Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category


The original technology was demonstrated in an Atlantic crossing that took place in 1926, but Norsepower says it has created various new improvements for which several patents have been granted.

Last year (reports New Atlas) we detailed how Norsepower had rediscovered an engineering innovation, which sees large cylinders installed atop big ships to harness wind for propulsion.

Now a passenger ship has been treated to the Rotor Sail Solution and has set sail on wind-assisted trips between Finland and Sweden.

The M/S Viking Grace – which has 880 cabins and can accommodate 2,800 passengers and around 500 cars – went into service in 2013, when it was reported to be the first ship of its size to be fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

(more…)

Sweden installs section of electrified road

Posted: April 13, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, News, Travel
Tags:

Slot cars [image credit: Thomas Mielke @ Wikipedia]


Forget solar panels on the road surface – this is a different idea. Power is picked up by vehicles on the move, similar to slot cars. The report says: ‘They have also taken measures to ensure the rail is functional during inclement weather.’ Trialling in Sweden should put that to the test.

A team making up the eRoadArlanda project has announced that they have electrified a section of road near Stockholm, which will be tested by a battery-powered test truck.

The team is part of an initiative set up by the Swedish government’s Transport Administration to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, reports TechXplore.

The Swedish government has been funding projects aimed at developing a fossil-free road transport system for many years. In this new effort, the focus was on implementing a road technology that could be used by currently available vehicles. The result is what some have called a human-sized slot car system.

(more…)

Lithium ion battery


Of course the ‘could’ in the headline tells us this has yet to be proven beyond the laboratory, and many of these battery claims seem to fizzle out in the end, or may be overtaken by newer ideas. But a professor here is saying: “We’ve opened up a new chemical space for battery technology”.

A research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using metals other than cobalt in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials, reports EurekAlert.

Lithium-based batteries use more than 50 percent of all cobalt produced in the world. These batteries are in your cell phone, laptop and maybe even your car.

About 50 percent of the world’s cobalt comes from the Congo, where it’s largely mined by hand, in some instances by children.

But now, a research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using other metals in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials.

(more…)

Ex-drone, somewhere in Siberia


Testing in public – a risky business.

Russia wants to use drones to deliver mail in Siberia. If this first test is any indication, their technology isn’t quite there yet, reports Futurism.

Someday, in the future, our skies will be full of whirring machines delivering anything we could ever want or need, from medical supplies to pizzas to the latest item from our Amazon overlords.

That day is not today.

(more…)

Tibetan Plateau region


This is industrial scale geo-engineering. From one researcher: “Sometimes snow would start falling almost immediately after we ignited the chamber. It was like standing on the stage of a magic show,” he said.

China is testing cutting-edge defence technology to develop a powerful yet relatively low-cost weather modification system to bring substantially more rain to the Tibetan plateau, Asia’s biggest freshwater reserve, says the South China Morning Post.

The system, which involves an enormous network of fuel-burning chambers installed high up on the Tibetan mountains, could increase rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres a year – about 7 per cent of China’s total water consumption – according to researchers involved in the project.

(more…)

Image credit: BBC


They say ‘the next step is to work on scaling up the system and boosting its efficiency’.

MIT-developed system could provide drinking water even in extremely arid locations, says MIT’s News Office.

It seems like getting something for nothing, but you really can get drinkable water right out of the driest of desert air.

Even in the most arid places on Earth, there is some moisture in the air, and a practical way to extract that moisture could be a key to survival in such bone-dry locations. Now, researchers at MIT have proved that such an extraction system can work.

(more…)

VVT engine [image credit: motortrend.com]


This type of technology may not be quite as new as suggested in the report. Various manufacturers have tried it in one form or another.

Technology developed at the University of Waterloo reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent, says TechXplore.

The product of a decade of research, this patented system for opening and closing valves could significantly reduce fuel consumption in everything from ocean-going ships to compact cars.

“This method has the potential to bring the well-established benefits of a fully variable valve system out of the lab and into production engines because cost and complexity aren’t issues,” said Amir Khajepour, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at Waterloo.

