Suprapower Wind Turbines Supercharged with Superconductors

European Commission : CORDIS : Newsroom : Super wind turbines represent a major technological breakthrough

Harnessing the wind's energy is the objective of a new project, which aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions.

The EU-funded project, called SUPRAPOWER, is working on a more powerful, reliable and lightweight superconducting offshore wind turbine. The four-year project has the expertise of nine European partners from industry and science under the coordination of Tecnalia in Spain.

Suprapower | Superconducting, reliable, lightweight and more powerful offshore wind turbine.


SUPRAPOWER (SUPerconducting, Reliable, lightweight, And more POWERful offshore wind turbine) is an EU FP7 founded research project focused on a major innovation in offshore wind turbine technology by developing a new compact superconductor-based generator.

The project aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions by designing an innovative, lightweight, robust and reliable 10 MW class offshore wind turbine based on a superconducting (SC) generator, taking into account all the essential aspects of electric conversion, integration and manufacturability.

Wind turbines supercharged with superconductors - tech - 18 January 2013 - New Scientist

At heart, a wind turbine is simple - a series of wire coils attached to the rotor blade spin in the presence of strong magnetic fields, provided by stationary magnets. This generates a current, but the resistance in copper wire limits the amount of current that can flow through the coils. Making the coils from a resistance-free superconductor would cut down on weight and boost power generation.
Using superconductors will not be easy, though, partly due to the ultra-low temperatures they require. Developing a coil that can be cooled while simultaneously rotating with the turbine blades is a big challenge. A research project dubbed Suprapower, funded by the European Union, kicked off in December to address this problem.

TECNALIA will shake up offshore wind market with smaller wind turbines - Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

The project aims to provide an important breakthrough in offshore wind industrial solutions by designing an innovative, lightweight, robust and reliable 10 MW class offshore wind turbine based on a superconducting (SC) generator, taking into account all the essential aspects of electric conversion, integration and manufacturability.

SUPRAPOWER will pursue

  • To reduce turbine head mass, size and cost of offshore wind turbines in about a 30% by means of a compact superconducting generator.
  • To reduce O&M and transportation costs and increase life cycle using an innovative direct drive system.
  • To increase the reliability and efficiency of high power wind turbines by means of drive-train specific integration in the nacelle.


Norway plans world's first ship tunnel

Norway plans world's first ship tunnel | Construction News | The Construction Index

It would bypass the Stad peninsula in Selje, which is a very exposed area of the coast.
The Norwegian government said that the tunnel will reduce accident risk and improve conditions for sailors along the coast. "This is a spectacular project that we are looking forward to taking on," said coastal director Kirsti Slotsvik.

BBC News - Who, what, why: Why build a ship tunnel?

The Norwegian government has backed an ambitious plan to create the world's first ship tunnel. But why has nobody tackled this engineering feat before?

The answer

  • The Stad peninsula is a mountainous finger of land where fierce weather conditions disrupt and endanger ships
  • Shipping is Norway's second most important industry after oil and gas
  • They are also world-leaders in tunnelling technology, having completed the world's longest road tunnel

Norway to build world's first tunnel for large ships - Ship Technology

The government has agreed to provide NOK1.6bn ($274m) for the Stad Ship Tunnel, which will be built to a height of 45m, width of 36m and will span a length of 1.7km.
The proposed tunnel, which is being planned by Nordfjord Vekst, would bypass the Stadlandet (Stad) peninsula in Selje, Norway linking two fjords near the towns of Teigen and Berstad.
Peaking at 645m, the Stad peninsula is a mountainous divide between the Norwegian Sea to the north and the North Sea to the south.


The flow around the butterfly

The Mathematical Butterfly: Simulations Provide New Insights On Flight | Inside Science

The researchers ran three different simulations of this mathematical butterfly, and found that the insect used the forces from teensy whirlpools in the air created during each flap of its wings to create lift. They noticed that the butterfly's flight was bumpy as it moved through the air, with lots of ups and downs as it pushed itself forward. 
There were some surprises in the tiny flows of air surrounding the butterflies. "The flow around the butterfly is much more turbulent than expected," says Yokoyama.

