are happy to share another vindication of the IRI advocacy program
with the lead story #1 on betavoltaic power using a tritium nuclear
source. As many may remember, the first COFE in
1999 featured Paul Brown who also was the first
recipient of the coveted Integrity in Research Award. Paul, who
passed away under mysterious circumstances as he launched Nuclear
Solutions, obtained several patents on the tritium "isotopic
semiconductor batteries" such as #6,238,812, #6,118,204, and
#5,087,533, which resemble smoke detectors in their operation.
However, in Paul's absence, the company was never able to bring such
a simple and valuable product, lasting over 20 years, to market. Now
a startup company City Labs, Inc. has apparently succeeded, with
Lockheed approval and funding from the Air Force Research Lab. To see
more of the history of this invention, purchase the IRI Nuclear
Battery Report, which features much of Paul Brown's work
in the field and other support material.
could be cheaper than a "spray-on" solar panel? That's what
our story #2 believes with New Energy Technologies invention that
promises to ramp up production and bring down cost. The beauty is
that the polymer also harvests indoor lighting as well as in other
low light conditions. To piggyback with such an innovation, we have
added the similar story #3 on "spray-on" power supplies,
which can go on any surface to create a lithium-ion battery
putting viruses to work generating electricity at 400 mV and 6 nA is
also very impressive, besides being equivalent to the proverbial
"free energy". The 20 layer thick battery is piezoelectric
so it works with applied pressure, much like the crystal roads story
of Innowattech that
we ran last month.
an article that has motivated us greatly from New Scientist is about
a cure for cancer. Story #5 spells out the Warburg effect where
glycosis predominates with cancer, which is also described in my
Healing. The story about cancer cravings being the undoing
has the recommendation for a flood of antioxidants in
between chemotherapy treatments, rather than with the chemo, so that
the free radicals (peroxide mostly) can be neutralized. We
immediately applied this protocol (Premier Jr
treatment and Ester C three times a day) to a patient
with non-Hogkins lymphoma and have measured at least a half inch
reduction in size of swollen lymph nodes in less than one week at the
time Future Energy eNews went to press. (The Premier Junior by the
way, is a concentrated form of electronic antioxidants - the active
ingredient in ALL antioxidant free radical quenchers.)
1)Betavoltaic Power Source
Provides source of continuous nanoWatt Power for 20 + Years
City Labs, Inc. has
released its first commercial product, a tritium-based betavoltaic
power source that enables low-power microelectronic and sensor
applications where battery replacement is difficult, impossible, or
life-threatening. The Model P100a betavoltaic power source provides a
source of continuous nanoWatt power for 20 years or more in
microelectronic platforms. Applications include environmental
pressure/temperature sensors, intelligence sensors, medical implants,
trickle charging lithium batteries, semi-passive and active RFID
tags, silicon clocks, SRAM memory backup, deep-sea oil wellelectronics,
lower power processors (e.g. ASICs, FPGAs, microcontroller units,
etc.). As tested and confirmed by Lockheed Martin, the City Labs
NanoTritium betavoltaic is able to resist broad temperature extremes
where traditional lithium batteries are subject to failure. City Labs
asserts the first company in the betavoltaic battery industry to be
granted a Product Regulatory General License to manufacture, sell,
and distribute its NanoTritium betavoltaic power sources. These
devices contain small amounts of tritium, a radioisotope commonly
found in Exit signs and diver's watches. The General License provides
the end-user with a safe, reliable and commercially available
betavoltaic power source, and eliminates both the burden of regulatory
paperwork and end-user radiological training. The General License
also allows for easy purchase of the betavoltaic power source without
requiring the customer to have a prior radiation license.
City Labs, Inc.
MIT Technology Review Features City Labs' Betavoltaic
Published In Partnership with Enterprise Florida
SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION: The
Technology Review Custom Team takes a look at the technologies that
are changing the ways in which we do businessin the clean energy,
life sciences, infotech and homeland security clusters.
chemical batteries have a number of limitations, including their
short lifespan and the limited range of temperatures and pressures at
which they can function. Peter
Cabauy of City Labs Inc. in Homestead, FL,
discovered these limitations when he and his cofounders looked into
starting a new technology company in south Florida.
Founded in 2005 and first housed within Florida
International University's technology incubator, City Labsoriginally
partnered with Lockheed Martin Florida to develop betavoltaic
batteries. Like photovoltaic cells, betavoltaic batteries absorb
radiation, but instead of sunlight, the radiation comes from a
physical source that emits electrons.
City Labs focused on
tritium as a radiation source, as tritium-one of the most benign
radioisotopes-is already used to power the phosphorescent glow in the
watches used by divers and in exit signs (though the signs are not
battery powered). In December 2010, the company was awarded a
contract worth nearly $1 million from the U.S. Air Force Research
Laboratory for its tritium-based batteries.
