Archive for the ‘energy’ category: Page 135

Sep 18, 2021

New Nanomaterial Produces Clean Energy Hydrogen Fuel From Seawater

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology, sustainability

The material offers the high performance and stability needed for industrial-scale electrolysis, which could produce a clean energy fuel from seawater.

Hydrogen fuel derived from the sea could be an abundant and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, but the potential power source has been limited by technical challenges, including how to practically harvest it.

Sep 15, 2021

An observational and Mendelian randomisation study on vitamin D and COVID-19 risk in UK Biobank

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, energy, genetics

The discriminatory power of the UVB variable is somewhat limited in this study, because UVB radiation is low at this time of the year, particularly at the high northern latitude of UK—larger effects might be observed if variation in UVB is greater. We only used ambient UVB, and did not capture individual behavioural differences that would determine the actual level of vitamin D synthesis in the skin, such as duration and time of day spent outside, clothing, etc. It is important to note that time of year is the strongest predictor of vitD-UVB. To avoid bias control dates were assigned to follow the same distribution as case dates, which might have led to artificially diminished differences in vitD-UVB between cases and controls, however analysis relating to hospitalisation and death are not affected by this. We also conducted an analysis of the genetically-predicted vitamin D and a number of state-of-the-art MR analyses. However, the main limitation is the lack of power. Given the small number of COVID-19 patients and the relatively small percentage of variance (4.2%) explained by vitamin D-related genetic variants, this MR study was not adequately powered to detect small causal effect and negative results should be interpreted with caution. Additionally, MR studies only consider linear effects between 25-OHD levels and COVID-19 risk, which do not capture what happens at the extremes of vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, it cannot rule out the possibility that seriously ill patients (due to an underlying pathology) with extremely low vitamin D levels could be predisposed to COVID-19 infection and increased COVID-19 severity and mortality. Furthermore, 25-OHD levels are the used biomarker of vitamin D status in the study population, nevertheless, they correlate poorly with the active form of vitamin D (1,25-OH2D), which exerts the effects of vitamin D on a cellular level. Thus, this study cannot exclude effects of 1,25-OH2D on COVID-19 risk.

Another limitation of this cohort relates to the fact that not all participants have been tested for present (or past) COVID-19 infection; consequentially, taking participants who were not tested as controls could be a potential source of bias, given that misclassification of controls might be substantial due to the presence of asymptomatic infected individuals, further driving our findings to the null. This is evident from the 1:2 ratio between outpatient vs. inpatient cases. It should be acknowledged that the COVID-19 cases in UK biobank have a high rate of hospitalisation due to the very limited and targeted testing at this stage of the pandemic in the UK, so this study reflects mainly those with more severe COVID-19 and gives less information about true infection risk, or risk of milder disease. In addition, we excluded individuals with a negative COVID-19 testing result from the controls due to the risk of those being false negatives. Although there is a risk of introducing selection bias, we believe that the risk of introducing misclassification bias if we included them in the analysis could be higher22,23. Additionally, given the presence of asymptomatic infected individuals, taking participants who were not tested as controls could also be another potential source of bias. Our study assessed the effect of genetically predicted vitamin D levels on COVID-19 risk while taking into consideration of ambient UVB radiation during the pandemic. We show an indication of an inverse association between genetically predicted vitamin D levels and severe COVID-19. Findings from our study are consistent with a recent randomised controlled trial (RCT) that found protective effect of vitamin D supplementation among those hospitalised with COVID-1924. However, other clinical trials did not show an effect. For instance, a randomised trial of 240 patients showed that supplementation with a single very large dose of 200,000 IU of vitamin D3 that increased serum vitamin D levels (21–44 ng/ml) was nonetheless ineffective in decreasing the length of hospital stay or any other clinical outcomes among hospitalized patients with severe COVID-1925. It has been estimated that one SD change in standardized natural-log transformed 25-OHD levels corresponds to a change in 25-OHD levels of 29.2 nmol/l in vitamin D insufficient individuals (serum 25-OHD levels 50 nmol/l), which is comparable to the 21.2 nmol/l mean increase in 25-OHD levels conferred by taking daily 400 IU of cholecalciferol, the amount of vitamin D most often found in vitamin D supplements26. This estimation has clinical implication on the dose of vitamin D supplement for disease prevention. Given the lack of highly effective therapies against COVID-19, it is important to remain open-minded to emerging results from rigorously conducted studies of vitamin D.

