Sci/tech

Renewable Power Users and Sources
August 2, 2010 03:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable as opposed to fossil fuels for example which once gone are gone. In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. The EPA has just named the 50 green power partners (individual purchasing sources or companies) using the most renewable electricity. The Green Power Partnership’s top purchasers use more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1 million average American homes. Green Power users pollute less and do not use up non-renewable sources.

Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles
August 2, 2010 11:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

The new generation of electric cars that are set to hit the market promise to help end the world's dependence on fossil fuels and clean the air. However, they are not without flaws. One particular flaw in their charging system may even make them less environmentally friendly than the most fuel efficient conventional cars. A new technology by the company Evatran, uses induction charging to automatically keep the car's batteries at full charge. Drivers would just have to park over the base unit that is fitted to the floor and an intelligent control system in the vehicle will request charging.

Here Come the Electric Cars: "Leaf" and "Volt"
July 31, 2010 12:01 PM - Karina Grudnikov, Triple Pundit

Here's an article from Triple Pundit talking about the launch of two new electric cars: the Nissan "Leaf" (eco-friendly name, huh) and the GM "Volt." Read the article and let us know - would you buy either of these two vehicles? The Plug-In 2010 Conference in San Jose was the site of major announcements by major auto manufacturers Nissan and General Motors. During their Tuesday morning speeches, both Nissan North America’s executive vice president, Carlos Tavares, and General Motors vice president of U.S. marketing, Joel Ewanick, announced that their much-anticipated products would be available in only a limited number of cities, at first, and that both companies will begin delivering cars by the end of the year. Even though there are many similarities and differences, both Nissan and GM are betting that U.S. auto buyers will embrace the plug with open arms. The Leaf and the Volt are the first mass-market plug-in electric vehicles to be sold in the U.S. The LEAF is a “pure” battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, and has no gasoline motor whatsoever. Its range is approximately 100 miles. The Volt, however, with an “all-electric” range of only 40 miles, augments its smaller battery pack with a gas motor that can recharge the battery while the vehicle is in motion. While this gives the Volt unlimited effective range, it means that the Volt is not truly "zero emissions".

The Might of the Spider
July 29, 2010 07:12 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Spider silk is a protein fiber spun by spiders. Spiders use their silk to make webs or other structures, which function as nets to catch other animals, or as nests or cocoons for protection for their offspring. Spider silk is as strong as many industrial fibers. There is commercial interest in duplicating spider silk artificially, since spiders use renewable materials as input and operate at room temperature, low pressures and using water as a solvent. However, it has been difficult to find a commercially viable process to mass produce spider silk.

The Arctic Continental Shelf
July 28, 2010 01:30 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Arctic still has unmapped and unknown areas. In particular, there is the continental shelf that extends out from the American and Canadian northern lands. Who controls it? Who has the right to drill for example which then leads into the complicated morass of environmental rules and controls. American and Canadian scientists are setting sail this summer to map the Arctic seafloor and gather data to help define the outer limits of the continental shelf. Each coastal nation may exercise sovereign rights over the natural resources of their continental shelf, which includes the seabed and subsoil. These rights include control over minerals, petroleum, and sedentary organisms such as clams, crabs and coral.

Ford: Lincoln Hybrid Now Priced Equal to Non-hybrid Models
July 28, 2010 09:11 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

Many consumers have become comfortable with hybrid cars' higher sticker price, figuring they will save money on gas in the long run. Now Ford is turning hybrid pricing on its head. Its 2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid, upon this fall's release, will have a sticker price identical to its twin that runs solely on gasoline. Ford touts that it is the first automaker to offer a luxury hybrid vehicle with a manufacturer’s suggest retail price equal to the same model only using gas.

The Surface of Mars
July 27, 2010 03:06 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A century ago an astronomer by the name of Lowell "discovered" the canals of Mars. Since then better images has shown that there are no canals. Now a camera aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has helped develop the most accurate global Martian map ever. Researchers and the public can access the map via several websites and explore and survey the entire surface of the Red Planet and imagine what it might be on the surface.

What to do with the CO2
July 26, 2010 05:12 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Burning fuel releases a lot of carbon dioxide. For more is emitted than any other air emission. What can we do with it all? A basic reuse of carbon dioxide or CO2 is to have plants and trees use it to make new plants and trees. Recently, the U.S. government has been funding more than $100 million to six research projects that will turn carbon dioxide into fuel, plastics, cement and more. Though the US is spending some money even more comes from private investors.

Stellar Heavyweight Breaks the Scales
July 26, 2010 08:53 AM - Phil Berardelli, Science AAAS

Using the world's most powerful ground-based telescope, astronomers have identified the seven heaviest stars ever found. One of these behemoths is so big, it's forcing researchers to rethink just how bulky stars can become.

Buckyballs
July 23, 2010 02:54 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Astronomers using the NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered carbon molecules, known as fullerenes (and when arranged in a spherical form it is commonly called a buckyball, in space for the first time. Buckyballs are soccer ball shaped molecules that were first observed in a laboratory 25 years ago. A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, or tube. Cylinders are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings.

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