Thursday, September 21, 2017

Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene



Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and alcohols at efficiencies far greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant milestone in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.

Many systems have successfully reduced carbon dioxide to chemical and fuel precursors, such as carbon monoxide or a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen known as syngas. This new work, described in a study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, is the first to successfully demonstrate the approach of going from carbon dioxide directly to target products, namely ethanol and ethylene, at energy conversion efficiencies rivaling natural counterparts.

The researchers did this by optimizing each component of a photovoltaic-electrochemical system to reduce voltage loss, and creating new materials when existing ones did not suffice.

"This is an exciting development," said study principal investigator Joel Ager, a Berkeley Lab scientist with joint appointments in the Materials Sciences and the Chemical Sciences divisions. "As rising atmospheric CO2 levels change Earth's climate, the need to develop sustainable sources of power has become increasingly urgent. Our work here shows that we have a plausible path to making fuels directly from sunlight."

That sun-to-fuel path is among the key goals of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub established in 2010 to advance solar fuel research. The study was conducted at JCAP's Berkeley Lab campus.

The initial focus of JCAP research was tackling the efficient splitting of water in the photosynthesis process. Having largely achieved that task using several types of devices, JCAP scientists doing solar-driven carbon dioxide reduction began setting their sights on achieving efficiencies similar to those demonstrated for water splitting, considered by many to be the next big challenge in artificial photosynthesis.

Another research group at Berkeley Lab is tackling this challenge by focusing on a specific component in a photovoltaic-electrochemical system (for example: SUNJACK 20W PORTABLE SOLAR CHARGER. In a study published today, they describe a new catalyst that can achieve carbon dioxide to multicarbon conversion using record-low inputs of energy.

Not just for noon

For this JCAP study, researchers engineered a complete system to work at different times of day, not just at a light energy level of 1-sun illumination, which is equivalent to the peak of brightness at high noon on a sunny day. They varied the brightness of the light source to show that the system remained efficient even in low light conditions.

When the researchers coupled the electrodes to silicon photovoltaic cells, they achieved solar conversion efficiencies of 3 to 4 percent for 0.35 to 1-sun illumination. Changing the configuration to a high-performance, tandem solar cell connected in tandem yielded a conversion efficiency to hydrocarbons and oxygenates exceeding 5 percent at 1-sun illumination.

"We did a little dance in the lab when we reached 5 percent," said Ager, who also holds an appointment as an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley's Materials Science and Engineering Department.

Among the new components developed by the researchers are a copper-silver nanocoral cathode, which reduces the carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons and oxygenates, and an iridium oxide nanotube anode, which oxidizes the water and creates oxygen.

"The nice feature of the nanocoral is that, like plants, it can make the target products over a wide range of conditions, and it is very stable," said Ager.

The researchers characterized the materials at the National Center for Electron Microscopy at the Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Berkeley Lab. The results helped them understand how the metals functioned in the bimetallic cathode. Specifically, they learned that silver aids in the reduction of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, while the copper picks up from there to reduce carbon monoxide further to hydrocarbons and alcohols.

Seeking better, low-energy breakups

Because carbon dioxide is a stubbornly stable molecule, breaking it up typically involves a significant input of energy.

"Reducing CO2 to a hydrocarbon end product like ethanol or ethylene can take up to 5 volts, start to finish," said study lead author Gurudayal, postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley Lab. "Our system reduced that by half while maintaining the selectivity of products."

Notably, the electrodes operated well in water, a neutral pH environment.

"Research groups working on anodes mostly do so using alkaline conditions since anodes typically require a high pH environment, which is not ideal for the solubility of CO2," said Gurudayal. "It is very difficult to find an anode that works in neutral conditions."

The researchers customized the anode by growing the iridium oxide nanotubes on a zinc oxide surface to create a more uniform surface area to better support chemical reactions.

"By working through each step so carefully, these researchers demonstrated a level of performance and efficiency that people did not think was possible at this point," said Berkeley Lab chemist Frances Houle, JCAP deputy director for Science and Research Integration, who was not part of the study. "This is a big step forward in the design of devices for efficient CO2 reduction and testing of new materials, and it provides a clear framework for the future advancement of fully integrated solar-driven CO2-reduction devices."

