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.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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