Research on lithium ion batteries — the power source for cellphones and nearly every piece of electronics we use daily — began at UC Berkeley some 50 years
A controversial paper published two years ago that concluded there was no detectable slowdown in ocean warming over the previous 15 years — widely known as the
What’s life like aboard a scientific research vessel plying the California coast deploying robots to unlock important data about climate change?
Climate change could constrain the Olympics going forward and not just because of rising sea levels.
China’s plans to curb Beijing’s health-damaging air pollution by focusing on restricting emissions from power plants and vehicles may have limited impact if household use of coal and other dirty fuels is not also curtailed, according to a new study.
On June 20, at a conference of global business leaders in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of a new $140 million Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), to be headquartered at UCLA, with a Berkeley-based regional center.
Global warming by just 2 degrees Celsius is likely to force some tropical plant, animal and human populations to relocate hundreds of miles from their current homes this century.
While cities currently are the major contributor to global climate change, they could become the building blocks of sustainability, according to UC Berkeley researchers.
Water and energy are tightly linked in the 21st century. Per Peterson’s research seeks to develop water-saving ways of cooling energy plants, both nuclear and solar.
Environmental engineer David Sedlak explores the serious water treatment, supply and security challenges we face, and proposes how to meet them.
We know that our changing climate will bring rising sea levels to the Bay Area. But do we know how to handle it?
Ashok Gadgil is refining an affordable water treatment technology to produce fresh drinking water from brackish water, one of many projects supported by CERC-WET.
Berkeley engineering grad student Ziran Zhang and engineering professor Steven Glaser put on their snowshoes and headed into the hills recently to take a close look at the snowpack high in the Sierra.
On March 24, Berkeley Lab’s Bill Collins, an internationally recognized expert in climate modeling and climate change science, updated the Science in the Theater audience on what we know about climate change.
Ocean waves have vast energy potential. The Electric Power Research Institute estimates the total wave energy resource along the United States coastline at 2,640 terawatts per year. One terawatt can supply more than 93,000 typical U.S. homes with power annually.
Science isn’t generally considered an extreme sport, but you wouldn’t know that by watching researchers in the Eel River Critical Zone Observatory scale hundred-foot-tall trees and wade through rushing rivers.
Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists adapt next-gen solar cell materials for a different purpose.
Just last year, researchers were saying there was no end in sight for California’s recent drought. But things are looking up. El Niño has swept into the Golden State and is breathing life back into the area.
The warm El Niño conditions affecting weather around the Pacific Ocean are also affecting conditions in space, according to UC Berkeley scientists.
The average person will suffer economic harm, often dramatic harm, by 2100 if climate change continues on its current course, new research shows.
UC Berkeley, in partnership with UC Irvine and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was awarded a five-year, multi-million dollar international research consortium that tackles water-related aspects of energy production and use.
Peidong Yang, a UC Berkeley chemist who is trying to capture carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into a sustainable transportation fuel, has been named a MacArthur “genius” Fellow.
UC Berkeley chemists have taken a promising new material that captures and stores carbon dioxide and altered it to convert the captured carbon into a chemical useful to industry.
The effort to improve food safety by clearing wild vegetation surrounding crops is not helping, and in some cases may even backfire, according to a new study led by researchers at UC Berkeley.
California’s giant sequoias are showing signs of stress — some have leaves that are drier and sparser than usual — and UC Berkeley tree biologist Anthony Ambrose thinks the drought is to blame.
Five California amphibian experts warn that a recently discovered fungus already devastating salamanders in Europe could imperil American salamanders, and urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately halt salamander imports until there is a plan to detect and prevent the spread of the fungus.
Humans can’t survive more than a few days without water, but some plants, in particular mosses, can survive drought for decades and suddenly revive with the first rain. KQED’s “Deep Look” team visited UC Berkeley’s University and Jepson Herbaria to learn about these so-called “resurrection plants.”
Philomathia Innovation Seed Fund recipients Catherine Wolfram and Meredith Fowlie carried out a rigorous study that found surprisingly low savings relative to costs in part of a nationwide effort to improve home energy-efficiency.
The debate over the legalization of marijuana has focused primarily on questions of law, policy and health. But a new paper co-authored by UC Berkeley researchers shines a spotlight on the environmental damage caused by illegal marijuana plantations in sensitive watersheds.
The problem is simple to understand. Molecules of carbon and other greenhouse gases absorb heat. The more greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere becomes, exacerbating global climate change. Solving the problem is not so simple, especially with regards to aviation – the source of two-percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.
Paul Wright is the first director of the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) at UC Berkeley.
Philomathia Innovation Seed Fund recipient Eric Brewer works with tech savvy students in electrical engineering and computer science, urban planning, business, and economics to help developing countries gain access to affordable energy.
Cold-blooded and other animals that are unable to regulate their internal temperature may have a hard time tolerating global warming, according to an analysis by biologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University.
Philomathia Innovation Seed Fund recipient Edward Miguel applies the tools of economics to such social issues as access to affordable energy and the possible links between climate and conflict.
Plant ecologist David Ackerly has calculated that some animals and plants would need to migrate as much as four miles a year to track their preferred temperature in a rapidly warming climate.
Steadily and alarmingly, humans have been depleting Earth’s soil resources faster than the nutrients can be replenished. If this trajectory does not change, soil erosion, combined with the effects of climate change, will present a huge risk to global food security over the next century.
A potentially game-changing breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis has been achieved with the development of a system that can capture carbon dioxide emissions before they are vented into the atmosphere and then, powered by solar energy, convert that carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products.
