This reactor does not use fission, the process of splitting atoms into smaller elements employed by every commercial power reactor currently operating on earth.
And it does not use hot fusion, the union of hydrogen atoms into larger elements that powers the sun and stars.
Instead, a low-energy nuclear reactor (LENR) uses common, stable elements like nickel, carbon, and hydrogen to produce stable products like copper or nitrogen, along with heat and electricity.
“It has the demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing nasty waste,” said Joseph Zawodny, a senior research scientist with NASA’s Langley Research Center.
“The easiest implementation of this would be for the home,” he said. “You would have a unit that would replace your water heater. And you would have some sort of cycle to derive electrical energy from that.”
The LENR offers a slow-moving neutron to an element – NASA researchers are working with nickel. The nickel absorbs the extra neutron, rendering the nickel unstable. To regain stability, the acquired neutron splits into an electron and a proton.
“So where it once had an extra neutron, making it an unstable isotope of whatever element it was, it now has an extra proton instead, which makes it a more stable isotope of a different element,” Bob Silberg of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote last week on the agency’s Global Climate Change blog.
“This process releases energy which, hypothetically, can be used to generate electricity.”
With its new proton, the nickel has gained stability as another element: copper.
“There are estimates using just the performance of some of the devices under study that 1 percent of the nickel mined on the planet each year could produce the world’s energy requirements at the order of 25 percent the cost of coal,” according to Dennis Bushnell, the chief scientist at Langley.
Carbon could also be used as a fuel, NASA scientists speculate, and the process would turn the carbon into nitrogen, the most abundant element in the atmosphere.
“I don’t know what could possibly be cleaner than that,” said Zawodny. “You’re not sequestering carbon, you’re totally removing carbon from the system.”
The scientists emphasize that LENR reactors are very different from the fission reactors employed today, which use highly radioactive elements, produce radioactive waste, and occasionally suffer from meltdowns. They also use the term LENR to distinguish these reactors from the chemical cold fusion reactors sought by researchers beginning in the 1980s.
“When we concentrated upon nuclear engineering beginning in the 1940′s we jumped to the strong force/particle physics and leapt over the weak force/condensed matter nuclear physics,” Bushnell said. “We are going back now to study and hopefully develop this arena.”
LENR reactors use common, stable elements like nickel, carbon, and hydrogen and produce stable elements like copper or nitrogen. NASA researchers are leaning on the Widom-Larsen Theory published in 2006 by Boston physicist Allan Widom and Chicago physicist Lewis Larson, who speculates that low energy nuclear reactions are already happening on earth – in lightning, for example. And according to Larson, LENR reactions may be responsible for occasional fires in lithium-ion batteries.
Which underscores that even low-energy nuclear reactors can produce dangerous amounts of energy.
“Several labs have blown up studying LENR and windows have melted,” Bushnell writes, “indicating when the conditions are right prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released.”
Archive for the ‘Alt Energy’ Category
Posted by Xeno on February 22, 2013
Posted by Xeno on November 14, 2012
The generator was unveiled at last week’s Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15.
So how exactly does the urine-powered generator work?
Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.
And as for delivering the fuel itself? Well, we’ll leave that up to the consumer.
The Maker Faire is a popular event across the African continent, drawing thousands of participants who travel to Lagos to show their inventions and other practical creations.
As the Next Web describes it, the Maker Faire is intended to highlight creations “that solve immediate challenges and problems, and then works to support and propagate them. Put another way, this isn’t just a bunch of rich people talking about how their apps are going to change the world.”
Very cool! How much electricity do they get from 1L of urine? What’s in the electrolytic cell?
A similar idea appeared in a Yahoo news story about a year ago that could produce “0.25mA for 3 days from 25ml” which would be 10mA (milli-Amps) for 3 days from 1 Liter. If you have 110 volts at the outlet and you want to run a 60 watt bulb (or a laptop), you would need 545mA. It would take 54.5 Liters of pee to light your light for 3 days. That much urine would weigh 119.9 lbs.
31 October 2011
Urine-powered fuel cells could generate electricity and reclaim essential nutrients directly from human and animal waste, say UK scientists. The development could make wastewater treatment easier and cheaper, and provide an abundant source of locally generated power.
The team, led by Ioannis Ieropoulos and John Greenman at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, developed microbial fuel cells (MFCs) – which use bacteria to break down organic molecules and generate electricity – that could run on the organic molecules found in urine, such as uric acid, creatinine and small peptides.
