Although the blackouts and brownouts that plague California haven't reached Midwest states like Ohio yet, that hasn't stopped engineers and scientists in the buckeye state from finding better ways to produce electric power. The plan is to use a Norton, OH limestone mine as a storage facility for compressed air released from a nearby power plant. The idea is to build air pressure into the mine during evenings, weekends, and other off-peak hours, according to the Department of Energy's Steve Bauer. His job involves characterizing the limestone rock's mechanics and airflow properties, because without a clear understanding of the behavior of the rock in a pressurized state and the behavior of fluid in the rock, funding agencies are reluctant to back the plan. "The mine acts as a vessel that contains the air at pressures from 800 to 1,600 psi," says Bauer. He explains that in the rock's pores, the air will move from high pressure areas near mine surfaces to lower pressure areas away from mine surfaces when the air pressure is greater than the rock pore pressure. "The movement is very slow because of the low permeability of the rock and the fact that there is brine in the rock-pore space," says Bauer. During peak electrical usage times, the stored compressed air is bled off through turbines for creating additional electric power. Permits are currently being sought through the state's regulatory agency.
Lithium-ion battery prices will drop rapidly over the next 10 years, setting the stage for plug-in vehicles to reach 5%-10% of total automotive sales by the mid- to late-2020s, according to a new study.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
A recent Design News-exclusive study proves that engineering professionals are at the very forefront of this push into the future and making direct financial, performance, and value impact on their organizations by being personally involved or final decision-makers on automation solution and component choices.
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