Sunday, April 21, 2013

Clean Energy Breakthrough: Scientists Extract Hydrogen Gas From Plants

plant 2Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a breakthrough in hydrogen energy, something that has always been known to challenge fossil fuel dominance. They have developed a process that extracts large quantities of hydrogen gas from plants in an eco-friendly and renewable way. This is yet another alternative we are now aware of that could end our dependence on fossil fuels.
Y.H. Percival Zhang is an associate professor at Virginia Tech, along with other researchers he developed a new method of using customized enzymes to produce high quantities of hydrogen out of xylose, a type of sugar that is present in plants.  The new environmentally friendly method of producing hydrogen utilizes renewable natural resources, and releases almost zero greenhouse gasses. Previous hydrogen production techniques have usually been costly and create greenhouse gasses. The discovery is a feature in an online version of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, International Edition.
The high-purity hydrogen is developed under reaction conditions at 122 degrees Fahrenheit and normal atmospheric pressure. A group of enzymes that are artificially isolated from different micro-organisms that thrive at extreme temperatures are used as biocatalysts that can thrive and grow at around the boiling point of water. To liberate the hydrogen from the planet, scientists separated multiple enzymes from their native micro-organisms to make an enzyme mix that does not occur in nature. When the enzymes are combined with xylose (sugar from plant) and a polyphosphate they liberate the high volume of hydrogen from the xylose. This process results in the production of three times as much hydrogen as other hydrogen-producing microorganisms.

Researchers Discover That Fuel Can Be Made From Sunlight

Scientists have developed a reactor that mimics plants by turning sunlight into fuel. This is another discovery that could be implemented on a mass scale simply by using the sun. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have built a reactor with a quartz window that absorbs sunlight and acts as a concentration device to direct sunlight to a desired location. In the center of the reactor is something called oxide, which allows oxygen to exhale from its crystalline structure at high temperatures, and inhale oxygen back at lower temperatures.
Specifically, the inhaled oxygen is stripped off of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or water (H2O) gas molecules that are pumped into the reactor, producing carbon monoxide (CO) and/or hydrogen gas (H2). H2 can be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells; CO, combined with H2, can be used to create synthetic gas, or “syngas,” which is the precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Adding other catalysts to the gas mixture, meanwhile, produces methane. And once the ceria is oxygenated to full capacity, it can be heated back up again, and the cycle can begin anew. (SOURCE)
Three years after the discovery of converting sunlight into fuel, we still have  yet to see any progress in the global energy industry with regards to new, clean energy technologies. It’s no secret that an abundant amount of alternative energy technologies are available for use that could help change and restore the planet into her most natural state. Living and consuming energy in a way that is more harmonious with the planet requires the implementation of these technologies and would not even equate to one person having to give up any “wants” or “likes” within their life. The only people that would see any loss, would be the multi-trillion dollar energy industry that thrives off oil and environmental degradation.  It also requires a shift in consciousness, a simple realization that we are the ones that choose the way we want to operate, and what we  use as a resource to do so.
It’s 2013, and enough evidence has presented itself to the masses that shows how the energy industry spends an enormous amount of resources to cover up, conceal and divert attention from new energy technologies. Most new energy alternatives we hear about usually come directly from the oil industry anyway. Think about it, if you want new ways of generating energy, why would you ask the oil industry to do it for you? Collective Evolution has covered new energy technologies in depth since it’s launch. You can view our article on the zero point energy cover-up HERE, vortex induced vibrations HERE, and the searl effect generator HERE. Hopefully these can provide you with a little more insight into energy and the industry that governs it

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The graphene-paved roadmap: 'Wonder material' has potential to revolutionize our lives

 Wonder material graphene could not only dominate the electronic market in the near future, it could also lead to a huge range of new markets and novel applications, a landmark University of Manchester paper claims.
The paper details how graphene, isolated for the first time at The University of Manchester by Professor Novoselov and colleague Professor Andre Geim in 2004, has the potential to revolutionise diverse applications from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to anticancer drugs and computer chips.Writing in Nature, Nobel Prize-winner Professor Kostya Novoselov and an international team of authors has produced a 'Graphene Roadmap' which for the first time sets out what the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material can truly achieve.
One key area is touchscreen devices, such as Apple's iPad, which use indium tin oxide. Graphene's outstanding mechanical flexibility and chemical durability are far superior. Graphene touchscreen devices would prove far more long-lasting and would open a way for flexible devices.
The authors estimate that the first graphene touchscreen devices could be on the market within three to five years, but will only realise its full potential in flexible electronics applications.
Rollable e-paper is another application which should be available as a prototype by 2015 -- graphene's flexibility proving ideal for fold-up electronic sheets which could revolutionise electronics.

