• Power plantsIt's Getting Hot in Here: Warming World Will Fry Power Plant Production

    There’s no doubt the Earth’s temperatures are going up. The power plants that keep air conditioners pushing out cold air could soon be in a vicious cycle in a warming world–not able to keep up with growing demands on hotter days and driving up greenhouse gas emissions to dangerous levels.

  • Water securityFinding Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water

    Most consumers of drinking water in the United States know that chemicals are used in the treatment processes to ensure the water is safe to drink. But they might not know that the use of some of these chemicals, such as chlorine, can also lead to the formation of unregulated toxic byproducts.

  • Nuclear powerWant Cheaper Nuclear Energy? Turn the Design Process into a Game

    By Kim Martineau

    Nuclear energy provides more carbon-free electricity in the United States than solar and wind combined, making it a key player in the fight against climate change. But the U.S. nuclear fleet is aging, and operators are under pressure to streamline their operations to compete with coal- and gas-fired plants. Researchers show that deep reinforcement learning can be used to design more efficient nuclear reactors.

  • GridGuiding Research Direction for Grid-Forming Inverters

    Power electronics—including the inverters that interface solar, wind, battery energy storage, and electric vehicles—are on track to gradually, or even entirely, displace traditional generation. In doing so, inverters will inherit new responsibilities and introduce a new set of challenges.

  • GridGuiding Research Direction for Grid-Forming Inverters

    Power electronics—including the inverters that interface solar, wind, battery energy storage, and electric vehicles—are on track to gradually, or even entirely, displace traditional generation. In doing so, inverters will inherit new responsibilities and introduce a new set of challenges.

  • Water securityCapturing Potable Water from Air

    DARPA recently awarded five contracts and selected one government partner to develop technology to capture potable water from the air in quantities sufficient to meet critical DoD needs, even in extremely dry climates. The Atmospheric Water Extraction (AWE) performers aim to meet clean water needs of deployed troops, even in austere environments.

  • Energy securityIt’s Electrifying! Earth Could Be Entirely Powered by Sustainable Energy

    Can you imagine a world powered by 100 percent renewable electricity and fuels? It may seem fantasy, but a collaborative team of scientists has just shown this dream is theoretically possible – if we can garner global buy-in.

  • Coastal challengesMitigating Coastal Flooding, Erosion and Storm Damage

    Sea level rise and wave-induced flooding during increasingly frequent storm events threaten sustainability of the more than 1,700 Department of Defense (DoD) managed military installations in coastal areas worldwide. Current DoD coastal protection measures, including bulkhead and coastal seawalls, may reflect wave energy, exacerbate flooding, create downstream sediment loss, and restrict water exchange. DARPA’s Reefense program aims to develop novel hybrid biological and engineered reef-mimicking structures to mitigate wave and storm damage and reduce the ecological impact of current coastal protection measures.

     

  • Nuclear safetyNuclear Waste Storage Canisters to Be Tested

    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, will be tested at Sandia National Lab. The three canisters have never contained any nuclear materials. They will be used to study how much salt gathers on canisters over time. Sandia will also study the potential for cracks caused by salt- and stress-induced corrosion with additional canisters that will be delivered during the next stage of the project.

  • InfrastructureHigh Rises Made of Timber

    With an increasing demand for a more sustainable alternative for high-rise construction, new points to timber as a sustainable and effective way to make tall, high-density, and renewable buildings. Tall mass-timber buildings are a safe and sustainable alternative for high-rise construction,

  • ResilienceHow Disasters Can Spur Resilience in the Gulf

    Communities in the Gulf of Mexico are all too familiar with the whims of nature and power of the sea. This year’s hurricane season brought power outages, heavy rain, downed trees, property damage, and death and injury. As disasters cascade and compound, progress toward resiliency is made by people working together and using science to decide next steps. 

  • ResilienceMaking Our Infrastructure Safer

    By David L. Chandler

    Saurabh Amin, a systems engineer at MIT, focuses on making transportation, electricity, and water infrastructure more resilient against disruptions. “There are a lot of commonalities among these networks — they are built and operated by human actors, but their functionality is governed by physical laws. So, that is what drives me forward,” Amin says.

  • Cybersecurity educationCybersecurity Curriculum, Pilot Focused on Veterans and First Responders

    The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is part of a coalition of universities and industry partners that are developing a curriculum to increase cybersecurity talent focused on health care with $6.3 million in funding from the National Security Agency. The curriculum focuses on health care cybersecurity.

  • Nuclear fuelNovel Chemical Process a First Step to Making Nuclear Fuel with Fire

    Uranium dioxide, a radioactive actinide oxide, is the most widely used nuclear fuel in today’s nuclear power plants. A new “combustion synthesis” process recently established for lanthanide metals—non-radioactive and positioned one row above actinides on the periodic table—could be a guide for the production of safe, sustainable nuclear fuels.

  • Water securityImproving Water Security for People in Africa and Asia by 2024

    New funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will support global research and practice to improve water security for 10 million people in Africa and Asia. The FCDO’s grant to the University of Oxford will now extend to 2024 and increase to £22.5 million, to support the REACH program improve water security by delivering world-class science to transform policy and practice.