A new study quantifying the amount of carbon stored and released through California forests and wildlands finds that wildfires and deforestation are contributing more than expected to the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In the first study of its kind, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) quantitatively show that electric vehicles (EVs) will meet the daily travel needs of drivers longer than commonly assumed.
Capturing carbon from power plants is likely in the future to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but current technologies are very expensive. A new material, a diamine-appended metal-organic framework, captures and releases CO2 with much reduced energy costs compared to today’s technologies, potentially lowering the cost of capturing this greenhouse gas.
Biomass conversion to electricity combined with new technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the Western United States by 2050.
Historical California vegetation data that more than once dodged the dumpster have now proved their true value, documenting that a changing forest structure seen in the Sierra Nevada has actually happened statewide over the past 90 years.
Organic semiconductors are prized for light emitting diodes (LEDs), field effect transistors (FETs) and photovoltaic cells. As they can be printed from solution, they provide a highly scalable, cost-effective alternative to silicon-based devices. Uneven performances, however, have been a persistent problem. That’s now changed.
An international collaboration including Neil Davies, Director of UC Berkeley's Gump Station, is preparing to create a digital representation of of the Pacific island of Moorea to create a virtual lab to test and hypothesize the impact of human activities.
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new precision approach for synthesizing graphene nanoribbons from pre-designed molecular building blocks. Using this process the researchers have built nanoribbons that have enhanced properties—such as position-dependent, tunable bandgaps—that are potentially very useful for next-generation electronic circuitry.
A new study led by engineers at UC Berkeley and CITRIS describes the first direct observation of a long-hypothesized but elusive phenomenon called “negative capacitance.” The work describes a unique reaction of electrical charge to applied voltage in a ferroelectric material that could open the door to a radical reduction in the power consumed by transistors and the devices containing them.
Today’s climate models predict a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes across the US during this century as a result of warming temperatures associated with climate change. UC Berkeley climate scientists look at predictions of precipitation and cloud buoyancy in 11 different climate models and conclude that their combined effect will generate more frequent electrical discharges to the ground.
Study says California solar boom makes the state a national leader, prepares new generation of workers
Strong statewide and federal clean-energy policies have positioned California as the nation’s solar energy leader in terms of generating new, well-paying construction and permanent jobs while working to curb climate change, according to a new report by UC Berkeley.
UC Berkeley’s Anthony Barnosky and his wife, Elizabeth Hadly, a palaeoecologist at Stanford University, are featured in Nature for their work on the 30-page statement, “Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century.”
Berkeley Lab researchers have devised a technique whereby self-assembling nanoparticle arrays can form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic distances in one minute.
Peggy Lemaux, UC Berkeley cooperative extension specialist, is working with Berkeley Lab and the University of Kentucky to develop a genetically engineered tobacco plant that will produce oil that can be used as a biofuel. KQED Science wrote this story about the research effort.
California’s winter tule fog – hated by drivers, but needed by fruit and nut trees – has declined dramatically over the past three decades, raising a red flag for the state’s multibillion dollar agricultural industry, according to researchers at UC Berkeley.
Winter rains and summer groundwater pumping in California’s Central Valley make the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges sink and rise by a few millimeters each year, creating stress on the state’s earthquake faults that could increase the risk of a quake.
Rebecca Peters’ IQ score measured so low in fourth grade that her school did not deem her to be college material. Her parents didn’t buy it, and neither did she. Today she’s a diehard clean-water-access warrior, the winner of three of America’s top 10 scholarships — and UC Berkeley’s top graduating senior
Scientists working together on Kelp Watch 2014 announced today that the West Coast shoreline shows no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, following their analysis of the first collection of kelp samples along the western U.S. coastline.
By the end of this century climate change will result in more frequent and more extreme heat, more drought, and fewer extremes in cold weather in the United States. Average high temperatures could climb as much as 10 or more degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the country.
People working in buildings certified under LEED’s green building standard appear no more satisfied with the quality of their indoor workplace environments than those toiling in conventional buildings, according to new research from UC Berkeley, and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
William Dietrich and graduate student Daniella Rempe have proposed a method to determine underground details without drilling, potentially providing a more precise way to predict water runoff, the moisture available to plants, landslides and how these will respond to climate change.
A new study by UC Berkeley researchers and international collaborators finds that policies to support sustainable cattle ranching practices in Brazil could put a big dent in the beef and food industry’s greenhouse gas impact by reducing deforestation.
Children born to mothers who work in California’s pesticide-treated fields show signs of developmental problems, according the pathbreaking CHAMACOS study, led by UC Berkeley professor Dr. Brenda Eskenazi in the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health.
Two of the world’s most eminent research institutions from the United States and the United Kingdom issued a joint publication today (Thursday, Feb. 27) that distills climate change science.
UC Berkeley Professor Reza Alam, an expert in wave mechanics, is looking to harness the power of big ocean waves by using the seafloor “carpet”, which he proposes will convert ocean waves into usable energy.
As 2013 came to a close, the media dutifully reported that the year had been the driest in California since records began to be kept in the 1840s. UC Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram didn’t think the news stories captured the seriousness of the situation.
University of California, Berkeley, scientists will receive $4,900,000 over the next five years to study the nearly 10,000 square kilometer Eel River watershed in Northern California and how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Forget remote-controlled curtains. A new development by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could lead to curtains and other materials that move in response to light, no batteries needed.
According to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.