The researchers surmised that the minute bumpiness of the air causes butterflies' signature flit, and also may help protect them against predators – the more they duck and weave, the harder it is to catch them. The research was published earlier this year in the journal Physics of Fluids

High speed video - Painted Lady butterfly (front) - YouTube

High speed video recorded at 3000 fps.
See www.jhuinsectflight.com for more information on Tiras Lin's research project at Johns Hopkins University.

Mathematical butterflies provide insight into how insects fly

Using data from observations of butterfly flight in wind tunnels, the researchers conducted three different types of simulations with their model that were defined by the position and attitude of the thorax: tethered (where the thorax is fixed), prescribed (where the thorax is programmed to move in an expected manner) and free-flight (where the thorax movement is unrestricted). They found that their mathematical butterfly did -- as predicted -- make use of the tiny, swirling vortices that form in the direction of travel during a downward flap, pushing air down and providing lift. However, they also observed that the flow around the butterfly is much more turbulent than expected. This turbulent flow triggers the complex trajectories characteristic to the flights of butterflies that may be one of the strategies by which the insects avoid predators.

Phys. Fluids (1994-Present) - Physics of Fluids

Naoto Yokoyama, Kei Senda, Makoto Iima, and Norio Hirai
Phys. Fluids 25, 021902 (2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4790882 (24 pages)
Online Publication Date: 21 February 2013


Curly Hair and Humidity

What Makes Hair Curly? | LifesLittleMysteries.com

Curly hair tends to be much drier than straight hair because it is easier for the oils secreted from the scalp to travel down the shaft of a straight hair than a curly one (this is why curly hair often turns into frizzy hair).

And as anyone with curly hair knows, humidity can make your hair even curlier (or frizzier). The reason: Hair fiber absorbs the water and forces the shaft to revert to its original (less straight) structure.

Why Humidity Makes Your Hair Curl | Surprising Science

Hair’s chemical structure, it turns out, makes it unusually susceptible to changes in the amount of hydrogen present in the air, which is directly linked to humidity. Most of a hair’s bulk is made up of bundles of long keratin proteins, represented as the middle layer of black dots tightly packed together in the cross-section at right.


This type of bond is permanent—it’s responsible for the hair’s strength—and isn’t affected by the level of humidity in the air.
But the other type of connection that can form between adjacent keratin proteins, a hydrogen bond, is much weaker and temporary, with hydrogen bonds breaking and new ones forming each time your hair gets wet and dries again. (This is the reason why, if your hair dries in one shape, it tends to remain in roughly that same shape over time.)

Hair Science News: Temporary Changes

Hydrogen bonds are weak physical cross bonds in the hair. When hair is wet, the hydrogen bonds are broken, allowing hair to be formed into a new shape.

When the hair is dried and cooled, they rejoin, allowing the hair to take on the new shape.


Music's Effects on the Mind

Brain scans predict how much you'll pay for music - Technology & Science - CBC News

Signals from a specific region of the brain can help scientists predict what music people are tempted to buy and how much money they're willing to spend on it, a new study suggests.

Research slated for publication Friday in the journal Science identified the particular area that becomes active when people hear a song for the very first time. Measuring activity in that area — known as the nucleus accumbens — allows scientists to accurately assess the degree to which people are enjoying the sounds they're hearin

Why Your Brain Loves That New Song - ScienceNOW

Neural harmony. Several brain regions work together to produce good vibrations when listening to favorite music.
Credit: Peter Finnie and Ben Beheshti
When jazz legend John Coltrane first heard Charlie Parker play the saxophone, the music hit him "right between the eyes," he once said. According to neuroscientists, Coltrane was exactly right. When we hear music that we like, even for the first time, a part of the brain's reward system is activated, a new study has shown. The region, called the nucleus accumbens, determines how much we value the song—even predicting how much a person is willing to pay for the new track.

Brain's music pleasure zone

Researchers scanned the brains of subjects while they listened to new songs and asked how much they would spend on buying the tracks. They found that the most popular songs - those which people were prepared to pay more for - were also the ones that elicited the strongest response in the nucleus accumbens, a structure in the centre of the brain that is involved in reward processing.


"This part of the brain is the part that has stored all the templates of the music we've heard in the past and will be unique for each individuals," she said. "The way that we like music is 100% unique to who we are and what we've heard in the past and the way that our superior temporal gyrus has been shaped. The brain is working a bit like a music-recommendation system."

