Scientists develop forecasting technique that could help advance quest for fusion energy

An international group of researchers has developed a technique that forecasts how tokamaks might respond to unwanted magnetic errors. These forecasts could help engineers design fusion facilities that create a virtually inexhaustible supply of safe and clean fusion energy to generate electricity.

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Power Player: Engineering professor researches how to keep America’s lights on

Ning Zhou from Binghamton University, State University of New York received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to provide a 21st-century vision for power systems.

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Energy Harvesting Goes Organic, Gets More Flexible

The race is on to create natural biocompatible piezoelectric materials for energy harvesting, electronic sensing, and stimulating nerves. Researchers decided to explore peptide-based nanotubes, and in the Journal of Applied Physics, they report using a combination of ultraviolet and ozone exposure to generate a wettability difference and an applied field to create horizontally aligned polarization of nanotubes on flexible substrates with interlocking electrodes. The group’s work will enable the use of organic materials more widely.

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ARPA-type funding gives green technology an ‘innovation advantage’, study finds

• Startups funded by US energy agency ARPA-E file patents at twice the rate of similar cleantech firms, according to latest research.
• UK should trial its own climate-focused ARPA as part of Covid-19 recovery package, argues Cambridge researcher.
• Learn lessons from US by supporting startups through “valley of death” to boost productivity and innovation in green tech.

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UCI cyber-physical security researchers highlight vulnerability of solar inverters

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 18, 2020 – Cyber-physical systems security researchers at the University of California, Irvine can disrupt the functioning of a power grid using about $50 worth of equipment tucked inside a disposable coffee cup. In a presentation delivered at the recent Usenix Security 2020 conference, Mohammad Al Faruque, UCI associate professor of electrical engineering & computer science, and his team revealed that the spoofing mechanism can generate a 32 percent change in output voltage, a 200 percent increase in low-frequency harmonics power and a 250 percent boost in real power from a solar inverter.

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Bright Lights + Big City = Millions of Dollars in Savings

The city of Chicago has replaced 210,000 street lights with state-of-the-art LEDs through its energy-efficient street lighting initiative. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory lent its technical expertise to the team – led by the Chicago Department of Transportation – to help identify the best lighting technology and field validation approaches to Chicago’s outdoor lighting modernization effort.

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