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A Sustainable Future Powered by Sea

Professor Tsumoru Shintake at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) yearns for a clean future, one that is affordable and powered by sustainable energy. Originally from the high-energy accelerator field, in 2012 he decided to seek new energy resources—wind and solar were being explored in depth, but he moved toward the sea instead.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
A Sustainable Future Powered by Sea

Professor Tsumoru Shintake at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) yearns for a clean future, one that is affordable and powered by sustainable energy. Originally from the high-energy accelerator field, in 2012 he decided to seek new energy resources—wind and solar were being explored in depth, but he moved toward the sea instead.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Fuel from waste and electricity?

Technologies that allow the preservation of scarce fossil resources will pave the way towards resource security. The two main factors that contribute to a sustainable future industry are the source of electric energy and the carbon feedstock. First, the electrical power production based on renewable resources, such as wind and solar energy, is promoted. Second, renewable feedstocks and waste streams are considered as valuable precursors for the production of commodities and fuels. Building a bridge between both factors means linking the conversion of electric energy - especially from local peak productions - to chemical energy carriers and commodities. Researchers in a consortium led by Dr. Falk Harnisch from the UFZ show that this bridge can be build.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Fuel from waste and electricity?

Technologies that allow the preservation of scarce fossil resources will pave the way towards resource security. The two main factors that contribute to a sustainable future industry are the source of electric energy and the carbon feedstock. First, the electrical power production based on renewable resources, such as wind and solar energy, is promoted. Second, renewable feedstocks and waste streams are considered as valuable precursors for the production of commodities and fuels. Building a bridge between both factors means linking the conversion of electric energy - especially from local peak productions - to chemical energy carriers and commodities. Researchers in a consortium led by Dr. Falk Harnisch from the UFZ show that this bridge can be build.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Rebuilding from 2011 Earthquake, Japanese Towns Choose to Go Off the Grid

Many of the cities in northern Japan damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are building back their electric grids with renewable energy and micro-grids — bucking the nation’s old, centralized utility system by making communities in the region self-sufficient in generating electricity, Reuters reported.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
UK oil and gas reserves may last only a decade

The Scottish and UK oil industries are entering their final decade of production, research suggests.

A study of output from offshore fields estimates that close to 10 per cent of the UK’s original recoverable oil and gas remains – about 11 per cent of oil and nine per cent of gas resources.

The analysis also finds that fracking will be barely economically feasible in the UK, especially in Scotland, because of a lack of sites with suitable geology.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Heather Kulik: Innovative modeling for chemical discovery

Without setting foot from her office, Heather Kulik, the Joseph R. Mares '24 Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, is charting unknown worlds. Her discoveries plumb “vast regions of chemical space,” she says, a domain comprised of combinations of chemical elements that do not yet exist. “Best estimates indicate that we have likely made or studied only about 1 part in 10 to the 50th of that chemical space,” she says.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Heather Kulik: Innovative modeling for chemical discovery

Without setting foot from her office, Heather Kulik, the Joseph R. Mares '24 Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, is charting unknown worlds. Her discoveries plumb “vast regions of chemical space,” she says, a domain comprised of combinations of chemical elements that do not yet exist. “Best estimates indicate that we have likely made or studied only about 1 part in 10 to the 50th of that chemical space,” she says.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
New Method for Identifying Carbon Compounds Derived from Fossil Fuels

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laboratory instrument that can measure how much of the carbon in many carbon-containing materials was derived from fossil fuels. This will open the way for new methods in the biofuels and bioplastics industries, in scientific research, and environmental monitoring. Among other things, it will allow scientists to measure how much of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels, and to estimate fossil fuel emissions in an area as small as a city or as large as a continent.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Virtual reality alleviates pain, anxiety for pediatric patients

As patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford undergo routine medical procedures, they are being whisked away to swim under the sea, zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space, catch basketballs using their heads and fly on paper airplanes through the sky, thanks to virtual-reality technology, which is being implemented throughout the hospital to help ease patients’ feelings of pain and anxiety.

Packard Children’s is one of the first hospitals in the country to begin implementing distraction-based VR therapy within every patient unit.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
IU discovery could reduce nuclear waste with improved method to chemically engineer molecules

A discovery by Indiana University researchers could advance the long-term storage of nuclear waste, an increasingly burdensome and costly task for the public and private agencies that protect people from these harmful chemicals.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
New climate risk classification created to account for potential 'existential' threats

A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity.

