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Peter Fleming

IEEE Spectrum: Q&A: Thorium Reactor Designer Ratan Kumar Sinha - 0 views

  • Given its limited reserves of natural uranium and its abundant supply of thorium, India has chalked out a unique three-stage nuclear program. In the first stage, pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs)—similar to those used in advanced industrial countries—burn natural uranium. In the second stage, fast-breeder reactors, which other countries have tried to commercialize without success, will burn plutonium derived from standard power reactors to stretch fuel efficiency. In the key third stage, on which India's long-term nuclear energy supply depends, power reactors will run on thorium and uranium-233 (an isotope that does not occur naturally).
    • Peter Fleming
      Friends of the earth do not view this a renewable energy. It is a thorny issue. Green activists will not accept it. However I am pragmatic and nuclear energy, if lead by a free flow of the western latest methods, is safe. It will do far less damage than a hydrocarbon generator to the environment. Meltdowns are a thing of the past in the west just like car engines used to blow up when they first came out.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Our First Electric Cars...May Be Trucks - 0 views

  • Today there are roughly 2 million hybrids in the global car park of 820 million vehicles—or far less than 1 percent. And there are fewer than 200 plug-in hybrids. Before we start thinking about other uses for the battery packs in such vehicles, Kjaer all but begged his audience, “let's just get the batteries driving the wheels first!”
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Does Fusion Have a Future? - 0 views

  • U.S. funding reversal for ITER suggests that fusion energy—"always just a few decades away from reality" as the joke goes—may have finally run out of decades
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Can plug-in hybrid electric vehicles keep the electric grid stable? - 0 views

  • After safety, the longevity of the batteries in a plug-in hybrid is the greatest unknown. Can a plug-in hybrid’s battery pack retain the bulk of its energy capacity over 10 years of daily use and more than 4000 full-discharge cycles? (For a deeper look at the challenges facing plug-in hybrid batteries, see “Lithium Batteries Take to the Road”.)[ LINK: ] As Don Hillebrand of Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois, said tartly, “Batteries are the showstopper.” Periodic demands from the grid, even for only a small fraction of the battery’s stored energy, would clearly affect the cells’ life span—but no one has data on how much. Another open issue is the development of creative financing models for replacement battery packs costing several thousand U.S. dollars even after mass production is achieved. Third-party battery leasing could be one answer, if combined with a secondary market for batteries whose performance has fallen below automotive levels. Carmakers, electric utilities, and large consumer-financing groups are quietly batting around these notions to see if they can build a financial model that makes sense for all three parties.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Lithium Batteries On The Way For Hybrids - 0 views

  • In just one year, the whens and wheres of lithium battery packs for hybrid and electric cars have come into much sharper focus
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Silicon Nanowires Turn Heat to Electricity - 0 views

  • Two separate teams, one at Caltech and the other at the University of California, Berkeley, reported that they could increase silicon's ability to convert heat into electric current by as much as 100 times. If they can use what they've learned to improve silicon even further, or translate their findings to other materials, the discovery could lead to new ways to cool computer chips, build refrigerators, or get more power out of car engines.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Detroit Auto Show: Diesels Turn Green and Ecofriendly - 0 views

  • The stars of the show were diesels, and 2009 will see a raft of them launched into the U.S. market—not just from German diesel stalwart Mercedes-Benz but also Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen. Audi showed its stunning R8 supercar with a turbocharged V12 diesel, similar to one that won LeMans, making it undoubtedly the fastest and sexiest diesel in the world.
Colin Bennett

IEEE Spectrum: A Plug-in Motorcycle - 0 views

  • Too Pricey?: The Enertia electric motorcycle goes for US $15 000. But don’t worry—you can always charge it.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Plugging Away in a Prius - 0 views

  • In October, Sawyer paid US $25 000 for a brand-new black 2008 Toyota Prius. But compared with his RAV4 EV, it was a gas guzzler, going only 1 or 2 km electrically before switching on its internal combustion engine. So Sawyer wrote a check for the car, then drove it directly to Hybrids Plus [see our sidebar,"Getting on the Grid"], also in Boulder, where he wrote another check, for $32 000—to have his shiny new Prius converted into a PHEV. (The radio-telemetry business has been very good to Sawyer.)
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Synthetic Fuel From a Solar Collector - 0 views