Finding the right bacteria to munch these molecules was relatively easy – wastewater treatment plants routinely employ bacteria to do the job. But the crucial point, says Ieropoulos, is that the current processes are energy intensive, whereas the fuel cell approach could turn it into an energy-generating process …
The bacteria form a robust biofilm on the anode surface of the fuel cell, and pass electrons to the electrode as they respire and metabolise the fuel molecules in the urine. The team have found that smaller cells have higher energy densities, ‘so we’ve followed a path of miniaturisation and multiplication, building stacks of cells,’ says Ieropoulos. An individual cell can produce a current of 0.25mA for 3 days from 25ml of urine, so stacks of hundreds or thousands of cells could run on the amounts of urine available from homes, farms, or public toilets, for example. ‘Initially we’d probably be targeting local microgeneration,’ says Greenman.
Posted by Xeno on October 13, 2012
Can you imagine a house from mostly recycled materials with no need for utilities that produces food and no waste? Watch this video at Democracy Now:
Posted by Xeno on October 2, 2012
Photosynthesis allows plants to convert light into chemical energy. Utilizing this process to produce electrical energy is a research goal worldwide. Now a team of scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Tel Aviv University has succeeded in directly deriving and measuring the photoelectric current generated by single molecules of the photosystem I.
As plant photosynthesis is the basis of life, re-engineering of this process for power generation is a big dream of researchers around the world. A team of scientists at the TU Muenchen, led by Joachim Reichert, John Barth (Cluster of Excellence Munich-Centre of Advanced Photonics) and Alexander Holleitner (Cluster of Excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich) in cooperation with Itai Carmeli (Tel Aviv University), has now developed such a process in the nano-scale.
In a first step they fixed molecular complexes of the plant photosystem I on a gold surface. Then they coated an extremely fine glass tip, as it is used for near-field microscopy, with an ultrathin layer of gold. While the glass tip directs the light exactly to the protein to be examined, the gold layer forms the counter electrode. Thus the photosystem I protein complex acts as a highly efficient light-driven electron pump and could serve as a power generator in nano-electrical components.
Posted by Xeno on September 22, 2012
A scrambled-up material has broken the record for converting heat into electricity. Findings published today in Nature suggest that disorder may be the key to creating a new generation of energy-harvesting technologies1.
Laptop owners and car mechanics alike know that heat is a major by-product of any kind of work. In power stations, for example, only one-third of the energy that goes into the generator comes out as electricity — the rest radiates away as ‘waste heat’ before it can turn a turbine.
For decades, physicists have toyed with ways to convert heat into electricity directly. Materials known as thermoelectrics use temperature differences to drive electrons from one end to another. The displaced electrons create a voltage that can in turn be used to power other things, much like a battery. Such materials have found niche applications: the Curiosity rover trundling about on the surface of Mars, for example, uses thermoelectrics to turn heat from its plutonium power source into electricity.
Thermoelectrics are not, however, efficient enough to be used everywhere. Existing technologies can turn only 5–7% of heat energy into electricity, much less than the conversion efficiency of technologies such as solar panels.
Building a better thermoelectric depends on finding materials that conduct electricity, but not heat. According to Mercouri Kanatzidis, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the way to do that may be to introduce disorder into the materials’ structure.
Kanatzidis and his team began with one of the most well-known thermoelectrics: lead telluride (PbTe), which usually has an ordered lattice structure. The researchers scattered in a few sodium atoms to boost the material’s electrical conductivity, then shoved in some nanocrystals of strontium telluride (SrTe), another thermoelectric material. The crystals allowed electrons to pass, but disrupted the flow of heat at short scales, preserving the temperature gradient.
The final step was to stop heat flow over longer scales. To do this, the team created a fractured version of their pretty thermoelectric crystal. The fracturing did the trick: the cracks allowed electrons to move but reflected heat vibrations in the crystal. The material had a conversion efficiency of about 15% — double that of normal PbTe thermoelectrics.
“This is a significant advance,” says Jeff Snyder, a materials scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In recent years, other teams have made nanostructured materials with efficiencies close to the latest work, but the Kanatzidis group’s effort is the highest yet. Snyder says that the group’s approach of introducing disorder is clearly the way to increase efficiency. “What they’re describing is what we modern thermoelectricians believe is the perfect thermoelectric,” he says. …
Posted by Xeno on August 23, 2012
Billions of tonnes of the uranium required for fuel pellets is found in the world’s oceans
A happy coincidence in the seafood industry has raised the prospects of harvesting uranium – the fuel source for nuclear power – from seawater.
