If we can't get a carbon tax through, at least end these subsidizes. Perhaps make a rule that you need to emit less than 10 grams of carbon dioxide per MJ in a transportation fuel or fuel for process for making electricity.
Most of you have probably built potato or lemon batteries ... now a group at Hebrew University in Jerusalem has done some work on a high efficiency potato battery.
The clam is they have dramatically increased the efficiency and the resulting batteries are cheaper than disposable AAs ... a cheaper way to power LEDs for lighting. I would claim there are better ways, but the paper is interesting and unexpected.
. Renewable Sustainable Energy 2, 033103 (2010); doi:10.1063/1.3427222 (11 page)
Zn/Cu-vegetative batteries, bioelectrical characterizations, and primary cost analyses
Alex Golberg1, Haim D. Rabinowitch1,2, and Boris Rubinsky1,3
1Center for Bioengineering in the Service of Humanity and Society, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
2Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 91904 IL, Israel
3Department of Mechanical Engineering and Graduate Program in Biophysics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, US
Developing a cheap, sustainable, and simple to use low power electrical energy source will substantially improve the life quality of 1.6×109 people, comprising 32% of the developing non-Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development populations currently lacking access to electrical infrastructure ( World Energy Outlook, 2006, http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/2006.asp, 10 September 2009 ). Such a source will provide important needs as lighting, telecommunication, and information transfer. Our previous studies on Zn/Cu electrolysis in animal tissues revealed a new fundamental bioelectrical property: the galvanic apparent internal impedance (GAII) [A. Golberg, H. D. Rabinowitch, and B. Rubinsky, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 389, 168 (2009) ], with potential use for tissue typing. We now report on new fundamental studies on GAII in vegetative matter and on a simple way for significant performance improvement of Zn/Cu-vegetative battery. We show that boiled or irreversible electroporated potato tissues with disrupted cell membranes generate electric power up to tenfold higher than equal galvanic cell made of untreated potato. The study brought about basic engineering data that make possible a systematic design of a Zn/Cu-potato electrolytic battery. The ability to produce and utilize low power electricity was demonstrated by the construction of a light-emitting diode based system powered by potato cells. Primary cost analyses showed that treated Zn/Cu-potato battery generates portable energy at ∼ 9 USD/kW h, which is 50-fold cheaper than the currently available 1.5 V AA alkaline cell (retail) or D cells ( ∼ 49–84 USD/kW h). Admittedly very simple, the treated potato or similarly treated other plant tissues could provide an immediate, environmental friendly, and inexpensive solution to many of the low power energy needs in areas of the world lacking access to electrical infrastructure.
Its almost time for the Tour de France and this type of bike racing is famous for drug abuse. In recent years people have been carefully looking at what constitutes superhuman performance as a trigger for checking for drugs -- a piece in New Scientist on the subject.
Gordon Murray has an incredible reputation as a race car designer. For the past few years he has been working on a very small world car as well as a streamlined production technique. It is unclear if it will ever be produced, but it is very small, very light and potentially inexpensive. It may even be interesting to drive given who designed it.
Dropping mass is a good thing if you want efficiency and this has the additional feature of a very novel three seat layout.
It is sometimes inspiring to see what people can do with limited tools - I've seen some nice video work that uses nothing more than a Flip camera and iMovie. This piece was entirely shot and edited on an iPhone 4. Click on the link for the HD version...