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July 29, 2006, 8:41 PM CT

More Efficient Production Of Electricity, Cold And Heat

More Efficient Production Of Electricity, Cold And Heat
IKERLAN-IK4 is taking part in a European project the aim of which is to design a single installation that will, at the same time, produce electricity, cold and heat for domestic use, while affording a notable reduction in environmental impact. In the PolySMART project, 32 organisations from eight European countries are participating, with a budget of 14.3 million euros and a projected period of four years.

Some large installations - sports centre, hotels and large industry - already use systems capable of generating both electricity and refrigeration for air conditioning and heat for heating and hot sanitary. This integrated, trigeneration system provides significant energy and environmental advantages. However, for domestic use, its installation meets many problems.

With its participation in PolySMART, the IKERLAN-IK4 Centre for Technological Research aims to overcome these difficulties and barriers to the home installation of the energy-saving technology and demonstrate that is economically, technically and environmentally viable to adapt these installations to individual household consumption. Its main objective is to achieve a single installation that supplies all the energy demands in our homes. To this end, other centres of reference in the field of energy in buildings are collaborating, such as the German Fraunhofer-ISF or the Dutch ECN. Another two companies from the Spanish State are working together with IKERLAN-IK4 - Rotartica and Besel.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 29, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Insights Into Scientific Revolution

Insights Into Scientific Revolution
With the "Genesis of General Relativity", the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) has just published the most comprehensive study to date of the structures of a scientific revolution. As per the study, a scientific revolution is not a simple radical new beginning, but the result of a new organisation of transmitted knowledge. The result of 10 years of research, this four-volume, 2000-page work on the origins of Einstein's General Relativity Theory - one of the most important physical theories of the 20th century - will appear in the Springer Press. Jürgen Renn, Director at the Max Planck Institute, will present the work, of which he is also the editor, to the scientific public at the 11th Marcel Grossmann Meetings, which will take place in Berlin on 24 - 29 July, 2006. The work, which is the result of an international team of authors, contains new insights into the premises, assumptions, and preconditions that underlie Einstein's scientific revolution, as, for instance, insights into the role of Einstein's previously largely unknown precursors and competitors for a theory which today represents the basis of modern cosmology.

"Einstein did not achieve this revolution by means of a single stroke of genius-rather, he stood on the shoulders of dwarves and giants", says Jürgen Renn. Volumes 1 and 2 contain the facsimile and transcription of, as well as a scholarly commentary on, Einstein's famous Zurich Notebook from 1912-1913. The research by Einstein recorded in this notebook forms a pivotal part of his creation of the theory of general relativity. Complementing this core material are essays re-evaluating the genesis of Einstein's theory in light of the analysis of this notebook. Volumes 3 and 4 contain additional sources by Einstein and his contemporaries, who from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century contributed to this groundbreaking development. These sources, most of which are presented here in translation for the first time, are accompanied by essays by leading historians of relativity offering new insights into the broader scientific context from which Einstein's theory emerged. The result of more than a decade of research, these four volumes provide a study of unprecedented depth of one of the most important revolutions in the history of science.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 28, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

From Farm Waste To Bio-oil

From Farm Waste To Bio-oil
Samy Sadaka reached into a garbage bag, picked up a mixture of cow manure and corn stalks, let it run through his fingers and invited a visitor to do the same.

It wasn't that bad.

That mix of manure and corn stalks had spent 27 days breaking down in a special drying process. The end result looked like brown yard mulch with lots of thin fibers. There wasn't much smell. And it was dry to the touch.

"That's about 20 percent moisture," said Drew Simonsen, an Iowa State University sophomore from Quimby who's working on the research project led by Sadaka, an associate scientist for Iowa State's Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies.

Other Iowa State scientists working on the project are Robert Burns, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; Mark Hanna, an Extension agricultural engineer; Robert C. Brown, director of the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies and Bergles Professor in Thermal Science; and Hee-Kwon Ahn, a postdoctoral researcher for the department of agricultural and biosystems engineering.

The project is being supported by $190,000 in grants from the Iowa Biotechnology Byproducts Consortium.

