Posts

July 03, 2014

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4:34 PM | Electric Vehicles to Monitor Air Quality in Leicester
Researchers at the University of Leicester are going to use electric cars fitted with air monitoring sensors to monitor air pollution levels in Leicester, UK.
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3:27 PM | Pea Soup City
By Susan Cosier Foggy and cool, Chicago felt more like San Francisco this June. From the view below, the Sears, er, Willis Tower looked on many occasions as if had been cut in half by fog. And the likely reason for this soupy scene? The polar vortex. Yep, the weather pattern that froze Midwesterners in their tracks earlier this year is now delaying summer’s start. Chicago is now what the Chicago Tribune is calling a “battleground” between […]
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2:20 PM | Simple Process Improves Manufacturing of Silicon Nanoholes
Scientists at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and Nanyang Technological University have invented a simple procedure that transforms silver nanospheres into silicon nanoholes. The process can significantly increase the cost-effectiveness of nanowire-based solar cells.

Hong, L., Wang, X., Zheng, H., He, L., Wang, H., Yu, H. & Rusli, . (2014). High efficiency silicon nanohole/organic heterojunction hybrid solar cell, Applied Physics Letters, 104 (5) 53104. DOI: 10.1063/1.4863965

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1:17 PM | Red, White & Gold?, Fireworks Buzzkill, America the Really Freakin’ Beautiful
By Jason Bittel Suffer in silence: When residents of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, complained about the noise and air pollution coming from fracking wells owned by the EQT Corporation, the company offered them a cool $50,000 each to hush up. Accepting the money also meant releasing EQT from any liability with regard to “noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, soot, air pollution or vibrations,” and operations past or present, including any […]

July 02, 2014

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9:15 PM | Well tie calculus
As Matt wrote in March, he is editing a regular Tutorial column in SEG's The Leading Edge. I contributed the June edition, entitled Well-tie calculus. This is a brief synopsis only; if you have any questions about the workflow, or how to get started in Python, get in touch or come to my course. Synthetic seismograms can be created by doing basic calculus on traveltime functions. Integrating slowness (the reciprocal of velocity) yields a time-depth relationship. Differentiating acoustic […]
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7:32 PM | Novel Biosensor to Optimize Bio-Refining Processes
Scientists at the University of British Columbia have developed a new type of biosensor that can help optimize bio-refining processes that produce chemicals, fuels and advanced materials.

Strachan, C., Singh, R., VanInsberghe, D., Ievdokymenko, K., Budwill, K., Mohn, W., Eltis, L. & Hallam, S. (2014). Metagenomic scaffolds enable combinatorial lignin transformation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401631111

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7:00 PM | Flying Blind
By Bruce Stutz It was a late-afternoon departure from JFK to LAX that would have us flying into the sunset. As it turned out, I had an aisle seat. But I knew I could still lean over enough to catch some sight of the expanses below. And I imagined that most of the people on the plane—families and tourists coming and going for the holidays—would be looking out to enjoy the scenes as well. But on takeoff all the shades went down, plunging the cabin […]
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5:48 PM | Scientists Uncover Mechanism for Soot Formation
Scientists at the University of Hawaii and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) have uncovered the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles like soot and other carbon-based compounds.

Parker, D., Kaiser, R., Troy, T. & Ahmed, M. (2014). Hydrogen Abstraction-Acetylene Addition Revealed, Angewandte Chemie, DOI: 10.1002/ange.201404537