The lithium-ion batteries that power our laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles could have significantly higher energy density if their graphite anodes were to be replaced by lithium metal anodes
Rebecca Peters, a senior whose deep interest in water rights has taken her to Latin America’s rural areas and to the center of international policymaking, has won one of the nation’s top honors for undergraduates, a Marshall Scholarship.
While negotiators stalled in Warsaw, students in Kate O’Neill’s class on international environmental politics made headway in a simulated climate-change conference — and learned some vital lessons about the challenges facing their real-world counterparts.
UC Berkeley’s Tony Barnosky joined climate scientists this morning at a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to summarize a new report issued today focusing on the short-term effects of climate change and the need to monitor them closely.
Listen up nickel-titanium and all you other shape-memory alloys, there’s a new kid on the block that just claimed the championship for elasticity and is primed to take over the shape memory apps market at the nanoscale.
Residents of Richmond, Calif., on the northeastern edge of San Francisco Bay, expect climate change to present their city with major challenges –- from rising sea levels to higher temperatures, flood risks and increased energy and water consumption –- in coming years. For help meeting these challenges, the city is turning to planning students at UC Berkeley.
The Kavli Foundation has endowed a new institute at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to explore the basic science of how to capture and channel energy on the molecular or nanoscale and use this information to discover new ways of generating energy for human use.
New Berkeley Lab Subsurface SFA 2.0 Project Explores Uncharted Environmental Frontier of Subsurface Ecogenomics
The key to a better understanding of the carbon cycle, the flow of contaminants, even the sustainable growth of biofuel crops, starts with the ground beneath your feet. More specifically, it starts with the genomes of the microbes that live in the water and sediment beneath your feet.
The release today (Friday, Sept. 27) of Assessment Report 5, a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), bolsters the conclusions of its 2007 report that humans are responsible for global warming, and it highlights the need for immediate action to reduce carbon emissions.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are working to take research innovations from their labs into the real world to cut commercial building energy consumption by close to a third, and give office workers an unprecedented sense of control over their thermal environments.
Shifts in climate are strongly linked to human violence around the world, and according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University, even relatively minor departures from normal temperatures or rainfall can substantially increase the risk of conflict.
The College of Engineering has launched a new major—driven largely by undergraduate interest—that focuses in a comprehensive way on the generation, transmission and storage of energy, with additional courses on energy policy.
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an inexpensive new way to grow thin films of a material prized in the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries, an achievement that could bring high-end solar cells within reach of consumer pocketbooks.
California’s efforts to clean up diesel engines have helped reduce impact of climate change on state, study finds
Berkeley Lab partners in study showing clean diesel programs slashed black carbon, a powerful short-term contributor to global warming
Research on improved sugar transport for biofuel production has been recognized with the first patent to be granted to the Energy Biosciences Institute since the collaboration’s establishment in 2007.
Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) through support from the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have literally shed new light on cellulase catalysis.
Rising temperature difference between hemispheres could dramatically shift rainfall patterns in tropics
One often ignored consequence of global climate change is that the Northern Hemisphere is becoming warmer than the Southern Hemisphere, which could significantly alter tropical precipitation patterns, according to a new study by climatologists from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington, Seattle.
Two faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, have been named to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is considered one of the most prestigious professional distinctions accorded to an American engineer.
Designing a building holistically, and making sure that its components and systems work together according to design intent, can pay big dividends in energy savings and occupant satisfaction, according to a study of The New York Times Building by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Jay Keasling, UC Berkeley chemical engineer and leader in the field of synthetic biology, is featured on CNN’s “The Next List” for his work on using microbes to create the next generation of fuel.
Heinz Frei, the acting director of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. JCAP’s efforts focus on generating fuels from sunlight.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s research on artificial photosynthesis.
The Department of Energy has awarded $4 million over three years to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, to develop new ways to monitor the stability of electric power grids.
Mechanical engineer Lindsay Miller, PhD 12, knew there was a market for her doctoral thesis project—a device the size of a stick of gum that harvests energy from machinery vibrations, generating enough electricity to run wireless sensors without ever having to change a battery.
UC Berkeley’s leadership in developing innovative and practical solutions for global problems is being recognized in a $20 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
A long-abandoned fermentation process once used to turn starch into explosives can be used to produce renewable diesel fuel to replace the fossil fuels now used in transportation, UC Berkeley scientists have discovered.
UC Berkeley researchers released a new study that says diesel exhaust contributes 15 times more than gas emissions per liter of fuel burned.
Catalysts are substances that speed up the rates of chemical reactions without themselves being chemically changed. Industrial catalysts come in two main types – heterogeneous, in which the catalyst is in a different phase from the reactants; and homogeneous, in which catalyst and the reactants are in the same phase.
Recently returned from their summer sojourns, 32 UC Berkeley undergraduates shared experiences interning on myriad sustainability projects around the world during the second annual Cal Energy Corps symposium at the David Brower Center Thursday.
The Energy Incentive Program, as it’s named, encourages reduction in electricity usage through energy-saving measures by UC Berkeley building occupants as well as building managers like Stark. It’s one part of Operational Excellence’s work to save the campus $75 million annually.
The environmental law centers at UCLA and UC Berkeley Schools of Law today released a new report on industry actions and federal, state, and local policies needed to stimulate long-term, mass adoption of electric vehicles.
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) has been awarded a $3.4 million training grant by the National Science Foundation. The grant will train five to six Ph.D. students annually for five years in the principles of green chemistry and the design of clean energy technologies.
