From:                              Integrity Research Institute <>

Sent:                               Sunday, February 28, 2016 6:02 PM


Subject:                          Future Energy eNews




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Future Energy eNews









With another serious tornado breakout in February including one tornado that reached 180 mph here in the US, along with the week-old Fiji cyclone Winston that broke the all-time record with a speed of 185 mph (300 km per hr), there is little doubt that thermal forcing of the earth's atmosphere due to global warming may be a contributor, with more energy going into weather events. Add to that the corroborating news last week that the "Seas are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries" and expected to reach at least 3 to 4 feet higher by 2100, it is no wonder that finally even Bill Gates is reacting (more on that next month). In the meantime, NY Times just posted a wonderful page on climate change and what you can do. It may be the best and most complete set of Q&A on the subject ever  published. Hopefully, all of our readers now have renewed enthusiasm for IRI's dedication to clean, fuel-free future energy and propulsion!

How about "Zero Net Energy Buildings" to get things into the real future of energy? Well, the expert Marc Rosenbaum will be teaching another 10 week course on this topic starting March 9th and you can listen to the first lecture from the course for FREE!

As to future energy, IRI readers already know that the US has perhaps the most unused available quantity of geothermal energy in the world. Kenya for example generates 50% of its electricity from geothermal! If we have your attention by now, then you may be interested in getting the latest info from the Wednesday, March 16, 2016, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm, Geothermal Energy Association and EESI who are hosting a five scientist panel discussion, in only 90 minutes at 212-10 Capitol Visitor Center (Senate-Side), on East Capitol Street and 1st Street, NE, Washington DC, which is Free and open to the public. Also, A live webcast will be streamed at 2:00 PM EDT (wireless connection permitting).

For those interested in space and future propulsion, check out the 54th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium with the theme, "Leadership for Space: Opportunities and Challenges", March 8-10, 2016 at the Greenbelt Marriott / Greenbelt, Maryland. More information at

Our Story #1 reflects our growing interest in how energy harvesting will meet IRI's goal of fuel-free energy. With a title of "Energy Independent Vehicles for Land and Sea", we are even seeing the phrase "free power" in the article. The latest research includes boosts in efficiency and of course, energy harvesting, and vertical wind turbines that don't impede forward movement of these vehicles.

Story #2 reports on quite possibly the most amazing discovery of this century: the detection of gravitational waves. With a release of energy from two colliding black holes in a short period that exceeded all of the light energy from the known universe, we are happy to publish the BEST diagram in print of the experiment. IRI hopes that this verification of Einstein will also bring us a little closer to a better future understanding of how to use, shield, and manipulate gravity as well.

Story #3 produces the next chink in the armor of the second law of thermodynamics with some sneaky physicists figuring out a way to create the world's first "photonic Maxwell demon". For those nonspecialists, Maxwell's demon is a hypothetical demon who grabs the right particle or photon at the middle of a rectifier for example and sends the right ones in the correct direction to produce energy from random nothingness. Now the University of Oxford has performed and published an experiment that accomplishes the demon's task with enough energy imbalance to produce an electric current. We may see an energy breakthrough soon after all.

Story #4 is the outcome of an R&D investment by one of our Advisory Board members which vastly extends the life of an LED lantern. It is a breakthrough in portable lighting and phone charging that may even be suitable for the Power Africa Project. Presently on Kickstarter, it includes a replaceable PowerRod which maintains its output even as it is consumed by the energy cell. Nice video at the "Read More" link.

Story #5 may end up on the IRI homepage since 17 state governors have just drafted such a forward-thinking "Governors Accord for a New Energy Future" that is as if our staff members helped write the text directed to finding new energy solutions. Check out the short, signed agreement which aligns with what our institute has been advocating for the past two decades. Seventeen governors now agree this is our best hope for our energy future:

This month, we have also added a sixth story at the end for energy engineers who may have heard about solid state thermoelectric converters which used to be very inefficient. Dubbed the "Seebeck Effect", two dissimilar metals have been used for years to generate electricity from heat, including in most home thermostats since they are so reliable. However, now a technical article explains how to make their efficiency optimum.

Lastly, don't forget to register for our Eighth Conference on Future Energy  where you can learn about all of the above topics dedicated to our energy future, at COFE8. All of our speakers are listed online and registration is now open. (IRI was the first organization to publicize the "future energy" concept in 1999 with our first COFE.) IRI Members get 10% off too.



