuring the Speed of Noble "Bubbles"

      Using a layer of noble gas "bubbles," scientists at PNNL devised a straightforward way to measure how fast molecules diffuse in supercooled liquids, such as methanol. From energy usage and storage in batteries to pharmaceutical shelf life, understanding the structure and stability of supercooled liquids and the amorphous solids they freeze into could address many open questions in the energy and medical fields. [ Full Story ]

    • Growing Iron, Slowing Pollution

      Understanding how iron and minerals interact deep underground at former nuclear weapons sites could play a major role in environmental cleanup of contaminants. Working at EMSL, scientists from PNNL, the University of Iowa, and Yale University studied the transfer of electrons between iron in the groundwater and iron in the soil. This transfer of electrons results in an increase in a form of iron, known as hematite, in the soil, a process capable of entrapment and decreasing the mobility of radioactive pollutants from plutonium production and other nuclear activities. [ Full Story ]

    • Power Grid with Higher IQ Equals Lower Emissions

      A smart electrical power grid could decrease electric energy use and carbon emissions in the utility sector up to 12 percent by 2030 — saving enough energy to power 70 million homes, according to a recent report published by PNNL. [ Full Story ]

  • April

    • Researchers Charged about Large-Scale Battery Design

      A team of researchers at PNNL and EaglePitcher Technologies, LLC, is developing a next-generation battery that could enable the widespread use of renewable energy sources. By providing grid-scale energy storage, the new battery could address the intermittent nature of renewable energy resources — and help reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 150 million tons per year. [ Full Story ]

    • Dirt Blows Off Steam

      Twenty years of field study reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis conducted by PNNL of past studies published in Nature. [ Full Story ]

    • Tips for Nanomapping

      Surface science and imaging capabilities at EMSL allow nanoscale studies of bacterial proteins that affect environmental quality. [ Full Story ]

    • PNNL Engineer Receives Highest Award in Engineering Profession

      Scientific pioneer Gerald Posakony was honored with the John Fritz Medal by the American Association of Engineering Societies for the more than five decades worth of contributions he's made to the fields of medical diagnostic ultrasound and nondestructive evaluation technologies. [ Full Story ]

    • Promoting Proteomics on a Global Scale

      PNNL's Karin Rodland joins a global advisory council that includes leading experts in the field of proteomics from the academic, government, and commercial sectors. Selected for the U.S. Human Proteome Organisation Board of Directors, Karin will plan strategic and scientific meetings. HUPO is an international scientific society representing and promoting proteomics through international cooperation and collaborations. [ Full Story ]

  • May

    • Tiny Biosensor Could Help to Diagnose Disease

      Scientists discover that a graphene-DNA nanostructure could help diagnose disease, facilitate gene therapy and more. [ Full Story ]

    • Caging Carbon Could Clean Natural Gas

      A new robust material could selectively trap energy-diluting impurities in natural gas, making fuel more effective while reducing cost and waste. A tough, hard-working particle known as ZIF-8 that can selectively remove carbon dioxide from a complex mixture of gases was designed by scientists at PNNL. [ Full Story ]

    • Are Artificial Diamonds more Valuable than the Real Thing?

      What’s more precious, cubic zirconium or a diamond? A newly designed membrane from an artificial diamond might allow petroleum-free fuel cells to operate at lower temperatures at less expense. Affordable fuel cells could reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. [ Full Story ]

    • How Salmonella Proteins Hijack Healthy Cells

      Using the NMR suite at EMSL, researchers have unraveled the mystery of how virulence proteins found in Salmonella attack healthy cell’s signaling pathways and then use those pathways to enhance infection and evade defenses. The discovery may lead to new methods for treating bacterial infections. [ Full Story ]

    • Boston Login International Airport Pilots New Security Surveillance Technology

      PNNL researchers are managing a pilot project launched by DHS at Boston Logan International Airport to test a new video surveillance security technology. The imaging system can do what no other surveillance camera can: blend feeds from multiple cameras into one undistorted image to provide a high-resolution panoramic view, while retaining the ability to zoom in on any spot without losing the 360-degree view. [ Full Story ]

  • June

    • Carbon Capture - A Teaspoonful of Material with Surface area of a Football Field

      A new material that is highly selective in capturing carbon dioxide and that has a surface area the size of a football field in just one teaspoonful has been designed by researchers at PNNL. This material could separate carbon dioxide emissions from other flue gases at power plants, capturing the CO2 as a relatively pure gas for permanent storage. [ Full Story ]

    • Opposites Attract and Power Longer-Life Fuel Cell Batteries

      Tiny gold particles surround themselves with smaller platinum bits creating a complex structure that could potentially turn a common preservative into electricity in a fuel cell battery to power cars, laptop computers and other portable devices. Scientists from PNNL and China's Harbin Institute of Technology say the improved fuel cells could last up to 10 times as long as today's batteries. [ Full Story ]

