Here at the nerve center of future energy, we RESIST
to focus on fossil fuels. Instead, to make the world great, we
would like to let you know about this week's PBS feature NOVA
program called, "The Search for the Super Battery" to
be aired on Wednesday, February 1st at 9 PM. As
utilities are moving to battery use for smoothing out demand, the
"super battery" is a popular goal for many applications. Check out the trailer at
PBS.org . Also, take another 5 minutes to see the amazing
high school student energy and science inventions (Story #4) that
are on par with graduate students, thanks to a top-grade aerospace engineer turned
We also remind everyone that the Call for Papers is
still open for our upcoming COFE9 in July,
2017. Potential speakers simply need to send in their title, abstract
(paragraph summary), and a bio of themselves by email to IRI@erols.com by the
end of February, 2017. A final paper is optional but always
invited. We of course need a PowerPoint slideshow however for a
40 minute presentation on energy, propulsion, or bioenergetics
As we futurists start to consider the possibility of
pilot-free flight in Story #1, the option of short shuttle,
"flying cars" is the focus of more than one company,
with helicopters going electric, in a related article. The reality
of "full autonomy" for self-driving cars is still being
examined, as in IEEE Spectrum (Jan. 23,
2017) so it is understandable that 3D movement will be more
complicated than 2D ground transportation for any computer
program so autonomous taxis will probably be commonplace
In Story #2, we offer some background info on the
state-of-the-art for utility-sized energy storage batteries.
Tesla and SolarCity are pioneering such technology. However, it
is interesting that the largest installation in the world already
exists here in San Diego California. So far, it seems that Li-Ion
batteries are preferred but we'll see what the PBS special on
NOVA tells us this week.
With Story #3, we are finally seeing the country's
first offshore wind farm being tested off the coast of the Atlantic.
From Bloomberg.com we are also seeing that solar, for the first
time, is now about equal to the cost of wind so
both renewable energy sources are making big strides in ramping
up to industrial and utility level performance at $1.6 million/MW
from an average of 58 countries, which also is about half the
price of coal in some countries.
Story #4 is one of the most exciting stories we have
run in years. Maybe it is because, as a former college teacher, I
always wondered if students can do original research as well as
graduate students. Check out the high school student energy and
science inventions that are on par with university level
research, including professional poster sessions, thanks to a
top-grade aerospace engineer turned teacher Andy Bramante . STEM
students can be grown in the lab!
Our last Story #5 offers some wonderful support for
the IRI electrotherapy initiative at OsteoPad.org that
we have offered to the public. UCSF spearheaded a clinical study
published in Spine Journal, June 2016, Volume 16, Issue
6, Pages 770-776 on intervertebral discs (IVD) which
shows that pulsed EMF (PEMF) reduces IVD degeneration and does
not reduce cell viability. The article also acknowledges the past
therapeutic effect of PEMF on bone healing and reducing symptoms
of arthritis but indicated that this is the first study on IVD
effects in normal and inflammatory environments. IRI is proud to
offer more non-invasive, electrotherapy information at BioenergyDevice.org which
we believe is the future bioenergetic medicine.
Our Best Selling nano second PEMFdevice
Our most popular HIgh voltage device
Best NanoSecond PEMF for arthritis, bone issues
1) Autonomous Air Taxis will Take Off in 2017
By Philip Roth, IEEE Spectrum January 2017
In the future, the joke goes, airliners will
each have a pilot and a dog. The dog will be there to bite the
pilot if he touches the controls, and the pilot will be there to
feed the dog. It's no joke, though, when NASA
scientists begin entertaining the idea of replacing the
copilot with a wideband connection to a ground controller. Who
will take over the plane should the pilot become incapacitated?
Nor is it a joke to carry the argument to its logical conclusion
and do away with the pilot altogether.
