New graphene sieve can remove even small salts from seawater

April 4, 2017 by  
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Graphene is the world’s strongest material, but that’s not all it can do. The wonder material can also be used as a filter that removes salts from seawater so it’s safe to drink. While scientists have eyed graphene-oxide membranes for better filtration – and even showed graphene could filter out large salts – now 13 University of Manchester scientists developed graphene membranes that can sieve common, smaller salts out of water. It takes small sieves to remove common salts from substances like seawater, and in the past when placed in water graphene-oxide membranes swelled, and weren’t able to catch those smaller salts. The University of Manchester scientists found a way to control the pore size of the graphene to sieve those common small salts out of water. Professor Rahul Nair, one of the scientists part of the research, said the realization of “membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale” is a significant step. Related: Affordable new biofoam could revolutionize how developing countries clean water The discovery could open doors to efficient, less expensive desalination technology – which the university points out is crucial as climate change depletes water supply in modern cities. In just around eight years, 14 percent of the world’s population could face water scarcity, according to United Nations estimates, and not all countries can afford large, expensive desalination plants to provide relief to their citizens. The university says the graphene technology pursued by the scientists could revolutionize water filtration around the world, offering an affordable option for developing countries . The researchers think their discovery could be scaled up for wider use. Nair said in a statement, “This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.” The journal Nature Nanotechnology published the research online yesterday. Via The University of Manchester Images via The University of Manchester and Pixabay

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Is tidal power finally coming of age?

April 4, 2017 by  
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A British company wants to demonstrate that underwater turbines can be a viable source of hydroelectricity, by winning a share of $363 million worth of electricity generation contracts being offered up by the U.K. government. As Bloomberg reports, Atlantis Resources wants to build power turbines under the ocean in Scotland, and their success would not only mean a whole pile of cash, but also provide another option for producing clean energy . The company faces steep competition for the government funds from offshore wind power companies, but they’re hoping to convince officials that tidal power has finally come of age. If they manage to do so, tidal power could eventually provide the U.K. with one fifth of its energy needs. As Bloomberg notes, previous efforts at producing tidal power have been largely experimental and operated at costs around triple that of wind power . To be successful in their bid to government, Atlantis must find a way to bring the cost of energy down by 70 percent—to about $125 per megawatt hour. That’s close to the price of nuclear and offshore wind power. If they can pull it off, Atlantis is hoping to get a $125 million investment that would let them build a manufacturing plant in Scotland, which would in turn let the company get much-sought contracts from France, South Korea and Indonesia. It’s all leading up to the final goal of helping to turn Scotland into a “Saudi Arabia of green energy.” Related: World’s longest wind turbine blade expected to drive down offshore energy costs With that in mind, the company is already working on its “MyGen” project, which involves the installation of up to 269 turbines under the Pentland Firth, a stretch of water that links the Atlantic ocean to the North Sea. It’s an eight-mile-wide channel of water that flows regularly at about 10 feet per second. Four turbines are already generating 6 megawatts, and two more phases should see enough turbines to generate about 86 megawatts of power by this summer. Via Bloomberg Images via Atlantis Resources

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IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing

August 4, 2016 by  
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IBM researchers in Switzerland have created an artificial neuron that behaves just like the real thing . For the first time in history, artificial phase-change neurons have been grouped together (in a population of 500 synthesized in a lab) to process a neurological signal in more or less the same way that biological neurons transmit messages. They can be made exceptionally small and are similar in power and energy usage to biological neurons, and can even produce results with random variations, also just like biological neurons. For non-scientists, the importance of this discovery may not be immediately apparent. IBM ’s artificial neuron , developed by a research team in Zurich, is quite literally the next best thing to a naturally created biological neuron. The lab-created version has all the same components of a biological neuron, including inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). Likewise, its functions mimic those of its biological counterpart. Related: Scientists create the world’s first enzymes using synthetic biology In addition to all that, the artificial neurons are durable, made from well-known materials that can withstand trillions of switching cycles. They are tiny (around 90 nanometers) and researchers believe they can make them even smaller, possibly as minuscule as 14nm. The researchers started by creating 500 artificial neurons together in a chain capable of sending signals, which means the IBM team has created the closest artificial version of a biological neuron. In the next phase of research, the team will create a much larger population of artificial neurons, with thousands of individual units, and write software to push their capabilities to the limit. The study results were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Via Ars Technica Images via IBM

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Groundbreaking affordable, paper-thin filter removes viruses from water