The scientists are working to take wastes from Iowa farms -- manure and corn stalks -- and turn them into a bio-oil that could be used for boiler fuel and perhaps transportation fuel.........

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July 28, 2006, 9:47 PM CT

Making Clearer Pictures

Making Clearer Pictures
Software makes pictures clearer.

Software helps astronomers see what's hidden in noisy and blurred images of stars and galaxies. Metropolis Data Consultants uses the same techniques to give doctors and the police clearer pictures to work on.

Astronomers use all sorts of telescopes to explore outer space. Some are optical telescopes - bigger and better versions of those you might have at home. Using lenses and mirrors, they make distant objects seem much nearer than they are.

Other telescopes look for radio waves, x-rays and other types of radiation. They give astronomers a different view of the universe - one that deepens their understanding.

But whichever they use, the problem for astronomers is the same. When they're looking at faint objects far out into space, they don't get perfect pictures.

Blur and noise.

To start with, things move. The Earth is rotating, for example, and the satellites that carry telescopes aren't absolutely stationary. Blurring is inevitable.

To make things even worse, some kinds of telescope add noise to the picture. When the image itself is faint, the result is the sort of picture you get when your TV isn't tuned in properly. You can see that something is there but you can't see it clearly.........

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July 26, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Recording License Plates A Snap

Recording License Plates A Snap Supervisory Customs Inspector Joseph Misenhelter and Under Secretary for Enforcement Jimmy Gurule observe traffic passing through the LPRs.
Keeping an eye on travelers in approaching vehicles while locating and manually entering license plate numbers is a especially challenging task for Customs inspectors. Correct entry of these plates is critical in ensuring they are crosschecked in the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) databases for possible matches with potential criminal suspects. While inspectors have an excellent record of meeting this challenge, Customs continues to search for ways to make our data more accurate and the inspector's job safer - the latest development toward that goal is the Customs License Plate Readers (LPR) System.

Manual entry of plates compromises eye contact with approaching traffic. With the LPR reading and recording vehicle plates, the Customs inspector can give more attention to other vital border inspection duties like maintaining eye contact with the vehicle, and its occupants. Years in development, the LPR has demonstrated reading accuracy of over 90 percent of vehicle license plates, whether traffic is incoming or outgoing.

The LPR includes five different components that help capture license plate data and convert it to an electronic format to cross check the TECS and NCIC databases for possible record matches. On average, the complete process takes less than a second.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 5:17 PM CT

how well wind turbines operate?

how well wind turbines operate?
In West Texas, New Mexico, and other places around the world, wind turbines are used to generate electricity. But how can engineers determine their efficiency and health?

Sandia's Wind Energy Technology Department has developed a device, the Accurate Time Linked data Acquisition System (ATLAS II), which answers that question and can provide all of the information necessary to understand how well a machine is performing.

Housed in an environmentally protected aluminum box, ATLAS II is capable of sampling a large number of signals at once to characterize the inflow, the operational state, and the structural response of a wind turbine.

The ATLAS II has several key attributes that make it especially attractive for wind turbine deployment. It is small, highly reliable, can operate continuously, uses off-the-shelf components, and has lightning protection on all channels.

"The system provides us with sufficient data to help us understand how our turbine blade designs perform in real-world conditions, allowing us to improve on the original design and our design codes," says Jose Zayas, the project lead, who has been working on ATLAS II since its inception in 1999.

Last year the ATLAS II team completed a project with GE Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to monitor the performance of a GE wind turbine in a Great Plains site about 30 miles south of Lamar, Colo., and will soon start monitoring a new work-for-others (WFO) project with Texas Tech University.........

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July 26, 2006, 7:00 AM CT

S-VIEW SV510 portable video key

S-VIEW SV510 portable video key
Piracy is rampant in the software and entertainment industries, and you can sometime find bootleg versions of the latest movies and games before they are even officially released. Cinea has introduced a new solution to this age-old problem with the S-VIEW SV510, a USB key that enables the playback of protected digital content.

