Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 28, 2015

Posts in "Science"

January 26, 2015

This Week: Keystone Vote, Oil Prices and EPA Regs

There’s no shortage of energy events this week. The Senate is scheduled to continue Keystone XL pipeline votes Monday and the House is expected to consider legislation to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas.  Full story

January 21, 2015

The Deal With Moniz’ Hair

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Those who have been familiar with him for years, even those who have just heard him address a congressional panel or an audience of scientists, know that there is far more to Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz than his hair. He’s an MIT physicist and is known for charming Republicans and Democrats alike. Full story

January 20, 2015

This Week: Keystone, SOTU & Outlooks

Here are the week’s energy events. Full story

December 17, 2014

But Wait, Advanced Fast Reactors Are Already Here

(International Atomic Energy Agency)

Construction of the Kalpakkam fast reactor in India.  (International Atomic Energy Agency)

The New York Times had a forward-looking piece on the development of advanced nuclear reactors that gives an interesting overview of the status of technology in the United States, citing ongoing research at places like Argonne National Laboratory as the groundwork for eventual development of advanced reactors:

… if the world decides in the 2030s and 2040s that it is time to deploy a new fleet of reactors, those will be based on work done in the few labs like this over the next decade, experts predict.

That leaves out one salient point: Russia and India have built large advanced fast reactors. Full story

December 15, 2014

Capturing CO2 with Fuel Cells

Using the gas separating properties of fuel cells, a Connecticut company is developing technology to add carbon dioxide capturing capabilities to power plants, which it says could provide an economic way to meet EPA’s proposed power plant regulations. The process, developed by FuelCell Energy using a $2.5 million grant from the Energy Department, would also provide additional power generation to reduce the ratio of a coal plant’s carbon dioxide to kilowatts, the New York Times reported:

In FuelCell’s design, a coal plant adds a fuel cell unit next to its smokestack, and the fuel cell soaks up the carbon dioxide and adds power to overall output. Some energy is used — the demonstration unit here would produce eight kilowatts, enough for a midsize commercial air-conditioner, but in carbon capture mode makes only about six kilowatts — but the loss is more manageable than drawing energy from the coal plant for conventional carbon capture.

The process also unexpectedly breaks down nitrogen oxide emissions, a pollutant that is regulated directly and contributes to ozone pollution. The company’s next step is to build a full-sized demonstration facility at an operating coal power plant.

December 8, 2014

DOE Pick is Graphene Fan

(Energy Department)

(Energy Department)

The Senate is expected to vote Monday on the nomination of former BP chief scientist Ellen Williams to head the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, which is the Energy Department’s venture capital arm for high-risk, potentially high-reward research. Full story

December 3, 2014

Making a Fuel Cell Feed Itself

(University of Manchester)

(University of Manchester)

Researchers have developed a membrane that can pull hydrogen from the atmosphere, opening the possibility of a self-sustaining fuel cell. Full story

November 7, 2014

ICYMI: Election, Research and FERC on CO2

The Republican wave of wins in Tuesday’s election and seizure of Senate power has a series of energy ramifications, which we covered in a slew of stories including the prospects for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and GOP talk of conciliation. Full story

November 6, 2014

One Cool Fuel Cell

Reprinted with permission from ACS Catalysis. Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society.

Reprinted with permission from ACS Catalysis.
Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society.

Researchers at the University of Utah announced the development of a fuel cell that uses jet fuel to create electricity using room-temperature enzymatic reactions. Full story

October 20, 2014

Texas Congressman Claims EPA Analysis Falls Short

Today, Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for a more thorough cost-benefit analysis of the agency’s newly proposed electricity regulations.

In his letter, Smith roundly criticized the agency’s evaluation process, stating that “systematic biases and major omissions in EPA’s limited evaluation produced a cost-benefit analysis divorced from reality. Consequently, EPA’s Regulatory Impact Assessment fails to assess whether the proposed rule will achieve meaningful benefits and, more importantly, whether the benefits are worth the heavy cost.” Smith closed the letter by demanding that without “comprehensive energy and economic modeling,” rule making should not move forward.

The letter to EPA is Smith’s second one in three months and comes on the heels of a report released by NERA Economic Consulting. The report projects that EPA’s new proposals will cause double digit increases in the price of electricity across 43 states. Additionally, it predicts that compliance costs could end up totaling $400 billion over 15 years.

October 16, 2014

3D Innovation for Electric Cars

(Energy Department)

(Energy Department)

Researchers at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used 3-D printing to construct a high-efficiency power inverter that takes up less space than current technology, the department announced this week. Full story

October 14, 2014

The Week Ahead: Russia, Solar, Gas, Carbon and Coal

A little bit of everything is happening this week, and much of it takes place Tuesday. Full story

October 7, 2014

Developing a Solar Battery

Nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide cover the surface of a piece of titanium gauze. (Yiying Wu/The Ohio State University)

Nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide cover the surface of a piece of titanium gauze. (Yiying Wu/The Ohio State University)

Looking to increase the efficiency of solar power storage, researchers at Ohio State University devised a process to integrate solar electric generation and storage into one implement. Full story

September 18, 2014

Moniz Unveiled

Energy Department

Photo courtesy of the Energy Department

CQ Roll Call’s Geof Koss sat down with Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz earlier this summer to discuss his relationship with Congress, as we mentioned last week. The whole story is now available outside the paywall.

Enjoy.

September 17, 2014

Moniz: Let’s Double Energy Productivity

The Energy Department is looking to increase the amount of energy efficiency in manufacturing and productivity to double energy productivity by 2030. Full story

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