    • Silica Cages Help Drugs Kill Cancer Tumors in Mice

      Honeycombed particles filled with cancer-fighting drugs act like time-release capsules at the tumor site that prevent further growth and prolong the lives of mice. Packaging anti-cancer drugs into particles of chemically modified silica improve the drug’s ability to fight skin cancer according to promising research conducted by PNNL and the University of Washington. [ Full Story ]

    • Visual Analytics tool IN-SPIRE-ing to Goverment Analysts

      IN-SPIRE™ version 5.0, a powerful visual text analysis application developed by researchers at PNNL, was released for use at government organizations. IN-SPIRE is an advanced 3-D tool that helps users look for trends in massive amounts of information. [ Full Story ]

    • When the Air Turns Brown

      Scientists at PNNL and the University of California discover chemical reactions that create brown carbon aerosol. Discovering the fundamental processes that govern brown carbon formation and its evolution is vital to accurate model predications of climate. [ Full Story ]

  • July

    • Unraveling the code of a common mushroom leads to less expensive biofuels

      A recent effort to sequence the genomes of white rot fungi has provided researchers insights into the workings of plant enzymes that could help accelerate the development of more cost-effective industrial enzymes used to break down plant materials for biofuels. [ Full Story ]

    • Study examines durability of glass with ties to nuclear waste storage

      In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists at PNNL determined how durable four-component glass is when aluminum atoms are replaced by boron atoms and vice versa. The research supports continuing efforts to manufacture a vitrified form of glass that safely encapsulates the waste. [ Full Story ]

    • It Takes "Guts" to Explore the Next Proteomics Frontier

      Looking at bacterial communities in termite gut helps reconstruct metabolic pathways. In the quest to find new sources of biofuel, researchers are studying one of the most efficient bioreactors on earth: the termite. The same insect that causes distress to homeowners with its wood-consuming abilities also provides scientists with a fascinating area of study: the symbiotic microbial community that enables the termite to digest wood cellulose. [ Full Story ]

    • Get the Lead Out

      Heavy metal contamination of soils and water is a global concern. Seeking bioremediation solutions, scientists at PNNL and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology used EMSL resources to determine methods for using sulfate-reducing bacterium for in situ immobilization of lead. [ Full Story ]

  • August

    • Wax On . . . Wax Off for Lower Cost Batteries

      A little wax and soap can help build electrodes for cheaper lithium ion batteries, according to a study by PNNL and collaborators. [ Full Story ]

    • Size Matters when it Relates to Dirt Particles and Rain

      A critical link between the size of dust particles in clouds and their likelihood to produce rain was discovered by scientists at PNNL and their collaborators. The discovery will help increase the accuracy of climate models. [ Full Story ]

    • Cleaner, Safer Drop to Drink

      A breakthrough study conducted by PNNL and researchers from the University of Washington and Oregon Health & Science University shows how using a relatively simple method for engineering nanoparticle heavy-metal sorbents may lead to an advanced method for eliminating toxic heavy metals from aquatic systems and drinking water. [ Full Story ]

    • Discovery of new proteins may solve neurological disorders

      There were 2,630 proteins identified in the clear fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord—nearly triple the number of proteins previously known to exist in spinal fluid. The discovery, lead by PNNL scientists and a team from Sweden, could help determine the root causes of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological conditions. [ Full Story ]

  • September

    • Charged Over Grid-Friendly Charger for Electronic Vehicles

      Charging electric vehicles adversely saps the power grid, but a new technology developed by PNNL allows charging in a way that is beneficial to both the vehicle owner and the power provider. [ Full Story ]

    • Getting to the Root of Climate Change

      Scientists at PNNL and EMSL will provide proteomics expertise to study soybean root hairs and their response to changing climate conditions to better understand the impacts of climate on plant root physiology. [ Full Story ]

    • Vote Proteomics Pioneer Dick Smith as R&D Magazine’s Scientist of the Year

      Advanced proteomics tools developed by PNNL’s Dick Smith could help identify the early stages of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s; Smith is one among seven being nominated as Scientist of the Year by R&D Magazine. [ Full Story ]

    • Drawing on Computers to Understand Water

      Researchers trying to understand the complex interactions of water for energy, environmental, and national security applications, now can draw on the power of emerging supercomputers, thanks to software developed by PNNL that runs a quadrillion calculations a second. [ Full Story ]

    • The Birth of nanoDESI

      Created at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, nanoDESI helps provide detailed answers about chemically complex particles using samples 1,000 times smaller than conventional approaches, allowing scientists to run analysis without spending time on sample preparation. [ Full Story ]

  • October

    • Proteomics Pioneer Dick Smith Selected R&D Magazine's Scientist of the Year

      Advanced proteomics tools developed by PNNL's Dick Smith could help identify the early stages of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's; Smith was one of six candidates for R&D Magazine's Scientist of the Year award. [ Full Story ]

    • Magnetic attraction for fish, crabs?

