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Archive for the ‘energy’ category: Page 22

Feb 24, 2024

MIT engineers test an idea for a new hovering rover

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Year 2021 face_with_colon_three


Because they lack an atmosphere, the moon and other airless bodies such as asteroids can build up an electric field through direct exposure to the sun and surrounding plasma. On the moon, this surface charge is strong enough to levitate dust more than 1 meter above the ground, much the way static electricity can cause a person’s hair to stand on end.

Engineers at NASA and elsewhere have recently proposed harnessing this natural surface charge to levitate a glider with wings made of Mylar, a material that naturally holds the same charge as surfaces on airless bodies. They reasoned that the similarly charged surfaces should repel each other, with a force that lofts the glider off the ground. But such a design would likely be limited to small asteroids, as larger planetary bodies would have a stronger, counteracting gravitational pull.

Continue reading “MIT engineers test an idea for a new hovering rover” »

Feb 24, 2024

MIT Scientists May Have Found a Cheap Way of Storing Huge Amounts of Energy in Cement

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation

A team of MIT researchers has figured out a way to create a supercapacitor simply by mixing cement, the binding ingredient of concrete, and a fine charcoal product called carbon black together with water.

Better yet, this mixture could allow a home to store a full day’s worth of energy in its foundation, potentially paving the way to an efficient renewable energy storage solution that doesn’t rely on mining rare Earth metals.

Roads made up of the material could even power electric cars wirelessly, the researchers say, or windmills could store their generated energy in their base.

Feb 24, 2024

Firm develops jet fuel made entirely from human poo

Posted by in category: energy

Scientists have found a way to make jet fuel from human sewage and cut carbon emissions.

Feb 23, 2024

Photon upconversion: Steering light with supercritical coupling

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology, physics

National University of Singapore researchers and their collaborators have unveiled a novel concept termed “supercritical coupling” that enables a several-fold increase in photon upconversion efficiency. This discovery not only challenges existing paradigms, but also opens a new direction in the control of light emission.

Photon upconversion, the process of converting low-energy photons into higher-energy ones, is a crucial technique with broad applications, ranging from super-resolution imaging to advanced photonic devices. Despite considerable progress, the quest for efficient upconversion has faced challenges due to inherent limitations in the irradiance of lanthanide-doped nanoparticles and the critical coupling conditions of optical resonances.

The concept of “supercritical coupling” plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. This fundamentally new approach, proposed by a research team led by Professor Liu Xiaogang from the Department of Chemistry, NUS and his collaborator, Dr. Gianluigi Zito from the National Research Council of Italy leverages on the physics of “bound states in the continuum” (BICs).

Feb 23, 2024

Unlocking Nature’s Secrets: Revolutionary Imaging Unveils Plant Degradation Mysteries

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

For years, researchers have dedicated themselves to developing methods that can effectively and economically break down plant materials, enabling their transformation into valuable bioproducts that enhance our daily lives.

Bio-based fuels, detergents, nutritional supplements, and even plastics are the result of this work. And while scientists have found ways to degrade plants to the extent needed to produce a range of products, certain polymers such as lignin, which is a primary ingredient in the cell wall of plants, remain incredibly difficult to affordably break down without adding pollutants back into the environment. These polymers can be left behind as waste products with no further use.

A specialized microbial community composed of fungus, leafcutter ants, and bacteria is known to naturally degrade plants, turning them into nutrients and other components that are absorbed and used by surrounding organisms and systems. But identifying all components and biochemical reactions needed for the process remained a significant challenge—until now.

Feb 22, 2024

Aqueous Metal-Ion Batteries: The Future of Safe and Sustainable Energy Storage

Posted by in categories: energy, health, sustainability

How can water-based batteries help improve lithium-ion energy storage and technology? This is what a series of studies published in Advanced Materials, Small Structures, Energy Storage Materials, and Energy & Environmental Science hopes to address as a team of international researchers led by Liaoning University in China have developed recyclable, aqueous-based batteries that won’t succumb to combustion or explosion. This study holds the potential to help researchers develop safer and more efficient water-based energy storage technologies for a cleaner future.

While lithium-ion batteries have proven reliable, they pose safety risks due to the organic electrolytes responsible for creating the electrical charge, which can lead to them catching fire or exploding, limiting their development for large-scale usage. To solve this problem, the researchers used water for driving the electric current between the battery’s terminals, nearly eliminating the chance for a safety hazard.

“Addressing end-of-life disposal challenges that consumers, industry and governments globally face with current energy storage technology, our batteries can be safely disassembled, and the materials can be reused or recycled,” said Dr. Tianyi Ma, who is a team member and a professor in the STEM | School of Science at RMIT University. “We use materials such as magnesium and zinc that are abundant in nature, inexpensive and less toxic than alternatives used in other kinds of batteries, which helps to lower manufacturing costs and reduces risks to human health and the environment.”

Feb 22, 2024

Scientists discover exotic quantum interference effect in a topological insulator device

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, quantum physics

In a novel experiment, physicists have observed long range quantum coherence effects due to Aharonov-Bohm interference in a topological insulator-based device. This finding opens up a new realm of possibilities for the future development of topological quantum physics and engineering.

This finding could also affect the development of spin-based electronics, which may potentially replace some current electronic systems for higher energy efficiency and may provide new platforms to explore .

The research, published in the February 20 issue of Nature Physics, is the culmination of more than 15 years of work at Princeton. It came about when Princeton scientists developed a —called a bismuth bromide (α-Bi4Br4) topological insulator—only a few nanometers thick and used it to investigate .

Feb 21, 2024

New study finds ‘Sweet spot’ for Length of Yarn-shaped Supercapacitors

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, engineering, wearables

As interest in wearable technology has surged, research into creating energy-storage devices that can be woven into textiles has also increased. Researchers at North Carolina State University have now identified a “sweet spot” at which the length of a threadlike energy storage technology called a “yarn-shaped supercapacitor” (YSC) yields the highest and most efficient flow of energy per unit length.

“When it comes to the length of the YSC, it’s a tradeoff between power and energy,” said Wei Gao, corresponding author of a paper on the work and an associate professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science at NC State.

“It’s not only about how much energy you can store, but also the internal resistance we care about.”

Feb 21, 2024

World’s first hybrid wind and fuel powered chemical tanker sets sail from Rotterdam

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

Owners hope the world’s first “wind-assisted chemical tanker” will help the shipping industry change tack for a greener future.

Feb 21, 2024

Ultra-high density hydrogen storage holds twice as much as liquid H2

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

A nanoporous material that holds hydrogen at twice the density of cryogenic liquid H2 could address the challenges of large-scale liquid and gas storage that have held this clean fuel back.

Hydrogen is finding plenty of applications as a clean fuel – in trucking and commercial vehicles, short range aviation and shipping, for example, where it carries considerably more energy per weight and volume than lithium batteries and can deliver superior range figures and quick refueling. You can burn it more or less like gasoline, or run it through a fuel cell to generate electric power.

It has the highest energy per mass of any fuel, but it’s a pain to store. Keep it in gas tanks and you’ll need some 700 atmospheres’ worth of compression. Keep it as a liquid, and you’ll need to maintain cryogenic temperatures just 20 degrees above absolute zero. And even when squashed into a supercooled liquid, it might be lightweight, but it takes up a surprising and inconvenient amount of volume, making it both energy-hungry and tough to package where space is an issue.

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