Wind Power Without the Blades: Big Pics. Hot springs microbe yields record-breaking, heat-tolerant enzyme. Public release date: 5-Jul-2011 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] Contact: Robert Sandersrsanders@berkeley.edu 510-643-6998University of California - Berkeley Bioprospectors from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have found a microbe in a Nevada hot spring that happily eats plant material – cellulose – at temperatures near the boiling point of water.
In fact, the microbe's cellulose-digesting enzyme, called a cellulase, is most active at a record 109 degrees Celsius (228 degrees Fahrenheit), significantly above the 100oC (212oF) boiling point of water. This so-called hyperthermophilic microbe, discovered in a 95oC (203oF) geothermal pool, is only the second member of the ancient group Archaea known to grow by digesting cellulose above 80˚C.
"These are the most thermophilic Archaea discovered that will grow on cellulose and the most thermophilic cellulase in any organism," said coauthor Douglas S. . [ Print | E-mail. Generating 'green' electricity: Waste heat converted to electricity using new alloy. University of Minnesota engineering researchers in the College of Science and Engineering have recently discovered a new alloy material that converts heat directly into electricity.
This revolutionary energy conversion method is in the early stages of development, but it could have wide-sweeping impact on creating environmentally friendly electricity from waste heat sources. Researchers say the material could potentially be used to capture waste heat from a car's exhaust that would heat the material and produce electricity for charging the battery in a hybrid car. Other possible future uses include capturing rejected heat from industrial and power plants or temperature differences in the ocean to create electricity. The research team is looking into possible commercialization of the technology. To create the material, the research team combined elements at the atomic level to create a new multiferroic alloy, Ni45Co5Mn40Sn10. Stanford researchers use river water and salty ocean water to generate electricity.
Public release date: 29-Mar-2011 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] Contact: Louis Bergeronlouisb3@stanford.edu 650-725-1944Stanford University Stanford researchers have developed a battery that takes advantage of the difference in salinity between freshwater and seawater to produce electricity.
Anywhere freshwater enters the sea, such as river mouths or estuaries, could be potential sites for a power plant using such a battery, said Yi Cui, associate professor of materials science and engineering, who led the research team. The theoretical limiting factor, he said, is the amount of freshwater available.
As an indicator of the battery's potential for producing power, Cui's team calculated that if all the world's rivers were put to use, their batteries could supply about 2 terawatts of electricity annually – that's roughly 13 percent of the world's current energy consumption. Initially, the battery is filled with freshwater and a small electric current is applied to charge it up. Technology. High Efficiency Design to Produce 200% of the Power Output of Conventional Solar Cells Revolutionary Design Our revolutionary 3-dimensional silicon solar cell is designed to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity.
We have developed two breakthrough features in our single wafer silicon solar cell that we believe will deliver benefits that have eluded the solar industry to date. High Efficiency – Our innovative solar cell technology utilizes a 3-dimensional design to increase the conversion efficiency by trapping sunlight inside photovoltaic micro-structures where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. Wide Angle Light Collection - Our solar cell has a special wide angle feature on the surface to capture more light in the morning and evening hours, as well as in the winter months when the sun is not directly overhead. We estimate that our patent-pending 3-dimensional cell can produce 200% of the power output of conventional solar cells.