It's a beguiling vision. An autonomous airplane
reliable enough to be trusted by passengers and air-safety
regulators could save not just on salaries but also on the cost of
managing the glitch-prone minuet by which well-rested flight crews
are united with the planes they're supposed to fly. That
logistical problem will get harder as the pilot
shortage worsens, and it will be hardest of all for short-hop
air service, where the pilot-to-passenger ratio is high.
Now comes a slew of startups that propose to serve
that very niche with tiny, autonomous aircraft. Most would be
powered by electricity, use multiple propellers or ducted fans,
take off vertically or nearly so, and range perhaps a few tens of
Vahana, a tilt-wing, autonomous air taxi that's been
developed by Airbus's Silicon Valley outfit, A3, is supposed
to begin testing later this year. The German company
e-Volo, already known for lofting a pilot in an
elaborate multicopter, says it's gearing up to make an
autonomous version. Zee Aero, reportedly personally funded by Google
cofounder Larry Page, offers another example, and
Uber yet another. And Terrafugia, a veteran in the flying-car
space-at last, a proper use for that bit of biz
lingo!-is also talking about making a model that's
When so many new startups are pursuing the same goal,
it's tempting to think there must be something there. But hope
springs eternal in tech land, and so does the propensity to
promise big. All these companies have proven tight-lipped (not one
returned inquiries from IEEE Spectrum), which suggests that
there might be less here than meets the eye.
Spectrum reported on Terrafugia, the one company
that has a real history, back in 2007, in our January special
issue. We called the company a "loser" for
describing a flying car it said it was about to bring to market.
It didn't happen.
"It can be done-we could be flying around
in pilotless planes, just as we could be living on cities on
Mars-but is it worth the cost and the effort?" asks Patrick
Smith, author of the Ask the Pilot column, which ran for
years in Salon magazine. "I fly airplanes for a
living, and my jaw drops when I hear people say that flying is
already mostly automated. Even the most 'automated' flight is
still subject to so much human input and subjective
So why then are all these startups starting up?
"It'd be a novelty, not necessarily meant even for profit,
but as a way to prove and build the technology," Smith
And should one of these outfits ever offer seats to
the paying public, would you entrust your life to a robotic pilot?
"People want a pilot in the cockpit, to know there's someone
in charge who shares their fate," says Missy Cummings, a
former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, now a professor of mechanical
engineering and materials science at Duke University. "I
don't think we'll ever have a passenger airliner be a drone-there
will always be some version of a Captain James T.
Kirk on board." But, she adds, things are different for
hops of, say, 50 miles (80 kilometers), where for some
people, at least, convenience might outweigh fear.
"It's technologically achievable in the near
term; as for the regulatory problem, I think we'll see it in China
first," Cummings says. "Ehang [in Guangzhou, China]
is supposedly doing a test in March."
The company claims that its roboplane has already
carried a passenger, and if it performs the feat in public, we'll
let you know. And if it doesn't.
This article appears in the January 2017 print issue
as "Fly Robotic?"
2) Energy Storage Batteries for Utilities
By Stephen Edelstein, Green Car Reports January 2017
SolarCity Energy Storage Array in American Samoa
Biggest tests being done in California
From the perspective of both renewable-energy
advocates and electric utilities, grid scale energy
storage offers many potential benefits. By storing
energy in battery packs for later use, energy storage can make
intermittent renewable sources like solar and wind into more
reliable forms of power. It also helps utilities
"balance" the gird by absorbing excess energy during
periods of low demand, and releasing it during periods of peak
Yet energy storage has not been tested on a
large scale by U.S. utilities.
Until now, that is. California now has three
completed energy-storage sites, constituting the biggest test
yet for the technology.
The states passed an energy-storage mandate, but
development did not pick up until a massive 2015 gas leak in Aliso
Canyon, a large-scale environmental disaster that also cut off
fuel to local power plants.
The leak started at a Southern California Gas Co.
storage facility in October 2015, and lasted several months.
In that time, it released greenhouse-gas emissions
equivalent to the annual emissions of 1.7 million cars.
