Energy

  • Investigating the trigger for a sudden explosive process that occurs throughout the universe

    Wednesday, Feb 12, 2020
    by jgreenwa

    A long-standing puzzle in space science is what triggers fast magnetic reconnection, an explosive process that unfolds throughout the universe more rapidly than theory says it should. Solving the puzzle could enable scientists to better understand and anticipate the process, which ignites solar flares and magnetic space storms that can disrupt cell phone service and black out power grids on Earth.

  • NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe mission enters design phase

    Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020
    by Princeton University

    A Princeton-led mission to study the interaction of the solar wind with the ancient cast-off winds of other stars, and the fundamental process of particle acceleration in space, has completed a critical NASA review and is now moving closer toward a scheduled launch in 2024.

  • Batten down the hatches: Preventing heat leaks to help create a star on Earth

    Friday, Dec 13, 2019
    by rprosen

    Creating a star on Earth requires a delicate balance between pumping enormous amounts of energy into plasma to make it hot enough for fusion to occur and preventing that heat from escaping. Now, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have identified a method by which instabilities can be tamed and heat can be prevented from leaking from the plasma, giving scientists a better grasp on how to optimize conditions for fusion in devices known as tokamaks.

  • Bank on it: Gains in one type of force produced by fusion disruptions are offset by losses in another

    Monday, Dec 2, 2019
    by jgreenwa

    Doughnut-shaped tokamaks — facilities designed to reproduce the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars on Earth — must withstand forces that can be stronger than hurricanes created by disruptions in the plasma that fuels fusion reactions. Recent findings by physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) show that certain forces released by disruptions act in a surprising manner.

  • Achieving climate goals requires setting a price on carbon, experts say at Andlinger Center meeting

    Friday, Nov 15, 2019
    by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    Cutting carbon emissions quickly requires a price on carbon, experts from industry, government and academia said at the annual meeting of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment last week. A carbon fee would provide a dual benefit: offer direct incentives to cut emissions, and also create a new market for firms that can monetize carbon dioxide as a resource by transforming the gas into products and fuels.

  • How to make better biofuels? Convince yeast it's not starving

    Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
    by Adam Hadhazy, Office of Engineering Communications

    Yeast already helps make bread and beer and cranks out the biofuel ethanol, but scientists believe it can be used to create an even more efficient fuel called isobutanol. Normally, yeast only creates a tiny amount of isobutanol. Now researchers at Princeton University have discovered a genetic switch that significantly ramps up production.

  • Nuclear warheads? This robot can find them

    Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
    by John Greenwald and Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Picture a swarm of autonomous, three-foot rolling robots armed with smart detectors to support nuclear safeguards and verify arms-control agreements. The prototype of such robots, being developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University, recently demonstrated the ability to identify the source of nuclear radiation and whether it has been shielded to avoid detection.

  • International honors for post-doctoral fellows helping to bring a star to earth

    Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019
    by jgreenwa

    Discoveries about the behavior of plasma that fuels fusion reactions and composes the sun and stars have won prestigious awards for two post-doctoral fellows at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The honors, the 2019 Christiaan Huygens Science Award for physicist Chris Smiet and the 2019 Under 30 Scientist and Student Award for physicist Rupak Mukherjee, recognize exceptional contributions by the two scientists at the start of their careers.

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