IRI has carried
for 10 years the Nuclear Battery Report
by Paul Brown, (scroll down to bottom of page) who pioneered
betavoltaic batteries 15 years ago.
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Spray-On Photovoltaic Windows
Magazine, David Zack, June 2012
New Energy Technologies, a solar energy startup here
in the US, has developed a technique to manufacture
"spray-on" photovoltaic windows. The technique should ramp
up production speed and bring down costs.
First of all, what's meant by a spray-on window? New
Energy Technologies gives a good run-downof the product, which
they call SolarWindow, on their site. The tech uses an organic solar
array made up of extremely small solar cells--they measure about a
quarter of the size of a grain of rice.
The Christian Science Monitor, in a story back on Earth Day, futher
explains that NET developed plastic polymers that, when sprayed on a
window, would produce electricity. The stuff is so effective as to
harvest light even from northern exposure, and indeed even from
indoor fluorescent lighting. "It will generate electricity even
in low light conditions," John Conklin, NET's CEO, told the
Monitor. NET teamed up with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
and the University of Florida to develop the tech.
The Engineer, which reported on the manufacturing
breakthrough, says that the film can be sprayed on in an ultra thin,
sub-micrometer layer. The breakthrough is important for American
industry, because as the Monitor pointed out in April, while American
firms experimenting in spray-on solar had the technical edge, Chinese
companies were so far able to produce the stuff more cheaply.
And spray-on solar is more than just an eye-catching innovation. It's
potentially a revolution in solar power, a move away from the
traditional rooftop solar array. "It puts energy harvesting
everywhere," said Ken McCauley of Konarka, an NET competitor, to
Everywhere, that is, assuming the cost of production
could come down. The traditional method to make spray-on solar panels
was something called vacuum deposition, which was time-consuming and
expensive. But NET found a way to do what the Engineer calls
"high-speed roll-to-roll and sheet-to-sheet manufacturing,"
and it made the process possible at low temperatures and at ambient
At the end of the day, a major logjam in the ascent of
solar power comes down to finance and cost-cutting. New Energy
Technologies' manufacturing innovation is a step in the right
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Graffiti Battery Lets you Spray on Power Supply
June 28 2012 by Jacob Aron,
sprayable paints form a lithium-ion battery when layered together,
letting you store energy on walls, tiles or even your favourite mug.
out of batteries? Just spray-paint some new ones. Researchers have
created five sprayable paints that form a lithium-ion battery when
layered together, letting you store energy on walls, tiles or even
your favourite mug.
batteries contain a positive and negative electrode, both paired with
a metal current collector, and a polymer separator sandwiched in the
middle. These five layers are normally manufactured in sheets and
rolled up into a cylinder, making it hard to create extremely thin batteries.
Neelam Singh and colleagues at Rice University in Houston have used a
combination of existing metallic paints and custom materials to
create sprayable versions of each layer, allowing them to make
batteries just a fraction of a millimetre thick by airbrushing the
layers onto a surface, one at a time.
team applied their batteries to a variety of ordinary building
materials and even a ceramic drinks mug to test their potential. Nine
bathroom tile batteries charged by a solar cell were able to power 40
LEDs arranged to spell out "RICE" for six hours. They don't
yet match regular batteries - a paintable battery would have to be
about 1.5 square feet to match a standard mobile phone battery - but
that is set to improve. "Their capacity, efficiency and
performance could be vastly improved if made on an industrial
scale," explains Singh.
the batteries with recently developed paintable
solar cells could potentially give your walls an
electrifying DIY makeover, but Singh says the paints are not quite
ready for home use, as paints must be applied in a moisture- and
oxygen-free environment onto surfaces heated to 120 °C.
focus of our ongoing research is to develop new battery materials
which would not be degraded by air or moisture, non-toxic and safe to
handle and use at home by non-experts, and environmentally friendly
during use and disposal," says Singh. Only then will you be able
to pick up a few spray cans and build your own batteries.
don't think people will be doing this at home, but maybe secondary
manufacturers would be painting on batteries," says John Owen,
a chemist who researches batteries at the University of Southampton,
UK. For example, there are already companies that will gold-plate
your iPhone - perhaps they could also add an extra battery coating.
Reports, DOI: 10.1038/srep00481
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Scientists Generate Electricity from Viruses
Electronic Products Magazine.
Device is first to produce electricity by harnessing the
piezoelectric properties of a biological material.
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working on a device that
will let you charge your phone as you walk, using a paper-thin
generator embedded in the sole of your shoe.
The power is generated using harmless viruses that convert mechanical
energy into electricity.
scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that
produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display.
Tapping a finger on a postage-stamp-sized electrode coated with
specially engineered viruses convert the force of the tap into an
Their generator is the first to produce electricity by
harnessing the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. It
points to a simpler way to make microelectronic devices. That's
because the viruses arrange themselves into an orderly film that
enables the generator to work. Self-assembly is a much sought after
goal in nanotechnology.
"More research is needed, but our work is a
promising first step toward the development of personal power
generators, actuators for use in nano-devices, and other devices
based on viral electronics,"
says Seung-Wuk Lee, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Physical
Biosciences Division and a UC Berkeley associate professor. He
conducted the research with a team that includes Ramamoorthy Ramesh, a
scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and a
professor at UC Berkeley, and Byung Yang Lee of Berkeley Lab's
Physical Biosciences Division.
They found that the M13 bacteriophage, which only
attacks bacteria and is benign to people, had piezoelectric
properties. Being a virus, it replicates itself by the millions
within hours, so there's always a steady supply. It's easy to
genetically engineer, and large numbers of the rod-shaped viruses
naturally orient themselves into well-ordered films, much the way
that chopsticks align themselves in a box.
The scientists increased the virus's piezoelectric
strength. They used genetic engineering to add four negatively
charged amino acid residues to one end of the helical proteins that
coat the virus. These residues increase the charge difference between
the proteins' positive and negative ends, which boosts the voltage.
The scientists further enhanced the system by stacking films composed
of single layers of the virus on top of each other. They found that a
stack about 20 layers thick exhibited the strongest piezoelectric
The team created the conditions for genetically
engineered viruses to spontaneously organize into a multi-layered
film that measures about 1 cm2. This film was then sandwiched between two gold-plated
electrodes, which were connected to an liquid-crystal display. When
pressure is applied to the generator it produces up to 6 nA at about
400 mV. That's enough energy to flash the number "1" on the
The paper, "Virus-based piezoelectric energy
generation," appeared as an advance online publication on Nature
Nanotechnology's website (www.nature.com/nnano/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nnano.2012.69.html).
Below is a Video Link
back to table of contents
Cancer: Energy Cravings could be its undoing
September 2011 by Linda Geddes,
FOR 80 years we have misunderstood the feeding
habits of cancer. It's a controversial suggestion that, if correct,
could open up a host of alternative ways to fight the killer disease,
and may even mean that in some circumstances chemotherapy drugs
promote tumour growth rather than inhibit it.
In the 1930s, Otto Warburg suggested that
cancer cells produce the bulk of their energy by breaking down
glucose in the absence of oxygen, a process called glycolysis. The Warburg effect,
as it is called, is now widely accepted in cancer research. It is
also incorrect, according to Michael Lisanti at
the Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Lisanti thinks that when a cell turns cancerous
it begins to spew out hydrogen peroxide. The free radicals this
generates cause oxidative damage that prompts support cells in the
connective tissue around the cancer cells to begin digesting
themselves (see diagram).
Once these support cells, called fibroblasts, have consumed the
mitochondria that normally provide their energy, they switch to
glycolysis. The cancer cells then feed off the nutrients glycolysis
"It's the Warburg effect, but in the wrong
place," says Lisanti, who presented the idea earlier this month
at the Strategies for
Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge,UK.
"Cancer cells can feed off normal cells as a parasite." In
fact, he says, cells infected with malaria behave in much the same
way. "The malaria parasite enters cells, induces oxidative
stress, and gets free food" by feeding off the structures inside
host cells that self-digest as a result of the stress.
" The importance of the micro-environment is
something that has been gaining recognition over the last few
years," says Nic Jones of
the Paterson Institute in Manchester, and chief scientist for
Cancer Research UK. "This adds a very important and
exciting twist, where the communication between the cancer cell and
the fibroblast fuels the development of the tumour."
This form of "metabolic coupling"
also mirrors the way in which the epithelial cells that make up the
skin and the surface of the body's organs produce hydrogen peroxide
during wound healing.
In doing so they rally immune cells to repair the damage - but in
cancer the signal is never turned off. "Cancer is a wound that
doesn't heal, because it keeps on producing hydrogen peroxide,"
He has experimental data to support his radical
idea. When his team cultured breast cancer cells alongside
fibroblasts for five days, they spotted the cancer cells releasing
hydrogen peroxide on day two. By day five, most free radicals
generated by the hydrogen peroxide were found inside the fibroblasts
(Cell Cycle, DOI:
10.4161/cc.9.16.12553). The team also found a reduction in
mitochondrial activity in fibroblasts, consistent with the cells
self-destructing. There was also an increase in glucose uptake by the
fibroblasts - a sign of glycolysis (Cell Cycle, DOI:
Lisanti is now gathering evidence to find out
whether his ideas can be applied to many cancers or just a few. He
has discovered a "marker" to identify patients in whom the
metabolic coupling is occurring: as the fibroblasts are destroyed
they stop producing a protein called caveolin-1. Lisanti has recorded
a drop in caveolin-1 levels in 40 to 50 per cent of patients with
breast cancer, and loss of the protein correlates with early tumour
recurrence, metastasis, and resistance to the drug, tamoxifen (Breast
Cancer Research, DOI:
10.1186/bcr2892). He also has evidence for caveolin-1 loss
in prostate cancer. Those results suggest that new cancer therapies
based around Lisanti's ideas might be possible (see "The
cells that die so cancer can live").
