News

First Night Flight Using Solar Energy On the Horizon

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA - the first airplane designed to fly day and night without fuel - left the ground yesterday for the first time. Recent results from ground tests had verified the prototype's controllability, acceleration, braking paths, and engine power.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell UAV Sets Record

The Naval Research Laboratory's Ion Tiger - a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned air vehicle (UAV) - flew for 26 hours and 1 minute carrying a 5-pound payload, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight. The test flight took place November 16-17.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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Should business methods be eligible for patents?

This week's question concerns patent law. Traditionally, the courts have limited patent eligibility to inventions that involve machinery or physical transformations. Increasingly, innovations in the areas of software, medical diagnostics, and finance have raised questions concerning the eligibility of these inventions for patents because they may not deal directly with machinery or physical processes. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard the case of two individuals seeking patent protection for a business method of hedging risk in buying energy. On the opposing side, the attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office argued that though innovative business techniques "may be valuable ... they are not patent eligible because they don't deal in the realm of the physical."

What do you think? Should business methods be eligible for patents?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Electrochemical Energy Storage Technologies and the Automotive Industry

A lecture from Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division covers some promising materials research efforts that are expected to lead to improved battery technology. Mark Verbrugge, the director of the Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Lab at General Motors' Research & Development Center, discusses the research.

Posted in: GDM, Videos, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Storage, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation
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New Pathway to Forming Hydrogen Storage Compounds

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science have found that high pressure can be used to make a unique hydrogen-storage material. The researchers found that the normally unreactive, noble gas xenon combines with molecular hydrogen under pressure to form a previously unknown solid with unusual bonding chemistry.

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Smartphone Application Sheds Light on Power Consumption

PowerTutor, a new application developed by researchers at the University of Michigan for the Android smartphone, shows users how much power their applications are consuming. PowerTutor shows in real time how four different phone components use power: the screen, the network interface, the processor, and the GPS receiver.

Posted in: GDM, News, Products, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Efficiency
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Using Aerospace Approach, Engineers Design Wave Energy System

Aerospace engineers from the U.S. Air Force Academy are applying the principles that keep airplanes aloft to create a new wave energy system that is durable, efficient, and can be placed anywhere in the ocean - regardless of depth. While still in early design stages, computer and scale-model tests of the system suggest higher efficiencies than wind turbines.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Hydroelectric Power, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
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NASA's Algae Bioreactor Licensed to Algae Systems, LLC

Earlier this year, NASA introduced an algae photo-bioreactor that grows algae in municipal wastewater to produce biofuel and a variety of other products. The NASA bioreactor is an Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae (OMEGA), which won't compete with agriculture for land, fertilizer, or freshwater.

Posted in: GDM, News, Products, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases, Remediation Technologies
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Hitting the Theoretical Roof of Converting Waste Heat to Electricity

The need to get rid of excess heat creates a major source of inefficiency in everything from computer processor chips to car engines. According to Peter Hagelstein, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, existing solid-state devices to convert heat into electricity are not very efficient. Experimenting with thermal diodes, an MIT team has come closer to the theoretical limitations for the efficiency of such a conversion.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Thermoelectrics, Transportation
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Microscopic Bubbles Clean Oil from Polluted Water

Small amounts of oil leave a fluorescent sheen on polluted water. Oil sheen is hard to remove, even when the water is aerated with ozone or filtered through sand. A University of Utah engineer has developed an inexpensive method to remove oil sheen by repeatedly pressurizing and depressurizing ozone gas - creating tiny bubbles that attack the oil so it can be removed by sand filters.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies
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