Stanford study says fossil-fueled cars will vanish in 8 years as big oil collapses

May 17, 2017 by  
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A new study published by Stanford University suggests that fossil-fueled cars will vanish within eight years – and citizens will have no choice but to invest in electric vehicles or similar technologies. This is because the cost of electric vehicles – including cars, buses, and trucks – will ultimately decrease, resulting in the collapse of the petroleum industry. Led by Stanford University economist Tony Seba, the report has caused spasms of anxiety within the oil industry . Entitled “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030,” it details how people will ultimately switch to self-driving electric vehicles, as they are ten times cheaper to maintain than cars that run on fossil fuels and have a near-zero marginal cost of fuel. Additionally, EVs have an expected lifespan of 1 million miles. In comparison, most fossil-based cars barely last 200,000 miles. Seba predicts that in less than a decade, it will become very difficult for consumers to find petrol stations, spares or mechanics knowledgeable enough to fix combustion engines. His ultimate premise is that modern-day car dealerships will disappear by 2024 as the long-term price of oil falls to $25 USD a barrel. Those who cling to their outdated cars will probably have to pay to dispose of them in the future, says Seba. In the author’s own words, there will be a “mass stranding of existing vehicles.” Related: Iceland’s “Thor” volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells The Sanford researcher is also confident that within the next decade, humans will predominantly rely on self-driving vehicles as they are significantly less dangerous. “We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history,” said Seba. “Internal combustion engine vehicles will enter a vicious cycle of increasing costs. What the cost curve says is that by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric , all new buses, all new cars, all new tractors, all new vans, anything that moves on wheels will be electric, globally.” The Professor estimates that the “tipping point” will occur in the next two to three years when EV batteries surpass 200 miles and electric car prices plummet to $30,000 USD. By 2022, the low-end models will be sold for as low as $20,000. Following that, it will be the death of big oil . + Stanford Via Financial Post Images via Pixabay

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Stanford study says fossil-fueled cars will vanish in 8 years as big oil collapses

New biodegradable semiconductor could make e-waste a thing of the past

May 8, 2017 by  
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50 million tons of electronics are expected to be trashed this year, according to a United Nations Environment Program report . A Stanford University team was concerned over the escalating epidemic of e-waste , so they created a semiconductor – a component in most of our electronics – that can actually be broken down with a weak acid such as vinegar. Nine Stanford researchers, joined by one scientist from Hewlett Packard Labs and two engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara , set out to rethink electronics. Engineer Zhenan Bao, who heads up the Bao Research Group at Stanford, said they found inspiration from human skin . Skin stretches, can heal itself, and is ultimately biodegradable . The researchers wanted to take these characteristics and apply them to electronics. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: The dangerous untold story of e-waste They created a flexible polymer able to decompose. Postdoctoral fellow Ting Lei said it’s the first ever “semiconductive polymer that can decompose.” But that’s just one part of a semiconductor. The team also designed a degradable electronic circuit and a biodegradable substrate material. They used iron – a nontoxic, environmentally friendly product – instead of the gold usually used for electronic components. They made a paper-like substrate with cellulose ; the transparent substrate allows the semiconductor to adhere to rough or smooth surfaces, like onto an avocado as seen in the picture above or on human skin. The semiconductor could even be implanted inside a body. According to Stanford, “When the electronic device is no longer needed, the whole thing can biodegrade into nontoxic components.” The team envisions a number of uses for their semiconductors, like in wearable electronics . They could be made into patches allowing people to track their blood pressure, for example, or could be dropped via plane into a forest to survey the landscape, and eventually they would biodegrade instead of littering the environment . The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published the research online the beginning of May. Via Stanford University and New Atlas Images via Stanford University/Bao lab

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New biodegradable semiconductor could make e-waste a thing of the past

Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

May 8, 2017 by  
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Airtightness , minimal site disturbance, and speedy construction are just a few benefits of the striking House in the Woods. Designed by London-based architecture firm alma-nac , this prefabricated timber home is nestled within a particularly beautiful wooded lot in England’s South Downs National Park. Constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs), the fully insulated, watertight building frame was erected in a speedy ten days. House in the Woods was built to replace a bungalow that had been in the family for over sixty years. Despite the new home’s contemporary appearance, the design pays homage to its traditional predecessor with its single-story dual-pitched appearance and occupies roughly the same 240-square-meter footprint. Ample glazing and large sliding doors connect the home with the landscape while a large deck and roof terrace extend living spaces to the outdoors. Related: Ancient Party Barn blends historic preservation with energy-smart design The adaptable interior can accommodate up to ten people in five bedrooms thanks to full-height sliding partitions . When not in use by guests, the home can be comfortably transformed to a one-bedroom home with a studio and study. Heat zoning allows for areas of the home to be controlled independently to minimize energy loss. Energy efficiency is further improved thanks to SIPs construction with rigid insulating lining that offer high levels of thermal efficiency and air tightness. + alma-nac Via ArchDaily Images © Jack Hobhouse

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Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

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

Stanford scientist develop a blood-separating centrifuge out of paper

January 12, 2017 by  
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If you were a kid before the age of smartphones, you probably played with a whirligig at least once. The design for this simple toy, which will spin twine threaded through a button at rapid speeds with only a gentle pull, inspired Stanford University researchers to create a cheap and effective medical tool for countries in need. The “paperfuge” is, quite literally, a centrifuge made out of paper . The human-powered device can separate blood in just 90 seconds and costs only $.20 to make. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPePaKnYh2I There are still many parts of the world without access to the medical technology necessary to properly diagnose and treat disease. Stanford bioengineers hope to change that by providing a cost effective centrifuge to affected regions so medical professionals can detect deadly diseases , such as malaria, HIV, African sleeping sickness and tuberculosis. With the paperfuge, there is no need for electricity, as it is powered by human touch. Related: Shining lasers on human blood could help detect tumors The engineers behind the design say the device can spin at speeds up to 125,000 rpm. The paperfuge can also exert centrifugal forces of 30,000 Gs and separate blood in just a minute and a half. “To the best of my knowledge, it’s the fastest spinning object driven by human power,” said Manu Prakash, a Stanford bioengineering assistant professor. Prakash’s lab is also responsible for creating a “ foldscope ” miscroscopy instrument that costs lest than one dollar to produce and a tiny chemistry kit inspired by children’s music boxes. + Stanford University Via Stanford University Images via Youtube (screenshot)

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Stanford scientist develop a blood-separating centrifuge out of paper

This little black rectangle quickly and effortlessly disinfects water

August 17, 2016 by  
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Around the world, 663 million people lack access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, disinfecting contaminated water can be an elaborate, costly and time-intensive procedure – for example, disinfecting water with UV rays can take up to 48 hours, limiting the amount of water that can be treated. A new device created by researchers at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory solves this problem: it’s a little black rectangle that harnesses the sun’s light to disinfect water in 20 minutes flat. While the rectangle looks like a simple block of black glass, it’s actually covered in nanostructured molybdenum disulfide . The thin flakes are staked together sideways so that their maze-like edges are exposed to the water. When the block is placed in water and then left in the sun, it reacts with the sunlight and the water, forming hydrogen peroxide and other antibacterial chemicals. Soon after, the chemicals dissipate and leave crystal clear water behind. Related: Cilantro Purifies Drinking Water in Developing Countries Cheaply and Sustainably The reason this device works is because molybdenum disulfide is a photocatalyst, releasing electrons which cause chemical reactions to take place in the water. While it’s a promising new development, it can only disinfect water , not filter it. So industrial pollutants would still need to be a concern in many parts of the world. The technology still requires more research before it can be used in the field, since it’s unclear exactly which strains of bacteria can be eliminated using this process. + Stanford University Via Treehugger

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This little black rectangle quickly and effortlessly disinfects water

