24
Sat, Feb

  • Rebuilding from 2011 Earthquake, Japanese Towns Choose to Go Off the Grid

    Many of the cities in northern Japan damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are building back their electric grids with renewable energy and micro-grids — bucking the nation’s old, centralized utility system by making communities in the region self-sufficient in generating electricity, Reuters reported.

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  • UK oil and gas reserves may last only a decade

    The Scottish and UK oil industries are entering their final decade of production, research suggests.

    A study of output from offshore fields estimates that close to 10 per cent of the UK’s original recoverable oil and gas remains – about 11 per cent of oil and nine per cent of gas resources.

    The analysis also finds that fracking will be barely economically feasible in the UK, especially in Scotland, because of a lack of sites with suitable geology.

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  • Heather Kulik: Innovative modeling for chemical discovery

    Without setting foot from her office, Heather Kulik, the Joseph R. Mares '24 Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, is charting unknown worlds. Her discoveries plumb “vast regions of chemical space,” she says, a domain comprised of combinations of chemical elements that do not yet exist. “Best estimates indicate that we have likely made or studied only about 1 part in 10 to the 50th of that chemical space,” she says.

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  • New Method for Identifying Carbon Compounds Derived from Fossil Fuels

    Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laboratory instrument that can measure how much of the carbon in many carbon-containing materials was derived from fossil fuels. This will open the way for new methods in the biofuels and bioplastics industries, in scientific research, and environmental monitoring. Among other things, it will allow scientists to measure how much of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels, and to estimate fossil fuel emissions in an area as small as a city or as large as a continent.

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  • Virtual reality alleviates pain, anxiety for pediatric patients

    As patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford undergo routine medical procedures, they are being whisked away to swim under the sea, zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space, catch basketballs using their heads and fly on paper airplanes through the sky, thanks to virtual-reality technology, which is being implemented throughout the hospital to help ease patients’ feelings of pain and anxiety.

    Packard Children’s is one of the first hospitals in the country to begin implementing distraction-based VR therapy within every patient unit.

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  • IU discovery could reduce nuclear waste with improved method to chemically engineer molecules

    A discovery by Indiana University researchers could advance the long-term storage of nuclear waste, an increasingly burdensome and costly task for the public and private agencies that protect people from these harmful chemicals.

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  • New climate risk classification created to account for potential 'existential' threats

    A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity.

    These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by century’s end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

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  • SLAC-Led Project Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Prevent or Minimize Electric Grid Failures

    A project led by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will combine artificial intelligence with massive amounts of data and industry experience from a dozen U.S. partners to identify places where the electric grid is vulnerable to disruption, reinforce those spots in advance and recover faster when failures do occur.

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  • Cost of U.S. Solar Drops 75 percent in Six Years, Ahead of Federal Goal

    The Trump administration has announced that a federal goal to slash the cost of utility-scale solar energy to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 has been met early. The goal, set by the Obama administration in 2011 and known as the SunShot Initiative, represents a 75 percent reduction in the cost of U.S. solar in just six years. It makes solar energy-cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels.

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  • Pipeline pain relief on horizon with spill-resistant bitumen

    Ian Gates describes each pebble of bitumen as resembling a liquid-filled headache capsule and, for an Alberta struggling to build pipelines, this tiny package could spell pain relief indeed.

    Freshly patented and weeks away from pilot-scale production, the professor’s revolutionary heavy oil and bitumen pellets may finally provide a pipeline-free solution to getting Alberta’s largest oil reserves to market in a cheap, sustainable manner, while vastly reducing the environmental risk of transportation.

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