Oceans hold billions of tonnes of uranium at tiny concentrations, but extracting it remains uneconomical.
A report at the 244th meeting of the American Chemical Society described a new technique using uranium-absorbing mats made from discarded shrimp shells.
A range of improved approaches were outlined at a symposium at the meeting.
The developments are key to a future nuclear power industry. Uranium is currently mined from ore deposits around the world, but there are fears that demand may outstrip the supply of ore as nuclear power becomes more widespread.
At issue is the tremendously low concentration of uranium in seawater: about three parts per billion, so that just 3.3mg exist in a full tonne of water. As a result, extracting it is an inherently costly process.
Much work carried out in Japan in recent decades has sought to address that.
Researchers there came up with a design of a mat of plastic fibres impregnated with molecules that both lock onto the fibres and preferentially absorb uranium. That work culminated in a 2003 field test that netted a kilogram of the metal.
The mats can reach 100m in length, suspended underwater at depths up to 200m. They are withdrawn and rinsed with an acid solution that frees the uranium, and the cycle is repeated. …
Chitin is the principal protein in crustaceans’ shells, but its toughness and its ability to be “electrospun” into fibres that can be made into mats make it an ideal sustainable and biodegradable choice for uranium harvesting.
While research is continuing, there is still some way to go to reach cost parity with the more mature – but more environmentally damaging – technology of mining uranium ores. …
Here’s an interesting pro-nuclear energy statement by a professor at the University of Pittsburgh:
… The principal risks associated with nuclear power arise from health effects of radiation. This radiation consists of subatomic particles traveling at or near the velocity of light—186,000 miles per second. They can penetrate deep inside the human body where they can damage biological cells and thereby initiate a cancer. If they strike sex cells, they can cause genetic diseases in progeny.
Radiation occurs naturally in our environment; a typical person is, and always has been struck by 15,000 particles of radiation every second from natural sources, and an average medical X-ray involves being struck by 100 billion. While this may seem to be very dangerous, it is not, because the probability for a particle of radiation entering a human body to cause a cancer or a genetic disease is only one chance in 30 million billion (30 quintillion).
Nuclear power technology produces materials that are active in emitting radiation and are therefore called “radioactive”. These materials can come into contact with people principally through small releases during routine plant operation, accidents in nuclear power plants, accidents in transporting radioactive materials, and escape of radioactive wastes from confinement systems. We will discuss these separately, but all of them taken together, with accidents treated probabilistically, will eventually expose the average American to about 0.2% of his exposure from natural radiation. Since natural radiation is estimated to cause about 1% of all cancers, radiation due to nuclear technology should eventually increase our cancer risk by 0.002% (one part in 50,000), reducing our life expectancy by less than one hour. By comparison, our loss of life expectancy from competitive electricity generation technologies, burning coal, oil, or gas, is estimated to range from 3 to 40 days.
There has been much misunderstanding on genetic diseases due to radiation. The risks are somewhat less than the cancer risks; for example, among the Japanese A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have been about 400 extra cancer deaths among the 100,000 people in the follow-up group, but there have been no extra genetic diseases among their progeny. Since there is no possible way for the cells in our bodies to distinguish between natural radiation and radiation from the nuclear industry, the latter cannot cause new types of genetic diseases or deformities (e.g., bionic man), or threaten the “human race”. Other causes of genetic disease include delayed parenthood (children of older parents have higher incidence) and men wearing pants (this warms the gonads, increasing the frequency of spontaneous mutations). The genetic risks of nuclear power are equivalent to delaying parenthood by 2.5 days, or of men wearing pants an extra 8 hours per year. Much can be done to avert genetic diseases utilizing currently available technology; if 1% of the taxes paid by the nuclear industry were used to further implement this technology, 80 cases of genetic disease would be averted for each case caused by the nuclear industry. …
Well, it could be that there were only 400 extra cancer deaths in the follow up group, but “some estimates state up to 200,000 had died by 1950, due to cancer and other long-term effects.[ref] Which is it, 400 or 200,000?
Ref: Rezelman, David; F.G. Gosling and Terrence R. Fehner (2000). “The atomic bombing of Hiroshima”. The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History. US Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 2010-11-12. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
I recommend do it yourself Geothermal as a cheap way to heat and cool your home. More about that in the next post.
I’m a fan of
Posted by Xeno on August 21, 2012
The development of a museum dedicated to the life and works Nikola Tesla has moved one step closer after an online campaign raised more than $500,000 in 48 hours.