      PNNL researchers are examining whether a variety of fish and invertebrates change their behavior during and after exposure to an electromagnetic field similar to those produced by marine and hydrokinetic power devices that capture energy from ocean waves, tides, currents and rivers. Answers to these questions will help energy companies make the best decisions for the environment when choosing technologies to harness energy from oceans and rivers. [ Full Story ]

    • Life in the “Fast Laneâ€?

      EMSL scientists applied theoretical approaches in a supercomputing environment to build new computational tools that can be used to analyze the complex processes of electron transfer—the challenge for scientists is mapping the fast lanes. With a better understanding of charge transfer, technologies can be created and improved to offer greater efficiency and performance at lower costs. [ Full Story ]

    • Researchers Draw on Proteomics Expertise to Find Connections to Drug Addiction in Our Blood

      Collaborative research between PNNL and the Air Force's 59th Medical Wing could improve tests for illicit drug use and abuse. Proteomics experts are looking for a better indicator of current or past use and the ability to identify people prone to abusing drugs in the first place. [ Full Story ]

    • Software Suite, Sweet Place for Collaborating on Carbon Sequestration

      A computer-based knowledge management system under development at PNNL will help scientists collaborate more effectively while using their preferred modeling tools to conduct more comprehensive planning for safe, long-term, underground storage of greenhouse gases. [ Full Story ]

    • Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

      There was a time when disposal of contaminants followed one guiding principal: “Out of sight, out of mind.� PNNL scientists are addressing the growing concern for ecosystem and human health, the environmental and scientific communities to better understand the mechanisms and rates at which subsurface contaminants desorb from hosting media – granular soil, sand and sediments – and diffuse into the environment. [ Full Story ]

  • November

    • Nighttime plumes from power plants cause pollution

      Pollutant gases given off at night by coal-fired power plants remain concentrated in the atmosphere and can react with naturally occurring compounds to form troubling aerosols that contribute to haze and air quality problems, according to a study conducted by PNNL. These ultrafine aerosols are a major component of haze and can contribute to health problems, such as chronic bronchitis. Read on to find out why pollutants released at nighttime are different from those released during the day. [ Full Story ]

    • Cellular Interactions of Nanoparticles Hold Key to How Nanoparticles Behave in Cells

      A study by scientists at EMSL and PNNL has shown that cellular interactions of nanoparticles at the molecular level may lead to answers about how these particles impact living systems. Nanoparticles show promise in solving diverse problems like pinpointing medical diagnoses, developing alternative forms of energy or creating more durable materials. [ Full Story ]

    • Deadly monkeypox virus might cause disease by breaking down lung tissue

      A new study by PNNL scientists of an exotic, infectious virus that has caused three recent outbreaks in the United States reveals clues to how the virus might damage lungs during infection. The findings also suggest possible new ways to treat lung diseases in humans. [ Full Story ]

    • Upgrading Bio-Oils—the Next Step in Developing Renewable Fuels

      PNNL researchers are developing a process that can produce and upgrade bio-oil to produce biofuels at a commercial scale. Developing a biofuel that can be produced, distributed and stored in the same facilities as petroleum fuels will reduce the overall cost of biofuels, and allow them to be more readily accepted into the market as a direct replacement for petroleum. [ Full Story ]

  • December

    • Can Science Discover How to Put Bacteria to Work for Good?

      Bacteria are among the fastest reproducing organisms in the world. Some can sicken and kill us; others can be used to gobble up chemical contaminants. Proteomic research at PNNL is helping validate a bacterial model and is providing insights into the key proteins and metabolic pathways that are essential for encouraging and discouraging bacterial growth in a changing environment. [ Full Story ]

    • Flipping Burgers without Guzzling Power

      A PNNL report found fast-food eateries could reduce energy use more than 50 percent with ultra-efficient appliances; lights; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems; as well as other integrated design methods. Savings were calculated by plugging in data on the establishment’s design, construction and appliances into an energy simulation computer program called EnergyPlus. The information will help develop the next series of Advanced Energy Design Guides. [ Full Story ]

    • Can Social Programs Mitigate the Impact of Himalayan Glacier Melt in Time?

      Though the massive glaziers of the greater Himalayan region are retreating, a report by PNNL researchers indicates that there is still time to prepare the region’s communities for the resulting impact on their lives - if programs begin now that integrate health, education, the environment, and social organizations. [ Full Story ]

    • Looking for Answers Around Grains of Soil

      Using models of soil particles, scientists at PNNL and University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign found that underground barriers of calcium carbonate don’t form as expected. They thought that a lot of calcium carbonate would form thick barriers. Instead, the more they added, the thinner the barriers. This research provides insights for those sequestering uranium, carbon dioxide, and other materials. [ Full Story ]