Research into advanced materials, better batteries, and longer-lasting auto engines are among projects receiving nearly $12 million in fresh federal grants. The awards go to laboratories of the Department of Energy (DOE). They'll help pay for three years of research in partnership with industry. At Argonne National Laboratory, researchers will seek to improve the understanding of carbon films to allow extended wear life, reduced maintenance costs, and increased energy efficiency in automobile engines. Another Argonne grant goes for development of new electrodes for producing magnesium. Work on new materials for rechargeable lithium batteries will take place at Brookhaven National Lab. At both Oak Ridge and Argonne, industry and government engineers will develop models of complex underhood thermal phenomena. That, DOE officials say, could lead to better designs for current and future vehicles.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
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