The fundraising effort, called “Let’s build a goddamn Tesla museum”, was devised by web comic The Oatmeal on behalf of the Tesla Science Center.
It is hoping is hoping to raise $850,000 from its appeal on the money-raising website Indiegogo.
The money would allow for the redevelopment of Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory in Shoreham, New York, where the cult scientist intended to develop a tower that would provide free wireless electricity across the world.
The proposed $850,000 would be matched by funding from the state of New York, reaching the $1.6m asking price for the site with something to spare and putting the Wardenclyffe “into the right hands so it can eventually be renovated into something fitting for one of the greatest inventors of our time”, according to Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman. …
Posted by Xeno on July 31, 2012
A Pakistani engineer has built a car that runs on water, a feat that left onlookers astounded.
Engineer Waqar Ahmad drove his car using water as fuel Thursday during a demonstration for parliamentarians, scientists and students, Dawn reported from this Pakistan capital.
He said cars could be driven by a system fuelled by water instead of petrol or CNG.
The onlookers were taken aback when they saw it and a cabinet sub-committee lauded the ‘Water Fuel Kit Project’.
The media report explained that the water fuelling system is a technology in which ‘hydrogen bonding’ with distilled water produces hydrogen gas to run the car.
Ahmad had earlier told Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah about the unique project and it was taken to the federal cabinet which asked its sub—committee to discuss it.
During the demonstration, Shah himself drove the car.
The minister said that Ahmad would be given complete
security and the formula would be kept secure.
Pakistani engineer has successfully developed a unique technology that uses water as fuel in vehicles instead of petrol or CNG, a feat once considered a farfetched dream. Waqar Ahmad drove his car using water as fuel on Thursday during a demonstration for Pakistani parliamentarians, scientists and students.
He claimed that on one litre of water a 1000 CC car can cover a distance of 40 km and a motorbike can run up to 150 km using this technology. … The water fueling system is a technology in which ‘hydrogen bonding’ with distilled water produces hydrogen gas to run the car.
Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali described the concept as a pioneering effort which could play a role in overcoming the energy crisis.
He said the technology would be this year’s Independence Day gift to the nation.
The minister said all required tests and experiments would be completed in two weeks and all stakeholders, including the PEC, National University of Science and Technology, entrepreneurs in the automobiles industry and researchers, were involved in discussions on the project.
The water fuelling system is a simple technology in which ‘hydrogen bonding’ with distilled water produces hydrogen gas to run a car engine. The technology will be considerably cheaper than CNG and petrol.
This via wikipedia:
Engg. Agha Waqar Ahmad is Pakistani Engineer who has claimed that he invented a successful water fulled car on 30 July 2012 on a popular TV Show. Agha Waqar claimed on very popular TV show News Night With Talat Husain on Dawn TV that he was working on this project from the last three years and after so much hard work finally he is able to invent a water kit device that can split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Agha claimed that the device will use water as fuel instead of gasoline. The device purportedly split water into its component elements, hydrogen. The hydrogen was then burned to generate energy. In addition to claims of car that run exclusively on water, there have also been claims that burning hydrogen fuel increases mileage. …
If simple electrolysis worked to make hydrogen from clean H2O, then we would have water powered cars already. Most Engineers, Mechanics are taught, it takes more energy to produce enough energy to propel a car, therefore it will never work. You cannot break the laws of physics. They say you will not get enough BTU‘s from hydrogen or egas to push an ICE motor. They are right, Gasoline gets too hot, and 78% of the energy produced goes right out the exhaust pipe. A complete waste of energy is applied everyday we drive our present vehicles and also the heat contributes to the Global warming. With “On Board Electrolysis” with egas or supplied by hydrogen tanks, you don’t need all this heat. What you need is strong combustion to push the piston down. Hydrogen is 2-1/2 times more combustion power than gasoline, with less heat! The inventors below manage to propel a car on hydrogen, Many of the inventors lives were threatened. Yull Brown had shots fired into his kitchen, Stanley Meyers was threatened and eventually poisoned, a few months later, Yull Brown dies of old age. Andrija Puharich mysteriously fell down a flight of stairs. Carl Cella died in prison… here is the list of people who have try to invent water fuelled vehicles.
