Archive for June 2010
You are browsing the archives of 2010 June.
You are browsing the archives of 2010 June.
I am hoping some of our readers may know what this is about. I get that it is generally possible to record what the background heat signature might be like, but I have my doubts about whether 1) the recording process can anticipate viewing angles, and 2) whether materials exist that can “broadcast” a rapidly changing signature that works from all angles.
No big deal. I’ve seen references (no details) to this several times and I am just curious.
The Summit, held June 21-22, 2010 in Baltimore, Md., replaced the typical research presentation sessions with content that was far more global in its perspective. Discussions focused on technologies and materials that could shape the future, from energy, to medical, to military technology. A session on global business trends gave insight into the predicted growth of a large number of aspects of the ceramics/materials industry, and even the products that were driving those areas of the market. For example, the growth of the lithium-ion battery market was surprisingly traced to a recent surge in sales of electric bikes in Asia.
Of particular interest, though, was the education session, directed by Doreen Edwards (Alfred University) and Wayne Huebner (Missouri S&T). Edwards’ talk on education curricula led to a discussion amongst the roughly 200 attendees (nearly 60% of whom were from industry) about subjects that should be included in undergraduate coursework. Some of the subjects mentioned were energy materials and technology, coatings, and even proper usage of analytical and processing equipment.
Huebner delivered a passionate call-to-arms for members of industry and academia alike, to actively support university ceramics and materials programs across the country, thereby ensuring the graduation of competent engineers able to find jobs in the ceramics industry. Talking with a number of different Summit attendees revealed similar concern for the well-being of today’s students, which is always exciting for those who are currently students to hear.
On the topic of talking with different people, arguably the networking opportunities that came from attending the Summit represented the most exciting part of the two-day event. We met all sorts of people, including alumni from our current schools, researchers and industry representatives. Learning about the different career paths available to students after graduation was a highlight of the event. We found out that graduates could go on to be Congressional fellows charged with bringing materials expertise to legislation passed on Capitol Hill; or they could become 50% of a company’s research and development staff; or they could even go on to become vice-presidents, presidents or CEOs of multimillion dollar corporations such as Ceradyne or Corning.
We were also invited into the Future Leaders Program for members of ACerS’ Young Professionals Network, which meant waking up rather early in the morning to enjoy a pre-conference breakfast, served with a side of leadership training, with young graduates of our field. Friendships were quickly developed during those mornings as we got to know some of the people that would be our coworkers and fellow leaders after we graduated from university life and moved on to our careers.
All of the different aspects of the Leadership Summit came together into a fantastic experience. Over the course of just two days, we learned about some key trends in industry and education that will shape the future that we will step into after graduation. The variety of conversations we participated in also gave us a unique perspective on the ceramics community that cannot be easily gained at a technical conference. Our experience was one that we sincerely hope other undergraduate and graduate students will choose to share through participation in future Summits.
David Shahin is the council chair of ACerS’ President’s Council of Student Advisors at Missouri S&T. Chris Dosch is the recruitment chair of PCSA at the University of Florida.
(Editor’s note: We will be posting videos from the Summit over the next few weeks.)
According to a DOE press release, field tests have shown that using carbon dioxide in an oil recovery method dubbed “huff-and-puff” can help assess the carbon sequestration potential of geologic formations while tapping domestic oil resources.
The tests run by the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership, one of seven in DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership programs, was unique.
In addition to demonstrating the feasibility of combining CO2 storage along with enhanced oil recovery in carbonate rocks deeper than 8,000 feet, the test displayed effective tools for detecting and monitoring small-volume CO2 plumes in deep carbonate reservoirs to ensure safe and permanent sequestration.
Shinobu Fujihara, professor of engineering at Keio University (Japan), oversees a lab that has been investigating ceramic-based optical energy materials science. For example, some of the work involves the use of materials with luminescent and other electromagnetic properties that can be incorporated into a ceramic material. The idea is to build environmentally friendly multifunctional ceramic materials that don’t rely on costly rare earth elements. Fujihara’s group is also working to develop new ceramic materials with photovoltaic properties that don’t require the use of silicon.
The New York Times reported that California utility Pacific Gas & Electric and solar company SunRun have formed an alliance that will eliminate the upfront cost of installing rooftop solar panels for some home owners.
PG&E subsidiary Pacific Energy Capital is investing $100 million to help pay for the installation of more than 3,500 home photovoltaic arrays.
SunRun will use the money to install panels throughout 2010 and 2011 in at least five states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The PG&E subsidiary will get any government tax credits associated with the home projects.
“We’re at the proverbial ground zero of these new technologies and so perhaps more than any utility holding company in the country we have a strategic imperative to get ahead of the curve through having a propriety seat at the table with a partner like SunRun,” says Brian Steel, P.G.&E.’s senior director of corporate strategy.
Homeowners do not pay for solar arrays – which can cost more than $30,000 — but sign a power purchase agreement with SunRun that fixes the cost of their monthly electricity payments for as many as 18 years. In exchange, SunRun installs, owns and maintains the solar systems.
The solar financing model of offering a power purchase agreement, or leasing solar panels, is one of the most promising methods for making solar photovoltaic panels accessible to more homeowners. The financing companies own and maintain the panels over 20 years and so they benefit from the state and federal tax credits and rebates and sell the electricity to the utility.