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Archive for the ‘energy’ category: Page 283

Aug 8, 2015

Cheap, power-efficient flash memory for big data without sacrificing speed

Posted by in categories: computing, energy

A 20-node BlueDBM Cluster (credit: Sang-Woo Jun et al./ISCA 2015)

There’s a big problem with big data: the huge RAM memory required. Now MIT researchers have developed a new system called “BlueDBM” that should make servers using flash memory as efficient as those using conventional RAM for several common big-data applications, while preserving their power and cost savings.

Here’s the context: Data sets in areas such as genomics, geological data, and daily twitter feeds can be as large as 5TB to 20 TB. Complex data queries in such data sets require high-speed random-access memory (RAM). But that would require a huge cluster with up to 100 servers, each with 128GB to 256GBs of DRAM (dynamic random access memory).

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Aug 5, 2015

China is building its first large-scale solar plant in the Gobi Desert

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

In a move that once again proves its commitment to renewable energy, China has begun construction on its first large-scale commercial solar plant out in the sun-dreched expanse of the Gobi Desert. Called Delingha, the colossal facility will spread out across 25 km² (6,300 acres) of vacant land in the country’s Qinghai province, and will feature six huge solar towers hooked up to an array of solar mirrors.

When complete, the plant will have a capacity of 200 megawatts, which means it will be able to supply electricity to 1 million households in Qinghai year-round. “Its designed heat storage is 15 hours, thus, it can guarantee stable, continual power generation,” Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group board chair, Wu Longyi, told the press.

The facility is the first solar plant to be run as a commercial entity, and according to Svati Kirsten Narula at Quartz, it’s being jointly developed by BrightSource Energy, based in Oakland, California, and the Shanghai Electric Group in China. The first phase of construction will look at completing two solar towers so they can generate 135 megawatts each to cover more than 452,000 homes, and then the remaining four will be completed to cover at least 1 million.

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Aug 4, 2015

Millennium Project releases ’2015–16 State of the Future’ report

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, economics, energy, health, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

The Millennium Project released today its annual “2015–16 State of the Future” report, listing global trends on 28 indicators of progress and regress, new insights into 15 Global Challenges, and impacts of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and other advanced technologies on employment over the next 35 years.

“Another 2.3 billion people are expected to be added to the planet in just 35 years,” the report notes. “By 2050, new systems for food, water, energy, education, health, economics, and global governance will be needed to prevent massive and complex human and environmental disasters.”

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Aug 4, 2015

This new aluminium battery can charge your phone in 60 seconds

Posted by in category: energy

A new rechargeable aluminium battery has been produced by researchers in the US, and according to them the prototype can charge a smartphone in 60 seconds and it’s more environmentally friendly, heavy-duty, and inexpensive than anything presently on the market. And it won’t suddenly burst into flames like certain generally used lithium-ion batteries are capable of… This new technology has done something researchers around the world have been pursuing for decades — it puts aluminium to better use in the high-demand battery market. The benefits of aluminium are many, counting its cheapness, accessibility, low-flammability, and high-charge storage capability. But the challenge in producing a sustainable aluminium battery has been in finding a material for the cathode — the device through which the entire electrical current passes — that can yield enough voltage to withstand it across a whole lot of charges.

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Aug 3, 2015

World’s first “aqueous solar flow battery” outperforms traditional lithium-iodine batteries

Posted by in categories: energy, solar power, sustainability

The scientists who last year revealed the world’s first solar battery that essentially combines a battery and solar cell, are now reporting its first significant performance milestone. Tested against traditional lithium-iodine batteries, the researchers are claiming energy savings of 20 percent.

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Aug 3, 2015

Microsoft Works Out How to Upgrade Online Encryption to Protect Against Quantum Computers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, encryption, energy

Call it an abundance of caution. A Microsoft research project has upgraded the encryption protocol that secures the Web to resist attacks from quantum computers—machines that are expected to have stupendous power but have never been built.

Governments and computing giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Google are working on quantum computers because tapping subtle effects of quantum physics should let them solve in seconds some problems that a conventional machine couldn’t solve in billions of years (see “Microsoft’s Quantum Mechanics”). That might allow breakthroughs in areas such as medicine or energy. But such machines would also be able to easily break the encryption used to secure information online.

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Aug 2, 2015

From cameras to computers, new material could change how we work and play

Posted by in categories: computing, energy, life extension, physics

Serendipity has as much a place in science as in love. That’s what Northeastern physicists Swastik Kar and Srinivas Sridhar found during their four-year project to modify graphene, a stronger-than-steel infinitesimally thin lattice of tightly packed carbon atoms. Primarily funded by the Army Research Laboratory and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the researchers were charged with imbuing the decade-old material with thermal sensitivity for use in infrared imaging devices such as night-vision goggles for the military.

What they unearthed, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, was so much more: an entirely new material spun out of boron, nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen that shows evidence of magnetic, optical, and electrical properties as well as DARPA’s sought-after thermal ones. Its potential applications run the gamut: from 20-megapixel arrays for cellphone cameras to photo detectors to atomically thin transistors that when multiplied by the billions could fuel computers.

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Jul 30, 2015

Solar Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels for Many Small Businesses

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

SolarCity is expanding its services to small and medium-sized businesses. This move allows local businesses to save money with renewable energy. Going solar.

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Jul 29, 2015

Researchers build bacteria’s photosynthetic engine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, energy

“Furthermore, the chromatophore project marks a shift in computational biophysics from analyzing the individual cell parts (e.g., a single protein) to analyzing the specialized systems of the cell (e.g., hundreds of proteins working together to carry out an autonomous function). This is a significant step toward the long-term goal of simulating an entire living organism.”


Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic organisms were likely single-celled purple bacteria that began absorbing near-infrared light and converting it to sulfur or sulfates about 3.4 billion years ago.

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Jul 29, 2015

Hanging Underneath A Bridge Is A Great Place To Put Wind Turbines — By Charlie Sorrel | Fast Company

Posted by in categories: energy, science

3049024-poster-p-1-viaducts-are-great-places-to-put-wind-turbines

One problem with wind power is that it’s expensive to build and hard to find the space. Problem solved.

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