Friday, October 17, 2014

 
Four Corners a methane hot spot, NASA study says

The Four Corners is a national "hot spot" for concentrations of atmospheric methane, according to a new study.

Facilities at the San Juan gas plant.
(Photo Courtesy Daily Times)
The joint study by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Michigan published in the journal "Geophysical Research Letters" last week reported a high concentration of the greenhouse gas methane across 2,500 square miles in the Four Corners.

Manvendra Dubey, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said the study findings were supported by ground-based testing Los Alamos researchers conducted at the PNM San Juan Generating Station. (full story)

This story also appeared in the Los Alamos Monitor


Where are we with algae biofuels?

Algae for processing into biofuel.
(LANL image.)
The state of R&D so far: Four NAABB advances have brought the cost of algae biocrude oil down to $7.50 per gallon. Three roadblocks remain between today’s cost and $3.00.

DOE awarded $48.6 million to a consortium of organizations who formed the NAABB, with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as lead institution and Los Alamos’ Jose Olivares as principal investigator. (full story)

More on LANL algal biofuel program on YouTube

 

DOE awards Los Alamos Nat’l Lab employee safety efforts

Raising the VPP Flag for
employee safety (LANL image)
The Energy Department has given Los Alamos National Laboratory the “Star” status under the Voluntary Protection Program, which evaluates DOE contractor measures in employee health and safety.

“Hazards are part of our everyday work and achieving VPP Star recognition validates the evolution of worker-manager partnerships in making our Laboratory safe,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. (full story)

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Friday, October 10, 2014



Tiny yet mighty methane hotspot discovered in the US

The Four Corners area is the only red spot on the map. NASA/JPL/U of Mich.

Using data from the European Space Agency’s Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument on board ENVISAT, scientists from NASA and the University of Michigan discovered the hotspot near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah        

To verify the remote satellite data, the researchers compared their results with a Total Carbon Column Observing Network ground station, operated by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)



Satellite data shows U.S. methane ‘hot spot’ bigger than expected

Los Alamos instruments near the Four Corners coal-fired power plant. LANL image.

One small "hot spot" in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States – more than triple the standard ground-based estimate        

A ground station in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network, operated by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, provided independent validation of the measurement. (Full Story)



The danger to birds from open pipes

Western Bluebird, from ENN.              

Open pipes, widely used for a variety of purposes across the western U.S. landscape, have been reported as a "potentially very large" source of bird mortality according to research by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The finding was part of a peer-reviewed study accepted for publication by the "Western North American Naturalist" and authored by Charles D. Hathcock and Jeanne M. Fair. (Full Story)



Team advances understanding of Greenland ice sheet

Greenland ice sheet.            

An international research team’s field work, drilling and measuring melt rates and ice sheet movement in Greenland is showing that things are, in fact, more complicated than we thought.

“Although the Greenland Ice Sheet initially speeds up each summer in its slow-motion race to the sea, the network of meltwater channels beneath the sheet is not necessarily forming the slushy racetrack that had been previously considered,” said Matthew Hoffman, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project. (Full Story)


Also from the LA Monitor this week:

LANL receives recognition for safety excellence

The Star Status flag flies over the Lab, LANL photo.          

Los Alamos National Laboratory has received Star-level recognition from the Department of Energy as part of DOE’s Voluntary Protection Program. Los Alamos becomes the largest site in the DOE complex to receive Star Status.

“Hazards are part of our everyday work and achieving VPP Star recognition validates the evolution of worker-manager partnerships in making our laboratory safe,” said laboratory director Charlie McMillan.” (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Daily Post



LANL’s four scientific pillars

LANL and NMC scientist Richard Sayre leads a tour of the bio-energy facility.  From AgWire. 

Back in the days of the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) was a secret to the outside world. Founded to develop technologies to defend America, that mission is still in place today. During the Verdesian Los Alamos Media Tour, ag reporters had the opportunity to learn about the work being done at LANL as well as how some of the innovations developed in the lab eventually end up on a farmer’s field. I should note that the scientific foundation of Verdesian’s Take-Off product was developed at LANL. (Full Story)

Additional stories from AgWired -- LANL Ag Innovations and From Lab to Field




Special report: Inside Los Alamos National Laboratory

Richard Sayre in the biofuel lab.  From FIN.

Plant health company Verdesian Life Sciences took the media behind the gates of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico this week to see where the technology for its plant health product Take Off was discovered. The technology increases the metabolism in plants to help them grow better.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, known for its development of the first atomic bomb, is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. It is using the same technologies it uses in national defense to study crops. (Full Story)

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Understanding the Greenland Ice Sheet’s meltwater channels

Scientist's camp on the Greenland Ice
Sheet. (LANL Photo)
The Greenland Ice Sheet's movement speeds up each summer as melt from the surface penetrates kilometer-thick ice through moulins, lubricating the bed of the ice sheet. Greater melt is predicted for Greenland in the future, but its impact on ice sheet flux and associated sea level rise is uncertain.

