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 May 2014




    For those looking for cutting edge Tesla technology with live demonstrations, IRI endorses the upcoming ExtraOrdinary Technology Conference, July 30-August 3, 2014 in Albuquerque NM since several former COFE speakers will be there this year. The 16-page Conference Program is now online. See a real working single-cylinder Papp engine powered by a noble gas mixture, for example. IRI also now has a new Papp Noble Gas Engine Report available for those who want to learn more about this 100% clean engine with recycled noble gases (also shelved by TRW after their successful R&D replication) which was also presented at COFE6.

    According to data from the NASA/French Space Agency Jason-2 satellite, something is brewing in the Pacific. Researchers say it will be a significant El Niño with implications for global weather and climate. Full story is on NASA's website: 2014/19may_elnino/ 


     With the experts' anticipation of serious weather problems this summer from a Pacific Ocean warming El Nino, let's look at a real solution for such increasing consequences of global warming with this month's Story #1 that reports a real life scandal and story of suppression which follows in the heels of our celebratory January 2014 FE eNews reprint of  Popular Science article on the Most Efficient Car Ever. However, just as I predicted, the anticipated backlash from the profiteers and polluters who love big oil are apparently putting the brakes on Volkswagen's 300 mpg XL1. Instead, a watered-down version called theJetta TDI with only 70 mpg is still having trouble being introduced to the American market! It is time to write to your Congressman and Senator to demand access to both of these environmental solutions we all knew were possible and now are available from Volkswagen in Europe. I hope Rocky Mountain Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists also take up this cause for freedom of American automobile purchasing. It seems reminiscent of only eight (8) years ago when IRI showed the movie, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" at COFE2 in blind action by GM that almost caused them to go bankrupt. The future is energy efficiency and America needs revolutionary miles per gallon (mpg) as soon as possible.

    Story #2 is another great breakthrough for splitting water and photosynthetic proteins since the crystalline structure has now been determined and single crystals of the PSII protein have been produced after 20 years of research, which constitutes the heart of plant life, according to Science magazine. It is hoped that such a breakthrough will make artificial photosynthesis a reality.

    Story #3 summarizes a breakthrough with low grade waste heat that traditionally is resistant to any useful conversion to energy, like smokestacks and tailpipes. MIT and the Harbin Institute of Tech in China have collaborated to discover a 20% increase in the figure of merit (like efficiency) for a new bismuth telluride compound.

     Story #4 gives the world a new view on " clean coal," which most environmentalists thought was an oxymoron. Two coal burning power plants are set to demonstrate a release of just 150 to 420 tons of carbon dioxide per day thanks to its new carbon dioxide scrubber, which will absorb and capture 90 percent of the carbon (thousands of tons of CO2) in the plant's exhaust. There may be hope for clean coal after all.

    Story #5 may be exciting to a few Mars colonists who hope to visit the red planet and maybe set up home there. SpaceX is announcing new rocket technology that will help propel a crew to Mars to establish a colony there.

We invite our readers to grab the voluminous Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA) books still on sale while they last and also review the amazing "EM Pulser" based on Dr. Glen Gordon's discoveries -- see sidebar.




Thomas Valone, PhD, PE.
















 EM Pulser 

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New Proceedings from NPA. Click on picture to order


New 465-page ZPE Monograph from NPA

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1) Volkswagen 300 MPG Car Produced But Not Available in America 

Stage2Omega,  Jim Stone, May 2014 


Ed. Note: Regarding the VW TDI, Car and Driver states: "The Golf Variant BlueMotion and its 110-hp engine and a manual transmission are said to achieve a remarkable 71 mpg combined, albeit on the European cycle...Of course, we should probably just be happy that we get a wagon at all. Look for the U.S. version of this car to launch sometime in 2014." 



You won't find the 300 MPG Volkswagen XL1 in an American showroom, in fact it has even been denied a tour of America because it is too efficient for the American public to be made widely aware of, and oil profits are too high in America with the status quo in place.



No tour has been allowed for this car because the myth that 50 mpg is virtually impossible to obtain from even a stripped down econobox is too profitable to let go of, and when it comes to corporate oil profits, ignorance is bliss.


