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Saturday, 10 January 2009

Introducing Snap Shots from

Introducing Snap Shots from

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Please feel free to comment upon this widget or my widget approach in general.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Thinking Outside The Box - Fuel from Coal-Eating Microbes - System 4_Bis


Burning coal for heat and energy is too old to dwell on. It was the logical step during much of the last century to carry this to today's high temperature materials assisted power generation. To continue pollution represented by the most abundant green house gas -CO2 must be mastered hence the necessary additional steps of CO2 capture and sequestration. Various processes exist, unfortunately only at fairly large pilot size but well under predicted sustainable climate predictions-requirements.

OUTSIDE THE BOX- System 4 Bis:
Relatively new biochemical process results suggest a new low-temperature_lower energy loss process route whereby methane gas fuel is generated from coal by coal eating microbes.

The incentives to develop this new route are:

- Low Temperatures, less energy intensive.
- Half as much carbon dioxide is emitted as does burning coal.
- reduce or help eliminate the anticipated need to import natural gas in the future. (Russia - Ukraine etc)
- Substantial interest and historical evidence for in coal bed methanisation:
1. Luca Technologies, a start-up based in Golden, CO, has raised $76 million to scale up a process that uses coal-digesting microorganisms to convert coal into methane.
2. Andrew Scott, former professor of economic geology, Univ of Texas,Austin is the founder Altuda Energy Corporation, based in San Antonio, TX A. Scott

Having said this, the framework may still be argued to hold if accent is given to Power Industry rather than Coal Fired Power. Clearly, however these concepts are radially different. The microbiological route appears to hold much promises and at the very least hopefully will stimulate the over mature Coal Fired Power players to accelerated their work to achieve all the objective the silent majority aspires to - much cleaner energy and eventually renewable energy. In the meantime the cross disciplinary- Metallurgical and Materials Industries will evidently still play an important role in anticipating evolving requirements.

Full Paper with many hypertext links

Fuel from Coal-Eating Microbes

Acknowledgements to Ray Kurzweil editor of one of my early Internet newsletter subscriptions whose AI The Brain Technology presentation fascinated me.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Rust cleans up pollution_From the previous post of Top 100 Materials Science Stories - My biased choice - "Got Pollution? Get Rust from 2003"

1,000-square-foot plot at a pharmaceutical plant in North Carolina using just $1,000 in raw materials has been decontaminated by Wei-Xian Zhang, an environmental engineer at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

The scientific methode : 20 pounds of iron nanoparticles—superfine iron dust.

As iron rusts, it unleashes electrons that can break down organic pollutants such as dioxins, PCBs, and many pesticides. By growing iron atoms into incredibly small particles, Zhang increases the number of electrons they release as much as 1,000-fold. He then mixes the ultrafine powder with water so it can be pumped into the ground. A few days after injecting the iron powder into contaminated land, all that is left behind are simple, nontoxic hydrocarbons. The iron dust eventually dissolves harmlessly into the groundwater. Early next year, Zhang plans a larger test, treating a 100-acre site in North Carolina. He is also developing a commercial version of the process.

Since this work was reported in 2003, more results and the success or failure to reach the original expectations must be known. Looking forward to up-dating this advanced metallurgical chemical and biochemical engineering interdisciplinary work.

It goes without saying that both I and Discover Magazine would be pleased to learn of readers top pick, cf Full List Link below.


1. Got Pollution? Get Rust reported by Kathy A. Svitil was published online December 3, 2003

2 Full Materials Science List 1993 to Date_Link

Top 100 Materials Science and Technology Stories from Discover Magazine

From an original list of top stories in science and technology by the magazine Discover, a short list of the top 14 Materials Science and Technology Stories in 2008 has been drawn-up. The # sign indicates the position on the overall Science list, which includes other sub-categories such as Environment, Nanotechnology etc...The top materials science story list is as follows:

1. #7: Invisibility Becomes More than Just a Fantasy
Researchers are cloaking materials from light, sound, and even matter itself. 12.21.2008
2. #68: Solved: The Mystery of Gravity-Defying Sap
One synthetic tree accomplishes what loads of scientists never could. 12.10.2008
3. #69: Physicists Create a Perfect Place to Store Electricity
New "superinsulator" can hold a charge forever without leakage 12.10.2008
4. #80: Invented: Self-Healing Rubber Made From Vegetable Oil and Pee Ingredient
Hydrogen bonds let ripped material re-form. 12.09.2008
5. #83: Bulletproof Paper Is Stronger Than Kevlar
New nanopaper is not only super-strong, but made from renewable materials. 12.08.2008
6. Programmable Matter Moves From Sci-Fi to Sci-Real
Quantum dots can change the very properties of matter by controlling electrons. 10.09.2008
7. The King of Green Architecture
William McDonough aims to create buildings that produce oxygen, sequester carbon, and produce more power than they use. 09.28.2008
8. 20 Things You Didn't Know About... Sports Technology
How science makes modern athletes go higher, move faster, and stay safer. 08.14.2008
9. 10 Ways Genetically Engineered Microbes Could Help Humanity
Fighting cancer, producing renewable fuels, and making your clothing glow in the dark. 08.06.2008
10. Eco-Chic to the Rescue!
Sea leather, hemp, and bamboo make up this season's runway couture—but will it really help the planet? 08.05.2008
11. The Incredibly Strong See-Through Bicycle
Want a lighter bike? Poke holes in it—the more the better. 03.06.2008
12. 68. Glue Clues From Geckos
13. 52. Amazing Battery Made of . . . Paper
14. 50. Created: A Glass That Bends

Full Materials Science list from 1993 to Date

High Purity Cr sources for Superalloys

Energy for th Future:Phil.Trans.A-Vol. 365, N° 1853 / April 15, 2007, curtesy The Royal Soc. London

Engineered foams and porous materials: Phil Trans A. Vol 364, N° 1838 / 06 curtesy_The R Soc. Lond