Should the USB key be lost or stolen, this device can be disconnected remotely. Movie studios should look into this offering from Cinea in order to reduce the risk of piracy. The S-VIEW SV510 comes with a six to twelve digit access code for security purposes and can be deregistered should the situation call for it.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 24, 2006, 6:42 AM CT

Fuel cells, a clean source of energy

Fuel cells, a clean source of energy
"Fuel cells are a genuine 'clean' technology," says one of the study's investigators, Professor Chris Hendry of the Cass Business School, London. "But re-investment in nuclear technology is likely to squeeze out the investment necessary to make fuel cells competitive with existing energy sources and with other non-nuclear alternative energy options".

The study, co-written by Prof. Hendry, Dr. Paul Harborne, James Brown and Prof. Dinos Arcoumanis, gives a strong clue to one of the major obstacles to development by referring to fuel cell technology as a disruptive innovation. A disruptive innovation, if proved to be successful, eventually overturns the existing product on the market. Recent examples include the digital camera and the compact disc. Disruptive innovations are radically different from the existing dominant technology and to begin with they are often not as good. The result is two hundred percent. First the proponents of existing technology are likely to fear and so resist the new development. Second, because profits are unlikely to be immediate, funding can be problematic.

The automotive industry and stationary power provide examples of fuel cells as a disruptive innovation. However, while their potential is being pursued in the UK, Gera number of, North America and Japan, interviews with seventy companies in these countries show the UK fuel cell industry is lagging behind.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 22, 2006, 10:14 PM CT

Accelerating The Speed Of Light

Accelerating The Speed Of Light
Physicist Costas Soukoulis and his research group at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory on the Iowa State University campus are having the time of their lives making light travel backwards at negative speeds that appear faster than the speed of light. That, folks, is a mind-boggling 186,000 miles per second - the speed at which electromagnetic waves can move in a vacuum. And making light seem to move faster than that and in reverse is what Soukoulis, who is also an ISU Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said is "like rewriting electromagnetism." He predicted, "Snell's law on the refraction of light is going to be different; many other laws will be different".

However, neither Soukoulis nor any other scientist involved in efforts to manipulate the direction and speed of light can do so with naturally occurring materials. The endeavor requires exotic, artificially created materials. Known as metamaterials, these substances can be manipulated to respond to electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot. Natural materials refract light, or electromagnetic radiation, to the right of the incident beam at different angles and speeds. However, metamaterials, also called left-handed materials, make it possible to refract light at a negative angle, so it emerges on the left side of the incident beam. This backward-bending characteristic of metamaterials allows enhanced resolution in optical lenses, which could potentially lead to the development of a flat superlens with the power to see inside a human cell and diagnose disease in a baby still in the womb.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


July 20, 2006, 9:57 PM CT

Nano-Etched Cavity Makes LEDs 7 Times Brighter

Nano-Etched Cavity Makes LEDs 7 Times Brighter Etched nanostructured rings around an LED can make it more than seven times brighter
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs) more than seven times brighter by etching nanoscale grooves in a surrounding cavity to guide scattered light in one direction. The novel nanostructure, which may have applications in areas such as in biomedical imaging where LED brightness is crucial, is described in the July 17 issue of Applied Physics Letters.*.

Semiconductor LEDs are used increasingly in displays and a number of other applications, in part because they can efficiently produce light across a broad spectrum, from near-infrared to the ultraviolet. However, they typically emit only about two percent of the light in the desired direction: perpendicular to the diode surface. Far more light skims uselessly below the surface of the LED, because of the extreme mismatch in refraction between air and the semiconductor. The NIST nanostructured cavity boosts useful LED emission to about 41 percent and may be cheaper and more effective for some applications than conventional post-processing LED shaping and packaging methods that attempt to redirect light.

The NIST team fabricated their own infrared LEDs consisting of gallium arsenide packed with "quantum dots" of assorted sizes made of indium gallium arsenide. Quantum dots are nanoscale semiconductor particles that efficiently emit light at a color determined by the exact size of the particle. The LEDs were backed with an alumina mirror to reflect the light emitted backwards. The periphery of each LED was turned into a cavity etched with circular grooves, in which the light reflects and interferes with itself in an optimal geometry.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source


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