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Back in 2011, scientists reported the creation of the “ world’s first practical artificial leaf ” that mimics the ability of real leaves to produce energy from sunlight and water. Touted as a potentially inexpensive source of electricity for those in developing countries and remote areas, the leaf’s creators have now given it a capability that would be especially beneficial in such environments – the ability to self heal and therefore produce energy from dirty water. While the leaf mimics a real leaf’s ability to produce energy from sunlight and water, it doesn’t mimic the method real leaves rely on, namely photosynthesis. Instead, as described by Daniel G. Nocera, Ph.D. who led the research team, the artificial leaf is actually a simple wafer of silicon coated in a catalyst that, when dropped into a jar of water and exposed to sunlight, breaks down water into its hydrogen and oxygen components.
Most previous methods of producing methanol from carbon dioxide have involved lots of electricity, high pressures and high temperatures, and used toxic chemicals or rare earth elements like cadmium or tellurium. A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has developed a new method they claim is safer, less expensive, and simpler than current approaches and can be scaled up to an industrial scale to allow some of the CO2 emitted from electrical power plants to be captured and converted into a useful fuel. The simplest of the alcohol molecules (and poisonous to humans), methanol (CH30H) can be turned into a form of bio-diesel fuel and burned in engines. It is also an important chemical in the production of plastics, adhesives, and solvents.
Hydrogen is often hailed as a promising environmentally-friendly fuel source, but it is also relatively expensive to produce. However, new research conducted at Princeton University and Rutgers University poses the opportunity to produce hydrogen from water at a lower cost and more efficiently than previously thought possible. The research, led by Princeton chemistry professor Annabella Selloni, takes its inspiration from nature – or more specifically, a bacterium that produces hydrogen from water by using enzymes known as di-iron hydrogenases.
FORDEC oder FOR-DEC bezeichnet eine Methode zur strukturierten Entscheidungsfindung , die vor allem in der Luftfahrt angewandt wird. Entwickelt wurde sie von Mitarbeitern des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt mit der Einführung von Crew Resource Management Trainings für Piloten. Das FORDEC-Modell stellt im deutschsprachigen Raum die aktuelle Lehrmeinung in Bezug auf Entscheidungsfindungsprozesse in der Luftfahrt dar. Die Buchstaben bezeichnen die einzelnen Schritte, die zur Entscheidungsfindung führen und bedeuten im Einzelnen: Es wird angenommen, dass Entscheidungen robuster gegen vorschnelle Impulse und Gefühlseinflüsse sind, wenn sie nach dieser metakognitiven Regel getroffen werden.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created spherical silicon nanoparticles they claim could lead to hydrogen generation on demand becoming a “just add water” affair. When the particles are combined with water, they rapidly form hydrogen and silicic acid, a nontoxic byproduct, in a reaction that requires no light, heat or electricity. In experiments, the hydrogen produced was shown to be relatively pure by successfully being used to power a small fan via a small fuel cell. According to the team’s study, the 10-nanometer diameter particles created hydrogen 1,000 times faster than similar reactions using bulk silicon and up to 150 times faster than silicon particles 100 nanometers wide, yielding more hydrogen in under a minute than the 100-nanometer particles yielded in around 45 minutes.
This year is an historic one for nuclear power, with the first reactors winning U.S. government approval for construction since 1978. Some have seen the green lighting of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in Georgia as the start of a revival of nuclear power in the West, but this may be a false dawn because of the problems besetting conventional reactors. It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won't be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations.
Hydrogen has been hailed as the fuel of the future, but producing it cleanly using platinum as a catalyst is simply too costly to service the world's energy needs. On the flipside, producing hydrogen with fossil fuels not only releases CO2 as a byproduct, but is unsustainable, negating hydrogen's green potential. However, hydrogen may yet make good on its promise thanks to a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge. They found that cobalt can function as an efficient catalyst at room temperature in pH neutral water surrounded by oxygen. Compared to platinum, cobalt is relatively abundant and therefore inexpensive – a recipe that could make all the difference if we're going to complete a transition to alternative energy sources over the next 50 years. "Until now, no inexpensive molecular catalyst was known to evolve H 2 efficiently in water and under aerobic conditions," explains Dr.
