We at IRI have been wondering
if the US is on the verge of an energy revolution. Once again, we have a
blockbuster #1 article.What could be better for the world than a clean
replacement fuel which allows us to say, "We have the potential to use electricity as
transportation fuel without needing to change current
infrastructure." That is the best summary of the breakthrough
discovery from UCLA just last month to store electricity very compactly as
alcohol. Hopefully the DOE is listening and will offer billions to them instead
of to a solar company that goes bankrupt.
Our story #2 gives us
the hope that solar cells will organically integrate into all of the everyday
products, including clothing. It looks a lot more hopeful than ever before with
work done at the University of Tokyo.
Fusion just received a new
shot in the arm with story #3 and Sandia Labs' simulation of a new magnetized
inertial fusion (MIF) method that predicts a 50 times more efficient than using
X-rays. It's like combining magnetic confinement (e.g., Tokamak) with inertial
confinement (laser bombardment) to get the best of both worlds. Edging toward
the successful cavitation sonofusion known to work on a microscopic scale, the
MIF process maybe a commercial zinger sooner than we expected.
Story #4 shows that new,
unheard of materials are still emerging, like porous metal films that are
transparent. With applications aimed at fuel cells, batteries and solar energy,
Cornell labs can make such films from a variety of metals.
Will algae farms ever compete
with imported or domestic oil? Story #5 gives the bet to Sapphire energy with
the support of the National Renewable Energy Lab and a loan guarantee from the
US Agriculture Dept. Though 100 barrels of crude per day sounds like a lot, the
operation will have to at least triple in order to become commercially
competitive, which is within reach. Only time will tell!
Note that our wonderfully
watchable and less than one hour DVD from SPESIF 2011 is now available with a
discount (see below).
Thomas Valone, PhD
Source: Future Energy eNews, April 2012