Next week, I will spend a few hours test driving one of a hundred experiemental GM Chevy Equinox powered by hydrogen fuel cells. These vehicles promise zero emissions are represent one of several alternatives to gasoline. The problem, as an MIT professor friend of mine pointed out recently, is that the pure diatomic hydrogen to power fuel cells either comes from fossil fuels like natural gas or coal and requires significant energy in the refining process. Indeed, where is all this pure hydrogen going to come from? And what will it cost? The Dept. of Energy (DOE) in 2005 doubled its target for hydrogen costs based on a GGE or gasoline gallon equivalent calculation.
The more you dig into what will power vehicles in the future, the more daunting the challenge seems to become. If you accept the DOE’s target price of $2-$3 GGE for hydrogen (before taxes!!), driving won’t be cheap even if we could power our engines with dirt. The only hope for cheap transportation is a purely electric car that you plug in at night and the power comes from solar panels or a wind turbine. Then again, none of power sourcees are cheap either!
I am looking foward to driving the Equinox and learning more about hydrogen. I also take comfort in the fact a lot of smart people are working on what will replace fossil fuels or substantially lessen our dependence on them. And you can expect a full report in video, words and photos on my driving experience and continuing indepth coverage on renewable fuels.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.