Uranium from seawater could provide an "endless" supply of nuclear energy

February 21, 2017 by  
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No discussion of a post-carbon future can be complete without raising the specter of nuclear power. Although it’s a contentious subject, any concerns about large-scale adoption have been largely rendered moot by the fact that the world’s uranium deposits are finite—and dwindling. Stanford researchers are convinced, however, that the solution may lie in seawater, which contains trace amounts of the radioactive metal. “Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a liter of water,” said Yi Cui, a materials scientist who co-authored a paper on the subject in the journal Nature Energy . “But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless.” Wind and solar power are gaining traction, but some experts say that they’re still too intermittent to be truly reliable in the long term. “We need nuclear power as a bridge toward a post-fossil-fuel future,” said Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and former U.S. secretary of energy who championed seawater extraction research before he left the Department of Energy for Stanford. A co-author of the paper, he noted that nuclear power currently accounts for 20 percent of U.S. electricity and 13 percent worldwide. A practical way of extracting uranium from seawater, he added, could go a long way to bolstering the energy security of countries that rely on nuclear power but lack uranium reserves of their own. “Seawater extraction gives countries that don’t have land-based uranium the security that comes from knowing they’ll have the raw material to meet their energy needs,” he said. Related: Uranium extracted from the oceans could power cities for thousands of years Although many have attempted to harness the oceans’ uranium before, previous efforts have failed to yield sufficient quantities in a fiscally meaningful way. Till now, anyway. Uranium doesn’t bob freely on the waves, of course. In seawater, the element combines chemically with oxygen to form positively charged ions called uranyl. Building on years of prior research, the Stanford team refined a technique that involves dipping plastic fibers containing a uranyl-attracting compound called amidoxime in seawater. When the strands become saturated with the ions, the plastic is chemically treated to free the uranyl, which can be refined for use in reactors – much like you would do with ore. By tinkering with different variables, the researchers were able to create a fiber that captured nine times as much uranyl as previous attempts without becoming saturated. Sending electrical pulses down the fiber collected even more uranyl ions. “We have a lot of work to do still but these are big steps toward practicality,” Cui said. + Stanford University Via Engadget Top photo by apasciuto

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Uranium from seawater could provide an "endless" supply of nuclear energy

Uranium extracted from the oceans could power cities for thousands of years

July 5, 2016 by  
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Over four billion tons of uranium present in the ocean could help provide energy for ” the next 10,000 years ,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The element could be used to fuel nuclear power plants , except extraction poses significant challenges. The DoE funded a project involving scientists from laboratories and universities across the United States, and over the last five years they have made strides towards successfully extracting ocean uranium using special adsorbent fibers. People have attempted to mine ocean uranium for around 50 years. Japanese scientists in the 1990s came close with the development of adsorbent materials, or materials that can hold molecules on their surface. Building on their ideas, U.S. scientists worked on an adsorbent material that reduces uranium extraction costs ” by three to four times .” Related: Scientists develop new way to generate electricity via seawater The adsorbent material is made of ” braided polyethylene fibers ” that have a coating of the chemical amidoxime. The amidoxime attracts uranium dioxide, which sticks to the fibers. Scientists then use an acidic treatment to obtain the uranium, which is collected as uranyl ions. The uranyl ions must then be processed before they can be turned into fuel for nuclear power plants. Chemists, marine scientists, chemical engineers, computation scientists, and economists all worked on the project, and the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research published several studies in an April special issue . The journal also presented research from Chinese and Japanese scientists. Phillip Britt, Division Director of Chemical Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said, “For nuclear power to remain a sustainable energy source, an economically viable and secure source of nuclear fuel must be available. This special journal issue captures the dramatic successes that have been made by researchers across the world to make the oceans live up to their vast promise for a secure energy future.” What’s next? While the new adsorbent material does reduce costs, the process to gather ocean uranium is still costly. Nor is it efficient yet, but if perfected it could offer an important alternative fuel source. Via Scientific American Images via Krisztina Konczos on Flickr and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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Uranium extracted from the oceans could power cities for thousands of years

19th century green-roofed Icelandic church is straight out of a fairy tale

July 5, 2016 by  
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Although sod-topped structures may seem like fairy tale buildings straight out of The Hobbit, the architectural practice of building grass-roofed homes actually goes back for centuries – especially in areas with harsh winter weather. Finding these original structures is near impossible, however, visitors to Southwest Iceland can still visit the fascinating green-roofed Hofskirkja church, built in 1884.

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19th century green-roofed Icelandic church is straight out of a fairy tale

Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City

January 20, 2015 by  
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Biofuels have a bad reputation for eating up precious land and water resources, as well as pilfering food from the world’s hungry. But a groundbreaking new bioenergy pilot plant at Masdar City , Abu Dhabi’s growing clean energy hub and research institute, is pioneering a new paradigm. This desert plant that will be irrigated with seawater, will make bioenergy and food production harmonious — perhaps for the first time in history. Read the rest of Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abu dhabi , aviation fuel , aviation industry , bioenergy , biofuel and food , biofuels , desert , fish , food in the desert , food security , growing food with seawater , halophytes , mangroves , Masdar , masdar institute , Middle East , S.H.R.I.M.P. , salt-tolerant plants , SBRC , seawater , water scarcity

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Boeing, Etihad, GE and MIST to build world’s first aquaculture and biofuel plant at Masdar City

Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats

January 20, 2015 by  
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Some of the world’s biggest Harry Potter fans have gathered together for a sweet reason:  ethically sourced chocolate . The Harry Potter Alliance—an actual group of Hogwarts enthusiasts formed in 2005—has used its muscle to get Warner Brothers to review their standards for chocolate production. Thanks to the fans, Warner Brothers has guaranteed that all of their Harry Potter-themed chocolate treats will be 100 percent Fair Trade certified by 2015. Read the rest of Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: child labor , child labour , eco design , Ethical , ethical chocolate , ethically sourced chocolate , Ethically sourced products , Fair Trade , fair trade certified , Fair Trade certified chocolate , fair trade chocolate , fair trade chocolates , green design , Harry Potter , Harry Potter alliance , harry Potter chocolate , Harry Potter fans , JK Rowling , sustainable design

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Harry Potter fans succeed in push for fair trade chocolate treats

Was the Devastating New Jersey Boardwalk Fire Actually Caused by Superstorm Sandy?

June 19, 2014 by  
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  Superstorm Sandy wreaked absolute havoc all along the USA’s east coast, and in addition to the massive flood damage, subsequent fires along the Jersey Shore (among other areas) were devastating . Hurricane Sandy made the Jersey Shore town of Seaside Heights infamous by the shocking photos of their iconic roller coaster in the ocean . A year later the same town suffered a second devastation , when the newly-rebuilt boardwalk burned down . At the time most bystanders scratched their heads and wondered why Seaside Heights had such bad luck – was it cursed? Those with an understanding of electrical engineering realized that the fire was the result of damage already done by Hurricane Sandy. Evidence has come to light that many of the fires were electrical in nature, as both electrical and mechanical systems were damaged by saltwater from ocean floods. By revisiting the placement and maintenance of these systems, we should be able to avoid similar damage from (inevitable) future storms. Read the rest of Was the Devastating New Jersey Boardwalk Fire Actually Caused by Superstorm Sandy? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: basements , body organs , electric , electric fire , Electrical Fire , Electrical system , electrical systems , Electricity , fire , fires , flood , Flood Fire , flood water damage , flooding , floods , Hurricane , Hurricane Sandy , hurricanes , internal organs , mechanical , ocean , ocean water , resilient design , salt water , Sandy , sea water , Seaside Heights , Seaside Heights Fire , seawater , storm , storm sandy , superstorm , Superstorm Sandy , superstorms , ts , water damage

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Was the Devastating New Jersey Boardwalk Fire Actually Caused by Superstorm Sandy?

OTE Corporation Harnesses Cold Seawater for Fossil Fuel-Free Air Conditioning

May 30, 2014 by  
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Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTE Corporation) is a breakthrough technology company that both contributes to the long-term health of the environment, and boosts the economy—locally and globally. Combining Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) , the company has discovered a way to provide sustainable energy without burning fossil fuels. They’re beginning this project in the Bahamas, which, as a coastal region, will be hugely affected by the sea-level rise and reef destruction that are associated with global climate change. Read the rest of OTE Corporation Harnesses Cold Seawater for Fossil Fuel-Free Air Conditioning Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: air conditioning , desalination , fossil fuel free , ocean cooling , ocean energy , ocean thermal energy , Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation , OTE , OTEC , seawater , seawater energy

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Navy Demonstrates Fuel From Seawater Production

May 7, 2014 by  
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A team of US Navy research scientists has developed a method to produce liquid fuel from seawater, using CO2 and hydrogen extracted from the ocean and then processed with a metal catalyst to produce liquid fuel. As a demonstration of the concept, an unmodified scale airplane has been flown with the seawater fuel. The concentration of CO2 is about 140 times higher in seawater than it is in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are the two feedstocks needed to make hydrocarbons. The process relies on “an iron-based catalyst [which] has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins).” The process is claimed to be the first technology of this type with the potential for commercial implementation. “The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.” video clip: Flight with Seawater Fuel image credits: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

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Navy Demonstrates Fuel From Seawater Production

Australian Scientists Develop Catalyst to Turn Seawater Into Hydrogen Fuel

June 13, 2013 by  
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A team of scientists from Australia’s University of Wollongong have developed a way to turn sea water into hydrogen in order to produce a virtually unlimited clean energy source. They believe that their system would allow five liters of sea water to produce enough hydrogen to power an average-sized home and an electric car for one day. Read the rest of Australian Scientists Develop Catalyst to Turn Seawater Into Hydrogen Fuel Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , australia , catalyst , hydrogen fuel , hydrogen fuel cell , light assisted catalyst , seawater , University of Wollonbong        

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Australian Scientists Develop Catalyst to Turn Seawater Into Hydrogen Fuel

US Navy Scientists Develop Process To Transform Seawater Into Green Jet Fuel

September 27, 2012 by  
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Feeling the pinch of high gas prices every time you fill up your car? Be thankful you’re not the U.S. Military . Tired of wasting so much of its budget on fossil fuels, the US Navy has led the quest for greener alternatives, including research by scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to develop a process that could transform abundant seawater into fuel for Navy jets. If successful their efforts could have a huge impact; in 2010 alone the Department of Defense shelled out approximately $11 billion on “operational energy,” the energy used by military forces in the execution of their field missions. That’s the equivalent of the entire budget of the state of Tennessee. And that’s doesn’t even include all the energy needed to power vehicles and military bases here at home. Read the rest of US Navy Scientists Develop Process To Transform Seawater Into Green Jet Fuel Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , alternative fuels , biofuels , department of defense , fossil fuels , fuel consumption , fuel efficiency , jet fuel , Naval Research Laboratory , seawater , US Navy

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