Winner: Restoring Coal’s Sheen

Swedish energy company takes a novel approach to carbon capture

10 min read
Winner: Restoring Coal’s Sheen
Photo: Plamen Petkov

The industrial age, wrote historian Barbara Freese, “emerged literally in a haze of coal smoke, and in that smoke we can read much of the history of the modern world." In boom economies like India's and China's, where coal meets about three-quarters of the electrical demand, that haze still hangs heavily. Globally, according to a recent influential study done at MIT and data from the International Energy Agency, in Paris, coal accounts for a quarter of energy consumed and more than two-fifths of ­the electricity generated. That makes it the second leading fuel after oil and the world's main source of ­greenhouse-gas emissions.

You can add up all the electricity produced in the world from renewable sources plus nuclear reactors, and it doesn't amount to what coal generates just in the United States and China. It's impossible to imagine our getting along without coal anytime soon. And yet, with concerns rising sharply about climate change, the general expectation is that governments will increasingly be penalizing carbon emissions by taxing them, regulating them, or forcing companies to trade in them. So burning coal could become radically more expensive unless efficient means are found to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide, which right now is pumped into the atmosphere in astonishing quantities.

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Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid To Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base at which astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

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Trilobite-Inspired Camera Boasts Huge Depth of Field

New camera relies on "metalenses" that could be fabricated using a standard CMOS foundry

3 min read
Black and white image showing different white box shapes in rows

Scanning electron microscope image of the titanium oxide nanopillars that make up the metalens. The scale is 500 nanometers (nm).

NIST

Inspired by the eyes of extinct trilobites, researchers have created a miniature camera with a record-setting depth of field—the distance over which a camera can produce sharp images in single photo. Their new study reveals that with the aid of artificial intelligence, their device can simultaneously image objects as near as 3 centimeters and as far away as 1.7 kilometers.

Five hundred million years ago, the oceans teemed with horseshoe-crab-like trilobites. Among the most successful of all early animals, these armored invertebrates lived on Earth for roughly 270 million years before going extinct.

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.