22 April 2016

Sustainable science

At the National MagLab, we believe in renewable, responsible science. Research conducted in high magnetic fields leads to materials and energy solutions that could have lasting impact on our world economy and ecosystem.

illustration on recycling


Take a deeper look at the 3 R's of conservation, MagLab style:


  • Just like you do at home, our lab recycles paper, newspapers, books, magazines, plastic, aluminum cans and cardboard — about 22,000 pounds of it a year!
  • With a 5,000 square foot, full-service machine shop on site, we also salvage about 7,500 pounds of scrap metal.
  • We even recycle liquid helium whose super cold temperatures allow our powerful superconducting magnets to work. (Also check out how we store all of that helium!)



  • One of the MagLab's newest magnets under development — the Series Connected Hybrid — uses a unique design that combines a set of Florida-Bitter resistive coils nested around a 1-mile cable-in-conduit superconducting coil to provide powerful fields of 36 tesla at one-third the power consumed by traditional magnets.
  • Fundamental research on the electrochemical process of lithium batteries could ultimately lead to better batteries and changes in the way energy is stored and delivered.
  • Scientists have developed a way to isolate emulsion-causing petroleum compounds, which could help lower energy costs for both oil companies and consumers.
  • Alternative fuel vehicle and bike parking are available at the MagLab, encouraging staff and visiting scientists to make eco-friendly transportation choices.
  • Researchers are using high magnetic fields to minimize the impact of oil spills, explore natural products as new energy alternatives, and better understand the effects of fracking.
  • Within our headquarters facility, LED lights and motion sensors are replacing traditional bulbs, increasing the quality of light in a more energy efficient way.
  • Using high magnetic fields, scientists are exploring superconducting materials that conduct electricity without any loss when kept at very cold temperatures (around -242 degrees Celsius). Research on superconductivity at higher temperatures could lead to smart electrical grids, power storage devices or magnetic levitation.

>Illustration by Caroline McNiel.