News

Electric Tongues Measure Grape Ripeness

Electronic tongues can become an ally of the wine grower by measuring the detailed degree of maturation and improving competitiveness. Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia applied electronic tongues to measure the maturity of eight different types of grapes (Macabeo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shyrah, Merlot, and Bobal) in several vineyards in Valencia. The researchers observed a good correlation between the total acidity of the fruit and the amount of sugar. The results confirm the usefulness of these devices for controlling the grape maturity and, therefore, evaluating the most appropriate time for harvest. Current methods of analysis usually require further assessment in the laboratory. The electronic tongues perform actions on the fruit where the harvest moves. Source

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NASA Tank-Crushing Test Helps Build Better Rockets

NASA completed a series of high-tech can-crushing tests involving an enormous fuel tank crumbling under the pressure of almost a million pounds of force, all in the name of building lighter, more affordable rockets. During the testing for the Shell Buckling Knockdown Factor Project at Marshall Space Flight Center, force and pressure were increasingly applied to the top of an empty but pressurized rocket fuel tank to evaluate its structural integrity. The resulting data will help engineers design, build and test the gigantic fuel tanks for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket NASA is developing for deep space missions. The aluminum-lithium tank was made from unused space shuttle tank hardware and decked out in 70,000 black and white polka dots that helped high-speed cameras focus on any buckles, rips, or strains. Source

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Funding Opportunity: Develop Advanced Biomass Supply Chain Technologies

The Department of Energy has announced about $6 million in funding for projects that will develop and demonstrate supply chain technologies to deliver commercial-scale lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks to biorefineries across the country.

Posted in: Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Energy Harvesting, Energy, News

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Can Cobalt-Graphene Beat Out Platinum As Catalyst in Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it is expensive and degrades over time. Brown University chemist Shouheng Sun and his students have developed a new material — a graphene sheet covered by cobalt and cobalt-oxide nanoparticles — that can catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction nearly as well as platinum does and is substantially more durable.

Posted in: Alternative Fuels, Materials, Energy, News

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'Nanoflowers' for Energy Storage and Solar Cells

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flowers hold promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

Posted in: Batteries, Materials, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Nanotechnology, News

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Harnessing the Power of Spinach

Vanderbilt University researches have developed a way to combine Photosystem 1 (PS1), the photosynthetic protein that converts light into electrochemical energy in spinach with silicon (the material used in solar cells), in a fashion that produces substantially more electrical current than has been reported by previous biohybrid solar cells.

Posted in: Electronics, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Energy Harvesting, News

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Starting Point for Overcoming Barrier to Fusion Power

The accuracy of a new model for predicting the size of a key barrier to fusion power, which was developed by physicist Robert Goldston of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has been confirmed. Goldston’s model predicts the width of what physicists call the “scrape-off layer” in tokamaks, the most widely used fusion facilities.

Posted in: Power Management, Energy, News

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