A computer model that can identify the best molecular candidates for removing carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen and other greenhouse gases from power plant flues has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the University of California (UC) Berkeley and the University of Minnesota.
A new analysis gives Californians good reason to be optimistic about the green credentials of the state’s proposed high-speed rail project, due to begin construction in 2013 thanks to funding recently approved by state legislators. Arpad Horvath at the University of California, Berkeley, and Mikhail Chester at Arizona State University compared the future sustainability of California high-speed rail with that of competing modes of transportation, namely automobile and air travel.
Using inexpensive detectors that can fit inside a shoebox, UC Berkeley chemists are installing carbon dioxide and other air pollution sensors in 40 sites around Oakland to explore how detailed, neighborhood-by-neighborhood information can help communities monitor greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions.
With moral and monetary support from UC Berkeley and UC’s Office of the President, two UC grads – Christine Ho and Brooks Kincaid – have formed a company to create ‘printable’ batteries that are efficient, environmentally friendly and could be made as small as a postage stamp. The start-up is a tribute to the campus’s entrepreneurial environment and its innovative students.
Climate change is widely expected to disrupt future fire patterns around the world — with some regions, such as the western U.S., seeing more frequent fires within the next 30 years, according to a new analysis led by UC Berkeley researchers in collaboration with an international team of scientists. The study used 16 different climate-change models to produce one of the most comprehensive projections to date of how climate change might affect global fire patterns.
UC Berkeley-led research is giving the green light to fighting fire with fire. An analysis of controlled burns and mechanical thinning nationwide did not find substantial ecological harm from fuel-reduction treatments used to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. And with a rise in wildfires predicted in many parts of the country, researchers say more treatments are needed to manage this risk.
A group of students from UC Berkeley met with top energy policy makers in Washington DC to present their recommendations on developing a national clean energy plan. These recommendations were based on an extensive report that represented the culmination of a semester's worth of work in the class “Renewable Energy and Other Cleaner Fuels: Energy Policy to Save the Planet, the Country, and the Economy” co-taught by Jannifer Granholm and Steve Weissman in spring 2012.
UC Berkeley professor Tony Barnosky and 21 scientists from around the world argue inNature magazine that planet Earth is frighteningly close to a tipping point that would send the globe into a state that could spell disaster for humans. The new Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology is focused on recognizing the signs of impending doom so that we can stop short of the precipice.
Beyond the high-speed hard drive: topological insulators open a path to room-temperature spintronics
Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues demonstrate unique new materials for innovative electronic and magnetic applications
Scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab have harnessed the electricity-generating capabilities of viruses, a development that could lead to pocket power plants for mobile devices.
One of the oldest lakes in the world, Clear Lake has deep sediments that contain a record of the climate and local plants and animals going back perhaps 500,000 years. UC Berkeley scientists are drilling cores from the lake sediments to explore this history and fine-tune models for predicting the fate of today’s flora and fauna in the face of global warming and pressure from a burgeoning human populations.
Berkeley Lab scientists are exploring whether a common soil bacterium can be engineered to produce liquid transportation fuels much more efficiently than the ways in which advanced biofuels are made today.
The Lemelson-MIT Program has awarded Ashok Gadgil, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the 2012 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation. The award recognizes Gadgil, who is known for his work on affordable water disinfection systems and fuel-efficient cookstoves for developing nations, for “his steady pursuit to blend research, invention and humanitarianism for broad social impact.”
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are working on a project that would modernize the grid and essentially bring it into the Internet age by using automated control software to manage demand in real time.
Some 32 Berkeley undergraduates will spend up to 12 weeks working on sustainability projects in the Bay Area and across nine far-flung countries.
At the campus's 9th Sustainability Summit, progress in "greening" the Berkeley campus was everywhere evident — from the sheer number of student projects in the works to the metric tons of greenhouse gases not being emitted thanks to new institution-wide programs.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been selected to lead a new joint U.S.-India research center focusing on energy efficiency technologies for buildings.
The Cool California Challenge brings together 10 cities in a yearlong community-based competition to cut carbon emissions — with the winner crowned California’s Coolest City.
UC Berkeley, chemists have found that increased fertilizer use over the past 50 years is responsible for a dramatic rise in a major greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change.
A new type of hybrid material developed at UC Berkeley could help oil and chemical companies save energy and money by eliminating an energy-intensive gas-separation process.
Berkeley Lab study shows significantly higher potential for wind energy in India than previously estimated
A new assessment of wind energy in India by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the potential for on-shore wind energy deployment is far higher than the official estimates.
Berkeley Lab scientists are helping enable the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, to run its own microgrid, which will minimize costs and maximize reliability.
Next week's ARPA-E Summit will feature several Berkeley Lab-led projects, all aimed at dramatically improving how the U.S. produces and uses energy. Among them is an effort to produce transportation fuel from tobacco.
Beginning this fall, the new Energy Engineering major will admit up to eight new students each year.
A new study by UC Berkeley researchers state that replacing coal with renewable energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a least expensive way.
To broaden and accelerate its efforts at poverty alleviation Berkeley Lab announces the launch of the LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined UC and Lawrence Berkeley Lab leaders to break ground on the lab’s new Computational Research and Theory facility.
The University of California is saving $32 million a year on energy and remains the higher-education leader in adopting green-building standards. Those achievements and others are outlined in the "2011 UC Annual Report on Sustainable Practices."
Ashok Gadgil, a scientist at Berkeley Lab, has won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the 2012 Zayed Future Energy Prize, a $3.5 million award that recognizes and rewards innovation, leadership and long-term vision in renewable energy and sustainability.
