Today at Berkeley Lab

First Bioprocess Pilot Production of Malonic Acid From Renewables

Lygos, Inc., and Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) have collaborated to scale up production of this biomass-derived specialty chemical, which is used to make a variety of pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances, and other materials. More>

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First Detailed Microscopy Evidence of Bacteria at Lower Size Limit of Life

Scientists — including the Lab’s Jill Banfield, Susannah Tringe, Luis Commolli, and Hoi-Ying Holman — have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria, believed to be about as small as life can get. There hasn’t been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now. More>

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What Makes Clouds Form, Grow, and Die?

The mechanisms behind cloud changes are quite complex, so researchers from Pacific Northwest Lab utilized NERSC supercomputing resources to simulate tropical clouds and their interaction with the warm ocean surface and compare the simulations to real-world observations. More>

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PBD’s Dueber Helps Make Blue Jeans Greener

John Dueber (right) of the Physical Biosciences Division has studied the chemical steps plants use to naturally make indigo, and he thinks he has found an environmentally green way for the industry to churn out the dye without the use of the toxic compound. More>

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In Situ X-Ray Scattering Helps Optimize Printed Solar Cells

Plastic solar cells printed on flexible sheets with an ink-like solution show a lot of potential as a source of lightweight, inexpensive renewable energy. However, much of the power-conversion efficiency gets lost in the translation. Research at the Advanced Light Source is helping to gain an understanding of why that happens. More>

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First Direct Observation of CO2’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect

Researchers measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions. More>

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JGI Leads Team Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses

To understand the basis for fungal symbiotic relationships with plants, a team of Joint Genome Institute researchers and longtime collaborators at INRA (France) and Clark University conducted the first broad, comparative phylogenomic analysis of mycorrhizal fungi, reporting their findings in Nature Genetics. More>

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New ALS Technique Guides IBM in Next-Gen Semiconductor Development

A new measurement technique developed at the ALS is helping guide the semiconductor industry in next-generation nanopatterning techniques. Directed self-assembly of block copolymers is an extremely promising strategy for high-volume, cost-effective semiconductor manufacturing at the nanoscale. More>

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Biomass Electricity With Carbon Capture Part of Zero-Carbon Future

A new UC Berkeley study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western United States, power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the 21st century. More>

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ETA’s Amrose is Developing Modular Arsenic-Removal System for Water

10 years ago, Susan Amrose remembers passing a class that Berkeley Lab’s Ashok Gadgil was teaching on Design for Sustainable Communities. She sat in on the first class, and wound up staying the semester. Today she teaches the course and has teamed with Gadgil and Robert Kostecki to create an electrochemical arsenic remediation prototype. More>

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