Infrastructure company AES built an energy-storage
array for utility San Diego Gas & Electric
(SDG&E) in Escondido, California, about 30 miles from San
Billed as the largest installation of its kind in the
world, it uses lithium-ion batteries from Samsung, and reportedly
has enough capacity to power about 20,000 homes for four hours.
AES is also installing a smaller energy-storage array
for SDG&E in El Cajon, which is also near San Diego.
Tesla also recently completed an array for Southern
California Edison near Chino, California.
Energy storage is often talked about in the context
of renewable energy, because it allows power to be available when
the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.
But it can also benefit utilities by putting a more
consistent load on generating resources, in turn putting less
stress on the grid. Energy-storage battery packs can be
charged during periods of low demand, and discharged when demand
In California, it is hoped that energy storage will
lessen dependence on natural-gas "peaker" plants, which
are typically used to meet sudden demand spikes because they can
start up and shut down quickly. But the "peaker"
plants are expensive to operate, and produce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Despite the benefits to utilities, and
California legislation encouraging use of renewable energy and
requiring utilities to add energy-storage systems, real activity
did not pick up until after the Aliso Canyon gas leak.
The site of that leak may reopen, following a review
by safety regulators, reports UPI.
The California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal
Resources said this week that public hearings would be held in
February regarding a possible reopening.
Meanwhile, AES-the company installing the two
SDG&E energy-storage arrays-has an agreement with Southern
California Edison to build an array in Long Beach, with a
projected completion date of 2020.
They need to store an order of magnitude more than
anything yet seen 19 Dec 2016
3) Long Island Wind Power Being Tested Offshore
By Diane Cardwell, The New York Times January
Only a few years ago, the long-held dream of
harnessing the strong, steady gusts off the Atlantic coast to make
electricity seemed destined to remain just that. Proposals for
offshore wind farms foundered on the shoals of high
costs, regulatory hurdles and the fierce opposition of those who
didn't want giant industrial machinery puncturing the pristine
Now the industry is poised to take off, just as the
American political landscape and energy policy itself face perhaps
the greatest uncertainty in a generation.
Last fall, five turbines in the waters of Rhode
Island - the country's first offshore farm - began delivering
power to the grid. European energy developers like Statoil
and Dong Energy are making big investments to bring projects to American
waters. Last year in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker, a
Republican, signed into law a mandate that is pushing development
And in New York, after years of stymied progress, the
Long Island Power Authority has reached an agreement with Deepwater
Wind, which built the Rhode Island turbine array, to drop a much
larger farm - 15 turbines capable of running 50,000 average homes
- into the ocean about 35 miles from Montauk. If approved by the
utility board on Wednesday, the $1 billion installation could
become the first of several in a 256-square-mile parcel, with room
for as many as 200 turbines, that Deepwater is leasing from the
"We're developing this first offshore wind
project in federal waters, but it's really a gateway project to
other locations around Long Island," said Thomas Falcone, the
power authority's chief executive. "We're now at a point
where developers can build projects at prices where utilities are
willing buyers, and to me that is a very big deal."
These projects could also become an important test
case in establishing just how far states can go to to pursue their
clean energy agendas under the Trump administration. Before
putting steel in the water, the project would need federal
approvals and policies that are in doubt amid Washington's
changing of the guard.
Wind power has finally become viable for a number of
delicately interlaced reasons. It has taken favorable state
policies and technological and economic advances to spur the
current level of activity, as well as interest among developers
and investors, including foreign oil and gas companies
that see offshore wind as an important part of their corporate
strategies. In Europe, where the offshore wind industry is far
ahead of the United States', costs have plummeted to roughly half
of what they were five years ago, said Thomas Brostrom, who runs
United States operations for Dong Energy, the Danish oil and gas
giant and a leading offshore wind developer.
As the industry has grown, manufacturers have been
able to take advantage of economies of scale and cut their prices.
At the same time, turbines have grown ever larger, allowing them
to capture and produce more energy on the same site.
