Sci/tech

Watching cities grow
June 20, 2017 04:46 PM - Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Three million measurement points in one square kilometer: Prof. Xiaoxiang Zhu and her team have set a world record in information retrieval from satellite data. Thanks to new algorithms, the researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) succeeded in making four-dimensional point clouds of Berlin, Las Vegas, Paris and Washington, D.C. from images stacks of the TerraSAR-X radar satellite. Next the scientists plan to create four-dimensional models of all cities in the world.

Watching cities grow
June 20, 2017 04:46 PM - Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Three million measurement points in one square kilometer: Prof. Xiaoxiang Zhu and her team have set a world record in information retrieval from satellite data. Thanks to new algorithms, the researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) succeeded in making four-dimensional point clouds of Berlin, Las Vegas, Paris and Washington, D.C. from images stacks of the TerraSAR-X radar satellite. Next the scientists plan to create four-dimensional models of all cities in the world.

Solar heating could cover more than 80% of domestic heating requirements in Nordic countries
June 20, 2017 04:27 PM - Aalto University

According to researchers at Aalto University, by using suitable systems, more than 80% of heating energy for Finnish households could be produced using solar energy. As the price of heating energy obtained from solar heating systems needed to be competitive with the currently used heating alternatives, calculations made by researchers showed that renewable energy could be used to cover 53–81% of annual domestic heating energy consumption depending on the technical implementation method.

'In principle, this result is also valid for Sweden, Norway and other locations at the same latitudes. Of course, local conditions have some effect on this,' says Hassam ur Rehman, a doctoral candidate at Aalto University.

Solar heating could cover more than 80% of domestic heating requirements in Nordic countries
June 20, 2017 04:27 PM - Aalto University

According to researchers at Aalto University, by using suitable systems, more than 80% of heating energy for Finnish households could be produced using solar energy. As the price of heating energy obtained from solar heating systems needed to be competitive with the currently used heating alternatives, calculations made by researchers showed that renewable energy could be used to cover 53–81% of annual domestic heating energy consumption depending on the technical implementation method.

'In principle, this result is also valid for Sweden, Norway and other locations at the same latitudes. Of course, local conditions have some effect on this,' says Hassam ur Rehman, a doctoral candidate at Aalto University.

Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds
June 20, 2017 02:06 PM - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

NASA Examines Potential Tropical or Sub-Tropical Storm Affecting Gulf States
June 20, 2017 01:50 PM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over a developing low pressure area in the Gulf of Mexico and gathered two days of rainfall and storm height information. The disturbance could become Tropical or Sub-tropical Storm Cindy in the next couple days.

Freshwater from salt water using only solar energy
June 19, 2017 04:44 PM - Rice University

A federally funded research effort to revolutionize water treatment has yielded an off-grid technology that uses energy from sunlight alone to turn salt water into fresh drinking water. The desalination system, which uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light-harvesting nanophotonics, is the first major innovation from the Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice University

NEWT’s “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD, combines tried-and-true water treatment methods with cutting-edge nanotechnology that converts sunlight to heat. The technology is described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Freshwater from salt water using only solar energy
June 19, 2017 04:44 PM - Rice University

A federally funded research effort to revolutionize water treatment has yielded an off-grid technology that uses energy from sunlight alone to turn salt water into fresh drinking water. The desalination system, which uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and light-harvesting nanophotonics, is the first major innovation from the Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT), a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice University

NEWT’s “nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation” technology, or NESMD, combines tried-and-true water treatment methods with cutting-edge nanotechnology that converts sunlight to heat. The technology is described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

NMSU professor sets his sights on determining best dryland cropping system
June 19, 2017 04:39 PM - New Mexico State University

Murali Darapuneni recalls stories about how difficult it was for his ancestors during times of drought conditions and famine in India in the early 1900s.

“They had limited resources and research at that time,” he said. “My grandparents told me about those stories and how difficult it was to feed the people.”

Darapuneni is now an assistant professor of semi-arid cropping systems in the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Part of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, he is researching efficient dryland cropping systems at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.

Researchers produce new biodiesel
June 19, 2017 04:33 PM - Ruhr University Bochum

In the EU, automotive diesel contains only seven per cent biodiesel. Conventional diesel engines cannot sustain more than that. Until now.

Scientists from the universities of Kaiserslautern, Bochum and Rostock have developed a new method for producing biodiesel. The researchers chemically treated a mixture of plant oils to generate, at zero energy cost, a biofuel that can be added undiluted in modern diesel engines. Their trick: Use bioethylene to cleave the commercial rapeseed oil esters. Currently, European biofuel companies mainly produce biodiesel from rapeseed oil and methanol.

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