Thomas Valone,  Editor









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1) Energy Independent Vehicles for Land and Sea




Dr. Peter Harrop 

Energy Harvesting Journal,  February 12, 2016


Markets and key technologies including extreme powertrain efficiency, energy harvesting and lightweighting.


Formula One is significant in two ways. It is a major business in its own right at approaching $14bn and it pioneers vital new technologies in a car or bus near you from the disk brake to the flywheel kinetic energy recovery system and the supercapacitor hybrid powertrain. 


Dr Peter Harrop of analysts IDTechEx  says, "Paradoxically, those fearsome Formula One machines burning the rubber lead us to a safer, less polluting, more economical future. In exactly the same way, the new energy independent electric vehicles (EIVs) are starting to be both a substantial business and a creator of new technology for regular vehicles. Think of the solar aircraft up for five years and boats circumnavigating the world on sunshine alone. Less well known are Chinese microbuses with no battery but extended super-efficient solar cells. These little buses only work in daylight but they are super- green".  


New announcements come thick and fast. One is a seagoing boat with a large rotating vertical wind turbine, with straight vertical blades that safer and more powerful than any scale up of the small propeller types typically seen on sailing yachts. Developer Inergy declares, "Would 70kW of free power at a 40+% net capacity factor be useful? The time for serious on-board wind power. Why?

  • It is quiet and slow (30rpm max operating speed) 
  • Its blade path of rotation is never toward the vessel, but around it It is among the most efficient turbines in the world (Cp > 50%) 
  • When turned off, it has the lowest overturning moment loads of any turbine The rotor/nacelle mass is low relative to other turbine designs   

Imagine a sailboat that stores the wind while at anchor, or a sailboat that looks and functions more like a traditional powerboat. How about a powerboat that has unlimited range and time cruising without refueling? Imagine the possibilities!  


The subject is fully covered in new IDTechEx reports, the overview Energy Independent Vehicles 2016-2026  and the drill down on technology called Energy Independent Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap 2016-2036 . They reveal how electric vehicles that never need refuelling, plugging in or contactlessly charging are now on general sale, with many more to come and more efficient motors, aerodynamics and solar cells are among the early advances. Some solar vehicles even move their ultra efficient solar cells to track the sun. Parameters and technology trends such as multiple energy harvesting and regeneration are explained and predicted.


This goes way beyond solar power as boats capture wind, waves and tide and some land vehicles also capture wind energy using on-board equipment. Aircraft capture thermals to generate electricity.


This unique report explains the existing and future key enabling technologies of land, water and airborne EIVs, notably harvesting of ambient energy, extreme lightweighting, future streamlining and powertrain efficiency. 


45 EIVs and projects intended to lead to EIVs are profiled, identifying business opportunities such as the new types of photovoltaics and batteries coming in and where this is taking place. It is demonstrated that interest and achievement is fairly evenly split between land, water and air vehicles and the extremely broad variety of missions performed is identified. Which countries are in the lead and what comes next across the world is revealed.  


Presented as slide format packed with new analysis and infographics, it has a profusion of pictures, new comparison tables and the roadmap of technology improvement. This is understood in the context of precursors of EIVs. These include electric vehicles using photovoltaics for significant range enhancement and mechanically harvesting vehicles such as sailing boats, balloons and gliders.   


Future trends in energy harvesting are clarified - such e-fibres to produce traction electricity from rain, wind or sun, and the new conformal, ultra-thin photovoltaics. There is also appraisal of new types of energy storage, including supercapacitors and lithium-ion capacitors and the scope for making them into load-bearing structures. For sailing boats, the rapid progress in using propellers that go backwards to generate electricity is evaluated.  


Consideration of lightweighting even extends to structural electronics where the body of the vehicle is the electrics and electronics releasing space and weight and increasing reliability and life. Lightweighting also includes ships harvesting oncoming waves to rise in the water reducing drag: there is much more to this subject than first meets the eye and it is relevant to all vehicles not just the end game of total energy independence.  


Consideration of future powertrain efficiency includes the effect of multi-mode regenerative harvesting in the vehicles and the place of streamlining. EIVs being autonomous is considered as a major synergy of technologies.   The system aspects are also considered plus the connected and dynamically charged vehicle as transitional products to EIVs.  