  • 7 January 2008—At first blush, you might lump claims about a machine that supposedly turns sunshine, air, and water into fuel in the same category as e-mails insisting that someone in Nigeria will pay you handsomely to help free up a large sum of money. But researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, say they have created a device that can break water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight, or in a another reaction convert carbon dioxide, to carbon monoxide that combines with hydrogen to make hydrocarbons such as methanol, ethanol, and even gasoline or diesel fuel. The technology holds the promise of using the same resources as biomass-to-fuel schemes but with potentially greater efficiency, according to the researchers.
Colin Bennett

IEEE Spectrum: Phase-Change Materials Could Boost Reconfigurable Chips - 0 views

  • A technology that would allow a computer chip to change the electrical resistance of some of its own wiring could lead to more-powerful reconfigurable microchips that can quickly adapt themselves to new tasks, researchers at IBM say.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Autonomous Vehicles Complete DARPA Urban Challenge - 0 views

  • Six of 11 autonomous vehicles finish 90-kilometer course with no major accidents
Sergio Ferreira

Power from Space - 0 views

  • ollecting solar power in space, where it is available 24/7 and is not attenuated by atmosphere or clouds, remains one of my favorite long-term energy solutions, on a par with nuclear fusion
    In the spectrum of the simplest solutions (turning lights off) and the most complex (fusion), you've categorised this solution at the right end of the spectrum
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: SPECIAL REPORT: TOP 10 TECH CARS 2010 - 0 views

    For at least a decade, carmakers have been professing their deep and abiding interest in electric-drive vehicles whenever possible. But until recently, it wasn't always clear which of them were really sincere. Today every last one of them seems sincere. As this year's "Top 10 Tech Cars" package shows, ever more varied hybrids are going into mass production, along with-you betcha-a few all-electric cars. Some of the electric-drive machines aspire beyond mere greenness to heart-pounding performance, an aspiration that may seem strange to those taught to view electric cars as spacious, all-weather golf carts. But performance is indeed a logical goal, given the instant-on torque that electric motors provide. While electrons may now be a recurrent theme of our annual Top 10 automotive reports, we do not slight the internal-combustion engine, which has lots of life-and technological enhancements-to come. And for those who don't spend a whole lot of time worrying about whether they're treading lightly enough on the planet's roads, we include two ultraperformance German sports cars that run purely on gasoline and adrenaline. One can easily be yours. If you're willing to trade in your house for it.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Lithium Batteries Take to the Road - 0 views

  • Lithium-ion cells are poised to take an increasing share of the auto battery market, just as electric drive seems set to begin a long, slow climb to become, at last, a serious power-train option. But what’s rarely understood is how much that second revolution depends on the first.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: How Much Water Does It Take to Make Electricity? - 0 views

  • Remember when you were a kid and your parents made a big fuss about turning off the light when you left a room? Who knew that, besides adding to the monthly electric bill, keeping a single 60-watt lightbulb lit for 12 hours uses as much as 60 liters of water? According to researchers at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, in Blacksburg, Va., fossil-fuel-fired thermoelectric power plants consume more than 500 billion L of fresh water per day in the United States alone.
Hans De Keulenaer

Photovoltaic Moore's Law Will Make Solar Competitive by 2015 (Tech Talk) - 0 views

  • Now there are some new twists and turns—essentially, three very positive developments that would not have been generally anticipated a decade ago. First, silicon-based solar technology has decoupled from the semiconductor industry and is achieving steady cost reductions, so that those following PV discern a kind of Moore’s law at work. In 2005, production of silicon for solar cells already surpassed production of silicon for semiconductors.
    The key-word being 'kind of'.
Hans De Keulenaer

IEEE Spectrum: Breakthrough in Capturing Lost Energy in Solar Cells - 1 views

  • Material chemists at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Minnesota say that according to their research, the efficiency of a solar cell may potentially be increased to more than 60 percent, up from what was thought to be a limit of about 30 percent. They report their findings in today’s edition of the journal Science.
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