Years ago I had calculated that it should be possible to get a small car to exceed 100 mpg by putting parallel direct to cylinder water injectors side by side with the fuel injectors, and using the exhaust manifold to preheat the water so it would enter the cylinders as dry steam, thus providing added expansion (which drives the engine) while allowing the combustion process toproceed without reducing it's efficiency.


But I was obviously wrong with my calculations, because they were in fact over 2x conservative. The 100 mpg carburetor was indeed a reality, and the Volkswagen XL1 proves it with only straightforward nothing special technology we have had since the 1970s


Though the XL1 can be plugged in to deliver a 40 mile all electric drive, it does not need to be plugged in EVER to achieve 300 mpg. And it does not cheat in any way to achieve the rating, it weighs over 1,700 pounds, has normal tires, and delivers a very good driving experience with a governed top speed of 99 mph.


The XL1 could reach a top speed in excess of 110 mph absent governor and turns in a 0-60 time of 11.5 seconds which is by no means leisurly for a car designed for efficiency. The XL1 in no way cheats on performance to hit it's rating. It is simply the car we should have always had, and have had taken from us in the name of oil profits.


Though the XL1 can hit 300 mpg under ideal driving conditions, it's combined mileage is usually a little over 200 mpg, and if you do city driving only that will drop to a minimum of 180 mpg under the worst driving conditions. But I'd be happy with that no doubt.


What does that kind of fuel economy really mean?


If the XL1 was equipped with an 18 gallon fuel tank, and you did all highway driving, you could fill it up with an oil change and when the next change was due you could change the oil and keep driving without filling up for and additional 2,400 miles. But it comes with a much smaller fuel tank, because if it could go that long on a single tank chances are the fuel would foul before it got used. The tank is only 2.6 gallons to prevent fuel age related problems from happening. So fill ups are cheap.


Many of the publications which speak about the XL1 did so when it was a concept car predicted to get right around 250 MPG. But in 2014, after extensive testing of cars now produced, test drivers report economy above 300 mpg under the correct driving conditions, which would be close to sea level, a flat straight road with no stops, and reasonable speeds.


To get rid of miles/imperial/U.S. gallon confusion, in the metric system the XL1 is rated to deliver 100 kilometers per litre. Translated for the U.S., that means approximately 65 miles per quart.


I rememer how I laughed at the Smart Fortwo, because even a full size 4 door Chevy Impala significantly beat the "Smart's" fuel economy, and with the Impala you would get a whole car. The Volkswagen XL1 is clearly the two seater the Smart should have been if it really was what the name implies, and the XL1 is in contrast, a car I'd be proud to be seen in.


You will NOT see the XL1 in America, even its far less efficient 85 mpg non hyrid full size station wagon counterpart - the Jetta TDI blue motion wagon (, which is made in America is banned from American roads. And I would like to ask why? What excuse is there for banning highly efficient cars from American roads?


One excuse is that "they don't meet American crash test standards", but the real truth is that the Fed simply refused to ever crash test them because of what they are, in Europe even the XL1 is considered to be a very safe car in crashes, and the Jetta station wagon is obviously even safer and you CAN buy the non TDI versions of the exact same car in America. The only thing different is the engine, WHAT GIVES?


The answer is obvious. Simply for the sake of raking in huge profits from $4 a gallon gas, getting guzzled at 10X the rate it should be, the corporations have via campaign contributions and other types of pay outs succeeded in getting the FED to legislate the best cars off the road for irrelevant trumped up reasons. The XL1 will not meet American emission standards NOT because it is not clean enough, it will not meet them simply because inefficient parts that are mandated by the EPA are not part of the XL1 power train. 


We will never see truly clean running and efficient cars in America, because the FED has mandated that American cars be intentionally stifled by horribly fuel wasting parts that add to the cost of the vehicle and do absolutely NO GOOD, how much more efficient and clean can you get than 300 mpg? The exhaust from the XL1 has to, by simple math and the laws of physics, run at the theoretical threshold of emissions perfection.


 All is not rosy for Europe however


The XL1 is SO MUCH the car that the oil companies do not want that there will only be 2,000 made. And no production line was set up for them, they are all hand made. And irrelevant "lightweight" parts are added to the frame, consisting of carbon fiber and other exotic materials to add to the mystique.


But the materials and production limits are a load of BUNK, the car STILL weighs over 1,700 pounds, if it weighed just 100 pounds more everything exotic could be removed, because "exotic materials" are not doing much anyway, they are just marketing.