Extensive global travel and interviews by expert multi-lingual analysts in 2015 are the basis of the research, together with primary investigations and analysis from unique IDTechEx technology and market databases.




2) Gravitational Waves Detected & Linked to Energy


By The Economist, Print Edition,  February 12, 2016


Signs of black holes merging arrive a century after Albert Einstein predicted them


TWO black holes circle one another. Both are about 100km across. One contains 36 times as much mass as the sun; the other, 29. They are locked in an orbital dance, a kilometre or so apart, that is accelerating rapidly to within a whisker of the speed of light. Their event horizons-the spheres defining their points-of-no-return-touch. There is a violent wobble as, for an instant, quintillions upon quintillions of kilograms redistribute themselves. Then there is calm. In under a second, a larger black hole has been born.



It is, however, a hole that is less than the sum of its parts. Three suns' worth of mass has been turned into energy, in the form of gravitational waves: travelling ripples that stretch and compress space, and thereby all in their path. During the merger's final fifth of a second, envisaged in an artist's impression above, the coalescing holes pumped 50 times more energy into space this way than the whole of the rest of the universe emitted in light, radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays combined.grids; pooling buying power to get cheaper clean-energy vehicles for state fleets; and lobbying the federal government for more research and development on energy storage, clean fuels and the electric grid.


And then, 1.3 billion years later, in September 2015, on a small planet orbiting an unregarded yellow sun, at facilities known to the planet's inhabitants as the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), the faintest slice of those waves was caught. That slice, called GW150914 by LIGO's masters and announced to the world on February 11th, is the first gravitational wave to be detected directly by human scientists. It is a triumph that has been a century in the making, opening a new window onto the universe and giving researchers a means to peer at hitherto inaccessible happenings, perhaps as far back in time as the Big Bang.


Finger on the pulsar

The idea of gravitational waves emerged from the general theory of relativity, Albert Einstein's fundamental exposition of gravity, unveiled almost exactly 100 years before GW150914's discovery. Mass, Einstein realised, deforms the space and time around itself. Gravity is the effect of this, the behaviour of objects dutifully moving along the curves of mass-warped spacetime. It is a simple idea, but the equations that give it mathematical heft are damnably hard to solve. Only by making certain approximations can solutions be found. And one such approximation led Einstein to an odd prediction: any accelerating mass should make ripples in spacetime.


Einstein was not happy with this idea. He would, himself, oscillate like a wave on the topic-rescinding and remaking his case, arguing for such waves and then, after redoing the sums, against them. But, while he and others stretched and squeezed the maths, experimentalists set about trying to catch the putative waves in the act of stretching and squeezing matter.


Their problem was that the expected effect was a transient change in dimensions equivalent to perhaps a thousandth of the width of a proton in an apparatus several kilometres across. Indirect proof of gravitational waves' existence has been found over the years, most notably by measuring radio emissions from pairs of dead stars called pulsars that are orbiting one another, and deducing from this how the distance between them is shrinking as they broadcast gravitational waves into the cosmos. But the waves themselves proved elusive until the construction of LIGO.


As its name states, LIGO is an interferometer. It works by splitting a laser beam in two, sending the halves to and fro along paths identical in length but set at right angles to one another, and then looking for interference patterns when the halves are recombined (see diagram). If the half-beams' paths are undisturbed, the waves will arrive at the detector in lock-step. But a passing gravitational wave will alternately stretch and compress the half-beams' paths. Those half-beams, now out of step, will then interfere with each other at the detector in a way that tells of their experience. The shape of the resulting interference pattern contains all manner of information about the wave's source, including what masses were involved and how far away it was.


To make absolutely certain that what is seen really is a gravitational wave requires taking great care. First, LIGO is actually two facilities, one in Louisiana and the other in Washington state. Only something which is observed almost, but not quite, simultaneously by both could possibly be a gravitational wave. Secondly, nearly everything in the interferometers' arms is delicately suspended to isolate it as far as possible from distant seismic rumblings and the vibrations of passing traffic.


Moreover, in order to achieve the required sensitivity, each arm of each interferometer is 4km long and the half-beam in it is bounced 100 times between the mirrors at either end of the arm, to amplify any discrepancy when the half-beams are recombined. Even so, between 2002 when LIGO opened and 2010, when it was closed for upgrades, nary a wave was seen.


