• Militaries, Metals, and Mining

    The U.S. aerospace and defense industries need access to critical minerals. Securing these minerals today may be an even more-complex task than it was during the cold war: the task requires more than deploying audacious subterfuge, as the CIA did in the 1960s to get titanium out of the Soviet Union. These minerals are now very much in the public eye, and they are also needed for the clean energy technologies that will help combat climate change.

  • Progress in Alternative Battery Technology

    It is not easy to make batteries cheap, efficient, durable, safe and environmentally friendly at the same time. Researchers have now succeeded in uniting all of these characteristics in zinc metal batteries. Zinc batteries are considered a possible future alternative to the lithium-ion batteries now widely in use. Currently, however, their use often requires toxic salts.

  • AI Can Predict Electricity Grid Loads from Road and Rail Usage Data

    To satisfy demand and manage consumption peaks, electricity suppliers have to be able to predict grid loads. Researchers havedeveloped an artificial intelligence system capable of accurately anticipating grid loads from road and rail traffic data.

  • Poorly Understood Environmental Trends Could Become Tomorrow’s Security Threats

    There is an urgent need to understand how a range of emerging ecological challenges could trigger catastrophic instability and insecurity, argues a new report. The authors stress that uncertainty and knowledge gaps should galvanize rather than delay both research and action to prevent, mitigate or adapt to consequences that could be catastrophic.

  • Vaccine Could Improve Herd Immunity Around the World

    A low-cost, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine tested in rhesus monkeys offered immunity against known variants for at least one year. Researchers hope the vaccine, which can remain unrefrigerated for up to two weeks and may be especially beneficial for infants, will help alleviate the need for boosters while improving herd immunity around the world.

  • Searching for Critical Minerals in New Mexico, Utah

    The U.S. Geological Survey will provide nearly $3.4 million to map critical-mineral resources in New Mexico in partnership with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, and more than $6.6 million to map critical mineral resources in Utah, in partnership with the Utah Geological Survey.

  • Testing Gaming Technology to Train Nuclear Workforce

    Video game software paired with high-tech hard hats can bridge theory and reality to engage a new generation of workers. Argonne engineers tested extended reality tools at the nation’s largest liquid metal test facility.

  • EV Batteries: Chinese Dominance Raises Thorny Questions

    Chinese firms currently dominate the electric vehicle battery supply chain — from mining and refining through to final assembly. This leaves Western automakers with little option but to rely on Chinese-made batteries.

  • “Flash Droughts” More Frequent as Climate Warms

    ‘Flash droughts’ have become more frequent due to human-caused climate change, and this trend is predicted to accelerate in a warmer future. Flash droughts, which start and develop rapidly, are becoming ‘the new normal’ for droughts, making forecasting and preparing for their impact more difficult.

  • Preparing Students for the New Nuclear

    Nuclear power has gained greater recognition as a zero-emission energy source, and an MIT program trains leaders for a rapidly evolving industry.

  • Warning: Prospecting for Unknown Viruses Risks a Deadly Outbreak

    The coronavirus pandemic which swept the globe offered a scary case study in how a single virus of uncertain origin can spread exponentially. The pandemic has also challenged conventional thinking about biosafety and risks, casting a critical light on widely accepted practices such as prospecting for unknown viruses.

  • Better Together: Japan and the Five Eyes Need to Focus on Critical Minerals

    Critical minerals are being consumed in greater volumes than ever before, and the level of demand will only increase over the next 10 to 20 years, and beyond. The governments of Japan and the Five Eyes countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States) are aware that critical minerals, including rare-earth elements, will be increasingly needed as the world shifts from fossil-fuel systems to renewable energy sources. The partner nations are also clear about the challenges and opportunities, especially given that the supply chains for several critical minerals have only one or few dominant key players.

  • The Potential for Geologic Hydrogen for Next-Generation Energy

    Hydrogen, you may recall from your school days, is a gas. It is considered the cleanest fuel, because burning it only produces heat and pure water. A previously overlooked, potential geologic source of energy could increase the renewability and lower the carbon footprint of the U.S. energy portfolio: natural hydrogen.

  • Fighting Biological Threats

    Modeling the emergence and spread of biological threats isn’t as routine as forecasting the weather, but scientists in two of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories were awarded funding to try to make it so. The scientists will work together to advance computational tools and solutions for known and unknown diseases.

  • Critical Metal Needs Rise as Cars, Trucks Decarbonize

    The demand for battery-grade lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and platinum will climb steeply as nations work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through mid-century, but will likely set off economic snags and supply-chain hitches.