(more…)

Image credit: yournewswire.com


One of a number of ways the police can or could use drones.

Crimes that involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials pose a deadly threat not just to the target of the attack but to innocent bystanders and police investigators, says Phys.org.

Often, these crimes may involve unusual circumstances or they are terrorist-related incidents, such as an assassination attempt or the sending of poisons through the mail.

In the recent notorious case of poisoning in the UK city of Salisbury in March 2018, a number of first responders and innocent bystanders were treated in hospital after two victims of chemical poisoning were found unconscious on a park bench.

(more…)

Permian shale, Texas [image credit: fulcrium.com]


The rise and rise of US shale continues to defy the arguments of its critics, shaking up the world with new ideas and greater efficiency.
H/T Bloomberg

‘Cube development,’ which taps multiple layers of shale all at once, could accelerate the U.S. shale boom and make the world swim in cheap and abundant energy for much of the next 250 years, as The GWPF reports.

In the scrublands of West Texas there’s an oil-drilling operation like few that have come before.

Encana Corp.’s RAB Davidson well pad is so mammoth, the explorer speaks of it in military terms, describing its efforts here as an occupation.

(more…)

The secret on the ocean floor

Posted: February 21, 2018 by oldbrew in exploration, government, History, innovation

Hughes Glomar Explorer at Long Beach, California (1976) [image credit: TedQuackenbush @ Wikipedia]


One mining forecast claims ‘an emerging undersea industry in oceans around the world could be worth $30bn a year by 2030.’ Do the origins of this go back to the Cold War?

Did a 1970s CIA plot spark a boom in deep sea mining? – asks BBC News.

In the summer of 1974, a large and highly unusual ship set sail from Long Beach in California.

It was heading for the middle of the Pacific where its owners boasted it would herald a revolutionary new industry beneath the waves.

Equipped with a towering rig and the latest in drilling gear, the vessel was designed to reach down through the deep, dark waters to a source of incredible wealth lying on the ocean floor.

It was billed as the boldest step so far in a long-held dream of opening a new frontier in mining, one that would see valuable metals extracted from the rocks of the seabed.

But amid all the excited public relations, there was one small hitch – the whole expedition was a lie.

(more…)

Image credit: BBC


That should ring everyone’s bell (sorry). Time for a phone-call-to-God joke.

Mobile providers are preparing to install antennas in church spires across the country, after ministers and bishops signed an agreement aimed at using the Church of England’s buildings to help obliterate blackspots, reports The Daily Telegraph.

A new “accord” between the Government and the Church sets out a joint plan to improve “connectivity” in rural areas by making use of spires and towers, following the successful use of the structures to improve access to high-speed broadband in two dioceses.

(more…)

The US Permian Basin has massive oil and gas reserves [credit: theamericanenergynews.com]


No sign of demand for oil fading any time soon, despite all the climate propaganda from wishful thinkers. Even web searches for ‘peak oil’ have declined as US production has soared. Everyone knows, or ought to, that turning the oil tap off would collapse any industrial economy in days.
H/T The GWPF

US crude oil output surges to new all-time record highs in January. It’s a great day for the US energy industry, a great day for the frackers, and a great day for American-style capitalism, says Mark J. Perry of AEIdeas.

I haven’t used the Drudge Report siren in a long time, but thought it was appropriate today to announce a monumental and historic US energy milestone: US crude oil production set a monthly record in January of 10.2 million barrels per day (bpd), based on the EIA’s most recent monthly forecast that was released yesterday (see top chart above).

January’s crude oil production topped the previous record of 10.04 million bpd established back in November 1970, more than 47 years ago.

(more…)

Credit: energy.gov


California is – somewhat optimistically perhaps – looking to phase out its use of fossil fuels, and equally reliable alternatives need to be found and developed.

Experts say the American West is full of geothermal reservoirs whose energy could power millions of homes. But extracting that energy isn’t easy, as NPR explains.

Three and a half hours east of Los Angeles lies the Salton Sea, a manmade oasis in the heart of the Mojave Desert.

