Metal

Plants to detox land, generate nanoparticles

Publication: NBC News   Date: March 5, 2013   View Article

Common garden plants such as alyssum will be used to soak up toxic metals from polluted lands and then used to produce high-value metal nanoparticles for car parts and medical research, according to an innovative project launched Monday.

The use of plants to clean up polluted sites, a process called phytoremediation, is well known. But until now, the harvested plants were either burned or buried. The new project promises to bring value to the harvested plants by recovering the metals and using engineered bacteria to form metal nanoparticles.

Big ‘Green’? IBM works on 500-mile-per-charge battery

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 20, 2012   View Article

An electric car that can go from Boston to Detroit on a single charge could hit showroom floors sometime in the next decade, if all continues to go smoothly for IBM.

Yes, IBM. The company, best known these days for its trivia-champ computer Watson, is making a risky bet on the development of lithium-air battery technology in a bid to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles.

A tiny, golden way to curb carbon emissions

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 13, 2012   View Article

Once – or if – we decide to seriously fight climate change, there will be riches to be found in technologies that turn the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into something useful, such as fuel. One such method may truly be golden, according to new research.

The story starts with another metal – copper, the stuff of pennies. It is well known as one of the few metals that can turn carbon dioxide into fuels such as methane and methanol.

Robotic jellyfish may never run out of energy

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 21, 2012   View Article

A robot built to look and swim like an inconspicuous jellyfish may keep going and going and going thanks to an infinite source of fuel — its surroundings.

The power comes from heat-producing chemical reactions between oxygen and hydrogen with platinum coated on the surface of the bio-inspired robot, known as Robojelly.

Liquid batteries to pour on green energy?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 15, 2012   View Article

Banks of scorching hot batteries filled with molten metals may be the long-sought silver bullet to make large-scale adoption of wind and solar energy a practical, purely green reality.

Such a storage solution is needed because, as we know, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine where and when it’s needed.

Odd Pyramid Had Rooftop Homes, Ritual Sacrifices?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 21, 2010   View Article

Yes, it’s yielded human remains—including five females who may have been ritually sacrificed. But it’s the signs of life that make a half-excavated Peruvian pyramid of the Moche culture stand out, archaeologists say.

“Often these pyramidal mounds were built as mortuaries more than anything else,” said excavation co-leader Edward Swenson.

“In most instances [a pyramid] is not where people live, it is not where they were cooking their food,” the University of Toronto archaeologist added.

But the newly exposed 1,400-year-old flat-topped pyramid supported residences for up to a couple dozen elites, who oversaw and perhaps took part in copper production at the site, evidence suggests.

Bronze Age Factory Discovered in Jordan

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 25, 2002   View Article

Archaeologists working at a desert site in Jordan have excavated a large and very well-preserved copper factory from the Early Bronze Age. The discovery is providing insight into metal production as the first urban cultures emerged.

“This unique find gives us a remarkable window on the role of craft production in some of the earliest urban societies in the world,” said Thomas Levy, an archaeologist at the University of California–San Diego, who led the excavation.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach