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Aug 17, 2022

Wireless tech measures soil moisture at multiple depths in real time

Posted by in categories: energy, food, space

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a wireless system that uses radio transmitters and receivers to estimate soil moisture in agricultural fields at multiple depths in real time, improving on existing technologies that can be used to inform irrigation practices that both improve crop yield and reduce water consumption.

“Estimating is important because it can be used by growers to irrigate their fields more efficiently—only irrigating fields when and where the water is needed,” says Usman Mahmood Khan, first author of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. student at NC State. “This both conserves and supports things like smart agriculture technologies, such as automated irrigation systems. What’s more, conserving water resources can also help reduce , because less energy is used to pump water through the irrigation system.”

The new technology, called Contactless Moisture Estimation (CoMEt), does not require any in-ground sensors. Instead, CoMEt assesses soil moisture using something called “phase,” which is a characteristic of radio waves that is affected by both the wavelength of the radio waves and the distance between the radio wave’s transmitter and the wave’s receiver.

Aug 17, 2022

2D boundaries could create electricity

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

There’s still plenty of room at the bottom to generate piezoelectricity. Engineers at Rice University and their colleagues are showing the way.

A new study describes the discovery of piezoelectricity—the phenomenon by which mechanical energy turns into —across phase boundaries of two-dimensional materials.

The work led by Rice materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Hanyu Zhu and their colleagues at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering, the University of Southern California, the University of Houston, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Research Laboratory and Pennsylvania State University appears in Advanced Materials.

Aug 16, 2022

A low-power stretchable neuromorphic nerve with proprioceptive feedback

Posted by in category: energy

A stretchable neuromorphic ‘nerve’ restores coordinated and smooth motions in the legs of mice with neurological motor disorders, enabling the animals to kick a ball, walk or run.

Aug 16, 2022

In a first, researchers produce oxygen from magnets for space exploration

Posted by in categories: energy, space

The new method could be the key to getting oxygen to Mars and beyond.

The study was conducted in a special drop tower facility that simulates microgravity conditions. The research proved magnets were effective at producing oxygen. The new method removes gas bubbles from liquids. Producing enough oxygen for astronauts in space is a complicated affair that is only set to become more difficult as we travel to Mars and beyond.

Now, researchers have invented a new way to make oxygen for astronauts using magnets, according to a University of Warwick statement.

Continue reading “In a first, researchers produce oxygen from magnets for space exploration” »

Aug 16, 2022

Methane-Capturer Vespene Energy Raises $4.3M To Help Cities Mine Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, education, energy

Vespene builds infrastructure for municipalities to mine bitcoin, creating a new revenue stream and encouraging education in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Aug 16, 2022

Why A Looming Copper Shortage Has Big Consequences For The Green Economy

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, sustainability, transportation

Copper prices have surged in 2021. The base metal remains in high demand, much thanks to its need in green energy projects and electric cars. In May 2021, commodities analysts at Goldman Sachs called copper ‘the new oil.’ That’s because electric cars need several times more copper than their gas-powered counterparts. And power grids getting electricity from wind, solar and hydro sources also need copper—much more than the industry is currently producing. Here’s how copper became so important to the world economy and the green energy revolution.

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Continue reading “Why A Looming Copper Shortage Has Big Consequences For The Green Economy” »

Aug 16, 2022

Virginia Wades Into Offshore Wind Race, Bigly

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

Virginia is going from near-zero wind power to 2.6 gigawatts all at once, with the approval of a new offshore wind plan for Dominion Energy.


California is making waves with a big announcement of big plans for offshore wind, but the Golden State already hosts hundreds of wind turbines on shore. The really big news on the wind front is all the way across the country in Virginia, which has practically zero megawatts to its credit, onshore or off. That’s about to change all at once. Utility regulators in Virginia just stamped their seal of approval on a massive, Texas-sized offshore wind farm to the tune of 176 wind turbines totaling almost 2.6 gigawatts.

Wait, How Does An Offshore Wind Turbine Get To 14.7 Megawatts?

Continue reading “Virginia Wades Into Offshore Wind Race, Bigly” »

Aug 16, 2022

Eco-glue can replace harmful adhesives in wood construction

Posted by in categories: energy, health

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a bio-based adhesive that can replace formaldehyde-containing adhesives in wood construction. The main raw material in the new adhesive is lignin, a structural component of wood and a by-product of the pulp industry that is usually burned after wood is processed. As an alternative to formaldehyde, lignin offers a healthier and more carbon-friendly way to use wood in construction.

The carbon footprint of timber construction is significantly lower than concrete construction, and timber construction has often been viewed as better for the health of human occupants as well. However, wood panels still use adhesives made from fossil . They contain formaldehyde, which can be harmful to health, especially for those working in the adhesive manufacturing process. People living in or visiting buildings can also be exposed to toxic formaldehyde from wood panels.

Lignin, on the other hand, comes from wood itself. It binds cellulose and hemicellulose together and gives wood its tough, strong structure. Lignin accounts for about a quarter of the weight of wood and is produced in huge quantities in the pulp and bioprocessing industry. Only two to five percent of the produced is used, and the rest is burned in factories for energy.

Aug 16, 2022

New Materials Research Sees Transformations at an Atomic Level

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

The findings could aid the design of new multiphase materials for clean energy applications and beyond.

Aug 16, 2022

Backward ray tracing for fast energy yield simulations

Posted by in category: energy

Scientists in the Netherlands have developed a model to forecast the energy yield of a PV system. It is able to take into account factors such as partial shading and multiple module orientations. Tested against a reference cell and pyranometer, the model showed less than 5% error, and the scientists claim their approach is up to three orders of magnitude faster than more common approaches using complex ray tracing.

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