Biodegradable Car

TU/Ecomotive (Netherlands) says ‘Lina‘ is the world’s first car with a fully biocomposite body structure. The 4-seat e-car‘s chassis uses a combination of bio-composite and bio-plastic made from sugarbeet.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENJOY THE VIDEO

It’s made of flax, the outside is made of flax fibres, together with polypropylene. It’s pressed and heated to make flat panels. In the middle you can see polylactic acid, the honeycomb structure of that material, which adds to the strength and weight savings of the sandwich panel. All structural parts of the car are made of this material,” says Yanic Van Riel, TU/Ecomotive.

The biocomposite has a similar strength-weight ratio to fibreglass, making the car light, greatly reducing battery size.

The car weighs only 310 kilograms which is really light for a car. That’s why we only need 30 kilograms of batteries. And on those 30 kilograms of battery packs we can drive around 100 kilometres, which is about four times more efficient than a BMW i3 right now and that’s in real city driving, so braking, stopping, accelerating, not just like the most optimal driving,” explains Yanic Van Riel.

Lina has a top speed of around 50 miles per hour. Electronic features include NFCnearfield communication technology.  “We can open our doors with NFC technology and a car will immediately recognise who is driving it. So if I’m opening it, it will save all the data from me and if someone else opens it, it will save his data. In that way we can use this car for carsharing apps, which other companies are creating. Also we have a hood system which projects the speed and all the information of the car into the front window, so we can see it through the window and still see the road, so it’s more safe,” adds Noud Van De Gevel, TU/Ecomotive.

The team hopes the prototype will soon be declared roadworthy, allowing it to be tested on Eindhoven city streets.

Source: http://tuecomotive.nl/

Nanoparticles From Car Pollution May Trigger Alzheimer’s

Tiny magnetic particles produced by car engines and brakes can travel into the human brain and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have warned. Researchers at Lancaster, Oxford and Manchester Universities discovered microscopic  spheres of the mineral magnetite in the brains of 37 people in Manchester and Mexico who had suffered neurodegenerative disease. The mineral magnetite is known to be toxic and is linked to the production of free radicals which are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

car-gas-pollution

Although magnetite has previously been found in the brains of people who had died of Alzheimer’s disease, it was thought it occurred naturally. However the tiny balls spotted by the scientists had a fused surface suggesting they had been formed during extreme heat, such as in a car engineMagnetite – a form of iron oxide – is known to be produced in car engines – particularly diesel engines which can emit up to 22 times more particulates than petrol engines – as well as when brakes are used, both by cars and trains. It can also be produced by open fires and poorly fitted stoves. Researchers said the findings opened up a ‘whole new avenue‘ into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, while charities said it offered ‘convincing evidence‘ that the toxic particles could get into the brain. “The particles we found are strikingly similar to magnetite nanospheres that are abundant in the airborne pollution found in urban settings, especially next to busy roads and which are firmed by combustion or frictional heating from vehicle engines or brakes.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

How To Cheaply Convert Natural Gas To Liquid Form

Within six months, scientists believe they may be close to completing a nanotechnology catalyst to allow affordable, marketable petroleum product using nanotechnology to convert natural gas to liquid formJupiter Fuels LLC, located at Camp Minden, in partnership with Louisiana Tech University, has been working for the last three years to develop a more affordable way to convert natural gas, thereby making it more affordable to consumers. David Madden, president of the company, says the ultimate goal is a cheaper way to convert natural gas to liquid.

natural gas car2

It would be a new catalyst to make Fischer-Tropsch more efficient,” he said. “There’s lots of natural gas. We have natural gas everywhere. If you convert natural gas and turn it into a stable liquid that will not evaporate at room temperature, then you can transport it anywhere you want to.”

Currently, some energy companies are using cryogenic technology that compresses natural gas into a frozen liquefied natural gas, around -120 Fahrenheit. They put it on a ship, transport it to Europe or Asia and then thaw it out for use.

The new process would eliminate all that, he said.

Officials with Jupiter Fuels say converting it to liquid fuels allows the use of existing fuel production infrastructure and existing transportation technologies.