"Although the Greenland Ice Sheet initially speeds up each summer in its slow-motion race to the sea, the network of meltwater channels beneath the sheet is not necessarily forming the slushy racetrack that had been previously considered," said Matthew Hoffman, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project. (full story)

Team advances understanding of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s meltwater channels

Greenland meltwater channel
An international research team’s fieldwork, drilling and measuring melt rates and ice sheet movement in Greenland is showing that things are, in fact, more complicated than we thought.

A high-profile paper appearing in Nature this week notes that observations of moulins (vertical conduits connecting water on top of the glacier down to the bed of the ice sheet) and boreholes in Greenland show that subglacial channels ameliorate the speedup caused by water delivery to the base of the ice sheet in the short term. (full story)

 
LANL introduces ATHENA, the desktop human ‘body’

Artificial lung developed at
LANL. (LANL image)
Creating surrogate human organs, coupled with insights from highly sensitive mass spectrometry technologies, a new project is on the brink of revolutionizing the way we screen new drugs and toxic agents.

“By developing this ‘homo minutus,’ we are stepping beyond the need for animal or Petri dish testing: There are huge benefits in developing drug and toxicity analysis systems that can mimic the response of actual human organs,” said Rashi Iyer, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (full story)
 
The tech to stop new airline threats

A bottle of white wine is loaded into
the MagRay system. (LANL image)
Do airport security teams have the necessary tech to stay ahead of this threat? Security experts say that trace detection machines are capable of picking up residue, no matter how small.

Los Alamos National Lab created its own system, the MagRay (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), that combines X-ray and MRI techniques to create 3-D images that reveal a liquid's proton content and density, which can tell you more about what it is. (Currently, most liquids scanners are slow and give a lot of false positives.) (full story)

LANL licenses polarization cryptography technique

Quantum key device. (LANL image)
Quantum encryption technology based on random photon polarization could give ordinary people access to truly secure commerce, banking, communications and data transfer.

Developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the technology has been licensed to Whitewood Encryption Systems Inc. for commercialization.


The LANL technology uses random polarization to generate random numbers for real-time encryption at high data rates. It represents an improvement over existing random-number generators based on mathematical formulas that can be broken by a computer with sufficient speed and power. (full story)

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Friday, September 26, 2014



LANL teams with HPC groups for advanced climate change understanding

LANL research found that during winter pollution increases over India, affecting cloud formation. LANL image.                

Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy, or ACME, is designed to accelerate the development and application of fully coupled, state-of-the-science Earth system models for scientific and energy applications.

“The ACME partnership will provide new capabilities that improve our ability to project future impacts of energy choices on the Earth’s climate,” said Alan Bishop, principal associate director of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Science, Technology and Engineering directorate. (Full Story)



Developing the most advanced Earth system computer model yet created

LANL's ocean surface temperature model.  LANL image.

The project — which includes Los Alamos and six other national laboratories, four academic institutions, and one private-sector company — will focus initially on three climate-change science drivers and corresponding questions to be answered during the project's initial phase: water cycle, biogeochemistry and cryosphere systems.

Over a planned 10-year span, the project aim is to conduct simulations and modeling on the most sophisticated high-performance computing systems machines as they become available — 100+ petaflop machines and eventually exascale supercomputers. (Full Story)

Also from TMCnet



Researchers uncover properties in nanocomposite oxide ceramics for reactor fuel

Dislocation networks for SrO- and TiO2-terminated SrTiO3/MgO interface.  LANL image.

Nanocomposite oxide ceramics have potential uses as ferroelectrics, fast ion conductors, and nuclear fuels and for storing nuclear waste, generating a great deal of scientific interest on the structure, properties, and applications of these blended materials.

“The interfaces separating the different crystalline regions determine the transport, electrical, and radiation properties of the material as a whole,” said Pratik Dholabhai, principal Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)




LANS OKs $3 million in funding

The Los Alamos National Security, LLC Board of Governors has approved $3 million in funding for the company’s plan to support education, economic development and charitable giving in Northern New Mexico.

“This plan demonstrates our bond with the community and its people and businesses that support our national security mission,” laboratory director Charlie McMillan said. (Full Story)



Energy labs show off high-tech innovation

National Lab Day on the Hill.  LANL photo.      

Directors of the Department of Energy’s 17 national labs joined Senate leaders in Washington, D.C., last week to help recognize National Lab Day, an event to raise awareness of the accomplishments of the labs in high performance computing, energy innovation and other high tech disciplines.

“The national labs continue to advance science, clean energy and nuclear security in this country, as they have for decades,” said Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told the group. (Full Story)



A look back – world-record magnetic field 100T threshold broken

Video: At approximately 3:30 p.m. on March 22, 2012, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory campus of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory successfully produced the world's first 100 Tesla non-destructive magnetic field. The achievement was decades in the making, involving a diverse team of scientists and engineers.  Watch Here


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