Good, no great news on the technological front.
With a little help from genetic engineering, researchers at one Massachusetts company say they've created an organism that takes sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and creates liquid fuel.
Bill Sims, CEO of Cambridge-based Joule Unlimited, says the process utilizes a bacteria, produces a chemical product and secretes it. The result? A fuel that can fill demands for diesel and ethanol.
"The product that we make is diesel. It's very high cetane to very premium diesel. It is fungible, so it's infrastructure compatible," said Sims.
The product can be used in trucks, heavy equipment and further refined into jet fuel. Simply put, the organism created secretes the fuel in a direct process, working faster than current biofuel technology that often uses algae.
From the company's website, Joule Unlimited
Joule’s renewable fuel platform will best the scale, productivities and costs of any known alternative to fossil fuel today, with no use of biomass, arable land or fresh water. Our inputs are sunlight and waste CO2. Our expected output? Millions of gallons of clean, renewable fuel that drops into existing infrastructure. Next step: change the world.
As Glenn Reynolds would say, Faster please.
Under the Nebraska small town of Elk Creek lies "rare earth" minerals in quantities sufficient to challenge China's dominance.
Elk Creek, Neb. (population 112), may not be so tiny much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska hamlet may be sitting on the world’s largest untapped deposit of “rare earth” minerals, which have proved to be indispensable to a slew of high-tech and military applications such as laser pointers, stadium lighting, electric car batteries and sophisticated missile-guidance systems.
The U.S. has relied on China for years for the 17 minerals that are defined as rare earths by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Despite having such obscure names as praseodymium, promethium and samarium - no copper or zinc here - they are necessary for such routine contemporary technologies as magnets, laser pointers and miniature electronics, such as iPods.
China has emerged as the world’s predominant supplier, controlling 97 percent of the global market for rare earths. In recent years, lawmakers have expressed concerns about China’s “rare earth” dominance, and these concerns were heightened when Beijing temporarily halted exports to Japan last year during a territorial dispute.
A Brazilian engineer invented the solar light made of a plastic bottle, water and bleach stuck through a roof during an energy blackout in 2002.
Currently, millions of Filipinos live without any kind of light source at all, but a band of resourceful MIT students have begun changing that. The students found that a one liter plastic bottle filled with bleach water and installed on top of a metal roof is a surprisingly simple way to light homes that have neither electrical connectivity nor natural lighting. The plastic defracts light and pushes it to every corner of a small slum house instead of beaming it onto one area like a typical lamp might. As part of their Solar Bottle Project, the organization Isang Litrong Liwanag, which means “A Liter of Light,” has already installed 10,000 of these ridiculously basic but amazing lamps throughout Manila.Posted by Jill Fallon at August 6, 2011 11:58 AM | Permalink