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science advances?

nano-storage of hydrogen

“To address this problem, Froudakis and colleagues carried out computer simulations to see how the hydrogen uptake of carbon nanoscrolls could be affected by adding quantities of different alkali metals. These impurities cause the atomic distance between the layers of a scroll to vary.

“Their findings suggest that adding lithium ions should increase the uptake of hydrogen at atmospheric pressure and room temperature from 0.19% to 3.31%.”

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plastic to oil, by microwave

“Key to GRCís process is a machine that uses 1200 different frequencies within the microwave range, which act on specific hydrocarbon materials. As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas.”

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‘superbug’ disinfectant?

“The Air Disinfector, launched in London, UK, on 19 June pumps a continual stream of reactive hydrogen radicals into the atmosphere, killing microbes within minutes.”

“Bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile - two of the most notorious hospital-acquired superbugs - were undetectable within as little as an hour of the device being switched on, Macdonald says. "In earlier experiments, in which we flooded rooms with more than a billion bacteria, levels were effectively down to zero within an hour," he adds.”

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agar in petri dishes showing the efficacy of the Air Disinfector. Image credit:“Bacillus subtilis (a surrogate for anthrax) was nebulised into a chamber at a high concentration. Samples taken from the untreated chamber were cultured on the plate on the left, showing the growth of the bacillus. Samples taken from the chamber after an exposure to the hydroxyl radical for less than 1 minute were cultured onto the plate on the right, showing an effective complete kill.”
[Quoted from]

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desk air conditioner

  • Desk air conditioner. Image credit: HermanMiller“ This freestanding climate control has a fan-speed switch and a 4-hour timer. It is powered by 110 VAC, has an 11' cord, and an on/off switch.””

  • Price: $300.

  • “ "In company tests, starting with a surrounding air temperature of 72 degrees, the C2 raised the temperature within six inches by 40 degrees, and was able to cool it by eight degrees,[...]" ”

  • “The C2 is 41 percent recyclable, and businesses can count it toward environmental certification using the points-based LEED system, Herman Miller spokesman Bruce Buursma said. It also uses 90 percent less energy than a typical space heater, [...]”

  • “The desk conditioner uses Amerigon's patented advanced thermoelectric (TE) technology developed by its BSST subsidiary. This type of heating and cooling system was previously used in high-end car seats.”

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a step to mitigating the problem of flight pollution

EasyJet's prototype ecoJet. Photograph: Frank Baron “British low-cost airline easyJet has unveiled its vision of a shorthaul aircraft that it hopes will generate 50 percent less CO2 than its current planes and can be delivered by 2015.

“The narrow-bodied plane would have two open rotor engines above a wide tail fin, with a lightweight body constructed of carbon composites.” [Quoted from]

FAQ on the easyjet Ecojet proposal.

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energy for nothing!! ok then, 1 cent a unit

Artist's impression of wind-kite array. Image Crédit : Sequoia AutomationAmazing what these monkeys will do when they’re in a trap.

“Meanwhile, Wubbo Ockels of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has been developing another approach to airborne wind generation at lower altitude, with backing from Royal Dutch Shell, an oil giant, and Nederlandse Gasunie, a natural-gas company. Dr Ockels's idea is to launch a kite (without rotor blades) from a ground station, turning a generator as it rises to an altitude of several hundred metres. When it reaches its maximum altitude the kite alters its shape to catch less wind, and can thus be reeled back in using much less energy than it produced when it was being paid out..

“An arrangement of two or more of these kites could act together to produce a steady supply of power. While one kite was being released, some of the electricity produced would be used to reel another kite back in, and vice versa. This system has the advantage that it requires only simple parts - generators, kites and cables - and should therefore be much cheaper to build than a conventional wind turbine.”

Almost a perpetual motion machine!

related material
sail-assisted shipping

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pretty cell phone design

Radia cell phone. Image credit:
Radia cell phone. Image credit:

It looks like it is only a concept design as yet. There is not even a guarantee that it will be possible to engineer.

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flexible solar panels - a claimed advance

The claim is this may be able to push the efficiency of flexible solar cells up from current 5%-plus rates.

