clover

Any breakthrough in farming, either in equipment or plant development, has a huge impact on our society. We pay farmers not to grow food in the US because they make so much it becomes worthless. We use plants to make fuel. Farming has a huge impact on our natural environment. Not just in the land used but also in the process itself.

In the US we use a large amount of Natural Gas derived nitrogen based fertilizer to boost our crops. This can have negative environmental consequences due to it running off into our rivers and lakes.

There are plants that can take nitrogen out of the air. They have a bacteria which in a symbiotic relationship with the plant benefits them both. Now a researcher named Professor Cocking has found a strain of this bacteria that when applied to the seed of any plant will make it nitrogen fixing.

This will have a really big impact on farming and the seed industry. Take a look:

http://www.gizmag.com/n-fix-nitrogen-fixation/28482/

Good stuff.

 

downloadIf you scroll down a bit you will see the article “Graphene makes a great superconductor”. In the article the University of Texas found that Graphene has the properties to make a great supercapacitor. But they do not explain how to do it. The process. 

Well some folks at UCLA have found how the process and it looks pretty straight forward:

http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/science/more-good-news-on-those-carbon-supercapacitors.html

Here is the Video:

http://vimeo.com/51873011

In the first article they say it can hold as much as a lead acid battery. Lets make the assumption that they are measuring based on space used. In other words you take a lead acid battery and in the volume of space it takes up you can make a capacitor(s) that have the same amount of energy storage.  With this in mind I can give some insight. With this capacity your phone and computer will still be Lithium-Ion. LI-On (Lithium-Ion) batteries are light and holds a lot of energy. Just about when you need to replace the battery is about the time you are thinking of getting a new one. So unless they make the capacitor a lot better I can see things staying the same. Even with the capacitors super fast recharge rate. 

But for cars and aircraft I see a swift change. Because wight matters. And quick recharge rate matters when dealing with electric cars and Hybrid aircraft. Take the battery in the Chevy Volt. It is quite large. One of the reasons it is so large is they found that if they only charged it 80% and discharged to 30% of battery capacity so it would make the batteries last twice as long. So in effect they are not using all the battery capacity in exchange for longevity.  If you swapped out the LI-ON with these capacitors you would still not get as much energy storage  but it would take five minutes to recharge.  So storage is not such an issue. 

The Volt is also fairly complex. The Li-On batteries have to be heated and cooled to keep them working efficiently. I do not think these capacitors would have such issues. Granted extreme weather can cause issues with any system. But batteries being a chemical reaction are effected a great deal by temperature.  

For aircraft I see this being an important step also. For planes and helicopters electric motors as the prime mover has advantages in power and simplicity. But the drawbacks right now are too great due to battery weight and loss of efficiency (motors and generators usually have a 10-15% inefficiency). But this could be a turning point. With light weigh capacitors which store the same amount as lead-Acid batteries and have a very long life it may be better to have a aircraft that has one engine for power production, one for backup and batteries which are used for high power demand maneuvers. Like taking off.  

Of course this is all speculation at this point. We will have to wait to see what the amp-hours are when they come out with an actual product. 

I hope we do not have too long to wait…

Update: 16 August 2013: Another lab is having similer results with Graphene super capacitors. This leads me to belive the breakthrough is not just a process, but the material itself.  This is a good thing. No one compnay will be able to lock in this technology. Take a look:

http://www.gizmag.com/graphene-based-supercapacitor/28579/

images   

 

I am a big believer in new processes. Processes created into efficient factory’s are the reason we have the modern cheap world we have today. Factories make the obscenely expensive into common.

   This new process is in its infancy. I hesitate to put it up until their new mini-factory is actually in production for a while. But it works in the lab so that means they should be able to scale it up into a factory, so I am posting it.

   

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21571847-exotic-useful-metals-such-tantalum-and-titanium-are-about-become-cheap

If this works as advertised it will have a huge effect on our society.

    I am not a huge fan of solar power. But I am a fan.

On the positive side the fuel (sunlight) is free; the power is generated close to where it will be used; their peak generating time is peak usage time; there are no moving parts to a solar panel; after 20 years solar panels are still generating about 80% of that they did originally.

    On the negative side they are only 50% efficient due to the fact of nighttime; even though the price of solar panels has dropped dramatically most people put them on their roof which is expensive due to union electricians who must be certified to work on roofs; the panels are only one part of the system, you also have to buy an inverter, wire the system and connect it to the grid; if your state does not have net metering you may need to have batteries to store power and not be connected directly to the grid.

Well things have just gotten interesting. They seem to have figured out a way to make solar panels much easier with less expensive materials.

http://www.gizmag.com/screening-engineered-field-effect-photovoltaics-solar-cell/23539/

Granted this is still in the lab so I do not want to get too excited about it.

But if this simplified method can be integrated into today’s production lines with cheaper materials (or even with the materials we are using today) it could lead to a rapid decrease in cost for solar panels.

Solar panels have already come down in price quite a bit in the last few years.   This may be the tipping point technology where solar panels become a common sight. Lets hope.

-StoneMaster Dennis

 

It seems the folks at NASA have made a medical breakthrough! 

I am not a big fan of NASA. I feel they have pissed away forty years of space flight development. There is no forgivnes.

With that said, you spend a couple billion dollars preparing for things that you will never do, you are bound to discover something.

Here is their something:

http://gizmodo.com/5882725/the-miraculous-nasa-breakthrough-that-could-save-millions-of-lives-updated?tag=space-camp

It is very preliminary. In many respects they have found a way to replace defective organs without replacing them. And modify the body without actually changing someones genetics…

 Lets hope this lives up to the hype.

-Wanting a Srx1 Biocapsule Dennis

This is still in the lab, but the preliminary results are very encouraging. So I decided to post it:

http://www.gizmag.com/nanocrystalline-silicon-nanoshell-photovoltaics/21391/

Less material, easier to make and a lot more efficient. This could change everything…..

Lets hope!

-StoneMad Member Dennis

http://thestonefoundation.ning.com/

Researchers have been studying why a caloric restrictive diet makes people healthy and live longer.  Resveratrol has been found to work (it is an ingredient in red wine and it is still in trials with a lot of  back and forth on its merits) in making people age better. But they are not sure why.

Now a new study finally has found the enzymes responsible for caloric restrictive diets making people healthy:

http://www.gizmag.com/aging-process-enzyme-identified/20359/

This is very exciting. This discovery could make us all healthier and age better. Not sure if this could be a supplement. Can you eat an enzyme and have it get into your blood stream through the digestive tract? Not sure, not my area of expertise. But I will keep an eye on this one.

-Wanting to get old Gracefully (no drool) and die in my sleep Dennis


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