News

Process Yields High-Energy-Density Plant-Based Transportation Fuel

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has developed a highly efficient, environmentally friendly process that selectively converts gamma-valerolactone - a biomass derivative - into the chemical equivalent of jet fuel. The process preserves about 95 percent of the energy from the original biomass.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases
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Could a sin tax make people eat healthier?

This week's question concerns the U.S.'s ongoing efforts to encourage healthier eating. States across the nation are beginning to impose "sin taxes" on fat and sugar to dissuade people from eating junk food. The thought is that if you make it cheaper, people will eat more of it, more expensive and people will eat less.

What do you think? Could a sin tax make people eat healthier?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Highly Absorbing, Flexible Solar Cells Created With Silicon Wire Arrays

Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, California Institute of Technology scientists have created a new type of flexible solar cell that enhances the absorption of sunlight and efficiently converts its photons into electrons. The solar cell uses a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

This week's question concerns the ongoing debate over texting while driving. A research team at Clemson University recently developed an application called VoiceTEXT that allows drivers to speak text messages and keep their eyes on the road at the same time. Drivers using VoiceTEXT can put their cell phones in Bluetooth mode and connect it to their car. A voice command is given through the car's speaker system or through the Bluetooth headset that delivers a text message.

What do you think? Is hands-free texting while driving a safe alternative?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Eco-friendly Nanocatalyst

A new nanotech catalyst developed by McGill University chemists Chao-Jun Li, Audrey Moores, and their colleagues offers industry an opportunity to reduce the use of expensive and toxic heavy metals. Li describes the new catalyst as, “use a magnet and pull them out!”

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies, Remediation Technologies
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Turning Light Into an Electrical Current Using a Golden Nanoscale System

University of Pennsylvania material scientists have demonstrated the transduction of optical radiation to electrical current in a molecular circuit. The array of nano-sized molecules of gold respond to electromagnetic waves by creating surface plasmons that induce and project electrical current across molecules - similar to that of photovoltaic solar cells.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar Power
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Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

This week's question concerns the wonders and the woes of the American auto industry. With falling sales, the somewhat controversial "cash for clunkers" program, and the spate of bailouts that occurred last year for Detroit's "big three", the industry seems to be due for some positive news. And reports from the 2010 North American Auto Show seem to be promising. At the show, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all unveiled new smaller, more efficient, hybrid vehicles prompting comments that American carmakers are finally "getting it."

What do you think? Is the American auto industry finally headed in the right direction?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Crystals for Carbon Dioxide Capture

UCLA chemists have created three-dimensional synthetic DNA-like crystals that have a sequence of information which is believed to code for carbon capture. The discovery could result in a new way to capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions and could lead to cleaner energy.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases
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Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize?

This week's question concerns a recent Forbes/AP story that reported on the nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. These include a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident, and, believe it or not, the Internet. Proposed by the Italian version of Wired magazine, which cited the Internet as a tool to advance "dialogue, debate, and consensus through communication,” it is unclear whether an inanimate object would qualify for the prize.

What do you think? Should the Internet be a nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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System Provides Hybrid Electric Autos With Power to Spare

A new PHEV traction drive power electronics system provides more power than typical freestanding portable generators, and can be used in emergency situations such as power outages and roadside breakdowns or leisure occasions such as camping.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Storage, Transportation
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