Environment

Missouri S&T researchers question need for silver additive to ceramic water filter

By / September 2, 2010

Pot-shaped filters, like those above, are used to remove bacteria from water in Guatemala. The filters are typically made out of native sawdust and clay, and imported colloidal silver. (Credit: Missouri S&T.) Ceramic pot filters are crucial for accessing clean water in third-world countries and underdeveloped regions of emerging nations. For a variety of reasons,…

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DOE establishes two of three U.S.–China clean energy research centers

By / September 2, 2010

U.S. and Chinese energy officials announced plans for cooperative clean energy research centers in July 2009. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the formation of two new joint United States—China Clean Energy Research Centers to focus on clean coal and clean vehicle technology. Each CERC is expected to be backed by $50 million over the…

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Dry water – a.k.a. hydrophobic fumed silica/water – touted as CO2 absorbent, emulsion transporter

By / August 25, 2010

“Dry water.” Credit: ACS. The American Chemical Society today distributed a story that came out of one of its meetings regarding the use of “dry water” powder as a medium for absorbing CO2, enhancing certain chemical reactions and storing emulsions. Although the story is interesting, it’s not exactly clear to me if the CO2 angle,…

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Rare earths: Growing demand and tight supplies

By / August 24, 2010

It’s far from a disinterested source, but Avalon Rare Metals tells me today that prices for individual rare earth elements have soared 22-705% since January: “[T]he most significant rises have occurred since the June announcement on export quota reductions. The largest percentage price increases have been for cerium and lanthanum, which most analysts believe is…

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Nanowires boost the efficiency of ultra low-cost, stable solar cells

By Kitty Cha / August 24, 2010

One of the ways of ensuring a sustainable solar cell industry is to make cheap and stable cells, using abundant and environmentally friendly materials. However, until now, many such solar cells, particularly those made from copper and zinc oxides, have had their performance limited by the poor collection of photo-generated charges from these materials. A…

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Flexible cellulose aerogel to overcome brittleness

By / August 24, 2010

PopSci recently reported that a team of researchers have created a new cellulose aerogel. The researched was published in Nature Nanotechnology. The team, composed of scientists from the Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, soaked cellulose in a metal compound solution and freeze-dried it, removing all the moisture and…

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With leap in catalytic oxygen production, Nocera predicts new era of ‘personalized energy systems’

By / August 23, 2010

Schematic of Daniel Nocera’s personalized energy system. Credit: MIT News Office Daniel Nocera likes it when he is called a revolutionary. “Yes, sure I am!,” he responded when a writer from the Nachricten aus der Chemie journal asked if “revolutionary” is an accurate description of him. To be sure, the journal probably anticipated this response,…

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UV coating that makes transparent architectural glass less lethal to birds gets Red Dot award

By / August 23, 2010

[flash https://ceramics.org/ceramictechtoday/wp-content/video/ornilux.flv mode=1 f={image=/ceramictechtoday/wp-content/video/ornilux.jpg}] We’ve all heard that “out of nowhere” whack on home or office windows and later found the carcass of some poor bird lying below it. It’s easy to imagine that this scenario gets played out thousands of times a day around the world. But, until I ran across this story at…

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FuelCell Energy, G3 Power Systems and egg ranch owner team up to power fuel cell with fowl gas

By / August 17, 2010

A FuelCell Energy 1.4 megawatt biogas fuel cell system in use at a watertreatment facility in Turlock, Calif. (Editor’s note: This post has been modified from its original version to correct that the fuel cells referenced in this story are based on molten carbonate technology.) No need to ask which came first – the fuel…

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Three-in-one diesel honeycomb ultra-high acicular mullite could slash costs for emission systems

By / August 10, 2010

Schematic of a typical, bulky and costly three-part diesel engine aftertreatment system. Credit: Pyzik, Ziebarth, Han and Yang; ACT. Mostly through sheer coincidence, I have been running across several articles (see below) regarding approaches to NOx emissions control. The latest comes from a new paper in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology (DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7402.2010.02539.x)…

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