Wind and solar energy generation is criticized for not being always-on, so people have been looking to batteries to steady the flow of energy. Over at Cambridge, there are some people who think that a new type of battery made out of gravel could help with the full adoption of sustainable energy.
Isentopic claims its gravel-based battery would be able to store equivalent amounts of energy but use less space and be cheaper to set up. Its system consists of two silos filled with a pulverised rock such as gravel. Electricity would be used to heat and pressurise argon gas that is then fed into one of the silos. By the time the gas leaves the chamber, it has cooled to ambient temperature but the gravel itself is heated to 500C.
After leaving the silo, the argon is then fed into the second silo, where it expands back to normal atmospheric pressure. This process acts like a giant refrigerator, causing the gas (and rock) temperature inside the second chamber to drop to -160C. The electrical energy generated originally by the wind turbines originally is stored as a temperature difference between the two rock-filled silos. To release the energy, the cycle is reversed, and as the energy passes from cold to hot it powers a generator that makes electricity.
Isentropic claims a round-trip energy efficiency of up to 80% and, because gravel is cheap, the cost of a system per kilowatt-hour of storage would be between $10 and $55.
Keep reading at The Guardian.
Researchers have noted that people like to get high and post video of themselves doing drugs. As a result some researchers are looking at YouTube videos to understand what salvia does to the brain and body. Strange, I know, but apparently these people sharing their drug trips can help us understand a little more about pharmacology.
They created a systematic coding scheme which researchers used when watching the videos. This allowed them both to categorise the effects and check that each viewer was agreeing on what they saw.
After watching 34 videos, each of which was selected to show an entire trip from the initial hit to when the effects wore off, the team categorised the effects into five main groups:
(1) hypo-movement (e.g. slumping into a slouched position, limp hands, facial muscles slack or relaxed and falling down), (2) hyper-movement (e.g. uncontrolled laughter, restlessness, touching or rubbing the face without apparent reason or thought), (3) emotional effects included being visibly excited or afraid, (4) speech effects (unable to make sense, problems with diction, problems with fluency, inability to speak, and having problems recalling words) and finally (5) heating effects related to being hot or heated (e.g. flushed, or user makes a statement about being hot or sweating).
Read the rest at Mind Hacks.
Bloomberg is reporting that a Spanish company will be building the world’s largest wind farm in Romania. Romania’s current energy production system is well suited for wind power, hopefully neighbouring countries will follow Romania’s lead.
Iberdrola SA won approval to build the world’s largest onshore wind-energy project in Romania, requiring at least $2 billion in investment through 2017.
The Spanish utility said today it acquired rights from the Romanian government to build 1,500 megawatts of capacity. That’s almost five times the power coming from Europe’s largest wind complex and triple what’s proposed offshore Massachusetts in a project opposed by the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.
Iberdrola, which became the world’s biggest wind-farm owner by using government incentives and charging above-market electricity rates for clean energy, now operates in 10 markets including the U.S. and U.K. The Romanian mega-park, near its operations in neighboring Hungary, may extend the Spanish company’s lead over second-ranked wind producer FPL Group Inc. of Florida.
Read the rest at Bloomberg.com
Canadian soldiers returning from the war in Afghanistan will soon be using virtual reality to help recover from the survivable wounds of war. It should only be a matter of time before others are able to access this advanced technology too.
People learning to use an artificial limb or recovering from a stroke will be able to walk, drive or even swim through a variety of virtual environments without leaving the safety of the hospital — almost like on the holodeck of the fictional Starship Enterprise.
“With [post-traumatic stress disorder], the therapy is often on reintroduction of the scenarios that caused it in the first place,” he said.
“With this, you can virtually create the scenario that caused it in the first place — whether it’s on the battlefield, a car accident — and gently re-introduce the individual. That’s what allows a person to get back into their real life without the fear of constant flashbacks.
Read more at the CBC.
Maybe in the future soldiers can use virtual reality to fight their wars in.
The G20 is coming to Toronto this June, and as a result, some organizations are trying to make sure that some smart thinkers show up too. The G(irl)s 20 Summit aims to bring forwarded thinking girls to Toronto to discuss the future of the planet and the role that girls can play in making it a better place for all.
There are 3.3 billion girls and women in the world – and they should be integral to, and included in the development of innovative, sustainable and socially responsible solutions to the world’s economic and social challenges.
Meeting in Toronto from June 16th – 26th, we will bring together one girl from each G20 country to discuss and promote tangible, scalable solutions toward economic prosperity.
What you can do to get involved:
Check the official website: Girls and Women
Join the Facbook group/a>
Apply to attend!