It is the goal of this project to continue the process of developing catalysts used in the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis that can be utilized on a commercial scale,” according to a description of the project from Louisiana Tech University’s Research Center. “Operational analysis will examine variables including temperature, pressure, conversion on catalyst performance, and space velocity pertaining to product distribution and catalyst lifetime. In order to increase production, efforts will focus on ultimate catalyst deposition and catalyst substrate preparation.”

Source: http://press-herald.com/

New Immunotherapy Destroys Almost All Types Of Blood Cancer

cancer in bloodExperimental, living T-cell* therapy shows promise for treating advanced disease, making immunotherapy a ‘pillar’ of cancer care. Fred Hutch’s Dr. Stan Riddell and colleagues are making significant strides in this exciting field, and continue to refine ways to use the human immune system to overcome cancer and other diseases.

Twenty-seven out of 29 patients (more than 93%) with an advanced blood cancer who received an experimental, “living immunotherapy as part of a clinical trial experienced sustained remissions, according to preliminary results of the ongoing study at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Some of the patients in the trial, which began in 2013, were originally not expected to survive for more than a few months because their disease had previously relapsed or was resistant to other treatments, said Dr. Stanley Riddell, an immunotherapy researcher and oncologist Fred Hutch. Today, there is no sign of disease.

He shared the results as part of an update on new adoptive T-cell therapy strategies for cancer at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Riddell, who has studied how to empower the immune system to effectively treat human disease for more than 25 years, said that progress now being made, underscored by these latest results, is finally making immunotherapya pillar of cancer therapy.” But, he cautioned, “Much like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, it’s not going to be a save-all.” Some patients may require other treatments. The trial is designed to test the safety of the latest iteration of an experimental immunotherapy in which a patient’s own T cells are reprogrammed to eliminate his or her cancer. The reprogramming involves genetically engineering the T cells with synthetic molecules called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, that enable them to target and destroy tumor cells bearing a particular target. Trial participants include patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

* T cells are white blood cells that can detect foreign or abnormal cells, including cancerous ones, and initiate a process that targets those abnormal cells for attack. But even when triggered, the natural immune response to a tumor is often neither strong nor persistent enough to overcome cancer cells.

Source: https://www.fredhutch.org/

Car, Boat, Airplane: Bye Bye Sickness

The misery of motion sickness could be ended within five to ten years thanks to a new treatment being developed by scientists. The cause of motion sickness is still a mystery but a popular theory among scientists says it is to do with confusing messages received by our brains from both our ears and eyes, when we are moving. It is a very common complaint and has the potential to affect all of us, meaning we get a bit queasy on boats or rollercoasters. However, around three in ten people experience hard-to-bear motion sickness symptoms, such as dizziness, severe nausea, cold sweats, and more.

Research from Imperial College London, published today (4 September) in the journal Neurology, shows that a mild electrical current applied to the scalp can dampen responses in an area of the brain that is responsible for processing motion signals. Doing this helps the brain reduce the impact of the confusing inputs it is receiving and so prevents the problem that causes the symptoms of motion sickness. This technique offers a safe and effective intervention that is likely to be available for anyone to buy, in the future.

sicknessCLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENJOY THE VIDEO

We are confident that within five to ten years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device. It may be something like a tens machine that is used for back pain”, said Dr Qadeer Arshad from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London who led the research. “We hope it might even integrate with a mobile phone, which would be able to deliver the small amount of electricity required via the headphone jack. In either case, you would temporarily attach small electrodes to your scalp before travelling – on a cross channel ferry, for example.

Source: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/

Run A Car With Water And Air

The German automaker Audi announced it has created the first batch of liquid “e-diesel” at a research facility in Dresden. The clear fuel is produced through a “power to liquid” process, masterminded by the German clean tech company and Audi partner Sunfire.

