Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Energy / Environment / Water

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Two people look at blueprints with Sandia

Sandia creates global archive of historical renewable energy documents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories began studying the power of the sun to produce utility-scale energy in the 1960s. Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility was commissioned in 1978, spurred by the oil crisis of 1973. Many of the documents detailing the design, construction and research conducted at the world’s first multimegawatt concentrating solar […]

Two scientists look at hand-sized white membranes, water and lush trees in background.

Mimicking mother nature: New membrane to make fresh water

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and their collaborators have developed a new membrane, whose structure was inspired by a protein from algae, for electrodialysis that could be used to provide fresh water for farming and energy production. The team shared their membrane design in a paper published recently in the scientific journal […]

High-speed alloy creation might revolutionize hydrogen’s future

LIVERMORE, Calif. — A Sandia National Laboratories team of materials scientists and computer scientists, with some international collaborators, have spent more than a year creating 12 new alloys — and modeling hundreds more — that demonstrate how machine learning can help accelerate the future of hydrogen energy by making it easier to create hydrogen infrastructure […]

Sandia uncovers hidden factors that affect solar farms during severe weather

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers combined large sets of real-world solar data and advanced machine learning to study the impacts of severe weather on U.S. solar farms, and sort out what factors affect energy generation. Their results were published earlier this month in the scientific journal Applied Energy. Hurricanes, blizzards, hailstorms and wildfires […]

Two men, one younger and one older, look at a large, upside-down metal bowl with a huge rip in it.

Extending nuclear power accident code for advanced reactor designs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nuclear power is a significant source of steady carbon-neutral electricity, making the design and construction of new and next-generation nuclear reactors critical for achieving the U.S.’s green energy goals. A number of new nuclear reactor designs, such as small modular reactors and non-light water reactors, have been developed over the past 10 […]

Foreground, two glass tubes connected at an angle with shiny metal in one tube and purple liquid in the other. Background woman with hands in a glove box.

Sandia designs better batteries for grid-scale energy storage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have designed a new class of molten sodium batteries for grid-scale energy storage. The new battery design was shared in a paper published today in the scientific journal Cell Reports Physical Science. Molten sodium batteries have been used for many years to store energy from renewable sources, […]

Battery Team

The hidden culprit killing lithium-metal batteries from the inside

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For decades, scientists have tried to make reliable lithium-metal batteries. These high-performance storage cells hold 50% more energy than their prolific, lithium-ion cousins, but higher failure rates and safety problems like fires and explosions have crippled commercialization efforts. Researchers have hypothesized why the devices fail, but direct evidence has been sparse. Now, […]

Two men in protective helmats look at a solar module under a bright light.

Sandia-led center to advance understanding of new solar panel technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Department of Energy recently awarded $14 million to form a Sandia National Laboratories-led center to improve the understanding of perovskite-based photovoltaic technologies and determine the best tests to evaluate the new solar panels’ lifetimes. The efficiency of perovskite-based solar cells has reached 25%, approaching the levels of common crystalline silicon-based solar […]

Graphic of underground stream with uranium being absorbed by apatite with detection wells upstream and downstream.

Using a mineral ‘sponge’ to catch uranium

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A team of researchers from Sandia, Lawrence Berkeley and Pacific Northwest national laboratories tested a “sponge-like” mineral that can “soak up” uranium at a former uranium mill near Rifle, Colorado. The researchers found that the mineral, calcium apatite, soaks up and binds uranium from the groundwater, reducing it by more than ten-thousandfold. […]

Shadowed man in front of a row of solar panels.

Sandia app assesses value of energy storage for businesses, utilities

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Utility companies and corporate project developers now have help assessing how much money adding an energy storage system will save them thanks to new Sandia National Laboratories software. The software, called Quest, can also be used by energy researchers to evaluate different energy storage scenarios and model the potential of new solutions. […]

Two small balloons against a blue sky to the left of a large tower with a

Here comes the sun: Tethered-balloon tests ensure safety of new solar-power technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What do tiny dust particles, 22-foot-wide red balloons and “concentrated” sunlight have in common? Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories recently used 22-foot-wide tethered balloons to collect samples of airborne dust particles to ensure the safety of an emerging solar-power technology. The study determined that the dust created by the new technology is […]

A song of ice and fiber

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers are beginning to analyze the first seafloor dataset from under Arctic sea ice using a novel method. They were able to capture ice quakes and transportation activities on the North Slope of Alaska while also monitoring for other climate signals and marine life. The team, led by Sandia […]

Tito Bonano stands with Efrain O’Neill inside a huge concrete cylinder with a yellow ladder.

Retaining knowledge of nuclear waste management

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Have you ever started a new job and spent a lot of time figuring out everything from how to get paper for the printer to whether an important customer prefers quick phone calls to emails? Imagine if that important customer was the federal government and the project you were working on was […]

Hot red flame coming out of white ice-like blocks on black background.

Finding fire and ice: Modeling the probability of methane hydrate deposits on the seafloor

RALEIGH, N.C. — Methane hydrate, an ice-like material made of compressed natural gas, burns when lit and can be found in some regions of the seafloor and in Arctic permafrost. Thought to be the world’s largest source of natural gas, methane hydrate is a potential fuel source, and if it “melts” and methane gas is […]

Hand holding white cube with a play button.

Catching energy-exploration caused earthquakes before they happen

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Geoscientists at Sandia National Laboratories used 3D-printed rocks and an advanced, large-scale computer model of past earthquakes to understand and prevent earthquakes triggered by energy exploration. Injecting water underground after unconventional oil and gas extraction, commonly known as fracking, geothermal energy stimulation and carbon dioxide sequestration all can trigger earthquakes. Of course, […]

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