Thursday, August 26, 2021


Hydrogen offering a clear path to clean vehicles in NM


Experimental fuel cell during testing, LANL photo.


Fuel cells provide all the benefits of electric power, including zero emissions from the tailpipe, and offer extended ranges and shorter refueling times, which is better for heavy trucks, trains and airplanes. A few technological challenges have hindered widespread adoption of this clean power source, but 40-plus years of research by Los Alamos National Laboratory and others, with funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck consortium, is on track to solve them. (Full Story)




How COVID-19 helped us understand the human, health, and Earth connection


Morgan Gorris.


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways big and small—from mask wearing and social distancing to childcare and videoconferencing—imposing fundamental shifts in how we lived, worked, attended school, and interacted with our loved ones. Not only did the pandemic change our individual lives; it changed the Earth, too. For example, less driving and a slow-down in factory production meant fewer carbon emissions, resulting in cleaner air. In Florida, loggerhead turtles laid more eggs thanks to deserted beaches. Wild boar roamed the streets of Barcelona and mountain goats wandered through a town in Wales. Changes in human activity also led to decreased ocean pollution, stressors on global fisheries, and human-caused seismic activity. (Full Story)




Experiment puts researchers at threshold of fusion ignition


On August 8, 2021, an experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) made a significant step toward ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ). This advancement puts researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, an important goal of the NIF, and opens access to a new experimental regime.


“Gaining experimental access to thermonuclear burn in the laboratory is the culmination of decades of scientific and technological work stretching across nearly 50 years,” said Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thomas Mason. (Full Story)




New Colorado River observatory will help predict droughts


Setting up radiometers for SAIL in Gothic, Colorado, DOE photo.


As Western states grapple with a “megadrought,” a new observatory cradled in the Rocky Mountains will help scientists learn more about how a changing climate is affecting the Colorado River and future water supply. Equipment is being installed at the foot of the Rockies in Crested Butte, Colo., to collect data on virtually everything above ground — precipitation, wind, clouds, aerosols, solar and thermal energy, temperature, humidity and ozone.


That data will be used to enhance Earth modeling so researchers from a 10-member consortium — of which Los Alamos National Laboratory is a member — can peg when, where, how and why snow and rain will fall to better predict the future availability of water, which is key to managing it in a drought. (Full Story)


Also from SciTech Daily




So you want to fly a drone over a nuclear weapons lab …


Test drone intercepted and disabled by LANL's CUAS system. LANL photo.


Drone pilots beware: Authorities at one of the United States’ top nuclear weapons laboratories issued a warning Monday that airspace over Los Alamos National Laboratory is off limits.  The birthplace of the atomic bomb, Los Alamos lab reported that recent unauthorized drone flights have been detected in restricted airspace in the area.


“We can detect and track a UAS (unmanned aircraft system), and if it poses a threat, we have the ability to disrupt control of the system, seize or exercise control, confiscate or use reasonable force to disable, damage or destroy the UAS,” said Unica Viramontes, senior director of lab security. (Full Story)