These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by century’s end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
SLAC-Led Project Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Prevent or Minimize Electric Grid Failures

A project led by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will combine artificial intelligence with massive amounts of data and industry experience from a dozen U.S. partners to identify places where the electric grid is vulnerable to disruption, reinforce those spots in advance and recover faster when failures do occur.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
SLAC-Led Project Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Prevent or Minimize Electric Grid Failures

A project led by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will combine artificial intelligence with massive amounts of data and industry experience from a dozen U.S. partners to identify places where the electric grid is vulnerable to disruption, reinforce those spots in advance and recover faster when failures do occur.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Cost of U.S. Solar Drops 75 percent in Six Years, Ahead of Federal Goal

The Trump administration has announced that a federal goal to slash the cost of utility-scale solar energy to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 has been met early. The goal, set by the Obama administration in 2011 and known as the SunShot Initiative, represents a 75 percent reduction in the cost of U.S. solar in just six years. It makes solar energy-cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Pipeline pain relief on horizon with spill-resistant bitumen

Ian Gates describes each pebble of bitumen as resembling a liquid-filled headache capsule and, for an Alberta struggling to build pipelines, this tiny package could spell pain relief indeed.

Freshly patented and weeks away from pilot-scale production, the professor’s revolutionary heavy oil and bitumen pellets may finally provide a pipeline-free solution to getting Alberta’s largest oil reserves to market in a cheap, sustainable manner, while vastly reducing the environmental risk of transportation.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Airline industry could fly thousands of miles on biofuel from a new promising feedstock

A Boeing 747 burns one gallon of jet fuel each second. A recent analysis from researchers at the University of Illinois estimate that this aircraft could fly for 10 hours on bio-jet fuel produced on 54 acres of specially engineered sugarcane.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Applying Insights from the Pharma Innovation Model to Battery Commercialization

If electronics are the underpinning of our modern economy, then batteries are what make the world go round. And since its commercial introduction in 1995, the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery has been king.

Over the past 30 years, a three-fold improvement in energy density has driven li-ion batteries far down the cost curve, from more than $3,000/kWh to approximately $150/kWh today, making li-ion the battery chemistry of choice for our toys, consumer electronics, medical devices, power tools, and increasingly, cars. Applications for household and grid storage that balance the intermittency of renewables are already hitting the market. Indeed, the $30 billion industry is expected to clock a blistering 11.6% annual growth rate through 2024, to a valuation of nearly $80 billion1.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Applying Insights from the Pharma Innovation Model to Battery Commercialization

If electronics are the underpinning of our modern economy, then batteries are what make the world go round. And since its commercial introduction in 1995, the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery has been king.

Over the past 30 years, a three-fold improvement in energy density has driven li-ion batteries far down the cost curve, from more than $3,000/kWh to approximately $150/kWh today, making li-ion the battery chemistry of choice for our toys, consumer electronics, medical devices, power tools, and increasingly, cars. Applications for household and grid storage that balance the intermittency of renewables are already hitting the market. Indeed, the $30 billion industry is expected to clock a blistering 11.6% annual growth rate through 2024, to a valuation of nearly $80 billion1.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Insect eyes inspire new solar cell design by Stanford researchers

Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could pave the way to a new generation of advanced photovoltaics, say Stanford University scientists.

In a new study, the Stanford team used the insect-inspired design to protect a fragile photovoltaic material called perovskite from deteriorating when exposed to heat, moisture or mechanical stress. The results are published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science (E&ES).

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Why US Battery Startups Fail -- And How to Fix It

Better batteries are critical to the world’s clean energy future. More economical and efficient batteries would help to solve many of our planet’s energy challenges, paving the way towards long-range electric vehicles to help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as well as advancing renewable energy production by resolving intermittency problems. However, the scientific research needed to bring the necessary advances in materials to market in the US remains a formidable challenge. Hurdles include high upfront capital costs and long timelines to success – leading many startup companies to fail, even with generous funding from venture capital and esteemed investors such as Bill Gates.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Firebricks offer low-cost storage for carbon-free energy

Firebricks, designed to withstand high heat, have been part of our technological arsenal for at least three millennia, since the era of the Hittites. Now, a proposal from MIT researchers shows this ancient invention could play a key role in enabling the world to switch away from fossil fuels and rely instead on carbon-free energy sources.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Engineers develop tools to share power from renewable energy sources during outages

If you think you can use the solar panels on your roof to power your home during an outage, think again. During an outage, while your home remains connected to the grid, the devices that manage your solar panels are powered down for safety reasons. In other words, this permanent connection to the grid makes it impossible for homeowners to draw on power generated by their own renewable energy resources.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Stanford professor tests a cooling system that works without electricity

It looks like a regular roof, but the top of the Packard Electrical Engineering Building at Stanford University has been the setting of many milestones in the development of an innovative cooling technology that could someday be part of our everyday lives. Since 2013, Shanhui Fan, professor of electrical engineering, and his students and research associates have employed this roof as a testbed for a high-tech mirror-like optical surface that could be the future of lower-energy air conditioning and refrigeration.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM
Stanford professor tests a cooling system that works without electricity

It looks like a regular roof, but the top of the Packard Electrical Engineering Building at Stanford University has been the setting of many milestones in the development of an innovative cooling technology that could someday be part of our everyday lives. Since 2013, Shanhui Fan, professor of electrical engineering, and his students and research associates have employed this roof as a testbed for a high-tech mirror-like optical surface that could be the future of lower-energy air conditioning and refrigeration.

09/25/2017 04:15 AM