Australian scientists have developed a promising new approach to hydrogen storage Image Gallery (3 images) Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, are developing a novel way to store hydrogen that could help turn it into a viable portable fuel source. The research centers on using synthesized nanoparticles of the compound sodium borohydride (NaBH 4 for those who love chemistry), which when encased inside nickel shells exhibits surprising and practical storage properties including the ability to reabsorb hydrogen and release it at much lower temperatures than previously observed, making it an attractive proposition for transport applications. Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that can be extracted from sources including natural gas, biomass, coal and water.
At first glance, photovoltaic solar panels are brilliant. They’re self-contained, need no fuel and so long as the sun is shining, they make lots of lovely electricity. The trouble is, they’re expensive to make, batteries are poor storage systems for cloudy days, and the panels have a very short service life.
Panasonic has recently developed an artificial photosynthesis system that, using a simple and straightforward process, can convert carbon dioxide into clean organic materials with what it says record efficiency. This development may lead to the creation of a compact way of capturing pollution from incinerators and electric power plants and converting them into harmless – even useful – compounds. Over the last few years, we've covered a number of artificial photosynthesis systems that could use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Harnessing the power of hydrogen gas presents one of the most promising options available for obtaining a large-scale sustainable energy solution. However, there are numerous and significant challenges present in the production of pure hydrogen, one of the most prominent of which is the high costs associated with the use of rare and expensive chemical elements such as platinum. Accordingly, the team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory set out to create a catalyst with high activity and low costs, that could facilitate the production of hydrogen as a high-density, clean energy source.
Materials scientists at Harvard have created a fuel cell that not only produces energy but also stores it, opening up new possibilities in hydrogen fuel cell technologies. The solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) converts hydrogen into electricity, and could have an impact on small-scale portable energy applications. The thin-film SOFC benefited from recent advances in low-temperature operations, which enabled the integration of versatile materials, said lead researcher Shriram Ramantham. The star of the new cell is vanadium oxide, a multifuncional material that allows the fuel cell to multitask as both an energy generator and storage medium. The new fuel cell uses a bilayer of platinum and vanadium oxide for the anode, which allows the cell to continue operating without fuel for up to 14 times as long as the thin-film SOFCs that use platinum only for the electrodes.
SiGNa Chemistry, a company developing portable hydrogen fuel technology, is close to taking one of its solutions to market. Hydrogen is an emissions-free renewable source of energy – however, logistic obstacles related to current considerations such as high-pressure tanks, and metal and chemical hydrides, have stymied its progress towards the mass market. SiGNA’s solution uses sodium silicide (NaSi) to produce clean hydrogen gas in real time, in response to fuel cell demand at pressures smaller than those found in a common soda can. Sodium silicide is a non-flammable, air-stable powder that instantly reacts with water (or water solutions, including urine) to form pure hydrogen.
A new, small-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system developed at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DoE PNNL) could be used for household and neighborhood power generation. Fueled by methane, the system achieves an efficiency of up to 57 percent, improving on the 30 to 50 percent efficiencies seen previously in SOFC systems of similar size. The PNNL researchers say the pilot system they have built generates enough electricity to power the average American home, and can be scaled up to provide power for 50 to 250 homes. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Like batteries, fuel cells use anodes, cathodes and electrolytes to produce electricity. But unlike most batteries, fuel cells can continuously produce electricity if provided with a constant fuel supply.
The portable LSI fuel cell (Photo: Lilliputian Systems Inc) In a deal announced this week, American high-end retailer Brookstone will become the first seller of a portable fuel cell made by MIT spin-off company Lilliputian Systems Inc (LSI). Described as a “plug-less charger,” it will allow users to recharge their electronic devices’ batteries wherever they are – as long as they’ve stocked up on butane. A CNET report states that the device is about the size of a thick smartphone, and that it uniquely features a solid oxide fuel cell membrane deposited onto a silicon wafer. It generates power using recyclable butane cartridges, which are around the size of a cigarette lighter.