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Thursday, April 30, 2015

BLUE CRUDE

Recently Audi has come up with a synthetic diesel that is made from water and carbon dioxide. The combustion of this fuel would generate the same amount of carbon dioxide that went into the its production. The carbon dioxide required for the production of Blue Crude is obtained from atmosphere. Thus the net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is zero making this fuel a real carbon neutral fuel.

This diesel does not contain any sulphur so the combustion of this fuel would produce no suspended particulate matter. 

With huge amount of water available in the oceans around the world and ample amount of carbon dioxide available from atmosphere , if such factories producing Blue Crude which uses easily available resources are setup around the world then the dependence on crude oil would come down further. 

The proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has gone up since the industrial revolution because of burning of fossil fuels. This has been the cause of global warming since carbon dioxide is a gas that traps heat. If this continues then the glaciers at the poles will melt and that would result in sea levels going up, submerging many coastal regions and small islands across the world. Use of fuel like Blue Crude will prevent the occurrence of this situation. 

The below video gives an description as to how the fuel is synthesised at the moment the price is likely to be between Euro 1 to Euro 1.5 per litre .

https://youtu.be/55Edq_Irstk

Friday, April 10, 2015

Non Flying Birds

There are some birds in nature who cannot do things for which their bodies were originally designed. One of them is the Hen and other one is the Ostrich. Both the birds have wings but they cannot fly at all. Their bodies are too heavy for them to fly. The fact that they do have wings implies that their ancestors did use them and flew in open skies.

But down the line as there was free availability of food, their subsequent generations somehow stopped flying. According to a research this birds got lazier and fatter with the extinction of dinosaur, the threat on the ancestors of these birds came down so they just kept eating getting bigger and ultimately lost their ability to fly.

For humans they were easy prey and we humans started rearing them and use their and their eggs as food products. Humans also used their feathers for for decoration.

The following is an example of an ostrich egg and a chicken egg . An interesting fact about Ostrich egg is the shell is very very hard. The egg is consumed by humans but one cannot break the shell of ostrich egg like the egg of chicken. In fact a drill is used to pierce a hole in the shell. The egg of Ostrich is the largest among all birds it weighs around 1.4 kilograms.


Ostrich Egg vs Chicken Egg

There are other birds as well like Ostrich and Hen that cannot fly like Emu, Kiwi, turkey. 

Nature follows a rule "If you don't use it you lose it". There are parts in the human body that are no longer used like the appendix. When the appendix is infected it is very painful and has to be removed surgically. 

However the inability of chicken to fly has been of great advantage to us , it is bird that can be easily reared and gives lots of eggs. Especially the layer chicken that are bred for their eggs. The broilers that are bred for meat take just 40 days to reach the stage of maturity where it can be culled and used as food. 

Ostrich has its utility in its meat, skin and feathers both these birds today are of great commercial value to human civilization. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Steam from sun without boiling

Recently scientists have come up with interesting new ways to convert water directly into steam without having to boil it. This techniques uses nanoparticles that are capable of absorbing photons , when solar energy is concentrated on these nanoparticles they would absorb the rays. 

When these nanoparticles come in contact with water the absorbed energy converts the water directly into steam. Steam has multiple uses -- One of them is  generating electricity. The other use can be purifying water you can simply collect the steam and condense it to get pure water. This would be very useful for people who don't have access to clean water. 

Imagine you live by the side of the sea or you are travelling on ship. This technology can be used to produce pure water from sea water without having to boil it. The efficiency is pretty high 80 -90% of the energy absorbed is ultimately transformed into heat energy that results in steam. It is much higher as compared to steam engines and steam turbines.

The Rice University video shown below gives a demonstration of how water can be converted into steam directly without having to boil it the only thing you need are those nanoparticles that are capable of absorbing solar spectrum . 

While initially the researchers expect this breakthrough to be used in sanitation but one is sure that it will ultimately expand to water purification and energy generation as well. 


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Flying with the sun

Many of you maybe aware of the Solar Impulse planes . Solar Impulse-1 has already flown across Europe and from the east cost to the West Coast of the US. The next version of Solar Impulse , Solar Impulse -2(SI-2) has started its flight, that would encircle the entire world from Abu Dhabi, UAE on 9th March 2015.

It travelled from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, from Muscat(Oman) to Ahmedabad(India) , from Ahmedabad to Varanasi(India) and then to Mandalay(Burma) and is finally at Chongquing(China). The Solar Impulse planes are powered by the Sun. Its wings comprises of solar panels that generates the electricity that fuels the airplane. No other source of energy is used other than solar energy.

In a similar way Google and Facebook plans to use solar drones which are similar to these planes except for the fact that they will be unmanned. They will stay airborne for long periods of time, for months maybe years. 

The drones will be stationed at Stratosphere i.e - 20 kilometres above the surface of the earth. The would be used to beam Internet across the world. According to Google Loons website each drone or balloon(Google originally planned to use atmoshperic  balloons for this project) can provide Internet access to an area of diameter 40 kms. 

This drones will save the cost of lying fibre optic cables which is quite expensive and because of them , we can have access to Internet even in obscure places of the planet. Say in the jungles of Amazon, or in the mountains of Himalayas. 

People can actually stay in these places located far away and difficult to reach but still have access to all the information thanks to availability of affordable Internet. 

The combination of  solar power , Internet access will encourage people to move out of cities and live in more relaxing places that are located closer to nature.