Tuesday, October 27, 2009

US Smart grid gets multibillion-dollar injection

US Smart grid gets multibillion-dollar injection

The U.S. electricity grid will get a 21st century upgrade, including installation of millions of smart meters, through a government-led program.

The Obama administration is scheduled to announce Tuesday where it is spending $3.4 billion of stimulus money on 100 smart-grid projects in 49 states. As part of the funding, utilities are contributing $4.7 billion to the projects, pushing the total spending to $8.1 billion.

"These grants are an important down payment on building a smarter grid and will certainly jump-start both industry and state regulators to deploy smart-grid technologies," Katherine Hamilton, president of industry advocacy group GridWise Alliance, said in a statement.

The largest grants are $200 million while the smallest are less than $10 million. Altogether, there are 25 large-scale projects and 75 smaller ones, officials said. There were 400 applications for funding.

More from CNET

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Material Could Dramatically Boost Data Storage, Save Energy

New Material Could Dramatically Boost Data Storage, Save Energy

Led by Dr. Jagdish "Jay" Narayan (...) at NC State, the engineers made their breakthrough using the process of selective doping, in which an impurity is added to a material that changes its properties. The process also shows promise for boosting vehicles' fuel economy and reducing heat produced by semiconductors, a potentially important development for more efficient energy production.

Working at the nanometer level -- a pinhead has a diameter of 1 million nanometers -- the engineers added metal nickel to magnesium oxide, a ceramic. The resulting material contained clusters of nickel atoms no bigger than 10 square nanometers, a 90 percent size reduction compared to today's techniques and an advancement that could boost computer storage capacity.

"Instead of making a chip that stores 20 gigabytes, you have one that can handle one terabyte, or 50 times more data," Narayan says.

The engineers' discovery also advances knowledge in the emerging field of "spintronics," which is dedicated to harnessing energy produced by the spinning of electrons. Most energy used today is harnessed through the movement of current and is limited by the amount of heat that it produces, but the energy created by the spinning of electrons produces no heat. The NC State engineers were able to manipulate the nanomaterial so the electrons' spin within the material could be controlled, which could prove valuable to harnessing the electrons' energy. The finding could be important for engineers working to produce more efficient semiconductors.


Friday, October 9, 2009

U3-X Honda’s Mobility Device | Robot Living

U3-X Honda’s Mobility Device

Honda shows how to look even more like a Dork than the Segway?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

World-first Sustainable Racing Car Runs On Chocolate, To Take On Formula 3

World-first Sustainable Racing Car Runs On Chocolate, To Take On Formula 3

World-first sustainable Formula 3 racing car. (Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)

The car is made from woven flax, recycled carbon fibre, recycled resin and carrot pulp for the steering wheel. It runs on biofuel made from chocolate and animal fats and is lubricated with plant oils. But it's not just an environmentally friendly car, it is also fast. The car has a top speed of 135 mph, can achieve 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and is turbo charged to give it more torque.

Having got the seal of approval from drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Adam Carroll as well as F1 team boss Ross Brawn, the car will make its first competitive debut in the Formula 3 Championship final at Brands Hatch on 17th October. The team hope to prove that high performance, competitive cars can be built from sustainable materials.