“Heating plastic solar cells can alter their structure in a way that boosts efficiency, new research shows. The US and Korean scientists behind the discovery say it could ultimately allow flexible, lightweight plastic cells to replace rigid traditional cells.

“Solar cells are usually made from silicon, which is inflexible and relatively heavy. [... and expensive.]

“By contrast, plastic solar cells could be more easily supported and wrapped around surfaces (see Pliable solar cells are on a roll). It might even be possible to spray light-collecting plastic onto a surface.”

“By carefully heating finished cells to around 150ļC, Carroll and colleagues made the fullerene molecules form whiskers of crystal. These trigger crystallisation in the surrounding polymer as well. The fullerene-and-polymer crystal creates a network across the cell, allowing charge to move easily and preventing space charge blockages.”

related material
charge your batteries anywhere there is sunlight
photovoltaics (solar cells)

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more filthy fossil fuels availability claimed by oil giants

“Initially, engineers expected to recover only 10 percent of the field's oil. Now, thanks to decades of trial and error, Chevron believes it will be able to recover up to 80 percent of the oil from the field, nearly twice the industry's average recovery rate, which is typically around 35 percent. Each well produces about 10 barrels a day at a cost of $16 each. That compares with production costs of only $1 or $2 per barrel in the Persian Gulf, home to some of the world's lowest-cost producers.”

“Oil companies have been perfecting so-called secondary and tertiary recovery methods - injecting all sorts of exotic gases and liquids into oil fields, including water and soap, natural gas, carbon dioxide and even hydrogen sulfide, a foul-smelling and poisonous gas.

“Discoveries are not the only way that our resource base grows [...]”

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new in science

measurement of change of spin in asteroids by light pressure

“By combining four years of optical information with radar to work out the size and shape of the object, the team was able to measure the increasing spin of the asteroid and therefore the size of the Yorp effect acting on PH5.

“ "It currently rotates every 12 minutes and we detected a change of one millisecond per year," said Dr Lowry. "It's a tiny, tiny effect but it's acting over millions of years."

“The team predicts that over the next 15 million to 40 million years the asteroid will gradually speed up until it is turning over every 20 seconds. ”

has the higgs boson appeared?

“On 9 December last year, as John Conway looked at the results of his experiment, a chill ran down his neck. For 20 years he has been searching for one of the most elusive things in the universe, the Higgs boson - aka the God particle - which gives everything in the cosmos its mass. And here, buried in the debris generated by the world's largest particle smasher, were a few tantalising hints of its existence. ”

control of halocarbons

The 2007 assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that stratospheric ozone has a cooling effect of 0.05 Watts per square metre and that the halocarbons currently in the atmosphere have a warming effect of 0.34 W/m2.

“Velders and his colleagues used computer models to simulate how the planet would have warmed had it not been for the Montreal Protocol. They conclude the warming caused by halocarbons would be nearly twice that currently seen, i.e. between 0.60 and 0.65 W/m2.”

“Velders says that removing existing equipment that emit CFCs from circulation and replacing "intermediate substitutes" with chemicals that neither deplete the ozone nor warm the planet, would remove the equivalent of a further 1.2 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. That would be more than half the impact of Kyoto.”

atomic force microscopy can distinguish different atom types

Atomic force microscopy can distinguish between atoms of tin [Sn], silicon [Si] and lead [Pb]. Image credit: Oscar Custance “Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that atomic force microscopy can be used to reveal the chemical identity of individual atoms on a surface at room temperature. The finding could pave the way for the technique to be used routinely as a tool of chemical identification at the atomic scale, as it can pick out specific atoms from a complex mixture of elements.”

“They did it at room temperature, which is unique, and they looked at a complicated system of an alloy of three species that was disordered. This is an extremely important aspect of the work and is something that is difficult to achieve.

“The next step, said Shluger, would be to attempt to show that the principle is applicable more widely, beyond the three elements used by the Osaka team. If it could also be applied to electrically-insulating surfaces, the system could eventually evolve into an analytical tool to routinely identify individual surface atoms.”

Above: atomic force microscopy can distinguish between atoms of tin [Sn], silicon [Si] and lead [Pb].
Image credit: Oscar Custance

A useful news page for global warming.

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