Archive for May, 2018

World’s First Commercial Carbon Removal Plant

The carbon footprint being reduced is a major concern for most companies that are involved in product manufacturing. However, there is one business concern, that has come up with a great way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and make it a commercially viable project.

In Switzerland we have Climeworks AG facility, that has a giant air filteration plant which is literally sucking in carbon dioxide from the air. This is rerouted to a greenhouse next door, which helps in creating healthy crops. The plant is able to take in 900 metric tons of carbon per year and convert it into a valuable resource instead of being the cause of global warming.

Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks says that highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community. The pioneering business, is showing others the way to make a real difference.

The best part is that the carbon dioxide that is captured can be easily used in a number of other industries besides greenhouse gases to boost vegetable growth. The first obvious use is for making carbonated beverages. Now that’s a science project that has reached a valuable conclusion.

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Why We Need White Roads

The regular black asphalt roads that we see in our cities are actually a reason that adds to the heat in our cities. The black color tends to absorb more of the sunlight and then releases it after sunset into the atmosphere. This means that temperatures in the heart of the city can be almost five times higher than temperatures fifty miles out in the wilderness, away from the city.

A simple way to counter this measure contributing to global warming is to paint the roads white! Not just any white paint, but a special one developed in LA with the name CoolSeal. This paint ensures that most of the radiation of the sun is reflected back, rather than absorbed by the road. This means that the temperature of the area also drops lower than the areas which have regular black roads.

Yes, painting all the roads in your city with this special paint will be expensive. However, if you count the long term benefits of having a cooler city, and the low electricity bills of the citizens, it may just be an investment worth making. The study of the sustainability of this experiment of painting all the roads in your city white with CoolSeal will make an interesting science project.

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IoT – Internet of Things

There are a number of new technologies coming up dealing with single chip devices that are used in multiple number and connected to provide the data required. The sensors on these single chip devices are often spread over a large range of area and this combined with the sheer number of devices makes it an uphill task to supervise each device physically for researchers.

At present the batteries in IoT devices are the most expensive part of the operation. They are three times the cost of the chip that they are powering. They need to be frequently changed when they get completely discharged, and this leads to a huge waste in human man hours as well as loss of data in the chip.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have come up with an innovative microchip, that can continue to operate even when the battery runs out of energy. The chip named BATLESS, is able to work on a smaller solar cell powered section, keeping the data alive and well, till the main battery can be replaced.

The science project is now working on a way to make BATLESS work completely on solar power so that the need to switch out a worn battery in IoT devices is completely eliminated. This will of course, improve the functioning of IoT devices greatly.

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New Way to Get a Brain Scan

In the past the patient who had to undergo a brain scan would be required to sit or lie down in a specific room. Then they would be plugged in to the equipment that would be used to monitor their brain waves. The duration of the scan would be fairly long and would require them to stay mostly immobilized in the room.

The researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL, have been working for the last five years on changing this. They have come up with a new type of brain scanner which can be worn much like a helmet over the head.

This new, light-weight, magnetoencephalography (MEG) system is easy to use, does not restrict the mobility of the patient too much and is reputed to be even more sensitive in the scanning process. The brain scanning helmet would be easier to use for a certain demographic of patients such as young children, epilepsy patients, and those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The new and improved brain scanner is not yet used widely, as it is expensive and does not have a one – size fits all functionality. However the science project that created this new technology is a resounding success.

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