MIT researchers explore ancient firebrick technology to store energy

September 7, 2017 by  
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Firebricks – or bricks made with clay able to endure temperatures of 1,600 degrees Celsius – have been around for at least 3,000 years. Now Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are revisiting this ancient technology to potentially help us transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy . The researchers worked out a scheme where excess electricity , generated when the wind is blowing or sun is shining, could be converted into heat and stored in the firebricks for later use. The firebricks technology has existed since the time of the Hittites, according to MIT researchers, who want to draw on this old technology to help make carbon-free power sources competitive with fossil fuels. Right now, with solar and wind power , electricity prices can collapse to near zero when there’s high wind or solar output, making those clean energy installations unprofitable unless companies can store power. Related: Google wants to solve renewable energy storage with salt and antifreeze Their system, called Firebrick Resistance-heated Energy Storage, or FIRES, costs between one-tenth and one-fortieth as much as pumped hydroelectric systems or batteries . It works like this: electric resistance heaters convert that excess electricity to heat, which would be stored in a large mass of firebricks. If the firebricks are inside an insulated casing, they can store that heat for long periods of time. The heat could either be utilized for industrial processes or converted back to electricity later. Regis Matzie, retired Westinghouse Electric Chief Technical Officer, wasn’t involved with the research but told MIT the way electricity prices are determined in America yields to a “skewed electricity market [that] produces low or even negative prices when a significant fraction of electrical energy on the grid is provided by renewables.” He said FIRES could offer an innovative solution, but a demonstration would probably be needed to see if the method is indeed economical. The Electricity Journal published the MIT research online the end of August. The next step will be setting up full-scale prototypes in the real world, which lead author Charles Forsberg said could occur in 2020. He said they’re looking for the right customers – one example would be an ethanol refinery, since they use a lot of heat, located near a large wind farm . Via MIT News Images via U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn/Released and courtesy of the researchers

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MIT researchers explore ancient firebrick technology to store energy

LEGOLAND Windsor throws a birthday party fit for a queen

June 11, 2016 by  
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For the Queen of England’s 90th birthday, the LEGO masters at LEGOLAND Windsor celebrated in the only way they knew how: by painstakingly handcrafting a brick version of the Queen’s birthday party! All in all, the diorama took 650 hours to build and a whopping 35,000 bricks. Click the link to see the full display!  

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LEGOLAND Windsor throws a birthday party fit for a queen

BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

March 1, 2016 by  
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BioMason is inching closer to commercially debuting its eco-friendly “grown” bricks , which they say could be on the market as early as next year. Since its founding in 2012, the North Carolina startup has been pushing to revolutionize the world of building materials in a way that slashes carbon emissions by using bricks grown from sand and bacteria, instead of firing traditional bricks. An increasing number of architects and builders are looking to sustainable construction materials in response to the growing demand for green buildings, and BioMason’s emission-saving biobricks fill a unique niche in the market. Read the rest of BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

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BioMason’s bricks “grown” with sand and bacteria to hit the market next year

Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks

February 14, 2014 by  
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Computer scientists at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a small army of self-controlled robots that follow the same principles as ants or termites to create impressive structures out of foam blocks. The TERMES robots can create towers, pyramids, and other structures out of miniature bricks without any sort of blueprint — even building themselves staircases to reach higher levels. Read the rest of Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous robots , construction robots , Disaster Relief , harvard , School of Engineering and Applied Science , self-controlled robots , TERMES project , termite robots , termites        

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Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks

Indian Researchers Create Low-Cost Bricks From Recycled Paper Mill Waste

January 31, 2013 by  
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While recycling trash is preferable to simply chucking refuse into the dump, the process still creates tons of byproducts that end up making their way to the landfill. Fortunately, Professors Rahul Ralegaonkar and Sachin Mandavgane of the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology in India ( VNIT ) have developed a way to create paper bricks from recycling waste. Made from 90% recycled paper mill waste (RPMW) and 10% cement, the mixture is mechanically mixed and pressed into molds and then cured in the sun. The brilliant recycled building material is low-cost means of eeking more efficiency out of an already good practice. Read the rest of Indian Researchers Create Low-Cost Bricks From Recycled Paper Mill Waste Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bricks , cement , etp , India , Paper , Rahul Ralegaonkar , recycled paper mill waste , rpmw , Sachin Mandavgane , sludge , Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology , vnit

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Indian Researchers Create Low-Cost Bricks From Recycled Paper Mill Waste

Spanish Scientists Make Bricks From Paper Waste

January 10, 2013 by  
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Spanish scientists at the University of Jaén have developed a way to turn paper waste into bricks – though there is still a long way to go before the bricks are as stable as standard clay bricks, the report concludes. The researchers collected…

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Spanish Scientists Make Bricks From Paper Waste

NASA Harnessing the Power of Microbes to Create Building Bricks on Mars

October 5, 2012 by  
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Mars image from Shutterstock Engineers at NASA’s Synthetic Biology Initiative are creating the building blocks of life – or rather, using life to create building blocks. Instead of shipping construction materials for a theoretical base on Mars, scientists are developing microbes capable of creating the ingredients for bricks and mortar. Feeding on astronaut waste and the materials available to them on the red planet, these space bugs could be the first to colonize Mars. Read the rest of NASA Harnessing the Power of Microbes to Create Building Bricks on Mars Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Ames Research Center , anabaena , andre burnier , bricks , cambridge , cyanobacteria , lynn rothschild , mars , Moffett Field , mortar , mrc labratory of molecular biology , nasa , new scientist , paul dear , Sporosarcina pasteurii , synthetic biology initiative

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NASA Harnessing the Power of Microbes to Create Building Bricks on Mars

Incredible LEGO Colosseum Made from 200,000 Bricks Unveiled!

July 13, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Incredible LEGO Colosseum Made from 200,000 Bricks Unveiled! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , green design , lego , Lego colosseum , Ryan McNaught , sustainable design , The Brick Man

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Incredible LEGO Colosseum Made from 200,000 Bricks Unveiled!

Apple Rejoins EPEAT Green Electronics Registry After Public Outcry

July 13, 2012 by  
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Earlier this week Apple announced plans to pull EPEAT Green Electronics Certification from all 39 of its certified desktop computers, laptops and monitors, however today the company did a 360 on its initial stance and issued a statement that it will be returning to the program. Their change of heart comes as no surprise — soon after their first announcement was made, numerous schools, organizations and government agencies, including the City of San Francisco , made it clear that they would cease buying Apple products. Read the rest of Apple Rejoins EPEAT Green Electronics Registry After Public Outcry Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple , apple announces return to EPEAT Green Electronics Certification , apple controversy , apple epeat , apple green certification , apple green initiatives , apple news , EPEAT Green Electronics Certification

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Apple Rejoins EPEAT Green Electronics Registry After Public Outcry

Glowing Bacteria Could Join Rats, Dogs, and Watercress in De-mining Agricultural Land

November 18, 2009 by  
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The complexity and cost of clearing land mines, which are still responsible for to twenty to thirty thousand casualties a year, has lead to a microorganism based detection method that should speed the location mines. The awesome power released by a detonating mine The New Mine Detection Technology Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have engineered a bacteria using the latest BioBrick technology . BioBrick an open source technology of the BioBricks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by engineers and scientists from MIT, Harvard, and UCSF

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Glowing Bacteria Could Join Rats, Dogs, and Watercress in De-mining Agricultural Land

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