An amazing new story shows how to double electric power, 65% cheaper. It is a completely reliable, low-tech, pollution–free green solution. We can mass-produce it quickly. All we need do, to double electric power, 65% cheaper, is to surround a wind turbine with helium-filled rings. As the picture below shows, these float the turbine 350 feet or more in the air. This lets it use far faster and more reliable wind. Tethers position the turbine and instantly conduct electricity to the ground.
We should soon use these inflatable high-altitude wind turbines at far higher altitudes, where winds are far faster and more reliable. This is a terrific story, even for the many utilities now converting to cheap and clean natural gas. The United States and Canada have massive supplies of natural gas, but they also have extensive areas with high winds. Most areas have strong winds at high altitudes, but these high wind areas are often lightly populated, so they should be especially good for this way to double electric power, 65% cheaper. This way to double electric power, 65% cheaper, also will be outstanding for remote and offshore areas, where long distance cables are costly.
There is an amazing new oil-spill clean-up breakthrough. Spongy blocks of carbon nanotubes are an astounding oil-spill clean-up breakthrough. The nanotubes are 1-50 nanometers across (much narrower than a human hair). They are 100 times stronger than steel and about a sixth the weight. The tubes float well and absorb 123 times their weight in oil. You can put a match to them, to burn off the oil, 10,000 times. These oil-spill clean-up breakthrough nanotubes are 99 percent air, conduct electricity and can are easy to manipulate with magnets.
Nanotubes also can make more-efficient and lighter batteries and scaffolds for bone-tissue regeneration. We can even use them with polymers, for very strong and light automobile and plane composites. The most amazing thing, about the oil-spill clean-up breakthrough nanotubes, is that students and teachers created them at different universities. I cannot wait for mass production, by the industrial chemists and engineers at big corporations.
A perfect atomic transistor now uses one phosphorus atom on a silicon crystal. Researchers made prior single-atom transistors by chance, by searching through many devices or isolating one atom in multi-atom devices. This atomic transistor even has tiny etched markers for metal contacts.
A scanning tunneling microscope (STM), patented in 1980, let this team create the atomic transistor. This microscope sees and manipulates atoms using an ultra high vacuum chamber, cooled to near absolute zero temperature. It came after a thousand years of microscope history and four Nobel Prizes. It also came after two thousand years of pump development, including 330 years of vacuum pump development.
The team used lithography to place phosphorus atoms on a crystal and cover them with a layer of hydrogen. After selectively removing the hydrogen with the STM, chemicals fuse the phosphorus to the silicon. Extra silicon then covers the atomic transistors. This could give us commercial single-atom transistors about 2020, well ahead of Moore's Law predictions.
University of Georgia researchers are working on a road to better biofuels. This is one of many reasons why people like Steve Bennett (former Intuit CEO) and I are among the many who believe that the best is yet to come.
This road to better biofuels is something anyone can see, with an electron microscope or pictures created from them. This road to better biofuels is a "road map" of the genome of a hybrid grass in the genus Miscanthus. The Miscanthus x giganteus grass is a natural source of ethanol and bio-energy. It requires very little fertilizer and has sugarcane-like stalks. These can grow more than 12 feet high, in marginal soil, across much of the United States, Europe and Asia.This road to better biofuels map can now serve as diagnostic tool for making the plant an even better biofuel crop.
Plants provide cleaner energy than fossil fuels. Coal and oil carbon contain trapped carbon, which was underground for millions of years. Burning them releases this carbon into the atmosphere. Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere as they grow. When they burn, they release only the carbon they collected from the air, making them carbon neutral.
University scientists are now taking the plants used in the genetic map and measuring height, flowering time, stalk size, leaf dimensions and how far they spread from where planted. Then they can correlate bits of DNA with traits. This can let breeders improve Miscanthus strengths by removing some shortcomings. For example, one significant challenge is that it flowers too soon, instead of preventing it from growing bigger leaves and taller, thicker stalks.
The new genetic map should save years of research. Without it, researchers and breeders would have to go to many locations and take thousands of measurements to figure out which plants have the best potential for improving future crops. Now they will have a road to better biofuels, to select the best plants much more rapidly, so the best is yet to come.