Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Scientists Create Nuclear Fusion Using 500 Trillion Watts Of Laser Energy

Scientists Create Nuclear Fusion Using 500 Trillion Watts Of Laser Energy

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have been struggling to create nuclear fusion using lasers. Nuclear fusion is the process by which the Sun generates electricity and the researchers have been trying to replicate it since 2010 with little success until recently.
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On February 12th, 2014, Dr. Omar Hurricane published a report that stated his teams’s success in the near impossible task of creating nuclear fusion without the detonation of a nuclear warhead. Harnessing this energy has been something that scientists have been trying to achieve for a long time, with nuclear fusion being called the holy grail of green energy. There are labs that have produced short sporadic events of laser powered fusion to work, but the procedures always required more energy than they produced.
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Dr.Hurricane and his colleagues changed all of that by using the laser at the National Ignition Facility (NIF). A total of 500 trillion watts of laser energy was focused into a container through an aperture the size of a pencil and resulted in the first instance of a nuclear fusion reaction that produced more energy than it consumed, in the history of mankind. While this story sounds like we might have free energy in the very near future, there is some bad news. The resulting reaction was not only brief, but the final step which causes the reaction to last (where the reaction feeds upon itself to create energy on its own), did not take place. Another point worth noting is that while the fuel generated more energy than it absorbed, only a small fraction of the lasers’ energy was absorbed, making the process still energy negative.
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It may still be a long time till our homes are endlessly powered by lab-born stars, but  by fusing hydrogen into helium, we are certainly one step closer to the ultimate goal. Dr. Hurricane is uncertain if the NIF is capable of reaching ignition, but the latest achievement has certainly inspired him to carry on.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Engineer Uses Empty Coke Bottles And LEDs To Solve Africa’s Lighting Issue

Engineer Uses Empty Coke Bottles And LEDs To Solve Africa’s Lighting Issue

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Now a Reality

Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Now a Reality


A smart highway that promises to save energy while improving safety was unveiled along a 500-meter stretch in the Netherlands last week. Interactive and self-sustaining, it’s being called the “Route 66 of the future.” 

The project is designed and developed by Daan Roosegaarde and Dutch engineering firm Heijmans Infrastructure. Earlier this year, we posted about other Studio Roosegaarde projects: houseplant reading lights and bioluminescent streetlamps. Now, this glow-in-the-dark technology actually exists on the N329 highway in Oss, about 100 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam.

The road markings are made with paint containing photo-luminescent powder that charges in the daytime and then releases a green glow at nighttime. Roosegaarde tells Wired UK that Heijmans had managed to take its luminescence to the extreme: "It's almost radioactive.”

If the glow does last the whole eight hours it’s supposed to, this could mean dispensing with energy-guzzling, maintenance heavy streetlights. “The government is shutting down streetlights at night to save money,” Roosegaarde tells BBC. "I was completely amazed that we somehow spend billions on the design and R&D of cars but somehow the roads -- which actually determine the way our landscape looks -- are completely immune to that process.”

But will the pilot project lead to implementation along every unlit road? “It would be a big investment so if safety improvement is the target then we need hard evidence about how this compares to what we already have and to back up any safety claims," Pete Thomas from Loughborough University's Transport Safety Research Centre says. The UK Highways Agency says it will be watching the trial, and one of their concerns is how the markings will work during the winter when daylight hours are fewer. Also, we’ll need to know how well the paint holds up to normal wear-and-tear. 

Studio Roosegaarde’s complete “Smart Highway” concept, first proposed in 2012, also includes temperature sensitive technology: Snowflakes light up the ground when the road gets slippery. This was not included in the Netherlands trial. 




Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Now a Reality

April 14, 2014 | by Janet Fang

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/glow-dark-roads-now-reality#JApYH3Sc6O0VfqGQ.99

Glow-in-the-Dark Roads Now a Reality

April 14, 2014 | by Janet Fang

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/glow-dark-roads-now-reality#JApYH3Sc6O0VfqGQ.99