Is it possible to design a material to fulfil current methane storage goals?

nanotech methane

This is the question that a multi-disciplinary research team set out to answer by rapidly screening hundreds of thousands of possible methane storage materials in a computational study. Methane could reduce global dependence on oil so the search is on for nanoporous materials to act as fuel tanks for this tricky-to-store gas; but things are not looking promising.

‘Natural gas storage in porous materials provides the key advantage of being able to store significant natural gas at low pressures than compressed gas at the same conditions,’ explains engineer Mike Veenstra of Ford Motor Company, US, who was not involved in the research. ‘The advantage of low pressure is the benefit it provides both on-board the vehicle and off-board at the station. On the vehicle, low pressure reduces the tank attributes along with the other components. At the station, low pressure reduces the compressor stages along with the attributes of other components.’

The Quantum Materials program at SIMES addresses outstanding questions in the field of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP) related to the collective behavior of strongly correlated and magnetic materials. Largely stimulated by the discoveries of new forms of order and rich phenomena in correlated materials, these questions are at the heart of the Basic Energy Science grand challenge to understand the emergence of collective phenomena.

Emergence: Strange Behavior

by Fay Nolan-Neylan

Scientists in the US have developed a microdevice that investigates how bacteria communicate with each other to enhance their resistance to drugs. 

Bacteria communicate in a process called quorum sensing, in which they secrete small signalling molecules called autoinducers. When bacteria produce a quorum, their resistance to drugs is enhanced. William Bentley and co-workers from the University of Maryland have developed bio-inspired nanoscale factories that capture bacteria, deliver a drug right on the surface of the bacteria and test their responses. 

By Rebecca Brodie

Silver nanoparticles can provide a highly sensitive colorimetric method to detect melamine in infant formula claim Chinese scientists. 

The China milk scandal in 2008 when 300,000 infants became victims of melamine, a chemical usually used in fire retardants and fertilizers, contaminated milk and infant formula highlighted the need for the country to improve detection standards for chemical contaminants in foods. 

With the passage of a molecule through the labyrinth of a chemical system being so critical to catalysis and other important chemical processes, computer simulations are frequently used to model potential molecule/labyrinth interactions. In the past, such simulations have been expensive and time-consuming to carry out, but now researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new algorithm that should make future simulations easier and faster to compute, and yield much more accurate results.

Using an RNA-powered nanomotor, University of Cincinnati (UC) biomedical engineering researchers have successfully developed an artificial pore able to transmit nanoscale material through a membrane.

In a study led by UC biomedical engineering professor Peixuan Guo, PhD, members of the UC team inserted the modified core of a nanomotor, a microscopic biological machine, into a lipid membrane. The resulting channel enabled them to move both single- and double-stranded DNA through the membrane.

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