Holey moly

Those improvements, including doubling the bulk of the devices' mirrors, suspending them yet more delicately, and increasing the laser power by a factor of 75, have made Advanced LIGO, as the revamped apparatus is known, four times as sensitive as the previous incarnation. That extra sensitivity paid off almost immediately. Indeed, the system's operators were still kicking its metaphorical tyres and had yet to begin its official first run when GW150914 turned up, first at the Louisiana site, and about a hundredth of a second later in Washington-a difference which places the outburst somewhere in the sky's southern hemisphere. Since then, the team have been checking their sums and counting their lucky stars. As they outline in Physical Review Letters, the likelihood that the signal was a fluke is infinitesimal.


When one result comes so quickly, others seem sure to follow-particularly as the four months of data the experiment went on to gather as part of the first official run have yet to be analysed fully. A rough estimate suggests one or two other signals as striking as GW150914 may lie within them.


For gravitational astronomy, this is just the beginning. Soon, LIGO will not be alone. By the end of the year VIRGO, a gravitational-wave observatory in Italy, should join it in its search. Another is under construction in Japan and talks are under way to create a fourth, in India. Most ambitiously, a fifth, orbiting, observatory, the Evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, or e-LISA, is on the cards. The first pieces of apparatus designed to test the idea of e-LISA are already in space.


Together, by jointly forming a telescope that will permit astronomers to pinpoint whence the waves come, these devices will open a new vista on the universe. As technology improves, waves of lower frequency-corresponding to events involving larger masses-will become detectable. Eventually, astronomers should be able to peer at the first 380,000 years after the Big Bang, an epoch of history that remains inaccessible to every other kind of telescope yet designed.


The real prize, though, lies in proving Einstein wrong. For all its prescience, the theory of relativity is known to be incomplete because it is inconsistent with the other great 20th-century theory of physics, quantum mechanics. Many physicists suspect that it is in places where conditions are most extreme-the very places which launch gravitational waves-that the first chinks in relativity's armour will be found, and with them a glimpse of a more all-embracing theory.


Gravitational waves, of which Einstein remained so uncertain, have provided direct evidence for black holes, about which he was long uncomfortable, and may yet yield a peek at the Big Bang, an event he knew his theory was inadequate to describe. They may now lead to his theory's unseating. If so, its epitaph will be that in predicting gravitational waves, it predicted the means of its own demise.





3) Physicists Create first Photonic Maxwell Demon  February 12, 2016



Maxwell's demon, a hypothetical being that appears to violate the second law of thermodynamics, has been widely studied since it was first proposed in 1867 by James Clerk Maxwell. But most of these studies have been theoretical, with only a handful of experiments having actually realized Maxwell's demon.


Now in a new paper, physicists have reported what they believe is the first photonic implementation of Maxwell's demon, by showing that measurements made on two light beams can be used to create an energy imbalance between the beams, from which work can be extracted. One of the interesting things about this experiment is that the extracted work can then be used to charge a battery, providing direct evidence of the "demon's" activity.


The physicists, Mihai D. Vidrighin, et al., carried out the experiment at the University of Oxford and published a paper on their results in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.

"Our work shows how photonics can be used as a platform to investigate the relation between energy and information," coauthor Oscar Dahlsten, at the University of Oxford and the London Institute for Mathematical Sciences, told


In the original thought experiment, a demon stands between two boxes of gas particles. At first, the average energy (or speed) of gas molecules in each box is the same. But the demon can open a tiny door in the wall between the boxes, measure the energy of each gas particle that floats toward the door, and only allow high-energy particles to pass through one way and low-energy particles to pass through the other way. Over time, one box gains a higher average energy than the other, which creates a pressure difference. The resulting pushing force can then be used to do work. It appears as if the demon has extracted work from the system, even though the system was initially in equilibrium at a single temperature, in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.


Over the years, physicists have resolved this apparent paradox by explaining that, even though the demon may not do work directly on the system, the demon does gain information from its measurements. Erasing this information from the demon's memory requires work, so that overall there can be no net gain in work.


