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Research Highlights

Folsom Lake drought
Full Story | May 2016

Future Water Scarcity: Assessments from a Global View
PNNL researchers run down how to balance future global water availability and water use from a zoomed in view

PNNL research conducted at the Joint Global Change Research Institute reveals that non-renewable groundwater plays a significant role in determining the global and regional use of water. The modeling capability employed provides a way to understand the impact of climate change on water availability, as well as the significance of technology improvements in response to the growing demand for water from populations and for economic growth.

Janet Jansson
Full Story | May 2016

Janet Jansson participates in White House Panel Discussion

PNNL's Janet K. Jansson was among experts who took part in a three-hour White House webcast that launched the new National Microbiome Initiative. Jansson, a 25-year microbiome researcher, was part of the event's innovation panel, where experts were asked to take a speculative "blue sky" look at imagining how microbiome research could be improved. 

Artistic view of methane formation
Full Story | May 2016

Chemists Settle Longstanding Debate on How Methane Is Made Biologically
In surprise twist, story of how microbes produce methane ends with uncommon "radical"

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor confirmed that a key bacterial enzyme uses a methyl radical to produce methane, a chemical feedstock and fuel. This study settles a debate as to the mechanism certain bacteria use to produce 500 to 600 million metric tons of methane each year and potentially offers insights into improving routes to methane for use as a chemical feedstock or fuel.

Full Story | April 2016

A Slow Separation
Novel model illustrates the finer details of nuclear fission

In the first study of its kind, scientists collaborating from the University of Washington, Warsaw University of Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory and PNNL developed a novel model seeking a more intricate look at what happens during the final stages of the nuclear fission process. Using the model, they determined that fission fragments remain connected far longer than expected before the daughter nuclei split apart, delivering a long-awaited description of real-time fission dynamics within a microscopic framework and opening a pathway to a theoretical method with abundant predictive power. Notably, in addition to its publication, the paper was highlighted as an Editors’ Suggestion by Physical Review Letters.

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