Hummingbird Design WindPower
4) Empowering Teen Research Students
By FOX News, Jan. 17, 2017 - 5:18 -
Summary by Thomas Valone, Integrity Research
Excellence in STEM: High school teacher brings unique
expertise to empower science research students
Andrew Bramante, GHS Teacher
of Science Research
STEM Star Teacher Andy Bramante trains students at
Greenwich High School to become genius scientists on par with
university graduate research assistants. Their solutions to
problems from lab research is presented at conferences a poster
sessions. One of his students found a non-invasive assay card test
for the ebola virus, another invented a tattoo-based biosensor for
atherosclerosis plaque in the arteries, another student found a
way to increase charge rate and capacity for Lithium-Ion
batteries. Some of Bramante's students have gone to the White
House, others have won Intel and Google science competitions,
besides the usual science fairs.
IRI believes that the genius of Andy Bramante, a
noted aerospace engineer, provides the framework for exciting and
state-of-the-art equipment necessary for training high school
students to think like professional research scientists. If more
senior scientists are willing to take an early retirement to go
into teaching, the shortage of engineers can be bridged with STEM
students ready to contribute to the advancement of science.
Watch the five (5) minute video. It is truly
inspiring what high school students are capable of with the right
training. Maybe there is hope for blue collar workers who need to
move into more technical jobs as well.
5) PEMF treatment reduces expression of genes
associated with disc degeneration
By Stephanie L. Miller, Dezba G. Coughlin, Dezba
G. Coughlin, Erik I. Waldorff, James T.
Ryaby, Jeffrey C. Lotz,
Ed. Note: This is a recent, breakthrough,
scholarly article which demonstrates the efficacy of PEMF for
reducing spinal disc degeneration. IRI is proud to support such
research results with its experimentally proven www.OsteoPad.org, also shown
to increase bone density with before and after tests, in about a
six month period. With 50% of older Americans affected to some
degree with disc or bone degeneration, electrotherapy is a very
promising avenue to choose.
Orthofix International N.V. (NASDAQ:OFIX), a
diversified, global medical device company, today announced
results of a cellular study designed to determine how pulsed
electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy affects gene expression of
intervertebral discs (IVD) cells in normal and inflammatory
environments. Published online in The Spine
Journal, results indicate PEMF therapy may reduce cellular
inflammation and degradation associated with degeneration in
human IVD cells.
"The results of this study are clinically
important as they demonstrate PEMF has disease modifying
activities that may, in the future, provide a minimally-invasive
solution for patients living with painful degenerative disc
disease," said Dr. Jeffrey C. Lotz, Ph.D., Professor and Vice
Chair of Research, at the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,
and co-author of the journal article. "While an important
first step, more studies are needed to determine if this is indeed
a viable option for managing inflammation and impaired healing associated
with painful intervertebral discs."
In an in-vitro human cell culture and microarray gene
expression study, cells were stimulated to elicit the inflammatory
environment associated with degenerative disc disease (DDD). The
cells were exposed to the Orthofix Physio-Stim®PEMF for four hours
daily. At day four, this study revealed that cells treated with
PEMF showed a reduction in proinflammatory markers and a decrease
in degeneration of the cellular matrix relative to the control
group, although this reduction did not persist to day seven.
"We continue to support preclinical evaluation
of PEMF technology to confirm and validate the potential for new
clinical applications," said Orthofix Chief Scientific
Officer and co-author James Ryaby, Ph.D. "We remain committed
to furthering the body of clinical evidence that drives best
medical practice and improved patient outcomes. We believe this
study suggests that PEMF may be an important future treatment
option for patients suffering from degenerative disc
Intervertebral disc degeneration is one of the most common
mechanical causes of chronic low back pain. It occurs when the
usually rubbery discs lose integrity as a normal process of aging.
In 2010, low back pain was ranked as the third most burdensome
condition in terms of mortality or poor health in the U.S. by
the National Institutes for Health.
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