Lisanti believes the reason Warburg got it
wrong is because he looked at cancer cells in isolation, rather than
in co-culture with fibroblasts.
"The provocative use of the term 'reverse
Warburg' is certainly catchy," says Chi Van Dang of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland -
but it ignores some important observations. For example, many
previous studies have found increased glycolysis in cancer cells.
Lisanti's model also runs into problems when
taking the long view. "If these [fibroblasts] are sacrificing
themselves so that the cancer can eat, sooner or later they are going
to be completely depleted. And that doesn't happen," says Ian Hart of
Barts Cancer Institute in London, UK. It is possible that
tumours recruit stem cells from the bone marrow to replace the
fibroblasts, but Hart says more evidence is needed to confirm this.
However, if Lisanti is correct, his ideas could
also explain why people become more susceptible to cancer as they
age. More than 100 years ago, Steven Paget proposed that cancer cells
are seeds that need the correct micro-environment in which to grow.
"What we're now saying is that the hydrogen peroxide is the
fertiliser," says Lisanti. "As you age, your body produces
more hydrogen peroxide and free radicals and becomes a fertile ground
The cells that die so cancer can live
For decades, cancer therapies have focused on
destroying cancer cells and ignored the healthy cells tumours also
contain. The discovery that cancer cells form a parasitic
relationship with the "nest" of fibroblasts or support
tissue that surrounds the tumour may therefore open up other
opportunities for treating the disease.
"So far, all mainstream cancer therapies
are aimed at [removing] these transformed cells," says Ian Hart
of Barts Cancer Institute in London, UK. "Rather than
killing every last tumour cell, let's modify the [fibroblasts]."
In his model, Michael Lisanti at
the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
proposes that cancer cells use hydrogen peroxide to strike up their
metabolic relationship with the fibroblasts. The chemical generates
free radicals in the fibroblasts, kick-starting a self-digestion
process which frees up nutrients to fuel cancer growth. His team
found that treating cancer cells with catalase, an enzyme that
destroys hydrogen peroxide, triggered a five0fold increase in cancer
cell death, possibly by cutting off the cells' fuel supply.
This raises the prospect of treating cancer
which mop up free radicals. However, although some studies hint that
antioxidants may be beneficial, particularly for cancer prevention,
the results have often been disappointing, says Hart.
Lisanti thinks that's because most
chemotherapies work by generating lethal doses of free radicals to
kill the cancer cells, which would cancel out the effects of any
antioxidant treatments. He believes we need trials of antioxidants
alone, rather than in combination with chemotherapy.
If he is correct it is also possible that in
some situations, chemotherapy might help cancer
spread by making more fuel available to the cancer
"Conventional chemotherapy saved my father
from colon cancer, but when it does not work, you get recurrence and
metastasis," says Lisanti. "There is a lot of luck involved
here, ensuring that you got just the right dose."
Hart believes a more promising approach might
be to target specific molecules that enable cross-talk between cancer
cells and fibroblasts.
One possibility is using drugs that block
"autophagy", the process by which the fibroblasts
self-digest and release nutrients that then fuel cancer growth. The
malaria drug, chloroquine, works in this way, so could also be tested
against cancer, says Lisanti.
Drugs that inhibit the ability of mitochondria
to burn lactate and other products of glycolysis may also serve to
cut off the tumour's food supply. One such drug is metformin, widely
prescribed to treat diabetes. Indeed, several recent studies have
suggested that people taking metformin have a reduced risk of
developing cancer (Gastroenterology, DOI:
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- Scott Kelsey, Missouri State, explaining Rejuvamatrix, Pulsed EMF
therapy to increase the length of DNA telomeres, which directly
affect our lifespan.
- Max Formitchev-Zamilov, Penn State, discussing Cavitation Induced
Fusion, that will soon provide power generation and heat
- Christopher Provaditis, from Greece, explaining Inertial
Propulsion and who teamed up recently with Boeing for their space
- PJ Piper of QM Power, discussing the motor invented by
Charles Flynn, with a revolutionary parallel path that gives
double and triple efficiency.
- Dr Thorsten Ludwig from Germany (GASE) discussing
the mysterious Hans Coler motor that WWII British Intelligence