The latest results shed further light into Salimpoor's 2011 study, which found that the experience of pleasure when listening to music was mediated by the release of the brain's reward chemical, dopamine. She said that music seemed to tap into the circuitry in the brain that had evolved to drive human motivation. This ancient reward system, when listening to music, was being used to provide a cognitive reward.

Favourite music evokes same feelings as good food or drugs | Science | The Guardian

The experience of pleasure is mediated in all these situations by the release of the brain's reward chemical, dopamine, according to results of experiments carried out by a team led by Valorie Salimpoor of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, which are published today in Nature Neuroscience.


Liquid Robotics' next generation Wave Glider SV Robots

Liquid Robots Unveils Newest Unmanned Wave Glider Robot - Science News - redOrbit

Today, the Silicon Valley startup is announcing a new line of Wave Glider robots propelled by waves and solar power. The Wave Glider SV3 is the world’s first unmanned ocean robot to use this kind of hybrid technology, according to an official statement from the company.

Liquid Robotics launches new generation of wave glider ocean robots | VentureBeat

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Liquid Robotics gained a spot in history when it announced in December that Papa Mau, one of its data-collecting second-generation Wave Gliders, had floated more than 9,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Wave Gliders can collect data on weather in remote locations. They can be used to monitor hurricanes, predict tsunamis, and monitor rare marine life. Wave Gliders collect data on temperature, winds, humidity, wind gusts, water temperature, water color, and water composition. They can also take pictures. These robots are gathering a lot of observational data about climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries management, hurricane and tsunami warnings, and exploration — but in a green way.

Sea Waves and Sunlight Power This Upgraded Naval Robot | Danger Room | Wired.com

The Wave Glider SV3 is at the intersection of two others: robotics and renewable energy. Senior Navy officials are hot to create an undersea robot that can last great distances, performing missions that range from aquatic surveillance to mine destruction to submarine hunting. Problem is, no engineer has figured out how to give the robots a sufficiently long-lasting fuel source to power cross-oceanic transit — a necessity, since the robot isn’t going to swim into port to refuel. Which ties into another Navy necessity: immunizing its budget from the fluctuations in fuel costs, especially as its efforts at using biofuels ran into major congressional obstruction.

LRI | Wave Glider SV Series

First introduced in 2009, Wave Gliders have since traveled more than 300,000 nautical miles, set a world record for longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle, and been deployed on more than 100 customer missions ranging from the Arctic and Australia, to the Canary Islands and Loch Ness.

The SV Series represents the next generation of Wave Glider technology and includes the Wave Glider SV2 with a compatible growth path to the high-end Wave Glider SV3. Customers can choose the Wave Glider that best fits their mission and budgetary requirements, or mix and match for complex operations.

Download the Wave Glider SV Series data sheet (pdf)


IntelliCap: personalizable drug delivery and non-invasive gut health testing

Non-invasive gut health testing breakthrough

NIZO food research and biotech pioneer Medimetrics are bringing this a step nearer, using the latest micro-electronics. They have joined forces to create a means of sampling and mapping content from the small intestine to identify its microbiological composition, in a non-invasive way.
Using the IntelliCap system, an intelligent capsule developed by Medimetrics (a company pioneered by Philips and now based in The Netherlands, Germany and the USA), it will be possible to take samples in vivo, at targeted locations, in a non-invasive way and, importantly, away from a clinical setting.  IntelliCap is already being successfully used by the pharmaceutical industry for the targeted and controlled delivery of drugs in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Home - Medimetrics

Medimetrics IntelliCap

Medimetrics is the pioneer and global leader in electronic oral drug delivery. The company has created the IntelliCap system – the world’s first intelligent oral drug delivery and monitoring system. This flagship product is used to provice services and technology access to companies exploring controlled delivery and measurement of body conditions within the gastro-intestinal tract.

IntelliCap - personalizable drug delivery | Philips Innovation Services

Personalizable oral drug delivery has the potential to improve the therapeutic effects of existing drugs and to reduce side effects. It could even enable new types of drugs that can be delivered exactly to the required place in the body.
IntelliCap’s developers turned to Philips Innovation Services for support from idea to initial small scale production in several areas: design and development of the capsule, the portable unit worn by the trial subject and the PC-based control center.