Cost is not the issue either Even after being hand made with "exotic" materials in an intentionally limited edition, the XL1 still only costs $60,000. There is a lot more of a market for this car than 2,000 units at that price, have no doubt, this car is being held back on purpose.


If it can be hand made for that little, automated assembly lines could do it for half. And if a 1,700 plus pound XL1 can get 300 mpg, a 3,400 pound Chevy Truck should be able to deliver at least 150 MPG, the XL1 lays the mileage scam bare, with every hybrid that gets 40 mpg and every truck off the line that gets 20, Americans are getting the shaft and they do not even realize it.


I was first infatuated and impressed with the 85mpg Vokswagen TDI Blue Motion wagon and wished I could get one in America (when I was still there), and then the 300 mpg XL1 came along, what a rude awakening and slap in the face for the American car buyer.





New VW Golf Variant is the 2014 Jetta SportWagen, TDI BlueMotion Rated at 71.3MPG!  






2) Tofu-Like Catalysts for Clean Energy Production  May, 2013 


Professor Jian-Ren Shen is recognized for his pioneering research on clarifying the fundamental reaction mechanism that governs photosynthetic water splitting, a process with fundamental importance in understanding how oxygenic photosynthetic organisms, such as plants, use energy from sunlight, water, and CO2 to survive.


"I first started research on photosynthetic proteins in the beginning of my doctorate project," says Shen. "Our findings published in 2011 were based on x-ray diffraction experiments of large, high quality single crystal of so-called 'photosystem II' (PS II) at Japan's SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility at Harima. The ability to produce large sized, single crystals of PS II, an extremely large membrane-protein complex, was critical for determining the crystalline structure of this protein complex to a resolution of 1.9 Angstroms. These results are the culmination of 20 years of my life spent on the development and improvement of the process to produce such large crystals."


Professor Shen's initial research on photosynthesis was focused on clarifying the effects of air pollution on plants. The objectives of this research necessitated clarification of the fundamental mechanism underlying photosynthesis, which in turn required the production of a high quality crystal of PS II. "After many years of exhaustive experiments and uncountable failures, we eventually succeeded in producing large, 'tofu-like' single crystals of PS II with dimensions of 0.7 x 0.4 x 0.1 mm,"explains Shen. "This was a major breakthrough that led to the ultra-high resolution analysis of PS II."


Recent reports on the crystallographic analysis of PS II can be traced back to the early 2000s but the results yielded only 'fuzzy' images because of imperfections in the samples. In contrast the 2011 findings by Shen and colleagues yielded unprecedented images of the core of the PS II protein, showing the existence of cubic-core of four manganese atoms, five oxygen atoms, and a calcium atom, which constitutes the heart of plant life (Science 2011, 334, 1630).  


 back to table of contents 



3) New Material Highly Efficient for Converting Waste Heat into Electricity

 TeamTFGL | May 8, 2014


"This new material is better than the traditional material, Bismuth telluride, and can be used for waste heat conversion into electricity much more efficiently," said Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson Chair professor of physics at UH and the lead author of a paper describing the discovery, published online by Nano Energy.

University of Houston physicists have discovered a new thermoelectric material offering high performance at temperatures ranging from room temperature up to 300 degrees Celsius, or about 573 degrees Fahrenheit.


"This new material is better than the traditional material, Bismuth telluride, and can be used for waste heat conversion into electricity much more efficiently," said Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson Chair professor of physics at UH and the lead author of a paper describing the discovery, published online by Nano Energy.

Ren, who is also principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, said the work could be important for clean energy research and commercialization at temperatures of about 300 degrees Celsius.


Bismuth telluride has been the standard thermoelectric material since the 1950s and is used primarily for cooling, although it can also be used at temperatures up to 250 C, or 482 F, for power generation, with limited efficiency.


For this discovery, Ren and other members of his lab used a combination of magnesium, silver and antimony to generate electricity from heat using the thermoelectric principle. They added a small amount of nickel, after which Ren said the compound worked even better.


The work was done in collaboration with researchers from the UH Department of Chemistry and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Huaizhou Zhao and Jiehe Sui, a member of Ren's lab whose home institute is the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, were primary contributors; Zhao is now a research scientist at the Institute of Physics with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


The material works well up to 300 C, Ren said; work to improve its efficiency is ongoing.

