We have also
launched a crowdfunding campaign for the well-researched and
peer-reviewed journal published Spiral
Magnetic Motor and we look forward to your support
in the next 30 days.
As our nation now is
on alert with the latest study (Dec. 6, 2017, Technology
Review) based on satellite observations that temperatures could
rise nearly 5°C by 2100, citing the paper published in Nature magazine by
Patrick Brown of the Carnegie Institution, the odds that the
climate will warm past 4°C have now increased to 93% probability.
We can see the trend also in the Popular Science issue
(July/August, 2017) showing a steep, linear trend in
TEMPERATURE from the 1970s onward. Of course, IRI has been giving
the public ADVANCE NOTICE of this same inconvenient news of a 5°C
"indebtedness" for over ten (10) years now, based
on the NASA James Hansen 400,000 year climate
history graph on our homepage which has been
annotated by myself to emphasize his predictive calibration of
CO2 levels, now exceeding 400 ppm, which "tows" or
drags the temperature and sea level with it in a precise,
For our first story,
MIT offers some help to counter this seriously disturbing
development. It is a new method for capturing forcing one atom of
oxygen off of CO2 with a special membrane, leaving carbon
monoxide on the other side to be converted into fuel by combining
it with hydrogen or methane. In a related
story from the same institution, David Keith from MIT
presents his fifteen minute lecture on geoengineering which
is also an eye-opener with the best climate models and how even
2°C increase in temperature creates hurricanes
automatically in the computer model!
In our second story,
we find another surprising development with UCLA finding an
onboard method for generating hydrogen fuel on the fly. Combining
a supercapacitor with a hydrogen fuel cell and a solar cell, the
opportunity has come to generate both electricity and hydrogen
Our third story
continues the concept of battery power with the completed
construction of the world's largest Li-Ion battery by Tesla's
Elon Musk in South Australia. Each 129 MWh Tesla
Powerpack can store enough power for more than 30,000 homes.
A smaller version, called the Tesla Powerwall is also
available for home use.
The fourth story is
more of a detective story regarding fusion power. Los Alamos
National Lab has found a major problem with helium being formed
from a byproduct of fusion that percolates out of containment
walls causing small cracks. The hope is now that the problem has
been identified, a quick solution may be found and we can start
enjoying fusion-powered electricity from our local utility that
was promised by the government decades ago.
introductory discussion of global warming, our fifth and last
story offers an interesting and low tech solution that
draws heat away with advanced materials, which then can radiate
it literally into space. SkyCool Systems is
working to commercialize the product to keep buildings cool
without costly fan-forced air conditioning.The SkyCool panels
spun out from Stanford have demonstrated a 21% savings (up to 70%
according to Inc. magazine) in an office building's cooling
electricity by radiating in a mid-infrared band that is not
absorbed by the atmosphere, as well as throwing back nearly all
of the heat in sunlight with a reflection trick.
Have a Happy Holiday!
Tom Valone, Editor
1) MIT Creating New Method to
Convert CO2 into Fuel
Researchers at MIT have created a
new method of turning carbon dioxide emissions from power
plants into a useful product. The resulting substance could
be used as fuel for cars, trucks, and planes, as well as chemical
feedstock with a large variety of applications.
MIT postdoc Xiao-Yu Wu developed
the new membrane-based system alongside Ahmed Ghoniem, the Ronald
C. Crane professor of mechanical engineering. The membrane itself
is made from a compound of lanthanum, calcium, and iron oxide. It
works by allowing oxygen from carbon dioxide to pass through
while leaving carbon monoxide on the other side.
The scientists behind the project
report that the membrane is 100 percent selective when it comes
to oxygen. The separation process is driven by extremely high
temperatures, with a high of 990 degrees Celsius.
It's crucial that the oxygen that
separates off from the carbon monoxide continues to flow through
the membrane until it has reached the other side. This could
be accomplished using a vacuum, but that technique would
require a great deal of energy. Instead, a stream of fuel - such
as hydrogen or methane - will be employed, as these substances
are easily oxidized and don't require a pressure difference to
ferry the oxygen atoms through the membrane.
vehicles are slowly hitting the streets, but although it's a
clean and plentiful fuel source, a lack
of infrastructure for mass producing, distributing and
storing hydrogen is still a major roadblock. But new work out of
the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) could help lower
the barrier to entry for consumers, with a device that uses
sunlight to produce both hydrogen and electricity.
The UCLA device is a hybrid unit
that combines a supercapacitor with a hydrogen fuel cell, and runs
the whole shebang on solar power. Along with the usual positive
and negative electrodes, the device has a third electrode that
can either store energy electrically or use it to split water
into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms - a process called
To make the electrodes as
efficient as possible, the team maximized the amount of surface
area that comes into contact with water, right down to the
nanoscale. That increases the amount of hydrogen the system can
produce, as well as how much energy the supercapacitor can store.
"People need fuel to run
their vehicles and electricity to run their devices," says
Richard Kaner, senior author of the study. "Now you can make
both fuel and electricity with a single device."
Back in March, Tesla's Elon Musk
promised to have a proposed battery storage system at the
Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia up and running within 100
days, or he'd foot the bill. The project clock started ticking in
September and the deadline for the big switch on is December 1,
and South Australia's Premier Jay Weatherill has today confirmed
that it's built and ready to "be energized."
Weatherill has confirmed that the
Tesla Powerpacks have been fully installed on site and connected
to the Hornsdale Wind Farm, and are now undergoing testing to
make sure that the batteries meet standards set by the Australian
Energy Market Operator and the South Australian Government. The
Premier is set to join company reps to officially launch the
battery storage facility next week.
"While others are just
talking, we are delivering our energy plan, making South
Australia more self-sufficient, and providing back up power and
more affordable energy for South Australians this summer,"
said Weatherill. "The world's largest lithium ion battery
will be an important part of our energy mix, and it sends the
clearest message that South Australia will be a leader renewable
energy with battery storage."
When it goes live, the 129
MWh Powerpack system will be capable of meeting on-demand
power delivery for more than 30,000 homes.
For a so-called "noble" gas, helium has
been one of the biggest impediments to making fusion power
practical. Helium has corrupted every type of material ever used
to make reactor chambers - or had until the recent discovery
of nanocomposites that are still subject to helium corrosion, but
which seem to channel the damage well enough that fusion power
might be one major step closer to becoming a practical energy
Stars are essentially fusion reactors. Inside stars,
pairs of protons slam together and fuse to become deuterium (one
of two forms of hydrogen). When they fuse, they emit a positron
and a neutrino. Positrons encounter electrons, and the two
annihilate each other, producing gamma rays that are the ultimate
source of sunlight. Meanwhile, stray protons collide with
deuterium atoms, forming helium (He).
Helium, like other noble gases, is colorless,
odorless, and inert; it is not toxic, nor is it a
greenhouse gas. That would ordinarily make it a completely
harmless byproduct. But helium is also incredibly light, and
because of that, it tends to insinuate itself into and through
most other materials. That's of no consequence whatsoever in
stars, but it's a significant problem when scientists are
producing fusion inside reactors.
In fusion reactors, helium bubbles weasel their way
into the containment walls, accumulating into bubbles that end up
percolating out of the material, ultimately creating blisters on
the outside walls and generally undermining the structural
integrity of the material. The researchers described the effect
in nuclear fusion systems as "devastating."
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory tried
different processing techniques, trying to find some combination
of materials that might be somehow impervious to helium
corrosion. Based on the responses of different materials in
previous experiments, the researchers decided to try a
vanadium-copper-vanadium sandwich of nanolayers. They had some
expectations of what might happen but were surprised by the result.