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100 Greatest Inventions of 2015

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

100 Greatest Inventions of 2015

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 30 Sep 2016, 18:30:22

Popular Science's list of 100 Greatest Inventions of 2015. I grabbed a few items I thought seemed pretty cool. The link to the whole list is at the bottom:

Humans produce 660 billion pounds of plastic a year, and the manufacturing process creates three times as much carbon dioxide by weight as actual plastic. “That’s an insane amount of material,” says Newlight Technologies CEO Mark Herrema. “Wouldn’t we be better off using plastic as a conveyor belt for capturing and sequestering carbon emissions instead?” That’s exactly what his company does. Typically, plastic is made by exposing hydro­carbons from fossil fuels to tremendous pressure and energy. Newlight’s first commercial plant, in California, captures methane generated by a dairy farm’s waste lagoon and transports it to a bioreactor. There, enzymes combine the gas with air to form a polymer. The resulting plastic, called AirCarbon, performs identically to most oil-based plastics but costs less—creating a market-­driven solution to global warming. Companies have already signed on to use AirCarbon in their products, including KI desk chairs (pictured), Dell computer packaging, and Sprint smartphone cases.
AirCarbon

SUSIBA2: Rice That Fights Global Warming
More than half the global population relies on rice as a regular part of their diet. But rice paddies have a downside for the planet too: They produce as much as 17 percent of the world’s total methane emissions. So Christer Jansson, a plant biochemist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, spent the past 10 years developing SUSIBA2, a genetically modified rice plant that emits almost no methane. Splicing a single barley gene into common rice, his team found, changed the way the plant handles photosynthesis: Instead of sending carbon to the roots, to feed the bacteria that produce methane, the plant directs it toward the grain and leaves, increasing the starch level and yield. “It’s a win-win,” says Jansson. The rice performed well in field tests in China, and now scientists are studying how cultivation affects it. Jansson says there’s no telling when the rice might be commercially available, but considering how severely methane can accelerate climate change, its eventual impact could be huge.
Rice That Fights Global Warming

At the Paris Air Show earlier this month, hoverbike maker Malloy Aeronautics announced they’d partnered with American company Survice to prepare a working hoverbike for the U.S. Army. Here’s how the Army says it will be used:
"The TRV concept could unburden Soldiers while increasing their capabilities regardless of the environmental conditions, in manned and/or unmanned operations. Besides mitigating the dangers of ground threats, capabilities for the TRV concept could include aiding in communication, reconnaissance, and protection; sensing danger or even lightening the Soldiers' load."
HoverBike

Cops across the country have rooms packed with stolen items but no way of locating their owners. Anti-Th eft Dots fix that. Th ey’re tiny nickel disks with identifying numbers chemically etched into them that link owners and property through a database. Th eir adhesive glows under black light, alerting cops to their presence, and can be applied to nearly anything: laptops, watches, TVs, and bikes. By year’s end, 2,000 police forces nationwide will support them. $33 per kit, which can mark 50 items.
Anti-Theft Dots: Get Your Stuff Back

NYPD DAS Mobile: The App That Keeps Cops Safe
Relaying 911 information to cops on the beat—by radio—hasn’t changed in decades. But there’s only so much intel dispatchers can convey that way. This year, the New York City Police Department—the largest force in the United States—began sending ancillary data to some cops via smartphone. It’s the first police force in the country to do so. The app is secure, requiring a PIN code and an ID scan to log in. Cops get background intel on prior arrests and outstanding warrants at the dispatched address, or helpful details such as whether burglars typically enter it by the back door. For an officer on the street, such extra information can be lifesaving.
NYPD DAS Mobile: The App That Keeps Cops Safe

Windstream Technology Solar Mill: An Alternative-Energy Powerhouse
With limited roof space, it’s often not possible for do-good homeowners to harness both solar and wind power. WindStream solved that problem by creating a hybrid system. A trio of corkscrew-shaped vertical-axis turbines turn below a photovoltaic panel, saving space.
Video
Home Page
Hybrid Wind-Solar mill

Siemens: Hydrogen Energy's Green Giant
Massive wind farms require massive systems to capture and store surplus electricity. The “green hydrogen” plant that opened this summer in Mainz, Germany, is larger than any other. Thanks to Siemens’ special electrolyzer, the plant can transform up to 6 megawatts of electricity (even from fluctuating sources) and use it to split hydrogen from water. The hydrogen can be stored, then either turned back into electricity or sent to refueling stations to power up to 2,000 fuel-cell vehicles.