The potential for capturing heat - from power plants, industrial smokestacks and even vehicle tailpipes - and converting it into electricity is huge, allowing heat that is currently wasted to be used to generate power. Ren said temperatures there can range from 200 C to 1,000 C, and until now, there hasn't been a thermoelectric material capable of working once conditions get beyond the lower levels of heat. Much of the demand ranges from 250 C to 300 C, he said.


Ren long has worked in thermoelectrics, among other scientific fields. His research group published an article in the journal Science in 2008 establishing that the efficiency - the technical term is the "figure of merit" - of Bismuth telluride could be increased as much as 20 percent by changing how it is processed. At the time, Ren was at Boston College.


And his lab last summer published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences establishing tin telluride with the addition of the chemical element indium as a material capable of converting waste heat to electricity. But tin telluride works best at temperatures higher than about 300 C, or about 573 F, making it important to continue looking for another material that works at lower temperatures.


Ren's group isn't the first to study the new material, which has not been named but is referred to in the Nano Energy paper as simply MgAgSb-based materials, using the chemical names for the elements used to create it. The paper cites work done in 2012 by M.J. Kirkham, et al; that work used magnesium, silver and antimony in equal parts, Ren said, but resulted in impurities and poor conducting properties.

He said his lab found that using slightly less silver and antimony, and mixing the elements separately - putting magnesium and silver first in the ball milling process, adding the antimony after several hours - eliminated the impurities and significantly improved the thermoelectric properties.


"We had much different qualities," he said. "Better, with no impurities, and smaller grain size, along with much better thermoelectric properties."






 back to table of contents 



4) Two Carbon Capturing Plants Offer Hope of Clean Coal

MIT Technology Review , Peter Fairley on May 5, 2014


Two of the world's first coal-fired power plants with integrated carbon capture are nearing completion in Saskatchewan and Mississippi, providing a rare lift for a technology that has languished in recent years.

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) remains expensive, but the cost of stabilizing the climate could be much higher without it, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see "The Cost of Limiting Climate Change Could Double without Carbon Capture Technology"). In a report last month, the IPCC noted that CCS is the only way to cut the carbon emissions of existing power plants, and that CCS-equipped power plants burning biomass could help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The IPCC says both strategies may be essential to limit global warming.


A 110-megawatt plant in Saskatchewan, a refurbished coal-fired generator, is set to restart in a matter of weeks with carbon capture added, according to Robert Watson, CEO for provincial power utility SaskPower.


Under Canadian regulations, the Boundary Dam power station can release no more than 420 tons of carbon dioxide per gigawatt-hour of power generation-the same as a state-of-the-art plant fired with natural gas. This is a tall order since the power station will burn lignite-the dirtiest form of coal. Yet SaskPower expects to release just 150 tons of carbon dioxide per day thanks to its new carbon dioxide scrubber, which will absorb and capture 90 percent of the carbon in the plant's exhaust.


SaskPower could afford to build the $1.2 billion plant partly because lignite is so cheap, but also because Boundary Dam is adjacent to a lignite strip mine. Extra revenue will come from piping most of the 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide that the plant captures per day to Cenovus, a Calgary-based oil and gas firm. Leftover carbon dioxide will be stored in an aquifer 3.5 kilometers below the plant.


"If they couldn't sell the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, the project wouldn't have been economic," says Howard Herzog, an expert on carbon sequestration, and a senior research engineer with the MIT Energy Initiative.


SaskPower CEO Watson says that the cost of the power from Boundary Dam will be "comparable" to natural gas-fired generation providing the recent price increase in natural gas holds. He expects that natural gas prices will tend to rise over the next 30 years-plus that the Boundary Dam plant will operate.

The other coal plant with carbon capture, in Kemper, Mississippi, should start up later this year. Its owner, Mississippi Power, is counting on similar strategies to minimize operating costs. The plant is also adjacent to a lignite strip mine, and will boost revenues by selling its carbon dioxide to oilfield operators. The project also received $270 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.


However, at 565 megawatts, the Mississippi plant is five times bigger than the Saskatchewan plant, and it uses less conventional technology. It has also been far more controversial than the Boundary Dam project because it gasifies its coal, and because its price tag is now expected to be more than double Mississippi Power's original projection of $2.4 billion.


