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Latest U.S. Department of Energy news and updates

Money Matters - Simplified

U.S. Department of Energy

New Hampshire wind farm receives $135M federal loan guarantee

In a bid to accelerate the deployment of renewable, sustainable power that will improve the environment, stabilize energy costs, create jobs and strengthen energy independence, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is now focusing its attention on wind energy.

First Solar may win govt. loan guarantees

The U.S. Energy Department has said in a letter issued on May, 10 that the three solar power plants of First Solar Inc. are very close to winning government's commitment for loan guarantees.

Highest temperature in universe created

Boulder -- Scientists say a U.S. Department of Energy study has created the hottest conditions ever measured in the universe -- 7.2 trillion degrees Fahrenheit.

Two University of Colorado-Boulder physicists who are part of a team working with the Brookhaven National Laboratory used the lab's giant atom smasher -- the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider -- to ram charged gold particles into each other billions of times. That, they said, created a "quark-gluon plasma" with a temperature 250,000 times higher than that of the sun's interior and 40 times higher than the interior of supernovae.

The experiment is designed to recreate the conditions of the universe a few microseconds after the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

Nuclear fission algorithm is created

Argonne -- U.S. Department of Energy scientists say they've created a computer algorithm that allows a substantially enhanced view of nuclear fission.

The Argonne National Laboratory scientists said the algorithm, known as the neutron transport code, enables researchers for the first time to obtain a highly detailed description of a nuclear reactor core.

"The code could prove crucial in the development of nuclear reactors that are safe, affordable and environmentally friendly," laboratory officials said in a statement.

New nano-bio therapy fights brain cancer

Chicago -- U.S. scientists say they've developed a method of targeting brain cancer cells by using titanium dioxide nanoparticles bound to a biological material.

The researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago's Brain Tumor Center said their new nano-bio technology might eventually provide an alternative form of therapy that targets only cancer cells and does not affect normal living tissue.

"It is a real example of how nano and biological interfacing can be used for biomedical application," said Argonne scientist Elena Rozhkova. "We chose brain cancer because of its difficulty in treatment and its unique receptors."

Argonne announces public open house

Argonne, Ill. -- The public will be able to tour the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory Aug. 29 for the first time in three years.

Officials said the gates at the laboratory will be open 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m. CDT "for a day of discovery and fun for the whole family."

"The open house will be great fun for everyone," Argonne Director Eric Isaacs said. "We love welcoming the community and having an opportunity to show off some of the great work we are doing to benefit our nation while inspiring public interest in science, engineering and technology."

Feds move on $2.4B carbon capture project

Washington -- The U.S. Department of Energy says it is moving forward toward the first commercial scale, fully integrated carbon capture and storage project in the nation.

Energy Secretary Steve Chu said his department has issued a National Environmental Policy Act Record of Decision based on careful consideration of the proposed $2.4 billion project's potential environmental impacts, as well as the program's goals and objectives. The project would be located in Mattoon, Ill.

Feds announce 300M rebate energy program

Washington -- U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu says nearly $300 million in funding is being made available for state rebate energy programs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding will provide rebates for consumer purchases of new Energy Star-qualified home appliances.

"Appliances consume a huge amount of our electricity, so there's enormous potential to both save energy and save families money every month," Chu said in a statement. "These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy and create jobs."

DOE to provide $59M in loan guarantees

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday it would provide loan guarantees to Nordic Windpower USA and Beacon Power worth $59 million.

Nordic Windpower of Berkley, Calif., was granted $16 million to upgrade an assembly plant in Pocatello, Idaho, that produces one megawatt turbines that use two blades. The two-blade system costs 10 percent less to produce, install and operate, the DOE said in a statement.

Beacon Power was granted $43 million to build a 20-megawatt flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y.

"These projects represent the innovative technologies that will help America reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and fight climate change," DOE Secretary Steven Chu said.

Solar Decathlon participants identified

Washington -- The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the participants and dates for its 2009 Solar Decathlon.

The Oct. 9-18 competition in Washington challenges students to design and develop houses that can provide their own energy from sunlight.

The 20 collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany will each build a completely self-sufficient solar powered house, showcasing energy-efficient amenities and smart home systems that provide reduced carbon emissions without sacrificing the comfort of modern conveniences, officials said.