Whirlpool HybridCare Heat-Pump Dryer: A Hybrid For Your Hamper
The average clothes dryer can consume as much energy per year as a refrigerator. To balance the scales, Whirlpool built a ventless heat-pump model. Instead of releasing hot, moist air, the HybridCare condenses the water internally. The dry air is then recirculated—reducing energy costs by 40 percent over standard dryers.
Whirlpool HybridCare Heat-Pump Dryer:

Preventing the Next Pandemic
A new vaccine usually takes six to 10 years to go through clinical trials. The Ebola vaccine took only 10 months. When the West African outbreak was declared a global health emergency in August 2014, the World Health Organization fast-tracked the process. The vaccine, made by swapping proteins from Ebola into another virus, triggers an immune response that protects people from contracting the actual disease. The Ebola vaccine showed that scientists can develop and deploy lifesaving drugs quickly—in the future, preventing other diseases from going global.
Ebola vaccine

Human Epigenome Maps
June marked the release of the first map of the human epigenome: the chemical markers that tell your DNA what to express when. “Think of the genome as the hardware in your computer and the epigenome as the software,” says Joseph Ecker, director of the institute’s genomic analysis laboratory. Such a map will help scientists see what causes some cells to become liver cells and others heart cells—or malignant cancer cells. Understanding these mechanisms could enable scientists to reprogram them for bioengineering or to reveal new triggers for disease.
Human Epigenome Map

Teixobactin: First New Antibiotic In Nearly 30 Years
Teixobactin can fight resistant strains of bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which (as its name suggests) causes tuberculosis. And because it binds to bacteria on two target regions, in contrast to most antibiotics’ one, bacteria are less likely to develop resistance to it. The drug candidate is still in the pipeline and works for only certain bacteria, but one of them is invasive MRSA, which some 75,000 Americans contract every year.
First New Antibiotic In Nearly 30 Years

Exvive3D: 3D-Printed Tissue
Even after drugs have passed animal tests, many fail in human trials due to kidney or liver toxicity. Organovo, which last year 3D-printed mini livers from human cells, can now synthesize individual mock kidneys. Each contains a number of different cell types in which drug effects can be tested. “Every single drug a pharmaceutical company develops has to be tested for safety in liver and kidney settings,” says Keith Murphy, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “Our system is meant to be the best and final test.”
3D-Printed Human Tissue

Hound: Nimble-Minded Digital Assistant
Instead of waiting to process a request or query until after you ask it, SoundHound's Hound app sniffs out the results in real time. Thanks to natural language processing, it can also understand complex queries (“Show me four- or five-star hotels in Miami for two nights, starting on Friday, between $150 and $200 a night”), and it can build upon those results to more finely hone the answers you're seeking.
Hound: Nimble-Minded Digital Assistant

Amazon Echo: HAL For Your Home
For a long time, artificial intelli­gence existed only in science fiction. Then it started to creep into industrial computers and even phones. Now, it’s coming to your home—and it’s coming in the form of a speaker. The Amazon Echo acts as an intelligent hub for the house, linking together other smart appliances with a voice interface. Once set up, it listens passively at all times. When someone says the wake word—Alexa—it snaps into action. For now, those actions are limited to simple operations, like reciting your calendar events, queuing up your favorite playlist, relaying weather or sports scores and, of course, ordering household items from Amazon. But those tasks won’t remain simple for long. In June, Amazon released the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), opening the platform to dozens of third-party services, devices, and apps, including WeMo, Philips Hue, Pandora, and Wink. Hal 9000, eat your heart out.
Amazon Echo: HAL For Your Home

MSR Guardian Purifier: Drink Water From A Mud Puddle
The U.S. military asked backcountry outfitter Mountain Safety Research (MSR) to create a device that could protect troops from waterborne illness anywhere they deploy. The company came up with the Guardian Purifier, which uses medical-grade fibers to block out dangerous pathogens, such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses, along with particulate matter like sediment and silt. Also, the device never requires a cleaning: It uses about 10 percent of the water it pumps up to flush out the blocked contaminants. Now it's available to you.
MSR Guardian Purifier: Drink Water From A Mud Puddle

Divergent Microfactories Blade: A 3-D-printed Supercar
Last May, Kevin Czinger created the Blade—the first high-performance supercar that uses 3-D-printed parts and a process that cuts typical auto-factory carbon emissions by up to 90 percent. By using carbon-fiber shafts and 3-D joints for the chassis, a car can be assembled in minutes. As founder of Divergent Microfactories, Czinger plans to open similar places for entrepreneurs to create their own car lines—for as little as $4 million.
A 3-D-printed car

THE 100 GREATEST INNOVATIONS OF 2015
The oil barrel is half-full.
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Re: 100 Greatest Inventions of 2015

Unread postby Rod_Cloutier » Sun 02 Oct 2016, 11:36:20

More techno narcissism is all I see.

