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Fri12192014

Technology

Bacteria producing sweet-smelling compound for greener fuels

A sweet-smelling chemical compound primarily used in fragrances and flavoring is being studied for its potential as a clean and green biofuel. Methyl ketones, used to provide scents to essential oils and flavoring in foods such as cheese, are naturally occurring compounds four in the aromatic evergreen plant known as rue. They have also been found in tomatoes and other plants, as well as in certain insects and microorganisms.Methyl ketones can also be used as a blending agent for cleaner and greener diesel fuel. The E.coli bacterium also creates methyl...

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New polymer materials developed for better solar cells

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed new materials for more efficient polymer solar cells. The researchers found that temperature-controlled aggregation in a family of new semi-conducting polymers is the key to create flexible and lightweight organic solar cells that have a high solar efficiency and can be cheaply mass produced.NC State physicist Harald Ade and postdoctoral researcher Wei Ma had previously studied the morphology of polymer solar cells...

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New oxygen-removing catalyst developed for better biofuel production

Researchers from Washington State University have developed a new catalyst that can remove oxygen from plant-based materials for a more efficient biofuel process. The researchers mix inexpensive iron with a tiny amount of rare palladium to make their catalysts. The new catalyst addresses one of the challenges in biofuel production which is grabbing carbon for fuel while removing oxygen. Too much oxygen, which is naturally found in plant material...

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More ethanol-tolerant yeast for more biofuel production

Yeast is an important component in the ethanol production process; however, high concentrations of ethanol are toxic to yeast. In order to improve the ethanol production process, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working to boost yeast tolerance to ethanol. “Toxicity is probably the single most important problem in cost-effective biofuels production,” said George Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Profes...

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Increasing oil in plant leaves for better biofuels

Solar power could overtake all other sources of electricity by 2050, according to two reports released by the International Energy Agency. Based on the two documents released by I.E.A., solar photovoltaic systems could generate up to 16 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, while solar thermal electricity from concentrating solar power plants could provide an additional 11 percent to the energy mix. Combined these solar energy technolo...

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New solar absorber can harness solar radiation for heat and energy

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a material that can absorb more of the sun’s wavelengths for better conversion of the suns energy to heat. The material is a two-dimensional metallic dielectric photonic crystal that can absorb sunlight from a wide range of angles and withstand extremely high temperatures. It is also cheap and easy to make in large scales. The material was developed to work as part...

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Using a magic ratio for better, stronger and greener concrete

A small modification to the contents of cement mix could lower the carbon emissions of the construction sector and result in stronger, more durable concrete. The world’s most commonly used construction material is concrete. Unfortunately, concrete is also a leading contributor to global warming, producing as much as one-tenth of the greenhousegas emissions generated by the construction sector. Concrete is made of a mixture of sand, gravel, water and cement....

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Largest energy storage system in North America opens

A 32 megawatt energy storage system – the largest in North America – has been successfully installed in California. The Tehachapi Energy Storage Project is funded by Southern California Edison and federal stimulus money from the Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The battery energy storage system is located at the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area, California’s largest wind resource area, with a project...

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New polymer creates electron pathways to improve solar cell efficiency

A new polymer developed by scientists at the University of Chicago’s chemistry department can improve the efficiency of solar cells. The new polymer, called PID2, causes the creation of polymer fibers which serve as pathways in which electrons can easily move from side to side in a polymer solar cell. “It’s like you’re generating a street and somebody that’s traveling along the street can find a way to go from this end to another,” said Luping Yu, a professor in chemi...

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Chewing produces power with new energy harvesting chin strap

The newest clean energy source could be your own jaw. According to a group of researchers in Canada, jaw movements – from eating, chewing and talking – have proven to be one of the most promising candidates for generating energy from human body movements. Chewing during meals is estimated to be able to generate an average of around 7 mW of power alone. To harness this energy, the researchers, from Sonomax-ÉTS Industrial Research Chair in In-ear Technologies at École...

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