Archive for the ‘MIT’ Category

Picking up where Tesla left off

February 26, 2008

Wireless power transmission is being researched at MIT.

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Really Green Energy

May 9, 2007

From the MIT Tech Review:

While researchers and technologists around the world scramble to find cleaner sources of energy, some chemists are turning to nature’s own elegant solution: photosynthesis. In photosynthesis, green plants use the energy in sunlight to break down water and carbon dioxide. By manipulating electrons and hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon atoms in a series of complex chemical reactions, the process ultimately produces the cellulose and lignin that form the structure of the plant, as well as stored energy in the form of sugar. Understanding how this process works, thinks Daniel Nocera, professor of chemistry at MIT, could lead to ways to produce and store solar energy in forms that are practical for powering cars and providing electricity even when the sun isn’t shining.

Wonders of Science: Using Greenhouse gas to fuel your H2

April 25, 2007

The MIT Technology Review has the story:

Chemists have shown that it is possible to use solar energy, paired with the right catalyst, to convert carbon dioxide into a raw material for making a wide range of products, including plastics and gasoline.

Words from an actual Scientist in the field

April 2, 2007

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that th early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, MIT; member of the National Academy of Sciences; and former lead author, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

New technology from MIT would make internal combustion engines more efficent than hybrids

March 27, 2007

The MIT Technology Review reports:

For Daniel Cohn, a senior research scientist at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, the century-old internal-combustion engine is still a source of inspiration. As he strides past the machinery and test equipment in the MIT Sloan Automotive Laboratory, his usually reserved demeanor drops away. “An engine this size,” he says, pointing out an ordinary-looking 2.4-liter midsize gasoline engine, “would be a rocket with our technology.”

By way of explaining that technology, he shows off a turbocharger that could be bolted to the 2.4-liter engine; the engine, he adds, uses direct fuel injection rather than the port injection currently found in most cars. Both turbocharging and direct injection are pre-existing technologies, and neither looks particularly impressive. Indeed, used separately, they would lead to only marginal improvements in the performance of an internal-combustion engine. But by combining them, and augmenting them with a novel way to use a small amount of ethanol, Cohn and his colleagues have created a design that they believe could triple the power of a test engine, an advance that could allow automakers to convert small engines designed for economy cars into muscular engines with more than enough power for SUVs or sports cars. By extracting better performance from smaller, more efficient engines, the technology could lead to vehicles whose fuel economy rivals that of hybrids, which use both an electric motor and a gasoline engine. And that fuel efficiency could come at a fraction of the cost.

A turbocharger and a direct-?injection system would add to the cost of an engine, as would strengthening its walls to allow for a higher level of turbocharging. The added equipment costs, however, would be partially offset by the reduced expense of manufacturing a smaller engine. In total, an engine equipped with the new technology would cost about $1,000 to $1,500 more than a conventional engine. Hybrid systems, which are expensive because they require both an internal-combustion engine and an electric motor powered by batteries, add $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of a small to midsize vehicle–and even more to the cost of a larger vehicle.