Thursday, October 2, 2014

PNNL Research Highlights

Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate
  1. Off-shore Power Potential Floating in the Wind
    Results: Two bright yellow buoys - each worth $1.3 million - are being deployed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State's Sequim Bay. The massive, 20,000-pound buoys are decked out with the latest in meteorological and oceanographic equipment to enable more accurate predictions of the power-producing potential of winds that blow off U.S. shores. Starting in November, they will be commissioned for up to a year at two offshore wind demonstration projects: one near Coos Bay, Oregon, and another near Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  2. Transformations: Future Challenges for Catalytic Vehicle Emission Control, Industrial Catalyst Developer at National Lab, Why Bio-oil Turns to Gunk
    In the latest edition of the Institute for Integrated Catalysis' Transformations, catalysis scientist Chuck Peden describes past, present, and future research on abatement of harmful compounds in vehicles and other sources. Alongside the many successes are new challenges for scientists developing catalytic emission control applications. Also, meet Hai-Ying Chen, a catalysis developer at Johnson Matthey, who recently completed a 9-week fellowship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory—a great example of bringing industry and a national lab together to work on clean energy.
  3. Krishnamoorthy Co-Author of IEEE Cluster 2014 Best Student Paper
    Sriram Krishnamoorthy, a research scientist and System Software and Applications Team Leader in PNNL’s High Performance Computing group (Advanced Computing, Mathematics, and Data Division), was part of the research team honored with the 2014 Best Student Paper Award during this year’s IEEE Cluster 2014. The conference awards were announced on September 24, 2014.
  4. More Haste, Less Waste
    Results: Mirroring the climate using ones and zeros takes a lot of computing power. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found a way to reduce that power hungry need dramatically with a novel computational approach. Replacing a single long computer drive with multiple short runs, they found a way to get more mileage out of the largest and fastest supercomputer systems and get the climate answers hundreds of times faster. The new strategy provides equally reliable results but at a fraction of the computational cost.
  5. Ben Kravitz Quoted in IOP News Blog for Geoengineering Work on Climate Change
    Dr. Ben Kravitz, a postdoctoral researcher in atmospheric sciences at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was quoted in environmentalresearchweb, the IOP community website on his recent solar geoengineering paper. Discussing the publication in Environmental Research Letter, "A multi-model assessment of regional climate disparities caused by solar geoengineering," the article quoted lead author Kravitz on the concerns of solar geoengineering used to offset the warming of the climate and some examples of the tradeoffs that could arise across different regions. The takeaway: solar geoengineering alone is not the answer to slowing climate warming, but depending on the regional needs geoengineering can offset some of the effects. "If society continues to increase carbon dioxide emissions and offsets the climate change with geoengineering, we would need to do continually more geoengineering to keep up with increasing emissions," said Kravitz.
  6. As Light Dims and Food Sources Are Limited, Key Changes in Proteins Occur in Cyanobacteria
    Results: Using a targeted chemical biology approach, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) identified an important subset consisting of more than 300 proteins in a bacterium adept at converting carbon dioxide into other molecules of interest to energy researchers. These proteins are involved in generating macromolecule synthesis and carbon flux through central metabolic pathways and may also be involved in cell signaling and response mechanisms.
  7. Aaron Wright Quoted on Innovative Protein Profiling
    Dr. Aaron Wright, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, discussed his recent research in a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News article, "Protein Profiling Plumbs Hidden Depths." The article features the Wright-led study on profiling functional enzymes in the lysosomes of living cells. Because of the lysosome's role in fighting diseases, this work provides insights relevant to the progression of neurodegenerative conditions and other diseases. The study by Susan Wiedner, Lindsey Anderson, Natalie Sadler, William Chrisler, Vamsi Kodali, Richard Smith, and Aaron Wright appears in Angewandte Chemie.
  8. Jim De Yoreo Quoted in Chemical & Engineering News
    Dr. Jim De Yoreo at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was quoted in Chemical & Engineering News about his recent study that showed that calcium carbonate formation can take previously unseen pathways. The C&E News article, "Spying on Crystal Formation" written by Mitch Jacoby, is based on a study De Yoreo co-authored in Science: "In situ TEM imaging of CaCO3 nucleation reveals coexistence of direct and indirect pathways." The research was done with colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Yong Wang Co-Edits Special Issue of Catalysis Today
    Congratulations to Dr. Yong Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Institute for Integrated Catalysis and Dr. Ajay K. Dalai at the University of Saskatchewan on co-editing a special issue of Catalysis Today. The special issue of this Elsevier-published journal focuses on innovation in sustainable fuels and chemicals production, based on some of the papers presented at the 23rd North American Catalysis Society Conference, held in Kentucky last year.
  10. Taking Back the Angels' Share of Atoms
    Results: On the surface of a battery's electrode, a material that stores wind energy, or on nearly any other surface, scientists can use atom probe tomography to identify and locate almost every atom. But some atoms evaporate non-uniformly before they are identified -- reminiscent of the angels' share, the amount of wine or whiskey volume lost to evaporation during barrel aging. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Rouen revealed which atoms evaporate in mixed materials, where there are many different types of atoms. They managed this feat by correlating data from three techniques, accounting for all of the atoms and determining how atoms were evaporating from APT.