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Category: Petroleum and Gas

Will Biofuels Drive Innovations in Distributed Generation Equipment? (Part 1)

Can cow manure really help green the world’s electricity grids? Surprisingly, biogas produced from animal manure and other types of organic waste is already being used to generate substantial amounts of electricity and process heat along with other types of energy in Europe, India, and other parts of the world (Fig. 1). 1. Biogas-fueled CHP generating plants can turn nearly any organic waste stream into electricity and process heat. (Credit: GTP Solutions) Equally important, biogas-powered generating plants with outputs ranging…

Infrastructure-Based Automated Valet Parking Debuts in Detroit

Amidst a shift away from polluting fossil fuels toward clean renewable energy, electric-vehicle (EV) adoption has gradually increased across the globe over the last several years. According to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2020, approximately 17,000 electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2010. By 2019, that number climbed to 7.2 million, with 47% in China. In the U.S., the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) reported that by October 2018, 1 million EVs were on American roads and…

From Gas Stations to Recharging Stations: Program Looks to Resolve Range Anxiety

Amidst a shift away from polluting fossil fuels toward clean renewable energy, electric-vehicle (EV) adoption has gradually increased across the globe over the last several years. According to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2020, approximately 17,000 electric cars were on the world’s roads in 2010. By 2019, that number climbed to 7.2 million, with 47% in China. In the U.S., the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) reported that by October 2018, 1 million EVs were on American roads and…

Piezo-Electric Valves for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems

Piezo elements are electromechanical transducers that convert mechanical forces (pressure, tensile stress or acceleration) into voltages. The inverse piezoelectric effect, precisely the opposite, forces piezo elements to change shape when a voltage is applied to them. This lets them generate mechanical motion and be used as oscillators. Piezo elements are electromechanical transducers that convert mechanical forces (pressure, tensile stress or acceleration) into voltages. The piezoelectric effect (from the Greek word for “pressing”) was discovered in 1880 by the brothers Jacques…

Wearable haptics simulate sense of touch in virtual reality

Adding to the richness of virtual reality, EPFL researchers have created soft actuators that can simulate the feeling of touching a virtual object with your fingers. In the virtual world, the objects you pick up do not exist: you can see that cup or pen, but it does not feel like you’re touching them. That presented a challenge to EPFL professor Herbert Shea. Drawing on his extensive experience with silicone-based muscles and motors, Shea wanted to find a way to…

Innovative grilling technique improves air quality

The team grilled large quantities of skewered meat to measure the emissions. Credit: Fraunhofer IBP Restaurant owners are increasingly turning to fired charcoal grills to prepare meals for customers—but the odors and fumes emitted by these grills are often a source of irritation for nearby residents. The German Environment Agency asked a team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) to investigate whether the exhaust air treatment systems used in grills actually get the job done and…

Balancing Supercapacitor Stack Voltages | Electronic Design

You can use supercapacitors as a storage element for energy harvesting (Fig. 1). They’re also used to store energy for camera flash circuits. Electric cars and hydrogen fuel-cell cars might use supercaps to provide a low-impedance reserve for fast acceleration and store a large amount of power from regenerative braking systems. The virtue of supercaps in electric vehicles was validated by Tesla’s acquisition of supercapacitor maker Maxwell Technologies in 2019. 1. Supercapacitors and ultracapacitors come in various shapes and sizes,…

Research suggests significant benefits to investing in advanced machinery maintenance

The maintenance of machinery in the manufacturing industry consists of three primary approaches: reactive, preventive, and predictive. Reactive maintenance is when a manufacturer runs the machinery until it breaks down and requires maintenance. Preventive maintenance is when maintenance is scheduled based on time or cycles. This is similar to changing a car’s oil after 3 months or 3000 miles. Lastly, predictive maintenance is based on data and observations. This is similar to how newer cars track different variables and indicate…

Switching from aluminum to zinc alloys could improve sustainability of automotive parts

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain A new study reveals that switching from aluminum to zinc alloys in the production of automotive parts could greatly enhance their longevity and sustainability. The study, conducted by Cranfield University’s Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre, compared three different alloys (Aluminium-A380, Magnesium-AZ91D and Zinc-ZA8). Over recent years aluminum alloys have been favoured by the automotive manufacturing industry for their lightweight properties and lower cost. The study, published in the International Journal of Sustainable Manufacturing, suggests that aluminum is…

May PMI Rebounds as Optimism Mixes with Caution

Sparking hopes that the manufacturing downturn sparked by the global pandemic may be starting to reverse, the monthly PMI Index from the Institute for Supply Management rose 1.6 percentage points in May to 43.1%. The index still finished well below the manufacturing growth level of 50% and just slightly above the 42.8% overall economic growth threshold. Still, the rebound is the first time the index had improved since the beginning of the year, sparking hope that the decline may have…