In Amsterdam people are moving back to a simpler way of life, and using bicycles. Ask anyone 30 years from now what a 3D printed car is and they'll have no idea what you are talking about.

https://youtu.be/79AY-pEwd_o?t=14m17s
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Re: 100 Greatest Inventions of 2015

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 03 Oct 2016, 14:05:27

kublikhan wrote:Popular Science's list of 100 Greatest Inventions of 2015. I grabbed a few items I thought seemed pretty cool. The link to the whole list is at the bottom:

Windstream Technology Solar Mill: An Alternative-Energy Powerhouse
With limited roof space, it’s often not possible for do-good homeowners to harness both solar and wind power. WindStream solved that problem by creating a hybrid system. A trio of corkscrew-shaped vertical-axis turbines turn below a photovoltaic panel, saving space.
Video
Home Page
Hybrid Wind-Solar mill


Thanks for the pointers Kub. I looked at the compact solar mill link. The text below the picture is:

With limited roof space, it’s often not possible for do-good homeowners to harness both solar and wind power. WindStream solved that problem by creating a hybrid system. A trio of corkscrew-shaped vertical-axis turbines turn below a photovoltaic panel, saving space. The system can generate 13 percent more energy than solar alone. $3,125

And the picture shows the thing running about 5 feet by 2 feet in size.

Now, at a 13% efficiency increase over solar, at over THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS every 10ish square feet, I gotta ask, why do they even bother to publish this? One of the big touts about PV solar is that the panels are becoming "practically" free.

So to improve them by 13% we add complexity, weight, lots of wind resistance, moving parts, and roughly $300 per square foot to the cost?

This looks like magical thinking to me. If only we had essentially infinite money, wow, we could make "X" a little better.

Only we don't.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: 100 Greatest Inventions of 2015

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 03 Oct 2016, 23:33:59

pstarr wrote:Shit-gas will never replace fossil fuel energy, or fossil-fuel feed stocks.
No one made this claim.

pstarr wrote:The energy-cost to trap, compress and distribute shit-gas obliterates the remaining value. It has zero/negative EROEI.
This is not an energy project. This project produces plastic, not energy.

pstarr wrote:Secret enzymes don't work. Secret enzymes were also supposed to convert wood-waste, corn stover, switchgrass, and other waste cellulose materials to ethanol, according to Popular Science. Free fuel! Nope. Doesn't work. I have been pointing that out for a decade here at peakoildotcom. If it did, we'd have already gone to Uranus on the bullshit Pop Science publishes.
Then perhaps you should stop recycling tired old arguments and respond to the subject at hand. This product is actually being sold, in the market, at commercial scale. Everythin from Dells to smart phones to makers of plastic furniture.

pstarr wrote:Rice does not emit methane. Rice fields emit methane (stuff rots under water). Furthermore plant photosynthesis doesn't 'send carbon the roots'. It converts carbon to cellulose (and lipids and proteins) which are used everywhere in the plant.
As mentioned in the quote, it's the bacteria that produce the methane. Traditional rise produces alot of nutrients that end up in the water logged soil. A perfect breeding ground for methane producing bacteria. This new strain sends those nutrients instead to the edible portion of the plant. This both increases the yield and reduces the amount of nutrients in the water, starving the bacteria so they do not produce as much methane. Thus, this is a "win-win". Less methane production, higher rice yield. The paper in nature goes into more detail:

Atmospheric methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and is responsible for about 20% of the global warming effect since pre-industrial times. Rice paddies are the largest anthropogenic methane source and produce 7–17% of atmospheric methane. Warm waterlogged soil and exuded nutrients from rice roots provide ideal conditions for methanogenesis in paddies with annual methane emissions of 25–100-million tonnes. Here we show that the addition of a single transcription factor gene, barley SUSIBA2 (refs 7, 8), conferred a shift of carbon flux to SUSIBA2 rice, favouring the allocation of photosynthates to aboveground biomass over allocation to roots. The altered allocation resulted in an increased biomass and starch content in the seeds and stems, and suppressed methanogenesis, possibly through a reduction in root exudates. Three-year field trials in China demonstrated that the cultivation of SUSIBA2 rice was associated with a significant reduction in methane emissions and a decrease in rhizospheric methanogen levels. SUSIBA2 rice offers a sustainable means of providing increased starch content for food production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation. Approaches to increase rice productivity and reduce methane emissions as seen in SUSIBA2 rice may be particularly beneficial in a future climate with rising temperatures resulting in increased methane emissions from paddies.
Expression of barley SUSIBA2 transcription factor yields high-starch low-methane rice
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