In the photonic version, the physicists replaced the boxes of gas particles with two pulses of light. They implemented the demon using a combination of a photodetector, which can measure the number of photons from each pulse, and a feed-forward operation, which like the open door can escort the brighter beam (with more photons) in one direction and the dimmer beam (with fewer photons) in the other. The different beams fall on different photodiodes, which generate an electric current that goes to a capacitor, but from opposite directions. If the pulse energies were equal, they would cancel out. But the imbalance in the pulse energies-and in the resulting photoelectric charge-is what charges the capacitor.



More information: Mihai D. Vidrighin, et al. "Photonic Maxwell's Demon." Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.050401

Journal reference: Physical Review Letters



4) Energy Cell Invention on Kickstarter


By HydraLight Inc.


A breakthrough in portable lighting & portable phone charging.

  • No replacing batteries
  • No plugging in to outlets
  • Bright LED light anywhere, anytime
  • Phone & portable device charging anywhere
  • Powered by our innovative Salt Water EnergyCell

The Hydra-Light PL-500 Personal Lantern is a breakthrough personal LED lantern & charger powered by an incredible technology - the Hydra-Light Salt Water EnergyCell. Simply add water and a little ordinary table salt for instant light and DC charging power. 


The PL-500 evolved out of our search for a safe, inexpensive alternative to current portable lighting and charging products that use replaceable batteries. We set out to make a lighting product that was compact, portable, safe and ecologically friendly with extended usage times and lower operational costs than conventional battery products.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries. That's about 180,000 tons of batteries, more than 86,000 tons of which are single use alkalines. Placed end to end these dead batteries would circle the world at least six times.


Enter the PL-500 - powered by a proprietary Salt Water EnergyCell. No more replacing and throwing away used-up batteries. The PL-500 is ideal for camping, emergency lighting or any situations where light & DC power are needed away from electrical grids. It works perfectly with seawater, so makes a great maritime working or emergency light for boating.


Here's how it works: inside the PL-500 is a removable Salt Water EnergyCell - the EC-250 - that works via the interaction of a replaceable PowerRod and a proprietary carbon based membrane. When salt water - an electrolyte - is added, the reaction between these elements creates an instant and continuous flow of electricity. As the reaction cycle continues over time, the PowerRod gradually becomes consumed and slowly shrinks in size, turning into harmless mineral sediment. When the rod has become very thin, it is removed and a new one is inserted - which takes just seconds - making the cell like new and ready to continue generating power. All that's needed during the lifetime of each PowerRod is a periodic rinsing out of the mineral sediment and re-filling with fresh salt water. Unlike conventional batteries, the power output remains constant and does not decline over the lifetime of the rods.


The PL-500 also contains internal Li-ion storage which is continuously trickle-charged to provide quick charging of phones & handheld devices.




5) 17 States Sign "Governors Accord" for a New Energy Future  





Copy of Signed Agreement by all Governors. 


Governors from 17 states said Tuesday that they will work together to develop cleaner energy and transportation as they look to lead a national shift to renewable fuels.


The states vary widely in their approach and sources of fuel, but the bipartisan group said its goal is to cooperate on planning and policies.

The pact - known as the Governors' Accord for a New Energy Future - calls for embracing new energy solutions to expand the economy and protect the health of communities and natural resources.


"We believe that this is a robust driver of economic growth, not a brake on economic growth," Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said in a conference call with reporters.

The governors purposely avoided mentioning the divisive issue of climate change and instead concentrated on how states can cooperate, California Gov. Jerry Brown said.

He said that includes building more sophisticated, energy-efficient regional electrical grids; pooling buying power to get cheaper clean-energy vehicles for state fleets; and lobbying the federal government for more research and development on energy storage, clean fuels and the electric grid.


Other participating governors are from Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. Senior advisers of the governors expect to meet soon to discuss the initial steps to meet the goals.


American prosperity has always depended on embracing new ideas and technologies. By deploying renewable, cleaner and more efficient energy solutions, we can make our national economy more productive and resilient.  These technologies help to diversify energy sources that power our economy and reduce dependence on foreign energy sources while securing abundant, domestically produced electricity.   Embracing these new energy solutions also modernizes our infrastructure and transportation systems, decreases air pollution, and supports the growth of innovative American companies.  


Current challenges also demand these new energy solutions.  Extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, wildfires and sea-level rise, can negatively impact electric reliability and the economy. Embracing new energy solutions can provide more durable and resilient infrastructure, and enable economic growth, while protecting the health of our communities and natural resources. These improvements will help secure a safe and prosperous future for our country.


