First it was the Motor Challenge, then the Compressed Air Challenge, and now comes the Steam Challenge. Like its predecessors, the Steam Challenge is an initiative by the Department of Energy (DOE) to promote efficiency in industrial power systems. This one aims to help industry adopt system approaches to designing, purchasing, installing, and managing boilers, distribution systems, and steam applications. The Alliance to Save Energy and DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies are working with more than 50 steam-related organizations on the venture. Included are the American Boiler Manufacturers Association, the Association of Energy Engineers, Babcock Wilcox, DuPont, and the Energy Center of Wisconsin. Among plans are information campaigns, establishment of a network for training and certifying those who operate steam systems, and expansion of the market for steam efficiency equipment and services. Officials hope for an overall improvement of 20% in steam efficiency by 2010.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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