LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, April 22, 2011—Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have developed a way to avoid the use of expensive platinum in hydrogen fuel cells, the environmentally friendly devices that might replace current power sources in everything from personal data devices to automobiles.

PITTSBURGH—Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute have leveraged the latest browser technology to create GigaPan Time Machine, a system that enables viewers to explore gigapixel-scale, high-resolution videos and image sequences by panning or zooming in and out of the images while simultaneously moving back and forth through time.

The Woods Hole Research Center has released the first hectare-scale maps of canopy height, aboveground biomass, and associated carbon stock for the forests and woodlands of the conterminous United States. The multi-year project, referred to as the National Biomass and Carbon Dataset (NBCD), produced maps of these key forest attributes at an unprecedented spatial resolution of 30 m. The digital raster data set is now freely accessible from the WHRC website at

WASHINGTON, April 20—For more than 150 years, spark plugs have powered internal combustion engines. Automakers are now one step closer to being able to replace this long-standing technology with laser igniters, which will enable cleaner, more efficient, and more economical vehicles.

BATON ROUGE – On the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took the lives of 11 men and devastated the livelihoods of many residents of coastal Louisiana, it's difficult to put the complicated relationship between people and oil into perspective. While the environmental impacts have thus far not been as pervasive as originally feared, most scientists are in agreement that it is still simply too early to tell.

Scientists are reporting development of a new battery that extracts and stores energy produced from the difference in saltiness at the point where freshwater in rivers flows into oceans. A report on the battery, which could supply about 13 percent of the world's energy needs, appears in ACS' journal Nano Letters.

MADISON, WI APRIL19, 2011 – Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a precursor to compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone. Intensively managed, grazed pastures are responsible for an increase in nitrous oxide emissions from grazing animals' excrement. Biochar is potentially a mitigation option for reducing the world's elevated carbon dioxide emissions, since the embodied carbon can be sequestered in the soil. Biochar also has the potential to beneficially alter soil nitrogen transformations.

Currently, some 20 percent of the world's industrial production is based on catalysts — molecules that can quicken the pace of chemical reactions by factors of billions. Oil, pharmaceuticals, plastics and countless other products are made by catalysts.

Britain's soil bacteria have been mapped for the first time in the most comprehensive study of a country's soil biodiversity to date. The results are published today (20 April 2011) in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

To complete the map the scientific team, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), Newcastle University and the University of Oxford, analysed over 1000 soil cores from England, Scotland and Wales, examining microbial DNA sequences in the laboratory to map bacterial biodiversity.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells.

The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery," said Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics.

In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused social disruption and psychological stress among Gulf residents that is similar to the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill and the impacts are likely to persist for years, a new study finds.

"Just ask the residents of Cordova today whether they are over the Exxon Valdez," said study co-author Liesel Ritchie, assistant director for research of the University of Colorado Boulder's Natural Hazards Center. The Alaska community was considered "ground zero" for the 1989 oil spill.

A new study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that turbulence from boat propellers can and does kill large numbers of copepods—tiny crustaceans that are an important part of marine food webs.

The study—by VIMS graduate student Samantha Bickel, VIMS professor Kam Tang, and Hampton University undergraduate Joseph Malloy Hammond—appears in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

The fisheries sector Trade Fair in Spain —Sinaval-Eurofishing 2011— was the scenario chosen by Azti-Tecnalia (the technological centre specialising in marine and food research) to present two technologies employed by its researchers aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in the sector. In concrete, it involves a system for the management of fuel consumption on board vessels and a system of monitoring and computer-simulation of fishing gears.

Researchers in America have shown that ozone—a known pollutant at low levels in the earth's atmosphere, causing harmful effects on the respiratory system and sensitive plants—can be reduced, on average, when electric vehicle charging is done at night time.