Sandia Labs News Releases

Author Archives: Mollie Rappe

Sandia switches to hydrogen weather balloons

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of miles north of the Arctic Circle, Sandia National Laboratories researchers ensure the collection of important weather and climate data. By switching the gas used in their weather balloons, they have reduced their metaphorical footprint on the fragile Arctic ecosystem. More than three years ago, the Sandia-operated atmospheric measurement facility in […]

Let’s get cracking: Sandia scientists detect gases from fractured rock

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Geoscientists have detected specific gases being released from fractured rocks in real time after a series of small chemical explosions set underground. This fundamental research, led by Sandia National Laboratories geoscientist Steve Bauer, could one day improve the prediction of earthquakes or detection of underground explosions. “In the different shots, we were […]

Testing coatings to conserve canisters against corrosion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As anyone who has lived near the ocean can attest, metal and sea mist are a recipe for corrosion. A nuisance of coastal life, the consequences of these common chemical reactions become far more serious when it is taking aim at the stainless-steel canisters that contain spent nuclear fuel. To shield steel […]

Sandia scientists help enhance advanced nuclear reactor analysis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nuclear power is a significant source of steady carbon-neutral electricity, and advanced reactors can add more of it to the U.S. grid, which is vital for the environment and economy. For decades, Sandia National Laboratories has supported the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in its role of regulating and licensing nuclear reactors. With many […]

Studying ship tracks to inform climate intervention decision-makers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories are studying ship tracks — clouds that reflect sunlight and are formed by moving ships, similar to contrails from planes — to help inform decision-makers of the benefits and risks of one technology being considered to slow climate change. To understand how these ship tracks move and […]

Can clay capture carbon dioxide?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The atmospheric level of carbon dioxide — a gas that is great at trapping heat, contributing to climate change — is almost double what it was prior to the Industrial Revolution, yet it only constitutes 0.0415% of the air we breathe. This presents a challenge to researchers attempting to design artificial trees […]

A fresh look at restoring power to the grid

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Climate change can alter extreme weather events, and these events have the potential to strain, disrupt or damage the nation’s grid. Sandia National Laboratories computer scientists have been working on an innovative computer model to help grid operators quickly restore power to the grid after a complete disruption, a process called “black […]

Surveilling carbon sequestration: A smart collar to sense leaks

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories engineers are working on a device that would help ensure captured carbon dioxide stays deep underground — a critical component of carbon sequestration as part of a climate solution. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing CO2 — a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere — […]

Sandia studies vulnerabilities of electric vehicle charging infrastructure

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With electric vehicles becoming more common, the risks and hazards of a cyberattack on electric vehicle charging equipment and systems also increases. Jay Johnson, an electrical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, has been studying the varied vulnerabilities of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for the past four years. Johnson and his team recently […]

Burping bacteria: Identifying Arctic microbes that produce greenhouse gases

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As greenhouse gases bubble up across the rapidly thawing Arctic, Sandia National Laboratories researchers are trying to identify other trace gases from soil microbes that could shed some light on what is occurring biologically in melting permafrost in the Arctic. Sandia bioengineer Chuck Smallwood and his team recently spent five days collecting […]

Back to the drawing board: Reinventing offshore wind turbines

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Brandon Ennis, Sandia National Laboratories’ offshore wind technical lead, had a radically new idea for offshore wind turbines: instead of a tall, unwieldy tower with blades at the top, he imagined a towerless turbine with blades pulled taut like a bow. This design would allow the massive generator that creates electricity from […]

“We’ve Got the Power”: Sandia technology test delivers electricity to the grid

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the first time, Sandia National Laboratories researchers delivered electricity produced by a new power-generating system to the Sandia-Kirtland Air Force Base electrical grid. The system uses heated supercritical carbon dioxide instead of steam to generate electricity and is based on a closed-loop Brayton cycle. The Brayton cycle is named after 19th […]

20th anniversary of Sandia tribal energy internship program

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 2022 marks a major milestone for Sandia National Laboratories’ groundbreaking tribal energy internship program: two decades of meeting the growing renewable energy technical needs of Native American tribes and providing valuable, real-world experience for Native and Alaska Native STEM students. “My hope for the interns is for them to be leaders in […]

Using the power of the sun to roast green chile

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Every August and September the unmistakable pungent aroma of roasting green chile permeates the air across New Mexico and neighboring states. This delectable staple of regional cuisine is green in color, but roasting the chile pepper to deepen the flavor and make the inedible skin easier to remove is hardly environmentally friendly. […]

Exploring explosives for expanding geothermal energy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Why are scientists setting off small-scale explosions inside 1-foot cubes of plexiglass? They’re watching how fractures form and grow in a rock-like substance to see if explosives or propellants, similar to jet fuel, can connect geothermal wells in a predictable manner. Geothermal energy has a lot of promise as a renewable energy […]