Environmentalists and corporations don’t always see eye-to-eye on climate change. But the Climate Change and Business Research Initiative has shown that the two sides’ objectives can not only co-exist, but be mutually beneficial.
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers have developed computer assisted design (CAD)-type tools for engineering RNA components to control genetic expression in microbes. This holds enormous potential for microbial-based production of advanced biofuels, biodegradable plastics, therapeutic drugs and a host of other goods now derived from petrochemicals.
Berkeley Lab study identifies steps that can deliver significant savings on home energy bills for middle-income households.
Trees are dying in Africa’s Sahel, and human-caused climate change is to blame, according to a new study led by a scientist at UC Berkeley. Using climate change records, aerial and satellite images and field data, researchers found that one in five tree species disappeared in the past half-century. They attribute the tree deaths to the historic drops in rainfall and increased temperatures in the region.
Could cultivating dense fields of weeds help mitigate climate change by soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Berkeley scientists Dennis Baldocchi and Whendee Silver are exploring that possibility in California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley. National Public Radio reports.
Jay Keasling and his colleagues at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered bacteria to turn switchgrass – a hard to digest plant – into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. This could vastly reduce the cost of producing plant-based fuels to replace fuels from oil and coal.
UC Berkeley-led researchers have found a dramatic one-third reduction in severe pneumonia diagnoses among children in homes with smoke-reducing chimneys on their cookstoves. Reducing wood smoke could have a major impact on the burden of pneumonia, the leading cause of child mortality in the world, the researchers said. A separate pilot study also found a link between prenatal maternal exposure to woodsmoke and poorer performance in markers for IQ among school-aged children.
In 2005, Charlie Huizenga and two UC Berkeley MBA graduates started Adura Technologies to install energy efficient wireless lighting systems in buildings. Their technology, based on innovations by UC Berkeley architects and engineers, has significantly reduced lighting costs in more than 2 million square feet of public and private buildings, including UC Berkeley’s undergraduate library.
The deep cultural ties that bind UC Berkeley and Norway inspired a call-to-action for greater collaboration on global energy challenges at the launch of Transatlantic Science Week 2011.
UC Berkeley graduate student Greg Goldsmith may have his head in the clouds, but he is firmly grounded in the reality of global warming and the danger it poses to the Central American cloud forests he loves. He developed an elementary school curriculum as a way to help save them.
Record attendance at last week’s fifth-annual Energy Symposium at UC Berkeley demonstrated the swelling interest among students on campus and nationwide in bridging the gap between universities’ renewable energy research and the private sector.
UC Berkeley’s Solar Vehicle Team, is one day from successfully completing the 3,000-kilometer trans-Australia World Solar Challenge, which brought 37 solar cars to the Aussie outback. This is the first time Berkeley has competed.
Lessons to be learned from nature could lead to the development of an artificial version of photosynthesis that would provide us with an absolutely clean and virtually inexhaustible energy source, says Berkeley Lab photosynthesis authority Graham Fleming and three international colleagues.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu awarded the 2011 APEC Science Prize to UC Berkeley Professor Ali Javey in San Francisco today. Professor Javey is well known for developing low-cost, flexible, and lightweight photovoltaic cells. He has also developed transistor arrays that use a fraction of the power of conventional silicon transistors.
UC Berkeley engineers have shown that by using ferroelectric materials, they can pump up the charge accumulated at a capacitor for a given voltage, a phenomenon called negative capacitance. The achievement could reduce the power draw of today’s electronics, and break the bottleneck that has stalled improvements in computer clock speed.
Photos and observations posted to the website of the Global Amphibian BioBlitz now cover more than 700 species: 10 percent of the world’s frog, toad and salamander species that the social networking effort hopes to track. This success has now spawned a Reptile BioBlitz.
UC scientists built and worked in towers — some as tall as 1,500 feet — as part of the largest single atmospheric research effort in the state. The data they’ve collected will guide policymakers dealing with air pollution.
UC Berkeley is leading an effort to take information on the vertebrate collections in museums around the world and store it in the cloud for easy use by researchers and citizen scientists alike.
A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists hopes to become the first in the world to produce electricity from the Earth’s heat using CO2. They also want to permanently store some of the CO2 underground. The technology could lead to a new source of clean, domestic energy and a new way to fight climate change.
The Permian extinction 250 million years ago was the largest mass extinction on record, and among the losers were conifers that originally blanketed the supercontinent of Pangaea. Now researchers say that climate change led to the proliferation of tree-killing soil fungi that helped destroy the forests – something that could happen as a consequence of global warming today.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has released a draft report that recommends significant changes to the U.S. strategy for managing the country’s growing stockpile of high-level nuclear waste. Per Peterson, UC Berkeley professor and chair of nuclear engineering, is one of 15 members of the commission, which was formed in 2010 after plans to store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain were halted.
With rising temperatures around the globe, California’s native grasses will likely suffer at the hands of exotic invasive grasses, which are more equipped to deal with warmer weather.
In a remarkable outdoor laboratory in the Sierra, UC Merced and UC Berkeley researchers are using sensors to gather a mother lode of data to greatly improve ecological measurement and hydrologic forecasting.
Like a giant, life-size set of building blocks, the new User Test Bed Facility will allow researchers and manufacturers to test buildings systems and components under “real-world” conditions by swapping out systems and changing configurations and then allow rigorous monitoring of performance of every key building element that impacts energy consumption.