It was created in 1905, when a canal broke and the Colorado River flooded the desert for more than a year. The Sea became a tourist hotspot in the 1950’s, perfect for swimming, boating, and kayaking.

But now, people are coming here looking for something else.

(more…)

Mazda’s newest engine technology


Mazda seems confident its spark controlled compression ignition solution – a sort of cross between petrol and diesel engine technology, but running on petrol – can rival electric vehicles in overall CO2 output and hopes to put it on sale.

We get it says TechXplore. Car-makers say they are on board for a next chapter in the electrification of cars and they have teams dedicated to developing cars toward that end.

Well-known brands are looking at alternative-fuel solutions such as hybrid or all-electric. It seems as if the internal combustion engine will be on its way out.

But wait.

(more…)


We don’t normally do press releases at the Talkshop, but this one might be interesting if we can work out what it really means. The fact that they refer to grid stability implies it’s an issue in Germany at least.

Automobile, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network: In a pilot project the Audi Smart Energy Network for the first time interacts with the power grid.

This marks a major advance for grid stability, claims Audi’s press release.

As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners.

This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system.

(more…)

Hyperloop: Future or fantasy?

Posted: January 20, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel


Hype or hope? BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones visits Virgin Hyperloop One’s test track near Las Vegas.

So, here’s the plan – we’re going to load you into a pod, and then shoot you at 700 mph (1,123 km/h) through a vacuum, taking you to your destination in minutes rather than hours.

That is the rather unlikely pitch of Hyperloop One.

But the remarkable thing that struck me on a recent trip to the project’s test site in Nevada was that nobody thought it was, well, remarkable.

(more…)

Construction of Chinese ‘solar road’


For less cost they could have put the panels at the side of the road, angled towards the sun.

Road built from solar panels targeted by gang thought to be trying to steal technology, reports the South China Morning Post.

The one-kilometre stretch of photovoltaic highway – built of solar panels which cars can drive over – opened for testing in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province on December 28.

During a routine inspection last Tuesday, staff found that it had been vandalised and a portion of it was missing, Qilu Evening News reported.

A narrow 1.8-metre panel had been removed and seven surrounding panels damaged by the thieves.

(more…)

Image credit: BBC


Before anyone asks – ‘UTS are also adapting the emerging technology to spot crocodiles for a program in northern Australia.’

High-tech shark-spotting drones are patrolling dozens of Australian beaches this summer to quickly identify underwater predators and deliver safety devices to swimmers and surfers faster than traditional lifesavers, reports Phys.org.

As hundreds of people lined up in early morning sun to take part in a recent ocean swimming race at Bilgola beach north of Sydney, they did so in the knowledge the ocean had been scanned to keep them safe.

“I think it is really awesome,” 20-year-old competitor Ali Smith told AFP. “It is cool to see technology and ocean swimming getting together, and hopefully more people will feel safer and get involved.”

(more…)

Guangzhou, China


If there were prizes for irony, this would have to be a contender. Does the coal generate its electricity?

China, already the world’s biggest electric-vehicle market, is now using battery power to fuel cargo shipping as well, reports Quartz Media.

A Chinese company has built a 2,000 metric-ton (2,204 tons) all-electric cargo ship, which was launched from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in mid-November, according to state-run newspaper People’s Daily.

The 70-meter long (229 feet) and 14-meter wide (45 feet) ship is equipped with over 1,000 lithium batteries, with a total capacity of 2,400 kilowatt-hours.

By comparison, Tesla’s Model X is equipped with a 100-kWh battery that allows it to drive nearly 570 kilometers (350 miles).

(more…)

Tesla electric truck [image credit: Tesla]


Maybe they could put some solar panels on its roof and only recharge in daylight and/or when it’s windy.

Tesla’s recently unveiled electric truck will require the equivalent power used by up to 4,000 homes to recharge, says Energy Live News.

That’s according to new analysis by an energy consultancy, which calculated it based on the range and charge time for the megacharger.

(more…)