Is Nissan's Leaf the greenest of them all?

What is the most environmentally friendly car in America? That is a question that is open to a huge debate, depending upon how many different factors you consider.

Obama admin wants more desert solar

The Obama administration marches on in its quest for more big renewable energy. This week, the Department of the Interior announced its 49th and 50th approvals of utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands. Pre-Obama, there were zero such approvals.

A new laser for a faster Internet

The study was published the week of February 10–14 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work is the result of a five-year effort by researchers in the laboratory of Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and professor of electrical engineering; the project was led by postdoctoral scholar Christos Santis (PhD '13) and graduate student Scott Steger.

NASA's smart SPHERES are about to get a whole lot smarter

Smart devices – such as tablets and phones – increasingly are an essential part of everyday life on Earth. The same can be said for life off-planet aboard the International Space Station. From astronaut tweets to Google+ Hangouts, our reliance on these mobile and social technologies means equipment and software upgrades are an everyday occurrence – like buying a new pair of shoes to replace a pair of well-worn ones.

The gas cloud where stars are born

Using a telescope installed at the driest place on earth - Ridge A in Antarctica – a UNSW-led team of researchers has identified a giant gas cloud which appears to be in an early stage of formation. Giant clouds of molecular gas – the most massive objects in our galaxy – are the birthplaces of stars.

Let's go planet hunting

A space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars has been selected today as ESA’s third medium-class science mission. It is planned for launch by 2024. The PLATO – Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars – mission was selected by ESA’s Science Programme Committee for implementation as part of its Cosmic Vision 2015–25 Programme.

Will plug-in cars crash the electric grid?

Selecting a Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf — or one of many other new models — shoppers in the United States bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars in 2013. That’s a tiny slice of the auto market, but it’s up eighty-four percent from the year before. In Vermont, as of January 2014, there were 679 plug-in vehicles, according to the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. That’s two hundred percent growth over 2013.

New, inexpensive production materials boost promise of hydrogen fuel

Generating electricity is not the only way to turn sunlight into energy we can use on demand. The sun can also drive reactions to create chemical fuels, such as hydrogen, that can in turn power cars, trucks and trains.

Moving to 100% renewables - is it possible?

Mark Jacobson, the Stanford professor who specializes in designing scenarios for a massive transition to renewable energy, is at it again – in a more high-profile way than ever.

These electric buses will soon be solar powered

Though most of the time when you hear about electric buses these days it is because of Chinese manufacturer BYD, others do have contributions to the developing mass transit space as well. One of these is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is supplying two units in “a zero emissions transportation system being planned by the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.”

Rise of the compliant machines

Are we on the brink of a robotics revolution? That’s what numerous media outlets asked last December when Google acquired eight robotics companies that specialize in such innovations as manipulation, vision, and humanoid robots.

Rocks around the clock: Asteroids pound tiny star

Scientists using CSIRO's Parkes telescope and another telescope in South Africa have found evidence that a tiny star called PSR J0738-4042 is being pounded by asteroids — large lumps of rock from space.

With a deadly embrace, 'Spidery' pulsars consume their mates

Black widow spiders and their Australian cousins, known as redbacks, are notorious for their tainted love, expressed as an unsettling tendency to kill and devour their male partners. Astronomers have noted similar behavior among two rare breeds of binary system that contain rapidly spinning neutron stars, also known as pulsars.

NASA finds planet-sized space weather explosions on Venus

Researchers recently discovered that a common space weather phenomenon on the outskirts of Earth’s magnetic bubble, the magnetosphere, has much larger repercussions for Venus. The giant explosions, called hot flow anomalies, can be so large at Venus that they’re bigger than the entire planet and they can happen multiple times a day.

Unstable Atlantic deep ocean circulation under future climate conditions

Today, deep waters formed in the northern North Atlantic fill approximately half of the deep ocean globally. In the process, this impacts on the circum-Atlantic climate, regional sea level, and soak up much of the excess atmospheric carbon dioxide from industrialisation — helping to moderate the effects of global warming.

A sneak peek at tomorrow's automated electric car

How might it be possible to improve upon the already popular, tech heavy Tesla Model S electric sedan? Turn it over to creative auto concept designers Rinspeed. This outfit, which has turned out some rather interesting designs over the years, is taking to the Geneva Motor Show later this year with XchangeE, an autonomous driving design idea.

Powering buses with banana peels and coffee grounds

Up to 50,000 tons of food waste a year won’t be going into landfills in Norway. It’ll be going into buses. How’s that? Well, the grimy grub will become transportation fuel at a new Wärtsilä-built biogas liquefaction plant outside Oslo.

Using holograms to improve electronic devices

A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could provide unprecedented data storage capacity and data processing capabilities in electronic devices.

A step closer to a photonic future

The future of computing may lie not in electrons, but in photons – that is, in microprocessors that use light instead of electrical signals. But these so-called photonic devices are typically built using customized methods that make them difficult and expensive to manufacture.

An essential step toward printing living tissues

A new bioprinting method developed at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) creates intricately patterned 3D tissue constructs with multiple types of cells and tiny blood vessels. The work represents a major step toward a longstanding goal of tissue engineers: creating human tissue constructs realistic enough to test drug safety and effectiveness.