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Relationship Between Gate Opener Battery Size and Solar Panel Wattage


Here is how solar panels and batteries work with driveway gate openers (for example: MIGHTY MULE MM260 ) in regards to determining if you need more of one or the other or both:

The gate opener’s battery is the storage capacity for the power captured by the solar panel. The solar panel wattage is the speed in which the battery will be recharged. The gate opener runs off the battery and the solar panel is meant to bring the battery back up to full charge each day. So you need to make sure that you have enough battery to handle your gate opener’s power requirements. If the gate opener seems to run fine off the battery but after a month or so the battery goes dead that would mean you have a charging problem. That would mean that the battery is large enough to hold more power for the gate opener but the solar panel is refilling it too slowly. You can add another solar panel to make sure the battery becomes filled by the end of the day.

If your panel always brings the battery to full charge before the end of the day but at night or a single cloudy day makes the battery go dead this means your battery is too small. You would need to first get a larger battery and then monitor the charging. If the battery if becoming fully charged before the end of the day this means your solar panel would be able to further supply a battery more power if the battery was large enough to store it. However the solar panel’s power is being wasted because the battery is full. In this case you would need a bigger battery still if you wanted to capture 100% of the power the solar panel is providing.

So to sum up. The Wattage of the gate opener solar panel is the rate at which the battery will charge. The size of the battery is the storage capacity for powering the gate opener and capturing all of the solar panel’s output.

Friday, April 7, 2017

History of Amish Quilts

The Amish quilt began around the 1870's, due to their religious beliefs to remain isolated from today's world of happiness and conveniences, quilting was at first a temptation the Amish girls resisted. After realizing the practical utilization of the quilt, they finally became a regular section of the Amish lifestyle.

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The very first Amish quilts were quite plain with a solid dark colored material, a lot such as the clothes they wore. However, their gift for the complex designs is what made their quilts renowned. After much discussion, in the Amish community, over several years the Amish girls slowly made the change to their patterns as well as colors. This conclusion, like all the Amish determinations, had to be accepted by the Amish Community. Now there's more individual input signal to the way the quilts are made and what designs are used to produce the exceptional and lovely colored hand stitched quilts that we see and love now.

Even though the external world does not comprehend the Amish community, it's the center of Amish existence. Buddies, as well as family, work jointly on jobs for the whole community. Such as bringing in the crops, constructing a barn, this is usually called a frolic. Girls will assemble at a preferred dwelling to do canning vegetables, fruits, and jellies. Typically one girl will piece a quilt together, but it's not unusual to get several girls around the quilting frame to help stitch the quilt together; this is usually known as a quilting bee or quilting circle. This enables the girls to do something they love and to catch up on all that's occurring locally.

The Amish believe a lady 's capability to produce and hand stitch a quilt is a present from God that ought to be utilized to its fullest ability. Lots of the young girls are educated to begin quilting by the age of four years old. This aids to clarify the reason why they supply such skilled stitching in the Amish quilts.




Nowadays, many consider the exceptional quilt patterns a work of art. A growing number of families need their very own Amish quilt, not only because of its practical use but for its artistic worth. Amish quilts are frequently utilized as a bit of wall décor, wedding gifts, an arrival of a child and they make fantastic fundraisers.The expression Amish Quilt is utilized to refer to a quilt with all the mixture of conventional Amish quilt block patterns, and made by an Amish or a Mennonite quilter. The reason behind this is since the Amish and Mennonites share similar ethnic customs. They lived alongside each other since immigrating to the USA. Their history of quilting, as well as their routines, are the same.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Reason Why Amish Quilt


People and all beings do what they can to survive and to perpetuate.  The earliest New World settlers needed to keep warm – so quilt making on these shores began in the early 1700’s. Any materials, burlap sacks, anything, that could be used was used.
It makes sense that the act of quilt making (an activity with a pay off) gave the handmade patchwork quilt maker a purpose, comfort and pleasure.  Once people’s lives became a bit more secure, quilt making (still very basic) gradually morphed into a creative activity.  For the Amish, this was one of the few such activities allowed: It had a purpose, therefore, harmony. No matter how strictly you go about your life, it’s human to at least enjoy and give meaning to the task at hand.  It is not unexpected that the Amish, who live simply in harmony with nature, the land, the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun, would apply themselves to this activity and that this activity would reflect their lifestyle.
Their first quilts were wholecloth quilts, but they could never waste pieces of fabric, so, simple pieced quilts were made . . . It is very clear that the best quilts made by the Amish reflect a spirit and force: from nature, family and faith in their beliefs. While the forms and shapes are simple: the harmony – the voice of two fabrics brought together in a quilt ring clear and shining.
Over a short period of time, quilt making which began as a necessity has become a tradition that is now found in the permanent collections of major museums. Because it is highly appreciated and in demand, part of the Amish economy is based on the sale of their quilts. So the original reason for quilt making, survival, remains intact.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

California commission halts TRT exemptions, though existing users still eligible



The California State Athletic Commission has put exemptions for testosterone-replacement therapy on hold until it can update its bylaws with a policy that could make the permission slip difficult to acquire.

CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he won’t outright reject fighters who’ve previously received an exemption to use prescribed testosterone in California, but said new applications will be shelved until the regulations are changed.

“I’m not going to say no (to those who previously have been approved), but no new ones will be given out,” he said.

The policy, which was presented during a commission meeting on Monday in Los Angeles, outlaws TRT exemptions except for applicants with “irreversible, structural/organic hypogonadism.” In both the primary and secondary forms of the medical condition, the body fails to produce normal levels of testosterone.

However, the policy draws a line between the physiological changes in the body produced by an “organic” deficiency and “functional” forms that produce none.

Causes of primary and secondary organic testosterone deficiency include genetic, developmental and metabolic abnormalities; deficiencies caused by infections or disease; pituitary disorders; and traumatic brain injuries where the endocrine system is damaged, the policy states.

Functional causes of deficiency include emotional distress, obesity, overtraining, aging and alcohol excess.

“Organic defects are usually long lasting or permanent while functional defects are potentially reversible,” the policy states.

Among MMA fighters, there are at least eight documented users of TRT, one of whom headlines a major UFC pay-per-view this weekend. UFC 161’s Dan Henderson, who’s twice fought in the Golden State, has received an exemption.

Henderson recently advocated for Olympic-style drug testing in an interview with Yahoo! Sports.

The CSAC’s new policy also forbids women from receiving exemptions, except for female-to-male transgender fighters who follow a recently drafted transgender policy that’s also is in the process of being implemented. Earlier this year, the CSAC found itself in new territory with the case of transgender fighter Fallon Fox, who takes hormones as part of a sexual reassignment that took place in 2006.

All applications for TRT therapeutic-use exemptions are required to submit extensive medical documentation supporting their condition as well as undergo additional monitoring of testosterone levels before, during and after competition.

The CSAC has asked the state for an emergency option to be exercised so both the exemption and transgender policies could be implemented as soon as possible, Foster said.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Going for gold

I’ve spent the past six years advising Hodinkee readers to err on the side of reserve and always to choose the subtleties of refinement and the intelligence of design over decoration. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dissuaded them from buying a gold watch in favor of a steel one. But no more. I am declaring – along with a few of my equally idiotic friends – that this summer, the summer of 2014, will be golden!



It’s true. I’ve been buying and wearing more colored gold (yellow or rose) than I’ve ever done in my life. And it began because, well, I’m 31 now and I think that’s a really great age to start going gold.

However, I haven’t been buying your average yellow-gold watch from the corner retailer. I’ve been hunting and choosing vintage chronographs from the likes of Zenith and Universal Genève on eBay for less than £3,000. I bought a very rare Amagnetic Patek Philippe from 1957 (pictured) for less than a steel, quartz-powered ladies’ Patek might cost brand new. I even bought a 14ct yellow-gold Rolex Daytona dating back to 1975, which I have since declared to be the single best looking wristwatch ever made.

A solid gold vintage watch provides an entirely different sensation on the wrist, with its brazed edges and warm, rich patina that dulls the often yellow sheen of new gold. It also expresses an entirely different sentiment to those around you – in particular when they find out how well-priced some vintage gold watches are, in many cases, less than their steel counterparts.

I also believe, as someone who observes the fluctuations of collectible watch markets, that it’s time the prices of vintage gold watches correct and rise to where the rest of the market sits. So now is the time to buy solid gold vintage wristwatches. They look fantastic against tanned skin, offer incredible intrinsic value and often great design heritage, and they’re poised to climb in value. Can you afford not to wear a golden glow this summer?

Monday, March 27, 2017

To-Dos When Starting a Part-Time Business


So you’re not ready to quit your “day job,” but you want to start a business? Many entrepreneurs dip their toes to test the waters by launching their businesses part-time. In some ways, it’s the best of both worlds; you pursue your dream of business ownership while still bringing home a steady paycheck.

Although there are some considerations unique to starting a business part-time, you’ll find other aspects are the same as when starting a company full-time.

For example, you have to take the necessary steps to operate your business legally.

Make sure you can legally use your business name.

Either check your state’s Secretary of State database or do a corporate name search to see if anyone else has registered the name you want. I also advise using CorpNet’s free trademark search tool to see if someone has already filed for a trademark on the name.
Select a business structure.

By default, your business will be considered a sole proprietor unless you file for a different legal structure. Operating as a sole proprietorship offers simplicity, but it does not separate your personal and business finances and liabilities. That means if your business is sued, your personal assets might be in jeopardy.