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Sent:                               Tuesday, March 28, 2017 10:37 PM


Subject:                          Future Energy eNews




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March 2017


Future Energy eNews







What a coincidence... we go to press with our Story #2 on a superconductive copper oxide tape breakthrough by Eurotapes, who have produced 600 meters of the tape at the Institute of Materials Science in Barcelona, thus promising to make superconductive electricity more affordable, as reported by  and other news sources. At the same time, our Maryland Department of Transportation just announced the new Baltimore-Washington Superconducting MAGLEV Project promising up to 300 mph transportation with liquid helium-cooled coils levitating the train, hosting Open House meetings in several DC area sites in April.


In other transportation news, our Story #1 is a revealing look at the mysterious X-37B robotic spaceplane also called the OTV, developed years ago by the Air Force and setting records for the longest time in orbit before it comes back to earth.  It appears that the public may be able to see the spaceplane if it lands at Cape Canaveral.


As lithium-ion batteries seem to be reaching their limit for energy storage, their co-inventor just announced in Story #3 a new lithium-glass battery technology developed at the University of Texas at Austin. Since the alkali-doped glass electrolyte possesses a much higher dielectric constant, it promises a much higher energy density and more safety than lithium-ion. The research paper  is entitled, "Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery" and a patent application has been filed.


In the Bioenergetics realm, Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Fields or PEMFs are an emerging trend as the hottest electrotherapy available today at consumer prices (see for more info). In a recent study reported in Story #4, sponsored by the Orthofix company, it was found that "PEMF  Reduces Gene Expression of Disc Degeneration" which is good news for many people who have back problems due to intervertebral disc issues and wish to reduce their disc degeneration.


While we have reported on the use of waste heat to generate electricity  back on May 2014 and October 2014 (See our Future Energy eNews Archive, our Story #5 reports that a new company in Ireland named Exergyn wants to capture the waste heat in hot water from industrial operations, which is more energy than Saudi Arabia's output of oil and gas. The beauty of their innovation is to use "nitinol" which changes shape with temperature, so it can be used as a motor prime mover.


Along the strong European trend in renewable energy, our Story #6 emphasizes that Denmark recently ran the country of 10 million homes on 100% renewable energy (between onshore and offshore wind energy) for a full day. This is a huge accomplishment, one that the US probably will have to wait even longer for, if the Trump Administration continues its trend to purchase and consume dirty fossil fuel that pollutes the atmosphere with CO2, NO2, and SO2 to name a few combustion exhaust gasses. The article also notes that Scotland, Germany, Portugal, and Costa Rica are also some of the most impressive countries to look at in terms of renewable energy, with Costa Rica reaching 99% of its energy needs in 2015 with renewables


Onward and upward,


Thomas Valone,  Editor









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1) Air Force's X-37B Space Plane 



By Mike Watt, March 2017


The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane is just eight days away from setting a record on its current clandestine mission.


If the robotic vehicle stays aloft until March 25, it will break the X-37B mission-duration mark of 674 days, which was established back in October 2014. It's unclear whether that will actually happen, however; the Air Force is tight-lipped about most X-37B payloads and activities, including touchdown plans


"The landing date will be determined based on the completion of the program's on-orbit demonstrations and objectives for this mission," Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli, an Air Force spokeswoman, told via email when asked when the current mission might end.


The uncrewed X-37B (also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV) looks a lot like NASA's now-retired space shuttle, only much smaller. The X-37B is just 29 feet (8.8 meters) long and 9.6 feet (2.9 m) tall, with a wingspan of about 15 feet (4.6 m). Two of the vehicles could fit inside a space shuttle's payload bay.


The Air Force is known to have two X-37Bs, both of which were built by Boeing. These twin craft have flown four missions to date. OTV-1 launched on April 22, 2010, and landed on Dec. 3 of that year, spending 224 days in orbit. OTV-2 started on March 5, 2011, and wrapped up on June 16, 2012, after 468 days in space. OTV-3 launched on Dec. 11, 2012, and landed on Oct. 17, 2014, after circling the Earth for more than 674 days. The current mission, OTV-4, lifted off on May 20, 2015.


All four X-37B flights have launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the first three landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But the Air Force has been working to consolidate X-37B launch and landing activities on Florida's Space Coast, and that vision includes bringing the vehicles down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), which is next door to Cape Canaveral.


Rumors have swirled that OTV-4 will land at KSC, but that's all they are at the moment - rumors. Capt. Annicelli declined to confirm or refute such speculation. "While the program has the capability to land at either KSC or Vandenberg, the landing location is determined by a variety of factors," she said.


Because of the secrecy surrounding the X-37B program, some people have speculated that the vehicle is a space weapon. But the Air Force has always vigorously contested such claims, saying that the space plane is simply testing technologies and helping researchers conduct in-space experiments.


"Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal-protection systems, avionics, high-temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, advanced propulsion systems and autonomous orbital flight, re-entry, and landing," the Air Force's 

X-37B fact sheet states.


2) Superconductivity Power Breakthrough in Europe



By Tibi Puiu ZME Science March 2017


Researchers working at the Eurotapes project, the biggest effort ever launched by the European Commission for the development of superconductor materials, just announced a huge breakthrough. Namely, the researchers devised a superconductive tape that's cheaper and more efficient than previous renditions. Such a material is expected to form the backbone of Europe's new electrical highways.


Don't resist progress.