A new paper reviewing the impact of the loss of large predators and herbivores high in the food chain confirms that their decline has had cascading effects in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems throughout the world. The study, co-authored by UC Berkeley researchers, highlights the impact “apex consumers” have on the dynamics of fire, disease, vegetation growth, and soil and water quality.
Scientists looking for unusual cellulose-digesting enzymes, called cellulases, have found one that works at a higher temperature, 109 degrees Celsius, than any others found to date. The cellulase comes from an Archaea found in a Nevada hot spring.
Berkeley Lab researchers created tetrapod molecules of semiconductor nanocrystals and watched them break a fundamental principle of photoluminescence known as “Kasha’s rule.” The discovery holds promise for multi-color light emission technologies, including LEDs.
Information theory dictates that a logical operation in a computer must consume a minimum amount of energy. Today’s computers consume a million times more energy per operation than this limit, but magnetic computers with no moving electrons could theoretically operate at the minimum energy, called the Landauer limit, according to UC Berkeley electrical engineers.
UC researchers are optimistic that improved driving techniques can cut fuel use by 10 to 20 percent. And the time may be right to sell the public on these methods, they say.
Officials from DOE’s National Nuclear Nonproliferation Agency joined UC Berkeley nuclear experts to kick off a multiuniversity effort to fill the need for nuclear science and security experts at the national laboratories.
Extensive climate change research being conducted at California universities and research centers is now openly available through a public website, Cal-Adapt.org, developed at UC Berkeley and sponsored by the California Energy Commission and the California Natural Resources Agency.
Cal EPA chief takes ESPM audience behind the scenes of the state's historic emissions bill.
A team of Berkeley students is burning lots of midnight oil to build a car powered completely by the sun. Their sleek solar vehicle, named Impulse, is on track to compete this October in the world’s premier solar car competition: an 1,800-mile road race across Australia.
Experts from around the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and beyond will come together to tackle some of the Big Questions facing scientists in areas relating to energy and climate, Tuesday, May 3, at 3 p.m.
A fungal pathogen may be the culprit behind the rapid decline of amphibians in recent decades, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. By swabbing the skin of amphibians preserved in UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, scientists confirmed through DNA the presence of the deadly Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, fungus. They also determined that salamanders in parts of Mexico and Guatemala, and frogs and salamanders in Costa Rica’s Monteverde cloud forests began to disappear at the same time the fungus first appeared in these areas.
The Haas School of Business’s Center for Responsible Business made an Earth Day announcement today (Friday, April 22) that several MBA students and Haas School faculty have won research grants to work on innovative sustainability projects dealing with reinforcing friends’ healthy habits to green supply chains and clean water.
Agilent Technologies Inc. has signed up to support the newly launched Synthetic Biology Institute (SBI), which will help advance efforts to engineer cells and biological systems in ways that could transform health and medicine, energy, the environment and new materials.
Bioenergy Connection, a magazine published by the Energy Biosciences Institute, debuted in April to inform the public and stimulate discussion about the future of renewable transportation fuels around the world.
A UC Berkeley analysis of the carbon footprints of households around the country shows that consumers need different strategies in different cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. An online “carbon calculator” helps consumers decide how to change their lifestyles for the maximum reduction in their footprints.
The effort to make sun power more affordable has gotten a big boost with a $25 million, five-year Department of Energy grant announced this week. The award launches the Bay Area Photovoltaics Consortium (BAPVC), led jointly by the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry hosts its first national conference March 24, where experts from a broad range of disciplines will discuss the center’s unique, multidisciplinary approach to creating more sustainable and safer chemicals.
Enhancing the Magnetism: Berkeley Researchers Find Enhanced and Controllable Magnetization in Unique Bismuth Ferrite Films
Berkeley Lab researchers have enhanced the spontaneous magnetization in a special form of the popular multiferroic bismuth ferrite. What’s more, they can turn this magnetization “on/off” through the application of an external electric field, a critical ability for the advancement of spintronic technology.
To achieve the state’s energy efficiency goals and provide better career opportunities for Californians, the state should modify its clean energy programs and its extensive but fragmented training and education programs, according to a report led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, released today (Thursday, March 17).
Berkeley researchers have designed a new composite material for hydrogen storage consisting of magnesium metal nanoparticles embedded in a Plexiglas-type polymer that rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen at modest temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling. This achievement is a major breakthrough in materials design for hydrogen storage, batteries and fuel cells.
UC Berkeley biologists and graduate students delved into the fossil record to compare past animal extinctions — in particular the five “mass extinctions” that occurred within the past 540 million years — with today’s extinctions. They find that, while the rate of extinctions today is higher than during past mass extinctions, conservation efforts could help us avoid a sixth.
While ethanol is today’s major biofuel, researchers aim to produce fuels more like gasoline. Butanol is the primary candidate, now produced primarily by Clostridium bacteria. UC Berkeley chemist Michelle Chang has transplanted the enzyme pathway from Clostridium into E. coli and gotten the bacteria to churn out 10 times more n-butanol than competing microbes, close to the level needed for industrial scale production.
While more than half of California’s water comes from snow in the Sierra Nevada, it is difficult for water managers to measure and track through the year. Now, scientists at UC Berkeley and UC Merced — supported by the multi-campus Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) — are using networks of wireless sensors to measure snow depth and other environmental factors.
Forestry scientists are working to understand how wildfire and other “disturbances” affect the health of some of the oldest trees on the plant — the giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada.