The process uses carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas, which can be captured directly from air. Carbon dioxide is created largely by burning fossil fuels and contributes to global warming. Now Sunfire said it can recycle the gas to make a more efficient, carbon-neutral fuel.
Unlike conventional fossil fuels, the “e-diesel” doesn’t contain sulphur and other contaminants.
audi e-diesel
The engine runs quieter and fewer pollutants are being created,” Sunfire‘s Christian von Olshausen said.
The fuel is produced in three steps. First, the researchers heat up steam to very high temperatures to break it down into hydrogen and oxygen. This process requires temperatures of over 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 Fahrenheit) and is powered by green energy such as solar or wind power.
Second, they mix the hydrogen with carbon dioxide under pressure and at high temperature to create so-called blue crude. Lastly, the blue crude is refined into fuels in a similar way fossil crude oil is refined into gasoline.
Audi (AUDVF) said its lab tests have shown the “e-diesel” can be mixed with fossil fuels or used as a fuel on its own.
At this stage the e-diesel cost 40 % more than the regular gasoline per liter to produce.
Source: http://www.sunfire.de/
AND
http://money.cnn.com/

Reconsidering Car Powered With Natural Gas

A discovery at Rice University aims to make vehicles that run on compressed natural gas more practical. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour has enhanced a polymer material to make it far more impermeable to pressurized gas and far lighter than the metal in tanks now used to contain the gas. The combination could be a boon for an auto industry under pressure to market consumer cars that use cheaper natural gas. It could also find a market in food and beverage packaging.

Gas powered car

The idea is to increase the toughness of the tank and make it impermeable to gas,” Tour said. “This becomes increasingly important as automakers think about powering cars with natural gas. Metal tanks that can handle natural gas under pressure are often much heavier than the automakers would like.” He said the material could help to solve long-standing problems in food packaging, too.

Tour and his colleagues at Rice and in Hungary, Slovenia and India reported their results in the online edition of the American Chemistry Society journal ACS Nano.
Source: http://news.rice.edu/

You Will Never Wash Your Car Again

Researchers at TU/e -Technische Universiteit in Eindhoven (Nederland) – have for the first time developed a coating with a surface that repairs itself after damage. This new coating has numerous potential applications – for example mobile phones that will remain clean from fingerprints, cars that never need to be washed, and aircraft that need less frequent repainting. The results were published in the 17 July edition of the journal Advanced Materials.

Functional coatings, for example with highly water-resistant or antibacterial properties, have at their surface nano-sized molecular groups that provide these specific properties. But up to now, these molecular groups are easily and irreversibly damaged by minor contact with their surface (such as by scratching), quickly causing their properties to be lost. This has been a big limitation to the possible applications of these coatings. Researcher Catarina Esteves of the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e and her colleagues have now found a solution to this problem. 

Source: http://www.tue.nl/en/university/news-and-press/news/you-may-never-need-to-wash-your-car-again-thanks-to-new-coating-technology/

Very fast two-photon lithography

Printing three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using “two-photon lithography”. With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a major breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique: The high-precision-3D-printer  is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices (see video). This opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine.

The video shows the 3d-printing process in real time. Due to the very fast guiding of the laser beam, 100 layers, consisting of approximately 200 single lines each, are produced in four minutes.
CLICK HERE TO ENJOY THE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

 

This amazing progress was made possible by combining several new ideas. “It was crucial to improve the control mechanism of the mirrors”, says Jan Torgersen (TU Vienna). The mirrors are continuously in motion during the printing process. The acceleration and deceleration-periods have to be tuned very precisely to achieve high-resolution results at a record-breaking speed.

Source: http://www.tuwien.ac.at/en/news/news_detail/article/7444/

Lithium-air battery ten times more powerful

Among various electrochemical energy storage systems explored to date, the lithium-air (Li-air) battery is one of the most promising technologies, with a theoretical energy density nearly ten times that of conventional lithium-ion batteries. This is because lithium metal as an anode has a capacity ten times higher than that of conventional graphite anodes, and oxygen as the cathode of a Li-air battery can be absorbed freely from the environment leading to a significant reduction in the weight and the cost of the battery.

 

Dr. Ji-Guang Zhang, a researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's – PNNL –Transformational Materials Science Initiative, and his team, demonstrate  in a recent post, that a novel air electrode consisting of an unusual hierarchical arrangement of functionalized graphene sheets (with no catalyst) delivers an exceptionally high capacity batteries – which is the highest value ever.
The performance of Li-air batteries is affected by many factors such as electrolyte composition, the macrostructure of the air electrode, and the micro- to nanostructure of carbonaceous materials.  This recent work by the PNNL team minimizes air-electrode-blocking problem and leads to significantly increased capacities.
Source: Nano Letters ("Hierarchically Porous Graphene as a Lithium-Air Battery Electrode")