Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability
Proud Legacy Bold Future Since 1943

Top Science of 2013

Our strong interdisciplinary teaming and unique research facilities allow us to develop solutions to complex problems, and to support partners and collaborators, all with the goal of strengthening national security and making a safer world.

Improved biofuel methods: may be greener, cheaper, powerful


We’ve improved methods to turn abundant plant waste into valuable fuel. Efficiently extracting the plant matter has stumped others.

A plant’s energy is tightly bound within hardy plant walls, and conventional methods to extract that energy are environmentally and economically unfriendly. Researchers unraveled these tightly packed nanofibers more efficiently into soluble sugars.

We also improved chemical methods to access the energy under relatively mild, energy-efficient conditions, perfecting a method for “direct-ring opening” of the furan rings; Opening these rings is a necessary step in the production of energy-dense fuels.