Graphene: The Next Wonder Material?

By Michael Tinnesand

There is a new wonder material in town that might change our future. Imagine a coffee cup that streams the day’s headlines in real time. Or a cooking pot that can detect the presence of E. coli bacteria that could make you sick. Or a television screen that is as flexible and thin as a piece of paper. All of these applications could be a reality if the wonder material, named graphene, lives up to its hype.

Chicken wire made of carbon

Graphene rocked the world of chemistry in 2004 when scientists discovered that it had remarkable properties: It conducted electricity better than any other common substance, it was the thinnest known material—only one-atom thick—and it was stronger than steel!
After all, carbon is one of the most common and most familiar of the known chemical elements, so scientists were surprised to find that this new form of carbon had such amazing properties.
Carbon comes in many crystalline forms, called allotropes, the most well-known being diamond and graphite. Allotropes are different forms of the same element with different bonding arrangements between atoms, resulting in structures that have different chemical and physical properties. The way atoms are connected to each other in solid materials has a huge impact on their overall properties.
A diamond and a piece of coal are so different that you would never guess that they are both made of the same element—carbon. Diamond is a hard and transparent mineral that is ejected to the surface from deep within the Earth’s interior through volcanic eruptions, while graphite is a black and lightweight material extracted from coal.
In diamond, each carbon atom is connected to four other carbons. This is a very strong arrangement that makes diamond one of the hardest known materials. In graphite, each atom is linked to three others in layers of hexagonal (six-sided) shapes that look like chicken wire (Fig. 2, p. 8). The bonds within the hexagonal sheets are strong, but each layer is only weakly attracted to the next, which allows the layers to slip by one another.
In 2004, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two chemists at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, used this property to produce samples of graphene and discover its remarkable properties. They used sticky tape to separate the layers of carbon in graphite. To get an idea of how their technique worked, think of pressing sticky tape onto a piece of graphite and pulling it away, leaving the sticky surface covered with graphite flakes. Then, press the sticky tape to itself and pull it apart. Repeat, and after a few rounds of this, some flakes on the tape will be only a single one-atom thick layer—pure graphene.
Sticky tape can be used to peel off powdered graphite, leaving a single layer of graphene
Sticky tape can be used to peel off powdered graphite, leaving a single layer of graphene.

The initial samples of graphene were very small—only a couple of square millimeters in size each—but large enough to test. Because graphene is only one-atom thick, it is considered to be a two-dimensional material, the first example of such a thing in the real world. Despite being the thinnest material known to exist, it is also the strongest material ever tested—100 times stronger than steel.
Even more amazing: Electrons do not scatter as much when they move as they do in other materials, such as silicon. This led researchers to make graphene-based transistors that are twice as fast as traditional silicon transistors, which could make computers run much faster.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Global Warming Effects and Causes: A Top 10 List (via Planetsave)

One of the biggest issues facing us right now is global warming. Its effects on animals and on agriculture are indeed frightening, and the effects on the human population are even scarier. The facts about global warming are often debated in politics and the media, but, unfortunately, even if we disagree…

Go Solar (Going Green Tip #9) (via Planetsave)

  As I’ve already discussed in this Going Green Tips series, one of the most important things we can do to go green is cut the coal. Cutting the A/C, especially if you live in a hot climate, is one great way to do so, as is getting a home energy audit. If you want to go a step further on this home…

What is Causing Global Warming? (via Planetsave)

 In another wonderful post on global warming, Skeptical Science recently conducted a comprehensive review of scientific studies on the causes of global warming. This follows up on recent posts on whether human or natural factors cause global warming (hint: it’s the former) and “more science on…