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Monday, June 15, 2009


Could Plastics Someday be Made From Biomass?

Researchers led by Berkeley Lab’s Robert Bergman of the Chemical Sciences Division have discovered a mild and relatively inexpensive procedure for removing oxygen from biomass. This procedure, if it can be effectively industrialized, could allow many of today’s petrochemical products, including plastics, to instead be made from biomass. More>

Research: Lifting the Fog on 'Dark' Gamma-Ray Bursts

gamma ray Gamma-ray bursts, with their ability to pierce through gas and dust to shine brightly across the universe, are revealing areas of intense star formation and stellar death where astronomers have been unable to look — the dusty corners of otherwise dust-free galaxies. The conclusion comes from a survey of "dark" gamma-ray bursts — bright in gamma- and X-ray emissions, but with little or no visible light, led by Berkeley Lab physicist and UC Berkeley researcher Joshua Bloom. More>

People: Salazar to Manage Lab’s HSS Corrective Action Plan

Jack Salazar has been appointed the project manager for the Lab’s implementation of its HSS (Health, Safety and Security) Corrective Action Plan (CAP). He will be working with CAP owners to develop milestone schedules, ensure actions are being implemented correctly and on schedule, and provide day-to-day direction for CAP-related activities. Salazar will report to Deputy Chief Operating Officer Anita Gursahani and his role as project manager will conclude when the CAP has been implemented and verified. During this time, he will continue to provide subject matter expertise to the EH&S Industrial Hygiene Group and will retain his role as the Safety Officer for JBEI.

Safety: Stay Behind Buses to Prevent Hitting Pedestrians

bus signThose who drive around the Lab are reminded that they are not allowed to cross yellow center lines to pass buses that are stopped to load or unload passengers. To help remind drivers, the Bus Services group recently posted signage on the back of all shuttle buses. The idea emanated from the Facilities Division’s DZAC (Directorate Zero Accident Council), per the suggestion of council members Wallace Haynes and La Tasha Valrey. There have been near misses in the past, when motorists have passed stopped buses and nearly hit pedestrians crossing the street in front of the bus.

Tech Transfer: Free Online Commercialization Course for Researchers

Are you interested in learning how to commercialize your research? An online webinar is offered to Berkeley Lab researchers through the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer. Topics include many aspects of practical business and legal issues of research commercialization. The course is free. More>

DOE Update: Agency Revives FutureGen Carbon Storage Project

The Obama administration recently gave conditional support for a federal-industry partnership that would build an advanced coal-burning power plant in Illinois to trap and store carbon dioxide emissions, reversing a Bush-era decision to abandon the FutureGen project. The Energy Department plans to contribute slightly more than $1 billion to the project. More>

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