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4:14 PM | ElectroGraph Project Creates Graphene Supercapacitors for EVs
ElectroGraph, a project supported by the EU, has succeeded in developing graphene-based electrodes for application in supercapacitors.
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2:34 PM | Argonne, Caterpillar to Develop New Engine Combustion Models
Caterpillar and Argonne National Laboratory along with Convergent Science, a software company, have entered into an agreement to develop new engine combustion models that incorporate accurate descriptions of two-phase flows, chemistry, transport phenomena and device geometries.
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2:14 PM | Bad Bugs Remake America, Swim at Your Own Risk, Koi Pond Gone Wild
By Jason Bittel Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water: The Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft plan that would lower the levels of acceptable waterway contamination that could occur without providing warnings for swimmers. State officials from the Great Lakes to the country's coasts are coming out against the new requirements, saying the warnings will scare beachgoers and hurt tourism revenue. It’s the classic […]
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2:05 AM | How much surface area can you fit in a space the size of an ice cube? Several football fields in a new battery cathode!
If any of us ever hope to complete the romantic cross-country trip across the US by electric car, the answer lies in better battery technology.  Current batteries just can’t store enough energy to last trips without frequent stops to recharging stations. … Continue reading →

He, G., Mandlmeier, B., Schuster, J., Nazar, L. & Bein, T. (2014). Bimodal Mesoporous Carbon Nanofibers with High Porosity: Freestanding and Embedded in Membranes for Lithium–Sulfur Batteries, Chemistry of Materials, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/cm403740r

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July 01, 2014

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7:10 PM | Increased Reports Of Scammers Posing As Your Electricity Provider
**ALERT**  THERE HAS RECENTLY BEEN A HUGE JUMP IN THE NUMBER OF REPORTS OF SCAMMERS POSING AS YOUR ELECTRICITY PROVIDER CALLING TO GET YOUR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD INFORMATION. The scam artists are pretending to be from your electric company, and are threatening to … Continue reading →
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7:06 PM | Heather Can Help UK Meet Bioenergy Targets
Harvesting energy from heather could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help the UK meet its bioenergy targets, according to new research by scientists at Durham and Manchester Universities.

Worrall, F. & Clay, G. (2014). The potential use of heather, Calluna vulgaris, as a bioenergy crop, Biomass and Bioenergy, 64 140-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.03.007

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5:37 PM | Grenoble to Pioneer Ultra-Compact Electric Car Sharing
In just a few months, starting October 2014, 70 Toyota i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles, and around 30 charging stations will be deployed in Grenoble, a city in southeastern France.
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2:16 PM | Playing Chicken with Rhinos, NY to Fracking: Get Outta Town, Measuring Climate Change from SPACE!
By Jason Bittel Republican to Republican: Fans of a smaller government may want to heed the advice of the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, Henry Paulson. According to Paulson, refusing to take immediate action against climate change will only ensure “that the government will be playing a bigger role,” because an increased number of natural disasters will necessitate more oversight. Paulson also says he thinks many of his […]
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2:09 PM | Porous Nanofiber Opens Way for Better Lithium-Sulfur Batteries
Chemists at the NIM Cluster at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and at the University of Waterloo, Canada, have created a novel type of porous nanofiber that can help make lithium-sulfur batteries more efficient.

He, G., Mandlmeier, B., Schuster, J., Nazar, L. & Bein, T. (2014). Bimodal Mesoporous Carbon Nanofibers with High Porosity: Freestanding and Embedded in Membranes for Lithium–Sulfur Batteries, Chemistry of Materials, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/cm403740r

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12:55 PM | Latin America’s Largest Solar Plant to Be Built in Chile
First Solar, an American manufacturer of thin film photovoltaic modules, plans to construct a 141 MW(ac) solar power plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The plant, called Luz del Norte, will be the largest solar power plant in Latin America.