The debate over the veracity of global warming may be judged not by pure science but rather, perception. Being in a warm room can make the idea of global warming seem more likely, according to Clayton Critcher, assistant professor of marketing at the Haas School of Business.
Inspired by the 50th anniversary this year of the Peace Corps, UC Berkeley is launching a 21st century version called Cal Energy Corps that focuses on sustainable energy and climate change.
Producing cheap liquid biofuels is not the only challenge in weaning the U.S. off fossil fuels. A team supported by the Energy Biosciences Institute identified social, economic and environmental issues that need to be addressed, including the impacts on farmers and on public health.
In a demonstration of “reverse-ecology,” UC Berkeley biologists have shown that one can determine an organism’s adaptive traits by looking first at its genome and checking for variations across a population. The study offers a powerful new tool in evolutionary genetics research, one that could be used to help monitor the effects of climate change and habitat destruction.
Sequencing of microbes in the rumen of the cow has turned up a treasure trove of new enzymes that degrade tough plant material, providing new avenues for research to boost biofuel production from plants. The research, funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute, involves UC Berkeley chemical engineer Doug Clark and colleagues at LBNL and the Joint Genome Institue.
A study by the Haas School’s Yuan Sun and colleagues at UC Davis and the University of Otago, New Zealand, found that the stock value of a company typically drops when it increases carbon emissions. The finding supports arguments that firms should be required to disclose to investors any action that impacts climate change.
Hotspots Tamed by BEAST – Secrets of Mysterious Metal Hotspots Uncovered by New Single Molecule Imaging Technique
The secrets behind the mysterious nano-sized electromagnetic “hotspots” that appear on metal surfaces under a light are being revealed with the help of a BEAST. The results hold promise for solar energy and chemical sensing among other technologies.
Hundreds of visitors flocked to a new, 420-square-foot cottage in West Berkeley to examine the tiny, sustainably designed “accessory home” as a possible wave of the future.
Jay Keasling, a leading authority on metabolic engineering, envisions a future in which microorganisms are tailor-made to produce specific chemical products, such as biofuels and pharmaceuticals, from inexpensive and renewable starting materials. He has written a paper on the subject for the journal Science.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature this year singled out the University of California's system of 36 natural reserves — a haven for the state's diverse ecosystems and species for nearly half a century — as one of the "20 best biodiversity success stories." Read more about the efforts by the reserves to reintroduce and foster the survival of endangered and threatened species.
In a first-of-its-kind study, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab scientists tracked the amount of lead transported across the Pacific over time. About a third of the airborne lead particles recently collected at two sites in the Bay Area came from Asia. The finding underscores the far-flung impacts of air pollution.
A clean-energy initiative in rural Nicaragua shows that developing nations can take cost-effective steps to reduce carbon emissions while helping the rural poor to reduce their energy expenses, according to researchers at UC Berkeley. Their report inScience analyzes simple steps taken by Nicaraguan government and the nonprofit blueEnergy on that country's Mosquito Coast.
Dire or emotionally charged warnings about the consequences of global warming can backfire if presented too negatively, making people less amenable to reducing their carbon footprint, according to new research from UC Berkeley.
UC Berkeley researchers have created unique dual-diameter nanopillars – narrow at the top, broad at the bottom – that absorb light as well or even better than commercial thin-film solar cells, using far less semiconductor material and without the need for anti-reflective coating.
Biofuels hold great promise as an alternative to greenhouse-gas-generating gasoline, if a cost-effective means of commercial production can be found. Professor Harvey Blanch and other researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have designed an online wiki that allows experts to collectively analyze and discuss biorefinery data and production costs.
Pinhead-size marine organisms called foraminifera have been used to monitor pollutants in marshes and oceans, and could help to assess recovery in the Gulf of Mexico following the three-month long Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Yeast cells don't normally eat complex sugars or carbohydrates, only simple sugars like glucose and sucrose. UC Berkeley's Jamie Cate and colleagues have now added genes to yeast that allow it to eat more complex sugars, called cellodextrins. These yeast could find use in the biofuels industry, which hopes to use cellulosic plant fibers to make alcohol.
An independent analysis of Proposition 23 says the initiative would create legal uncertainty, reduce California state revenue, and jeopardize new and existing clean energy jobs. The white paper, released today by UC Berkeley School of Law's Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, reports Prop. 23 would also slow California's efforts to reduce climate change and could have a domino effect on other states.
Energy-policy expert Dan Kammen has been appointed to a new position at the World Bank, where he will help distribute billions of dollars to developing countries to improve energy efficiency and foster low-carbon, renewable sources of energy.
Plant biologists Markus Pauly and Sarah Hake have been awarded a three-year, $793,000 grant from the Department of Energy for research on the genetic diversity of corn. They hope to identify and develop strains of corn with higher yields of fermentable sugars, allowing the plant's stems and leaves to be used for fuel production.
A UC Berkeley team has been awarded a $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for research on biologically-inspired technologies for grey water reuse and thermal energy management that may propel sustainable building into a new era.The grant comes from the NSF’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation’s 2010 Science in Energy and Environmental Design program for engineering sustainable buildings. Leading UC Berkeley’s award-winning research team as principal investigator is Maria Paz-Gutierrez, assistant professor of architecture in the College of Environmental Design, and the only architect serving as principal investigator for any of the NSF’s eight EFRI-SEED grants this year.
Scientists at UC Berkeley and Cal State University-Humboldt are conducting a three-year research project on redwood trees. Their goal: to determine what conservation efforts are needed to ensure the trees' preservation for generations to come.
