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Monthly Archive: February 2011

New Chips Aim to Cut Losses in Power Conversion

Written by , on February 24, 2011

Transphorm, a startup company launched by the University of California at Santa Barbara, has got the backing of major investors, including Google and Kleiner Perkins, for technology that could substantially cut power consumption in computers, electric cars, motors and other appliances. Almost all of the appliances that we use run on DC power, but the […]  Read more »

UN Agency Recommends Stopgap for Climate Change

Written by , on February 23, 2011

A new report by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization, proposes a climate-change stopgap: by controlling two noxious ground-level pollutants, black carbon (or soot) and ozone. Reducing levels of these substances would slow the rate of climate change in the first half of the 21st century while carbon dioxide levels are […]  Read more »

Air Hybrids: Using Air to Reduce Fuel Consumption

Written by , on February 16, 2011

Most electric and electric hybrid cars make use of the energy generated when the car brakes to power a generator that charges the batteries. However, according to Per Tunestål, a researcher in Combustion Engines at Lund University in Sweden, air hybrids could achieve the same fuel saving at a much lower manufacturing cost. The researchers […]  Read more »

Offshore Wind Energy Storage

Written by , on February 15, 2011

Hydrostor, a Canadian comany based in Ontario, is working with engineering researchers at the University of Windsor, on a concept to store energy from offshore wind turbines in the form of compressed air. Surplus wind energy generated at off-peak hours would be used to power compressors that would pump air into marine salvage bags moored […]  Read more »

US Commits $53 billion for High Speed Rail

Written by , on February 9, 2011

US Vice President Joe Biden has announced a “comprehensive plan” that dedicates $US53 billion over the next six years to achieving the goal of providing 80% of Americans with access to high speed rail within a generation. The plan, ehich aims to put rail “on equal footing with other surface transportation programs”, envisages three kinds […]  Read more »

Better Wind Turbine Spacing

Written by , on February 8, 2011

A new spacing model developed at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, suggests that placing the wind turbines 15 rotor diameters apart – more than twiceas far apart as the 7 rotor diameters standard used in current layouts – results in more cost-efficient power generation. Earlier computational models for large wind farm layouts were based on […]  Read more »

New Battery Technologies

Written by , on February 8, 2011

New battery technologies currently being researched include lithium-air, batteries using nano-technology and batteries substituting other metals for lithium. IBM is researching lithium-air batteries, Lithium-air batteries are still in an early stage of development but they typically pair a lithium anode with an air cathode that supplies oxygen. The arrangement is thought to offer the highest […]  Read more »

China Aims to Lead in New Nuclear Power

Written by , on February 2, 2011

China has officially announced that it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor. If the reactor works as planned, China will lead the world in clean nuclear energy. Thorium has several advantages over uranium as a reactor fuel. Unlike a uranium reaction, a thorium fuel reaction does not produce weapons-usable plutonium. […]  Read more »