Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Energy / Environment / Water

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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, […]

International research team begins uncovering Arctic mystery

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it’s not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery. According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about […]

Scientist in protective gear looks at a cyan and red couston-built wind turbine emulator

New tool at Sandia brings some West Texas wind to the Duke City — virtually

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have a new tool that allows them to study wind power and see whether it can be efficiently used to provide power to people living in remote and rural places or even off the grid, through distributed energy. A new, custom-built wind turbine emulator has been installed […]

Carbon fiber optimized for wind turbine blades could bring cost, performance benefits

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new carbon fiber material could bring cost and performance benefits to the wind industry if developed commercially, according to a study led by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories. Wind blades containing carbon fiber weigh 25% less than ones made from traditional fiberglass materials. That means carbon fiber blades could be longer […]

Canister video

Sandia to put nuclear waste storage canisters to the test

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories is outfitting three 22.5-ton, 16.5-feet-long stainless-steel storage canisters with heaters and instrumentation to simulate nuclear waste so researchers can study their durability. The three canisters, which arrived in mid-November and have never contained any nuclear materials, will be used to study how much salt gathers on canisters over time. […]

Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs’ Z machine fusion experiments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A relatively new method to control nuclear fusion that combines a massive jolt of electricity with strong magnetic fields and a powerful laser beam has achieved its own record output of neutrons — a key standard by which fusion efforts are judged — at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z pulsed power facility, the most […]

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