Aug
17
2006

Clean, affordable energy needed: Taken by Chris Howells via Wikipedia
Clean, affordable energy needed: Taken by Chris Howells via Wikipedia

We need clean, affordable energy

MIT has created an Energy Research Council which has been likened to the Manhattan Project.

"The urgent challenge for our time (is) clean, affordable enery to power the world," said MIT President Susan Hockfield.

Like ending WWII or going to the moon, research and development can provide solutions for many of the world's problems.

Some examples of the MIT research projects the Energy Research Council will be sponsoring and developing include:

    Spinach solar power: Tapping the secrets of photosynthesis -- engineering proteins from spinach -- to make organic solar cells whose efficiency could outstrip the best silicon photovoltaic arrays today.
    Silicon superstrings: A novel approach to manufacturing conventional silicon photovoltaic arrays by pulling the chips in stringy ribbons out of a molten stew like taffy rather than slicing them from silicon ingots.
    Laptop-powered hybrids: Using a new generation of lithium-based batteries (which power most portable electronics today) to cut the price and charge-time of hybrid and electric car batteries.
    Tubular battery tech: Using "supercapacitors" made from carbon nanotubes to store charge -- rather than the chemical reactions that power most batteries -- resulting in a lightweight, high-capacity battery that could someday give even the laptop battery a run for its money.
    Hold the A/C: Optimizing air and heat flow on a new computer-aided design system, before a building's construction begins, allowing for the building's air conditioning costs to be cut by as much as 50 percent.
    Hybrid without the hybrid: Turbocharging an automobile engine with plasma from a small ethanol tank (which would need to be refilled about as often as the oil needs changing), reportedly increasing fuel efficiency almost to the level of a hybrid -- but only adding $500-$1,000 to the car's sticker price.
    More light than heat: Generating a car's electricity photoelectrically (using a gas-powered light and a small, specially designed solar panel) rather than mechanically (using an alternator), substantially increasing fuel efficiency.
    Coal-powered biofuels: Bubbling exhaust from a coal-fired power plant through a tank of algae that's been bred to siphon off much of the exhaust's carbon dioxide -- in the process, fattening the algae that can then be harvested as biodiesel.
    Source; Wired news

Stay tuned to Buzz Blog. We will feature some of these projects soon.

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