Inventors List William Nicholson (1799) experimented with electrolysis. Isaac de Rivas (1805) He made the first water car. Rev. William Cecil (1820) Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir (1860) 2nd car that ran on water as fuel. Luther Wattles (1897) Rudolf A. Erren (1930) Henry “Dad” Garrett (1932) from Texas. Michael A. Peavey (1956) Wrote the “Water as Fuel” book William A Rhodes (1967) Yull Brown (1970–1998) Daniel Dingle (1970–2009) Francisco Pacheco (1972) Rodger Billings (1976) Archie Blue (1950′s) Robert Zweig (1978) Dr. Ruggero Santilli (1978 – alive) Sam Leslie Leach (1978) Steven Horvath (1978 – alive) Use of radiolysis to a hydrogen cell. Carl Cella (1978 – died in prison) Heavymetal Rocker/ Water powered Cadilillac Stan Meyer (1980–1998, murdered) Herman P. Anderson (1983–2004, died of old age) hermananderson.org Andrija Puharich (1918–1995) Joe Cell (Joe X) (1990- TILL THE COWS COME HOME) Paulo Mateiro (2000) Bob Boyce (1980 – forever) Peter Lowrie(2004) He used to run a yahoo forum called EgasPower and had egaspower.com Heeither gave up or sold out. Edward Estevel Dr. Cliff Ricketts (1996–2012) Steve Ryan (motorcycle 2005 & on) Thushara Priyamal Edirisinghe (2008- on)
Posted by Xeno on July 17, 2012
Scientists at the University of South Carolina have found a way to use a cheap T-shirt to store electrical power.
It could pave the way for clothes that are able to charge phones and other devices.
Experts predict that new technologies including roll-up smartphones and laptops will be on the market soon.
These developments would spur on the need for “flexible energy storage”, said the professor behind the project.
Xiaodong Li, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university teamed up with post-doctorate researcher Lihong Bao to find a solution.
The pair wrote up their findings for the Advanced Materials journal.
They used a T-shirt bought from a local discount store, which was soaked in a solution of fluoride, dried and then baked in an oxygen-free environment at high temperature.
The fibres in the fabric converted from cellulose to activated carbon during the process, but the material remained flexible.
By using small parts of the fabric as an electrode, the researchers showed that the material could be made to act as a capacitor.
Capacitors store an electrical charge and are components of nearly every electronic device on the market.
By coating the individual fibres of the carbonised fabric with manganese oxide just a nanometre thick, the electrode performance of the fabric was further enhanced.
“This created a stable, high-performing supercapacitor,” said Prof Li.
The hybrid supercapacitors proved resilient – even after thousands of charge-discharge cycles their performance did not diminish more than 5%, the researchers said.
“By stacking these supercapacitors up, we should be able to charge portable electronic devices such as cell phones,” Prof Li added.
“We wear fabric every day. One day our cotton T-shirts could have more functions; for example, a flexible energy storage device that could charge your cell phone or your iPad.” …
Posted by Xeno on July 11, 2012
Christine Daniloff via MIT News
Combining energy from multiple ambient sources generates a more stable supply for sensorsSmall power generators that can harvest energy from ambient sources like heat, vibrations, and light hold a lot of promise across a range of applications, particularly in things like remote monitoring. They can harvest the vibrations imparted by vehicles passing over a bridge to power sensors that monitor the bridge’s structural integrity, for instance, or keep a network of wildfire-detecting sensors working in the remote wilderness, no batteries necessary. But these kinds of ambient power are often intermittent and unreliable–unless you can harvest several of them at the same time.
That’s exactly what a new chip developed by researchers at MIT is doing. MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering has turned out a lot of technology in this space previously, but the frustrations of engineers there are shared by pretty much everyone working in the remote sensing realm: ambient sources of energy, be they the temperature gradients between a body and the outside air or vibrations harvested from machinery or other sources, are typically inconsistent. Sensors or other low-power systems need a steady stream of energy to operate, and energy sources like light and heat fluctuate over time.
To overcome this, the MIT team has created a single device that harvests various environmental sources, smoothing out the inconsistency inherent in any one source. Combining these sources–specifically light, heat, and vibrations–requires a sophisticated control circuit that can efficiently combine the varying voltages produced by each source rather than simply switch among them, as other energy harvesters do. The key innovation here was creating such a circuit that also doesn’t siphon off too much power for its own function.
The MIT system manages to blend all three sources efficiently, storing excess power in a small battery (the chip can power devices either from this battery or directly from the control circuit itself). It could soon be used to power a range of low-power micro-systems that are just now coming to market, such as implantable biosensors or distributed environmental monitoring systems.