The power output of wind farms can be increased by an order of magnitude—at least tenfold—simply by optimizing the placement of turbines on a given plot of land, say researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) who have been conducting a unique field study at an experimental two-acre wind farm in northern Los Angeles County.
The world is taking note of the innovative work being done at Caltech—not just in the labs, but also in the unique renovations of our research spaces. The spring issue of Solutions Journal, a magazine of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), features an in-depth profile of the Linde + Robinson Laboratory, an astronomy facility built in 1932 that has undergone extensive renovations and will be the nation's first LEED Platinum laboratory.
For biochemist and chemical engineer Frances Arnold, the road to success has not been straight and narrow. In fact, she has often bucked the academic tradition of rigorous, time-consuming pre-experiment methodology for a more fast and furious approach to research.
When geologists survey an area of land for the potential that gas or petroleum deposits could exist there, they must take into account the composition of rocks that lie below the surface. Previous research had suggested that compaction bands might act as barriers to the flow of oil or gas. Now, researchers led by José Andrade have analyzed X-ray images of Aztec sandstone and revealed that compaction bands are actually more permeable than earlier models indicated.
Caltech scientists have concocted a recipe for a thermoelectric material—one that converts heat energy into electricity—that might be able to operate off nothing more than the heat of a car's exhaust. In a paper published in Nature this month, G. Jeffrey Snyder and his colleagues reported on a compound that shows high efficiency in a temperature range of around 260 to 1160 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, the heat escaping out your car's tailpipe could be used to help power its electrical components.
Four Caltech faculty members are among the 65 scientists from across the nation selected to receive Early Career Research Awards from the Department of Energy. The grant winners are Guillaume Blanquart, Julia R. Greer, Chris Hirata, and Ryan Patterson. The Early Career Research Program is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.
The joint Solar Decathlon team of Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will show off their state-of-the-art, energy-efficient house tomorrow in a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. at the SCI-Arc campus in Los Angeles. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.
Thanks to a campaign led by a joint team of students from Caltech and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), the 2011 Solar Decathlon is back on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The announcement made last week reverses an earlier decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to relocate the event.
Caltech's efforts to finance energy efficiency in ways that give back to the campus have been recognized by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in its recently-released report, Greening the Bottom Line: The Trend toward Green Revolving Funds on Campus.
Training the next generation of scientists is a critical component of the mission of Caltech's Resnick Institute. And although the institute is not yet two years old, it has already begun to fulfill that mission, thanks to the newly developed Resnick Fellowship program. The first two Resnick Fellows began their work in the fall of 2010; last week, the institute put out a call for applications for the next set of two-year awards.