In conclusion, we found no significant associations between COVID-19 risk and measured 25-OHD levels after adjusted for covariates, but this finding is limited by the fact that the vitamin D levels were measured on average 11 years before the pandemic. Ambient UVB was strongly and inversely associated with COVID-19 hospitalization and death. The main MR analysis did not show that genetically-predicted vitamin D levels were causally associated with COVID-19 risk, although MR sensitivity analyses indicated a potential causal effect. Overall, the effect of vitamin D levels on the risk or severity of COVID-19 remains controversial, further studies are needed to validate vitamin D supplementation as a means of protecting against worsened COVID-19.

Sep 15, 2021

Lithium-ion batteries just made a big leap in a tiny product

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability, transportation, wearables

Sila’s novel anode materials packed far more energy into a new Whoop fitness wearable. The company hopes to do the same soon for electric vehicles.

Sep 14, 2021

Startup Launches Refueling Station Into Orbit, Gets $10 Million in Funding

Posted by in categories: energy, satellites

In June, San Francisco-based startup Orbit Fab launched a prototype refueling station into Earth’s orbit — but rather than allowing astronauts to venture into deep space, this system is meant to give old satellites a new lease on life.

That’s a compelling idea, and now the company has locked down $10 million in funding to further it. Our planet’s orbit is getting cluttered with old and new satellites, increasing the risks of a collision and adding to an existing space junk problem.

Orbit Fab’s Tenzing Tanker-001, an early prototype satellite fuel tanker, launched into orbit as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-2 rideshare mission on June 30.

Sep 13, 2021

Quantum mechanics for plants

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, quantum physics

Circa 2004

To what extent do photosynthetic organisms use quantum mechanics to optimize the capture and distribution of light? Answers are emerging from the examination of energy transfer at the submolecular scale.

The first law of photosynthetic economics is: “A photon saved is a photon earned.” Research into the factors behind this principle has been burgeoning, and has recently culminated in a paper in Physical Review Letters by Jang et al.1 in which the authors look at photosynthetic energy transfer at the quantum level.

Sep 12, 2021

The Truth about Driving a Hydrogen Car

Posted by in categories: energy, physics, transportation

I drove 1,800 miles in a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car! Thanks to Toyota for sponsoring this video and lending us the 2021 #Mirai.

Upcoming videos in this series:
Hydrogen vs. Battery Electric.
Grid Energy Storage.
Concentrated Solar.

Continue reading “The Truth about Driving a Hydrogen Car” »

Sep 11, 2021

A spoonful of sugar opens a path to longer lasting lithium sulfur batteries

Posted by in categories: drones, energy, engineering, food, sustainability

Simply by adding sugar, researchers from the Monash Energy Institute have created a longer-lasting, lighter, more sustainable rival to the lithium-ion batteries that are essential for aviation, electric vehicles and submarines.

The Monash team, assisted by CSIRO, report in today’s edition of Nature Communications that using a glucose-based additive on the positive electrode they have managed to stabilize lithium-sulfur battery technology, long touted as the basis for the next generation of batteries.

“In less than a decade, this technology could lead to vehicles including electric busses and trucks that can travel from Melbourne to Sydney without recharging. It could also enable innovation in delivery and agricultural drones where light weight is paramount,” says lead author Professor Mainak Majumder, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Director of the Monash Energy Institute.

Sep 10, 2021

Transforming ‘sewer gas’ into clean hydrogen fuel

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, engineering, sustainability

Scientists have found a new chemical process to turn a stinky, toxic gas into a clean-burning fuel.

The process, detailed recently in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering, turns —more commonly called “sewer gas”—into . Hydrogen sulfide is emitted from manure piles and sewer pipes and is a key byproduct of industrial activities including refining oil and gas, producing paper and mining.

The process detailed in this study uses relatively little energy and a relatively cheap material—the chemical iron sulfide with a trace amount of molybdenum as an additive.

Sep 10, 2021

Scientists Found the Key to Harnessing 100% Electricity and Energy

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

Circa 2020

Hang onto your superconductors everyone. Scientists from the University of Chicago have discovered a new type of matter, where they may be able to conduct energy and electricity at 100% efficiency, without losing heat or friction.

Sep 9, 2021

Entergy Restores Power To Half A Million Customers But Large Parts Of Southeast Louisiana Are Still Dark

Posted by in category: energy

Entergy has restored power to more than half a million of its customers, Louisiana’s largest utility said Tuesday morning.

But there are still roughly 370,000 customers without power across the state, with about 50,000 of them in New Orleans. Entergy expects 90% of its customers in the city to have power back Wednesday.

Some neighborhoods such as Venetian Isles will likely take longer due to more damage in those areas. Details of power restoration timelines for specific neighborhoods in New Orleans can be found here.