Stanford students take on dangerous superbugs

August 10, 2016 by  
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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “ superbugs ,” are one of the biggest challenges of the medical community. They are popping up at faster rates as antibiotic use increases, causing serious alarm among professionals familiar with their power. A few undergraduate students from Stanford University believe they may be on to a revolutionary idea that could kill off some of the most dangerous superbugs out there. Last fall, students Zach Rosenthal, Christian Choe and Maria Filsinger Interrante entered a Stanford University competition to provide solutions for major healthcare problems. Their idea of developing a set of proteins to annihilate antibiotic-resistant bacteria won them a $10,000 grant to test their hypotheses. “As soon as I started to read literature about multidrug-resistant bacteria, I decided it was a huge need area and interestingly neglected by the pharmaceutical industry,” said now-graduated Filsinger Interrante. She says that a smaller market size, lower profitability, and seeming inevitability of drug resistance lowers manufacturers’ enthusiasm about producing new antibiotics . Related: Dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in food products for the first time The specifics of their project are being kept secret, yet Rosenthal explains the mechanism of their attack, “We target something that’s essential to bacterial survival.” Preliminary reports of their tests are successful and the team hopes to continue working toward finding the Achilles heel for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii , two of the most drug-resistant and fatal superbugs existing today. Via NPR , Stanford News Images via Pexels, Stanford University

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A giant reservoir of water has been discovered under drought-stricken California

July 1, 2016 by  
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Stanford University researchers have just found a potential new source of water deep underneath California’s Central Valley . While the thought of accessing 713 trillion gallons of fresh, untapped water might be tempting, the reality isn’t that simple and probably won’t save the state from either itself or the effects of climate change . A paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirmed that the underground reservoir in question contains almost three times as much water as previous estimates . New light was shed on just how much is down there, thanks to technology that allowed researchers to dig deeper. The underground water reservoir lies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet underground. Related: Trump denies California drought Before anyone gets too excited, the water may not be entirely usable – even if it can be accessed. The same Stanford researchers found that 30 percent of the water has a chance of being contaminated by nearby oil and natural gas drilling sites. Digging that deeply could also cause the ground to sink, which is already happening in the surrounding area. Rob Jackson, lead author of the study, told Gizmodo , “We need to be careful about using [the water]. California’s groundwater pumping has been in overdraft for years, especially during the drought . Finding more water than expected doesn’t mean we should waste it.” The temptation is strong in a land where 63 trillion gallons of water were lost in just the last 18 months. However, finding more H2O to replace what we’ve used is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. Combatting the effects of climate change and significantly changing the way humans use water resources should come first. Via  Gizmodo Images via  Wikimedia , Flickr

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A giant reservoir of water has been discovered under drought-stricken California

BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California

June 13, 2016 by  
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Thanks to the off-site manufacturing process, the house is easy to outfit with all the electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems , which can be inserted into precut openings. An air-tight envelope ensures stable interior temperatures, with insulation panels clipped into place between steel columns and polyurethane foam insulation. Related: Stanford’s Start.Home is Built Around a Next-Gen Prefab Core at the Solar Decathlon 2013 The Jacobson Residence is only the beginning for BONE Structure. The firm plans to replicate the concept and build 50 new homes in California in 2016. Meanwhile, if you’re interested in visiting the Stanford house, the property will be available for tour on June, 24, 25 and 26. + BONE Structure

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BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California

Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener

June 26, 2015 by  
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In the next few years hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars are going to become more readily available thanks to new models from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai. While automakers have labeled the fuel-cell vehicles as the ultimate green vehicle, since they only emit water, there’s a dirty secret that isn’t talked about. The process to produce hydrogen isn’t very green, but a new invention from Stanford University could change that. Read the rest of Brilliant Stanford invention makes hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars even greener Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric vehicle , fuel cell vehicle , green car , green transportation , Honda , hydrogen , hydrogen vehicle , HYUNDAI , stanford university , Toyota Mirai

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