Archive for the ‘energy’ category

Jul 12, 2020

Astronomers Finally Have Important Details on What The Centre of Our Galaxy Looks Like

Posted by in categories: energy, space

The center of our very own galaxy might be one of the Universe’s most mysterious places. Astronomers have to probe through thick dust to see what’s going on there.

All that dust makes life difficult for astronomers who are trying to understand all the radiation in the center of the Milky Way, and what exactly its source is.

A new study based on 20 years of data – and a hydrogen bubble where there shouldn’t be one – is helping astronomers understand all that energy.

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Jul 12, 2020

Cosmic Cataclysm Allows Precise Test of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

Posted by in categories: energy, quantum physics

In 2019, the MAGIC telescopes detected the first Gamma Ray Burst at very high energies. This was the most intense gamma-radiation ever obtained from such a cosmic object. But the GRB data have more to offer: with further analyses, the MAGIC scientists could now confirm that the speed of light is constant in vacuum — and not dependent on energy. So, like many other tests, GRB data also corroborate Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. The study has now been published in Physical Review Letters.

Einstein’s general relativity (GR) is a beautiful theory that explains how mass and energy interact with space-time, creating a phenomenon commonly known as gravity. GR has been tested and retested in various physical situations and over many different scales, and, postulating that the speed of light is constant, it always turned out to outstandingly predict the experimental results. Nevertheless, physicists suspect that GR is not the most fundamental theory, and that there might exist an underlying quantum mechanical description of gravity, referred to as quantum gravity (QG).

Some QG theories consider that the speed of light might be energy dependent. This hypothetical phenomenon is called Lorentz invariance violation (LIV). Its effects are thought to be too tiny to be measured, unless they are accumulated over a very long time. So how to achieve that? One solution is using signals from astronomical sources of gamma rays. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are powerful and far away cosmic explosions, which emit highly variable, extremely energetic signals. They are thus excellent laboratories for experimental tests of QG. The higher energy photons are expected to be more influenced by the QG effects, and there should be plenty of those; these travel billions of years before reaching Earth, which enhances the effect.

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Jul 11, 2020

Scientists Discover Unexplained Glowing Circles of Energy in Space

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Scientists believe they have likely discovered a new and unexplained class of space object: the Odd Radio Circle, or ORC.

Jul 10, 2020

Court upholds regulation boosting electric grid storage

Posted by in category: energy

A federal court on Friday upheld a regulation that removes barriers to electric grid-level batteries that store electricity.

The regulation in question requires that grid operators treat storage similar to the way power plants are treated. It was promulgated in 2018 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Jul 9, 2020

PacifiCorp Opens 4.3GW Renewables and Storage Procurement

Posted by in category: energy

The Berkshire Hathaway-owned utility’s largest-ever clean energy procurement opens up huge opportunities in Northwest and Rocky Mountain states.


Jeff St. John

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Jul 9, 2020

This map shows that Mars and Earth aren’t that different

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Mars’ poles contain millennia-old ice deposits. They also contain carbon dioxide, iron, aluminium, silicon and sulfur, which could be used to make glass, brick and plastic. Furthermore, the planet’s atmosphere contains enough hydrogen and methanol for fuel.

The tallest mountain on Mars and in the solar system is Olympus Mons, and it is two and a half times taller than Mt. Everest. A Martian canyon system, called Valles Marineris, is the length of the entire continental United States and three times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

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Jul 9, 2020

New video codec halves streaming time

Posted by in category: energy

A German research institute announced Tuesday a new video standard that halves the bitrate required for streaming, allowing higher quality images on lower-power devices and opening the door wider to adoption of super high-definition 8K content.

The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute said the new codec, VVC—Versatile Video Coding, will not compromise . With ever-increasing demands on bandwidth for streaming, Zoom conferencing, 4K content and 360-degree panoramic videos, and especially during heightened web use spurred by global quarantines, VVC comes at an opportune time.

The increased transmission efficiency the codec promises to achieve would help major streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu reduce costs as they prepare for higher-resolution fare down the road.

Jul 7, 2020

Pinch me! Jaguar trademark fuels all-electric F-Type successor speculation

Posted by in category: energy

According to a recent trademark filing, Jaguar could name its upcoming electric F-Type succesor the EV-Type. A nod to the E-Type, of course.

Jul 6, 2020

New nano-engineering strategy shows potential for improved advanced energy storage

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

The rapid development of renewable energy resources has triggered tremendous demands in large-scale, cost-efficient and high-energy-density stationary energy storage systems.

Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) have many advantages but there are much more abundant metallic elements available such as sodium, potassium, zinc and aluminum.

These elements have similar chemistries to lithium and have recently been extensively investigated, including (SIBs), potassium-ion batteries (PIBs), zinc-ion batteries (ZIBs), and aluminum-ion batteries (AIBs). Despite promising aspects relating to redox potential and density the development of these beyond-LIBs has been impeded by the lack of suitable electrode materials.

Jul 5, 2020

Laser allows solid-state refrigeration of a semiconductor material

Posted by in categories: energy, quantum physics

But lasers also show promise to do quite the opposite — to cool materials. Lasers that can cool materials could revolutionize fields ranging from bio-imaging to quantum communication.

In 2015, University of Washington researchers announced that they can use a laser to cool water and other liquids below room temperature. Now that same team has used a similar approach to refrigerate something quite different: a solid semiconductor. As the team shows in a paper published June 23 in Nature Communications, they could use an infrared laser to cool the solid semiconductor by at least 20 degrees C, or 36 F, below room temperature.

The device is a cantilever — similar to a diving board. Like a diving board after a swimmer jumps off into the water, the cantilever can vibrate at a specific frequency. But this cantilever doesn’t need a diver to vibrate. It can oscillate in response to thermal energy, or heat energy, at room temperature. Devices like these could make ideal optomechanical sensors, where their vibrations can be detected by a laser. But that laser also heats the cantilever, which dampens its performance.

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