Superconductivity was first discovered by Dutch Physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911, when he and his students found that the electrical resistance of a mercury wire cooled to about 3.6 degrees above absolute zero made a dramatic plunge. The drop was enormous - the resistance became at least twenty thousand times smaller. Since then, much work was made to improve our understanding of this peculiar state. We now know superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon characterized by the Meissner effect - the complete ejection of magnetic field lines from the interior of the superconductor as it transitions into the superconducting state. The same effect is what causes quantum levitation.


Electricity travels on long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines, often miles and miles across the country. To keep losses to a minimum, the voltage in these lines can be hundreds of thousands of volts. However, energy is still lost because the conductor, typically made of copper, heats up. The longer the line, the greater the losses. In fact, you can ever hear these losses down power lines - it's that crackling sound.


Superconductivity promises to do away with such losses - the only problem is you have to cool the superconductive cables with liquid nitrogen. Imagine doing that for hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission lines; it would be practically impossible at such a large scale, which is many scientists dream of a material that's superconductive at room temperature. Right now, the record is held by cuprates, which have demonstrated superconductivity at atmospheric pressure at temperatures as high as 138 K (−135 °C), and 164 K (−109 °C) under high pressure.





3) New Glass Battery Will Accelarate the End of Oil?


By Mark Anderson IEEE Spectrum  March  2017


John Goodenough, coinventor of the lithium-ion battery, heads a team of researchers developing the technology that could one day supplant it.


Electric car purchases have been on the rise lately, posting an estimated 60 percent growth rate last year. They're poised for rapid adoption by 2022, when EVs are projected to cost the same as internal combustion cars. However, these estimates all presume the incumbent lithium-ion battery remains the go-to EV power source. So, when researchers this week at the University of Texas at Austin unveiled a new, promising lithium- or sodium-glass battery technology, it threatened to accelerate even rosy projections for battery-powered cars.


"I think we have the possibility of doing what we've been trying to do for the last 20 years," says John Goodenough, coinventor of the now ubiquitous lithium-ion battery and emeritus professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. "That is, to get an electric car that will be competitive in cost and convenience with the internal combustion engine." Goodenough added that this new battery technology could also store intermittent solar and wind power on the electric grid.


Goodenough himself says that when he first coinvented the lithium-ion battery in the 1980s, almost no one in the battery or consumer electronics industries took the innovation seriously. It was only Japanese labs and companies like Sony that first began to explore the world we all today inhabit-with lithium-ions powering nearly every portable device in the marketplace, as well as electric vehicles and even next-generation airliners.




4) PEMF  Reduces Gene Expression of Disc Degeneration


The Spine Journal, June 2016, Volume 16, Issue 6, Pages 770-776


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, 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.


LEWISVILLE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 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 TheSpine Journal, results indicate PEMF therapy may reduce cellular inflammation and degradation associated with disc 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 disease."


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.     



These results demonstrate that IVD cells are responsive to PEMF and motivate future studies to determine whether PEMF may be helpful for patients with IVD degeneration.



5) Turning Waste Heat into Electricity 



By James Randerson, New Scientist March 2017


A new engine that generates electricity from waste hot water could reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions for thousands of different businesses, from cargo shipping to data centres.


So says Exergyn, a firm based in Dublin, Ireland, which plans to run the first industrial trials of its technology next year.

Globally, Exergyn estimates that the heat lost in waste hot water from industrial processes amounts to around twice the energy in Saudi Arabia's annual oil and gas output.

"There's just so much waste hot water in the world," says Exergyn CEO Alan Healy. "In most cases [companies] are actually spending energy to cool it."

Cut carbon emissions

Cargo ships, for example, typically pump waste hot water from the engine around the vessel to cool it down. And in data centres, electricity-hungry fans are used to dissipate the heat generated by rows of servers. Finding an efficient way to capture and use this wasted energy would both reduce costs and cut carbon emissions.


It also has another unusual quality. Unlike most materials, nitinol expands when cooled, rather like water does when it turns to ice (think of the mess in your freezer when you leave a bottle of beer to cool in there too long). "There aren't many materials in the universe that do that," says Mike Langan, Exergyn's head of product management.





6) Denmark Ran the Country on 100% Wind Energy


By Patrick Caughill, Futurism News  March 2017




Countries all over the world are making major strides in renewable energy. Many nations are investing in new clean energy infrastructure that is allowing them to supply enough power to meet their energy needs by great percentages, if not entirely.


On February 22nd, Denmark generated enough energy with its wind turbines to power the entire country for the day. An especially windy day allowed the turbines to generate 97 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy. 70 of those GWh came from onshore wind turbines and the remaining 27 GWh from offshore installations. All of this power, generated from a single type of renewable energy, is enough to power 10 million average EU homes.


This boost in wind power generation is partly thanks to a new offshore wind turbine installation that was able to break the record for the most energy generated by a single turbine in a 24-hour period.  Many European countries have been sharing similar accomplishments. Wind Europe spokesman Oliver Joy said, "In 2016 we saw the UK was powered without coal for 12 and a half hours, Germany went some days on renewable, and Portugal went four straight days on renewable. It shows energy transition is underway in Europe and arguably further ahead than anywhere else in the world."


Scotland has also been investing heavily in renewable energy with wind turbines that could power every household for an entire month. Last year, the country also launched the world's first large-scale tidal power farm that has to potential to power 175,000 homes.

Costa Rica is one of the most impressive countries to look at in terms of renewable energy. It's is able to run entirely on renewable energy for months at a time. In fact, in 2015 the country met 99 percent of its total energy need from renewable sources alone.


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