June 30, 2014

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8:29 PM | Hydrofracking Fluids Could Pollute Groundwater Indirectly
Accidental spills and deliberate land application of hydrofracking fluids, which return to the surface during hydraulic fracturing, could cause the release of tiny particles in soils that often strongly bind heavy metals and pollutants, according to Cornell University scientists.
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7:12 PM | Computer Models to Extend Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Lifetime
Long-term tests are required to assess the durability of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). Advanced computer models can speed up the development of new fuel cell technology.
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7:03 PM | Teach a Country to Fish...
By Ben Goldfarb This time last year, I found myself standing on the rocky shores of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, home to a world-renowned salmon fishery that brings in $1.5 billion annually. Lunchtime had just rolled around in the remote fishing camp I had come to visit—and when you’re sharing a body of water with 40 million sockeye, you don’t order a ham sandwich. One of my hosts, a bearded fisherman named Zach, strung a gillnet into the […]
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5:49 PM | The Power of Truth
By Emily Cousins Soon after Joel Reynolds joined NRDC (which publishes OnEarth) in 1990, he took on a case for the Mothers of East Los Angeles, a group of largely low-income Latino women trying to prevent construction of a toxic waste incinerator in their community. Local officials had approved the project without conducting a proper environmental review, so Reynolds took them to court. At hearings, he says, his clients would “file quietly into the […]
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5:26 PM | Pendulum-Like Generator Harvests Tidal Energy
Scientist at the Okayama University in Japan has developed a new pendulum-dynamo device that generates electricity from tidal currents.
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3:21 PM | High-Capacity Molten Air Battery Developed
A research group at George Washington University led by Stuart Licht has developed a novel molten air battery that, according to the researchers, has the highest intrinsic electric energy storage capacities of any other batteries to date.
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1:21 PM | Ozone by the Numbers, a Salmonella Saga, Florida Man Loves His Plastic Bags
By Jason Bittel Chickpeas, anyone?: Eight months have passed since the Foster Farms salmonella outbreak, and people are still getting sick (more than 600 in all). Even so, the company won't volunteer a recall of its meat, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t seem to think it has the legal authority to force it. Good thing for you finger-lickn’ chicken lovers out there: A new bill—the Pathogens Reduction and Testing Reform […]
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12:59 PM | Have some bacn
You might have noticed a lot of emails from Canadian companies recently, asking you to confirm that you wish to receive emails from them. This is because a key part of the 2010 anti-spam law comes into effect tomorrow. We haven't sent you anything, becase we have always complied with the spirit of the law. What is spam? We all know what spam is, and the Canadian government's definition is plain: commercial electronic messages [received] without the recipient's consent And here's a definition […]

June 27, 2014

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9:15 PM | 6/27/2014 This Week in Energy: Beyond Headlines
Here’s a bit of energy news that didn’t make it into our daily coverage during the past week. In this review, we collected some of less big, but nonetheless interesting news, of the week that went by, from the world of energy science and technology.
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8:37 PM | Report: Methane Leakage Presents Greater Risks Than Fracking
According to the environmental scientists and engineers at the University of Waterloo and Geofirma Engineering, a Canadian consulting company, greenhouse gas emissions are of greater environmental concern than hydraulic fracturing.
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7:25 PM | Aqueous Flow Organic Battery for Grid-Scale Energy Storage Developed
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have created an inexpensive aqueous flow organic battery for grid-scale energy storage. The new battery contains no metals or toxic materials.

Yang, B., Hoober-Burkhardt, L., Wang, F., Surya Prakash, G. & Narayanan, S. (2014). An Inexpensive Aqueous Flow Battery for Large-Scale Electrical Energy Storage Based on Water-Soluble Organic Redox Couples, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 161 (9) DOI: 10.1149/2.1001409jes

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6:31 PM | Novel Device Cleans Up Spills by Pumping Oil Through ‘Sponge’
While porous hydrophobic/oleophilic materials (PHOMs) show promise for cleaning up oil spills, such a cleanup would require a large quantity of PHOMS due to their limited absorption capacity. Chinese scientists have now proposed a way to solve this problem.

Ge, J., Ye, Y., Yao, H., Zhu, X., Wang, X., Wu, L., Wang, J., Ding, H., Yong, N., He, L. & Yu, S. (2014). Pumping through Porous Hydrophobic/Oleophilic Materials: An Alternative Technology for Oil Spill Remediation, Angewandte Chemie, 126 (14) 3686-3690. DOI: 10.1002/ange.201310151

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