The Mississippi plant uses a proprietary gasifier designed by Southern Company and Houston-based engineering firm KBR to turn lignite into a mix of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The firms have also licensed the design for use in China (see "Cleaning Up on Dirty Coal"). Another novel component is the plant's carbon dioxide capture system, which will remove 65 percent of the carbon dioxide from its gas mix before firing the turbines. The carbon dioxide will be captured at the same time that the plant captures its sulfur dioxide, using the same solvent scrubber that conventional coal plants use to remove sulfur dioxide.


Despite the controversy, experts are not greatly concerned by the cost overruns. "The costs of a first-of-a-kind plant are always going to be higher than the cost of your nth plant," says Sarah Forbes, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

Herzog agrees: "Kemper was a real first of a kind. You've got a lot of first-mover costs in there, and people tend to underestimate first mover costs drastically. By the time you do it half a dozen times, you're knocking out a lot of cost."


Watson says a second project of the same type as Boundary Dam would cost 20 to 30 percent less. But whether SaskPower and other utilities get a chance to build more plants with carbon capture may be a matter of policy, according to Herzog. CCS is going to lose out in most cases, he says, if fossil fuels can be burned with impunity. "If you're allowed to put the CO2 in the atmosphere, as we are today, it's not going to be applied," he says.


The original version of this article stated that regulations limit carbon dioxide emissions to 420 tons per megawatt-hour of power generation. It was corrected to say gigawatt-hour.





5) Elon Musk Making Progress Towards Mars

Tarik Malik,  May 16, 2014 



LOS ANGELES - Billionaire Elon Musk said his private spaceflightcompany SpaceX has made some progress toward establishing a permanent colony on Mars - a longtime goal in the entrepreneur's push to help make humanity a multiplanet species.

"The reason SpaceX was created was to accelerate development of rocket technology, all for the goal of establishing a self-sustaining,permanent base on Mars," Musk told an audience here after receiving the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award during the 33rd annual International Space Development Conference on Friday (May 16). "And I think we're making some progress in that direction - not as fast as I'd like."


Musk cited the success of SpaceX's recent reusable rocket test on April 18as a critical achievement on the road to Mars. During that test flight, SpaceX launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from its Florida pad and then returned the rocket's first stage back to Earth to make a vertical "soft landing" at a target in the Atlantic Ocean, before splashing down. The mission also delivered supplies to the International Space Station using a SpaceX Dragon capsule. [Mars Sample-Return Idea with SpaceX Dragon (Images)]


While the returned Falcon 9 rocket stage ultimately broke apart in the water due to rough seas, Musk has said SpaceX aims to recover a returned Falcon 9 booster from the ocean later this year, attempt a landing on land by the end of 2014 and potentially reuse a Falcon 9 first stage in 2015."We're close to at least recovering and reusing the first stage," Musk said. "I think that if we can demonstrate recovery and reuse of the first stage, that will be really something."


Meanwhile, SpaceX is also developing the Falcon Heavy rocket, a heavy-lift variant that aims to be the world's most powerful rocket since NASA's Saturn V moon rocket. That mega-rocket could make its first launch by the end of this year.


The Hawthorne, California-based company has also set its sights on a manned Mars mission concept that would send human explorers to the Red Planet. Musk said SpaceX's vision for a Mars explorationcalls for a next-generation rocket "much bigger than Falcon Heavy" that would use a methane-based propulsion system.


"I think that's the system that, at least according to my calculations, will enable someone to move to Mars for about half a million dollars," Musk said.

Musk admitted that not everyone would jump at the chance to pay $500,000 for a trip to Mars. But some adventurous people might.


"There will be those who can afford to go, and those who want to go," Musk said. "I think if we can achieve that intersection, then it will happen ... and, hopefully, it will happen before I'm dead."


Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of advancing manned spaceflight and lowering the cost of rocket launches. The company has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to provide 12 cargo delivery missions to the International Space Station using its Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon spacecraft.

The April 18 Falcon 9 rocket launch marked SpaceX's third Dragon delivery flight for NASA.


 TheDragon spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday (May 18) in order to return science experiments and other gear to Earth.


SpaceX has launchpads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and recently leased the history Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral for future flights.


Email Tariq Malik at or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. 




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