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Could this be the Nuclear Eureka moment ?
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A COLD fusion machine aimed at creating limitless supplies of energy from a few litres of seawater has been fired-up and is working exactly as the designers hoped.

 The mind-bogglingly complex “star-chamber” called the Wendelstein 7-X creates clean, radiation-free nuclear energy by mimicking what happens in stars like our own sun.

Cold fusion – based on safe nuclear fusion rather than the dangerous nuclear fusion of the world’s current reactors has been the dream of physicists since the 1950s.

But the technique is so fiendishly complex and the conditions so difficult to recreate that many wrote it off as a pipe dream.

But the experimental Wendelstein 7-X – one of the most complex machines ever designed – is working perfefctly according to a new study.

The Wendelstein 7-X uses a machine with the fabulously science fiction name – a stellarator.

It confines super-heated helium – in plasma form – to spark reactions in twisted three dimensional magnetic fields.

Sam Lazerson, a physicist at the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in New Jersey, said: “This is a significant step forward in stellarator research since it shows that the complicated and delicate magnetic topology can be created and verified with the required accuracy.”

The findings, the researchers added in a press release, could be “a key step toward verifying the feasibility of stellarators as models for future fusion reactors.”

The Wendelstein 7-X which is five meters across and in a laboratory in Germany was originally designed as a proof-of-concept.

It has now been shown conclusively to work. And the developers can now focus on creating new designs that improve the efficiency of the device.

 

 

 

 

 
China advancing with Nuclear Power
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Chinese engineers have managed to create hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun.

The team were able to maintain 50 million°C for 102 seconds – a breakthrough that could someday make fusion power a reality.

It follows news that Germany used 2 megawatts of microwave radiation to heat hydrogen gas to 80 million°C for a quarter of a second.

Fusion works by using two kinds of hydrogen atoms — deuterium and tritium — and injecting that gas into a containment vessel.

Scientist then add energy that removes the electrons from their host atoms, forming what is described as an ion plasma, which releases huge amounts of energy.

If the technique is perfected, it would provide an inexhaustible source of power and potentially solve the world's energy crisis.

The Chinese experiment was conducted last week on a magnetic fusion reactor at the Institute of Physical Science in Hefei, capital of Jiangsu


 
Hydrogen from waste
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Getting rid of household waste water from sinks, toilets, baths and the like is a growing problem around the world. In modern cities, such water finds its way into municipal sewage treatment plants, where processing yields huge amounts of sewage sludge. But instead of disposing of this sludge as waste, people are realizing that it can be a valuable source of renewable energy.     

     So rather than simply dumping the sludge or using it for cement filler and other applications, there is a growing movement to utilize the material as biomass, to produce hydrogen gas for fuel cell vehicles, as a source of heat to generate electricity, and to make fertilizer and fuel pellets.

Hydrogen power

Fukuoka is the largest city in the Kyushu region in southern Japan, with a population of 1.5 million. It is also home to the world's first serious effort to commercialize hydrogen derived from sewage sludge.

 

     Mitsubishi Kakoki and Kyushu University are collaborating with the city as part of the Fukuoka Hydrogen Town project to establish a means of generating hydrogen from sewage sludge and supply it for fuel cell vehicles.

     To process sewage sludge, waste water from homes and the like travels through sewer pipes to reach a sewage treatment plant, where it is collected and treated. This waste water contains human waste and other solid material, so the first step is to separate out the water component and decompose the organic materials using microorganisms. Sewage sludge consists of the original solid material plus the remains of the microorganisms used in the treatment process.

     Currently, most of this sewage sludge is incinerated or otherwise disposed of at great expense.     

     But Fukuoka is interested in the beneficial uses of this sludge. It uses a process to heat and break down the sludge to generate biogas containing large amounts of methane. It then processes this biogas using a special facility that extracts only methane, and reacts this with steam at high temperature to make 99.999% pure hydrogen, exceeding international quality standards.

     The water treatment facility in Fukuoka where this is taking place is also equipped with a hydrogen station for fuel cell vehicles. It's estimated that up to 2 million fuel cell vehicles could be plying the roads in 2025 in Japan, and based on that prediction, the city calculates it can turn a profit on such fueling stations in a decade.

     Fukuoka has a history of reusing resources. It lacks a so-called Class A river system, which is the designation for systems deemed important for the national economy and people's lives, so in 1978, a dry year, it was forced to impose restrictions on water use for 287 consecutive days. The city was the first in Japan to reuse processed waste water for toilets, and to this day it has more facilities for supplying this kind of recycled water than any other city in Japan. The citywide ethos for the reuse of resources helps explain why it is now tackling the conversion of sewage sludge into hydrogen.

 
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