We recognize that now is the time to embrace a bold vision of the nation's energy future.  And to do so, states are once again poised to lead.  We join together, despite unique opportunities and challenges in each state, to embrace a shared vision of this future:


Our states will diversify energy generation and expand clean energy sources.

Expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy in a cost-effective way strengthens our states' economic productivity, reduces air pollution and avoids energy waste.  Integrating more of these clean energy sources into our electricity grids can also improve the flexibility and stability of these grids.  Promoting energy savings through efficiency and conservation programs is the fastest, most reliable and often cheapest way to meet our energy needs.  Technologies that capture solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal power have become viable and cost-effective to integrate into our states' energy portfolios.  These technologies are already providing energy to millions of Americans while reducing energy waste and air pollution. Amidst decreasing costs of renewable energy, and rapid advances in efficiency throughout entire energy systems, our states will diversify our energy portfolios for economic, health and environmental benefits.


Our states will modernize energy infrastructure.

Modern distribution and transmission grids are required to give consumers more control over their own energy use, increase electricity reliability, and integrate more renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies into our energy systems.  Electrical grid improvements, advanced in a cost-effective way, can empower utilities and consumers to manage electricity flexibly and efficiently.  


Our states will encourage clean transportation options.

Hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles, and tens of millions of vehicles using alternative fuels, are driving on American roads, and fuels such as natural gas, biofuels and hydrogen are increasingly available to power vehicles.  Supporting automakers' and fueling companies' market expansion for these new vehicles and fuels expands consumer choice, lessens dependence on petroleum and reduces pollution.  By supporting needed infrastructure development, incentives and policies when appropriate, our states will encourage expanded use of these new technologies.


Our states will plan for this energy transition.

Given the complexity of state-wide energy systems and the scale of modernizing these systems, many states have developed energy plans and strategies to implement energy improvements. These approaches have incorporated best practices and lessons-learned from new technologies, other states' energy policies, consumer programs, and workforce training efforts.  These state-by-state approaches enable each state to meet benchmarks it sets for itself in areas such as energy diversification, reduced energy waste, improved air and water, and economic performance.  Our states will support each other in developing, refining and implementing these plans through sharing expertise among our policy experts.   


Our states will work together to make these transformational policy changes.

Our states are already transforming energy and transportation to be cleaner, more efficient, and more resilient.   Many actions taking place in one state can be adapted to meet the needs of other states and scaled across regions.  Examples include streamlining siting of environmentally-desirable infrastructure, setting renewable and energy efficiency standards, adopting incentives for clean vehicles and fuels, and diversifying energy portfolios to integrate peak shaving, efficiency and renewable energy into a state's energy mix.  Building on current efforts, our states will help each other reach shared energy and transportation objectives.  This collaboration will be advanced through periodic meetings and technical convenings of our states.


Our states will help secure a stronger national energy future.

Given the unique energy portfolio and regulatory framework of each state, Governors are uniquely positioned to drive lasting improvements to our country's energy system.  Federal agencies lend technical expertise, provide funding, and enable research and development that can help our states make energy improvements.  In order to provide effective support, federal agencies must work closely with states to tailor technical support, funding and research to the needs of each state and avoid presupposing the best types of assistance.   Strong partnerships among our states and between our states and the federal government will improve our country in the decades to come.




6) Thermoelectric Conversion Review Article 


By  G Schierning et al.,  Transl. Mater. Res. 2 (2015) 025001 


Ed. Note: Sometimes our eNews features more technical articles on future energy for the simple reason that the conclusions are very progressive and surprising. This is one of those articles. The only two buzz words you need to recognize are "skutterudites and half-Heusler compounds" which even I have never heard of before now. They are apparently destined to replace silicon in future thermoelectric converters. Short excerpt and conclusions are below. The article is open access.




Within the last decade, novel materials concepts and nanotechnology have resulted in a great of the conversion efficiency of thermoelectric materials. Despite this, a mass market for thermoelectric heat-to-electricity conversion is yet to be opened up. One reason for this is that the transfer of the lab records into fabrication techniques which enable thermoelectric generator modules is very challenging. By closing the gap between record lab values and modules, broad industrial applications may become feasible.






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