The source of first life on Earth discovered

Power behind primordial soup discovered - University of Leeds

Researchers at the University of Leeds may have solved a key puzzle about how objects from space could have kindled life on Earth.


“The mystery of how living organisms sprung out of lifeless rock has long puzzled scientists, but we think that the unusual phosphorus chemicals we found could be a precursor to the batteries that now power all life on Earth. But the fact that it developed simply, in conditions similar to the early Earth, suggests this could be the missing link between geology and biology,” said Dr Terry Kee, from the University’s School of Chemistry, who led the research.

Experiments suggest that unusual phosphorus chemicals from meteorites could have given power to Earth’s “primordial soup.”

Experiments suggest that unusual phosphorus chemicals from meteorites could have given power to Earth’s “primordial soup.”

Meteorites could have been source of life's batteries - life - 04 April 2013 - New Scientist

To see whether pyrophosphite could have formed when meteorites landed on early Earth, Kee's team studied a Siberian meteorite that contained a lot of phosphorus. They incubated fragments of the meteorite in acidic water collected from volcanic ponds in Iceland, thought to be chemically similar to the water on primordial Earth. After four days in the water, the meteorite samples had released large quantities of phosphite. When this was dried out, it transformed into pyrophosphite (Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, doi.org/kzc). "We have shown that it's very easy to form," Kee says.
His idea is bolstered by the discovery in 2009 that geothermal pools in California contain lots of phosphite. These pools resemble the primordial environment, suggesting that early Earth was also rich in the material.


ARES Advanced Rail Energy Storage

Train-Based Energy Storage: Making Renewable Energy Reliable With Gravity

Jim Kelly, CEO of Advanced Rail Energy Services in California, is looking forward to testing out a means of storing electricity that is efficient, innovative and unexpected –– by moving trains.

Energy Storage - Grid Scale Energy Storage - Ares North America

During periods where excess energy is available on the grid, ARES shuttle-trains draw electricity from the grid, which powers their individual axle-drive motors, as they transport a continuous flow of masses uphill against the force of gravity to an upper storage yard.  When the grid requires energy to meet periods of high demand, this process is reversed.  The shuttle-trains provide a continuous flow of masses returning to the lower storage yard with their motors operating as generators, converting the potential energy of the masses elevation back into electricity in a highly efficient process.

Giant tarantula discovered in Sri Lanka

Fast, Venomous, Face-Sized Tiger Spider Found in Sri Lanka

Smithsonian reports that Poecilotheria rajaei, a new species of Tiger Spider, has been found in Sri Lanka. The large spider has a leg span of eight inches. It is also poisonous and very fast. The discovery was reported in the British Tarantula Society journal. You can read the article here.

New species of giant tarantulas with leg span of eight inches discovered in northern Sri Lanka - NY Daily News

"It can be quite attractive, unless spiders freak you out," British Tarantula Society journal editor Peter Kirk said.
Nanayakkara, a co-author of the study, named the new spider "Poecilotheria rajaei" in honor of a police officer who helped the research team wade through war-torn northern Sri Lanka.


"The first specimen of this new species, which was brought to the attention of the authors, was a dead specimen of a male which had been killed by local villagers," the study reads. "Upon close inspection it was noticed that it did not conform to the descriptions of any of the species of Poecilotheria so far described from the island."
The Pokies are only found in India and Sri Lanka. They are colorful spiders, but not the largest — some tarantulas can be 12 inches in diameter.

This Giant New Tarantula Has an Eight-Inch Leg Span | Smart News

Scientists first encountered the new tarantula in 2009, when villagers in northern Sri Lanka gave them the corpse of one that they had killed. From there, the scientists went on a quest to find more, routing around in tree holes and bark peel with a foot-wide hand net. (Some scientists are tough as nails.) We’re not advocating for any harm to come to these little (gigantic) spiders, but we can certainly all admit that some creatures are just a little more nightmare-inducing than others.
The new spider was just described in the British Tarantula Society JournalWired:
Covered in beautiful, ornate markings, the spiders belong to the genus Poecilotheria, known as “Pokies” for short. These are the tiger spiders, an arboreal group indigenous to India and Sri Lanka that are known for being colourful, fast, and venomous.