On the UC Berkeley campus, which has an annual energy bill of about $35 million, new energy monitoring systems have been installed in 10 buildings, and annual savings of $650,000 have been recorded.
California Team to Receive up to $122 Million for Energy Innovation Hub to Develop Method to Produce Fuels from Sunlight
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced a new award of up to $122 million to establish an Energy Innovation Hub aimed at developing revolutionary methods to generate fuels directly from sunlight.
Researchers at Berkeley and other universities to find ways to capture carbon dioxide, produced by burning coal and natural gas, from the waste stream of power plants so that it can be sequestered underground.
Six Berkeley faculty members experts were selected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to write the fifth comprehensive climate-change report.
Vegetation around the world is on the move, and climate change is the culprit, according to a new analysis of global vegetation shifts led by a UC Berkeley ecologist in collaboration with researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Marine plankton convert a huge portion of the carbon in seawater into seafood. Exactly how much of this biological carbon gets stored in the oceans has a tremendous impact on future climate scenarios. Jim Bishop, a Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science, has designed robots that can measure ocean carbon in all seasons and weathers—critical data for a warming world.
Launched as a pilot project at Berkeley Lab, the Cleantech to Market program is finishing its first semester as an official class at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and it's safe to say the students learned more than they expected on how to take a technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. What was less expected is how much the scientists got out of the program.
UC Berkeley's QB3 will launch a biotech incubator on May 6, hoping to duplicate the success of a similar incubator at QB3's Mission Bay outpost. UC Berkeley grad Wesley Chang, CEO of the start-up Aperys, LLC, is the first tenant of the QB3 Garage@Berkeley.
Recognizing the proven leadership of campus faculty and students in addressing climate change, poverty and public health, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation selected the University of California, Berkeley, as one of 10 universities worldwide to launch a new master's degree program in development practice.
Berkeley Lab to Receive $8.6 Million in Recovery Act Funding for "Transformational" Energy Research Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been awarded $8.6 million in Recovery Act funding for what the DOE calls "ambitious research projects that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy."
Finding ways to better manage the overlapping infrastructure systems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is the goal of a four-year, $2 million project headed by UC Berkeley researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation.
UC Berkeley Professor Dan Kammen has been appointed a special State Department envoy to our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere to encourage cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable energy.
With climate change concerns escalating, fossil fuel supplies diminishing and electricity consumption expected to double in 10 years, nuclear power has regained some of its lost luster.
Once trees expand their range into the Arctic, their higher transpiration rate could well pump enough extra water into the atmosphere to warm the climate over the entire Arctic region, with positive feedback speeding the melting of sea ice.
To keep up with global warming, the average ecosystem will need to shift about a quarter mile each year, says a new study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
A Seaside, Calif., school that incorporates an ambitious sustainability goal of net-zero electricity usage is the winner of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment 2009 top Livable Building Award. Honorable mentions go to the design teams of the Cohos Evamy Toronto Studio on the 10th floor of a Toronto high-rise and of the renovated William P. Robinson Building at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va.
Many biologists warn that the planet's plants and animals are headed toward a mass extinction as a result of human-caused environmental damage, including global warming. A UC Berkeley/Penn State team has now analyzed the status of North American mammals, estimating that they may be one-fifth to one-half the way toward a mass extinction event like the "Big Five" the Earth has seen in the last 450 million years.
Six international studies published this week in the British journel The Lancet show that cutting greenhouse gases, in particular ozone and black carbon, can save millions of lives worldwide in addition to slowing climate change.
Climate change could increase the likelihood of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa by over 50 percent within the next two decades, according to a new study led by a team of researchers at University of California, Berkeley, and published in the online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate Stacy Jackson argues in Science that policymakers should plan a summit now to look at short- and medium-lived greenhouse pollutants, which range from soot to ozone and methane, and their near term impact on climate.
A team of 13 prominent scientists and land-use experts has identified an important but fixable error in legal accounting rules for bioenergy that could, if uncorrected, undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging deforestation.
The College of Chemistry is moving toward sustainable "green" chemistry with a new emphasis on sustainability in its undergraduate courses, a new endowed chair in sustainable chemistry, and its participation in the campuswide Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry.
In mid-July, Vice Chancellor for Research Graham R. Fleming announced that the dire budget circumstances facing the campus necessitated taking a hard look, as quickly as possible, at the structure of services and deployment of resources administered from his office.
Global warming may include some periods of local cooling, according to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers. Results from satellite and ground-based sensor data show that sweltering summers can, paradoxically, lead to the temporary formation of a cooling haze in the southeastern United States.
Two UC Berkeley faculty members will receive $30 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Energy to find better ways to separate carbon dioxide from power plant and natural gas well emissions and stick it permanently underground.
Climate change will bring about major shifts in worldwide fire patterns, and those changes are coming fast, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis led by researchers at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with scientists at Texas Tech University.
A new speaker series at UC Berkeley will explore the state's landmark climate control legislation's critical connections to sustainable development and land-use planning. The series, "Growing Sustainability in a Low-Carbon World," is being sponsored by UC Berkeley's Institute for Urban and Regional Development (IURD).
Unconventional solar cell materials that are as abundant but much less costly than silicon and other semiconductors in use today could substantially reduce the cost of solar photovoltaics, according to a new study from the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Not only has the average global temperature increased in the past 50 years, but the hottest day of the year has shifted nearly two days earlier, according to a new study by scientists from the UC Berkeley and Harvard University.