May 19, 2016 by  
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Though over 748 million people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water , water filters aren’t as widely used as they could be due to prohibitive costs. Many rely on chemical methods of cleaning water instead, which only inactivate microorganisms rather than getting rid of them. Yet Uppsala University researchers developed a paper-thin water filter called the mille-feuille filter that not only cleans water, but rids it of harmful viruses , all at an affordable price. Uppsala University designed a filter that comes as a paper sheet using cellulose nanofibers, which allows it to perform the potentially life-saving application of cleaning water of viruses. Cellulose is used in vacuum cleaners and tea bags, among several other common uses, yet typical cellulose can’t filter out viruses. This development is especially groundbreaking because most water filters can’t filter out viruses either; the pores in such filters are too large. Some viruses even resist chemical methods. Related: Researchers create nanoparticles that scrub polluted water at an accelerated rate The mille-feuille filter, named for its internal resemblance to the French pastry of the same name, is not only effective but affordable as well. Uppsala University Professor of Nanotechnology Albert Mihranyan said , “With a filter material directly from nature, and by using simple production methods, we believe that our filter paper can become the affordable global water filtration solution and help save lives. Our goal is to develop a filter paper that can remove even the toughest viruses from water as easily as brewing coffee.” Water-borne infections threaten not only those in developing countries who often don’t have adequate sanitation, but developed countries as well. One example is the Swedish town of Lilla Edet, where residents were infected with norovirus due to unsanitary municipal water in 2008. The mille-feuille filter could improve lives in every country worldwide. Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia Commons and YouTube screenshot

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Light-powered nano-submarines could deliver medicine inside the body

December 17, 2015 by  
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A team from Rice University has created a single-molecule, submersible machine that could one day be used to target medications toward specific parts of the body. The Unimolecular Submersible Nanomachines (USNs) are made of 244 individual atoms that are bound together to create a microscopic device powered by ultraviolet light and can be tracked using lasers. Read the rest of Light-powered nano-submarines could deliver medicine inside the body

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Never buy toothpaste again with this nanotech toothbrush

April 13, 2015 by  
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Japanese designer Kosho Ueshima of The Industrial Design Studio  created Misoka , the nanotechnological toothbrush that can clean your teeth without toothpaste. The designer teamed up with nanotechnology company Yumeshokunin Co. LTD and came up with this toothbrush coated in nanosized mineral ions which move in the water, removing stains and coating teeth to keep them shiny and clean all day. The designer will present Misoka at the 2015 Milan Design Week happening now. Read the rest of Never buy toothpaste again with this nanotech toothbrush Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green design , green technology , Japanese design , Kosho Ueshima , Milan Design Week 2015 , mineral ions , minerals , Misoka toothbrush , nanotechnology , sustainable toothbrush

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Never buy toothpaste again with this nanotech toothbrush

Moon formed out of collision between young Earth and another planet, says new study

April 13, 2015 by  
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Ever looked up at the moon and wonder from whence that magnificent orb came? A new study has added momentum to the theory that the moon was formed from debris leftover from a collision between a young planet Earth and a rock the size of Mars—which were then both covered in meteorites—to create the cosmic nightlight we know and love today. Read the rest of Moon formed out of collision between young Earth and another planet, says new study Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: astrophysics , how was the moon formed , moon and earch composed of same material , moon composition , moon formation , moon formed by violent crash , solar system formation

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Moon formed out of collision between young Earth and another planet, says new study

Japanese Construction Giant Obayashi Plans to Build a Space Elevator by 2050

September 23, 2014 by  
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Get yourself ready for the ride of a lifetime, because Japanese construction company Obayashi has announced plans to build a fully-functioning space elevator by 2050. The elevator will extend 60,000 miles into the wild blue yonder, where, after 7 short days of travel watching the space floors fly by, you will land at a specially-constructed space station . Once the project is completed, it will be able to transport people and cargo much more affordably and efficiently than launching a rocket. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Japanese Construction Giant Obayashi Plans to Build a Space Elevator by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon nanotechnology , carbon nanotechnology elevator , nanotechnology , Obayashi , Obayashi Corporation , Obayashi elevator , Obayashi space elevator , Obayashi space travel , Obayashi travel , space elevator , space elevator travel , space transportation , space travel

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Japanese Construction Giant Obayashi Plans to Build a Space Elevator by 2050

Paint-On Solar Cells Could Make Renewable Power Accessible to the Masses

June 16, 2014 by  
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Researchers at the University of Toronto have made a breakthrough that could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells that could be used by millions of people around the world. The team developed nanoparticles called colloidal quantum dots that don’t lose their electrons when exposed to air. The new material achieves solar power conversion efficiency of up to eight percent and can be painted or printed on surfaces such as roofing shingles. The breakthrough also ensures better sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and satellites. Read the rest of Paint-On Solar Cells Could Make Renewable Power Accessible to the Masses Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , canada , cheap solar , colloidal quantum dots , n-type semiconductor , nanoparticles , nanotechnology , Paint On Solar Cells , painting solar cells , Solar cells , Solar Paint , solar power for the masses , toronto , University of Technology

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Ai Weiwei’s “Forever” Bicycle Installation Moves to Venice for the 14th Biennale of Architecture

June 16, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Ai Weiwei’s “Forever” Bicycle Installation Moves to Venice for the 14th Biennale of Architecture Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Ai Weiwei , bicycle , bicycle art , bicycles , Bienniale Architecture , bike , chinese art , forever bicycles , installation art , installation china , italy , My Modern Met , political art , social art , Venice , Venice architecture , Venice art , Venice Italy

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