9 comments on “This Week in Science (July 24 – 31)

  • The new lithium battery could greatly bring down the cost and weight of electric cars. It could also mean a long-range light-weight electric bike. It could also mean a safe battery for laptops.

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  • @link – England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced

    Number of single-use bags handed out dropped to 500m in first six months since charge, compared with 7bn the previous year

    As usual newspaper editors manage to get the headline wrong!

    England’s plastic bag USAGE has not reduced! England’s plastic bag WASTAGE has dropped 85% while plastic bag re-usage has increased!

    When shopping, I usually carry a light so-called “single-use” bag in my jeans pocket for use multiple times, and have some heavier re-usable bags in the car door-pocket for larger grocery loads.
    These are returned there after use ready for next time.

    It’s not rocket science!

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  • The CO2 + sunlight = fuel story looks perhaps too good to be true.

    “The ability to turn (atmospheric) CO2 into fuel at a cost comparable to a gallon of gasoline would render fossil fuels obsolete.”

    Now, wouldn’t THAT be a game-changer?

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  • OHooligan #6
    Aug 2, 2016 at 3:27 am

    The CO2 + sunlight = fuel story looks perhaps too good to be true.

    “The ability to turn (atmospheric) CO2 into fuel at a cost comparable to a gallon of gasoline would render fossil fuels obsolete.”
    Now, wouldn’t THAT be a game-changer?

    In some places it already is! – using the natural biological version of the process!


    Sugarcane ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel produced by the fermentation of sugarcane juice and molasses. Because it is a clean, affordable and low-carbon biofuel, sugarcane ethanol has emerged as a leading renewable fuel for the transportation sector. Ethanol can be used two ways:

    Blended with gasoline at levels ranging from 5 to 27 percent to reduce petroleum use, boost octane ratings and cut tailpipe emissions
    Pure ethanol – a fuel made up of 85 to 100 percent ethanol depending on country specifications – can be used in specially designed engines

    Sugarcane Ethanol. Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane ethanol producer and a pioneer in using ethanol as a motor fuel. In 2013/14, Brazilian ethanol production reached 27.5 billion liters (7.3 billion gallons). Most of this production is absorbed by the domestic market where it is sold as either pure ethanol fuel or blended with gasoline. All gasoline sold in Brazil includes a blend of 18 to 27 percent ethanol.

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  • @link – Lithium-air batteries are considered highly promising technologies for electric cars and portable electronic devices because of their potential for delivering a high energy output in proportion to their weight. But such batteries have some pretty serious drawbacks:

    But a new variation of the battery chemistry, which could be used in a conventional, fully sealed battery, promises similar theoretical performance as lithium-air batteries, while overcoming all of these drawbacks.

    . . ..And while looking at green vehicle technology, the Chinese have come up was an answer to city road congestion!


    It may look like something from the future, but China’s long-awaited “straddling bus” ran its inaugural test in Hebei province this week.

    The 2m-high Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) straddles the cars below, allowing them to pass through.

    Powered by electricity, the bus is able to carry up to 300 passengers in its 72ft (21m) long and 25ft wide body.

    A video of a mini-model of the vehicle caused great excitement when it was released in May.

    The vehicle is expected to reach speeds of up to 60km per hour, running on rails laid along ordinary roads. Up to four TEBs can be linked together.

    “The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” the project’s chief engineer, Song Youzhou, told state-media agency Xinhua earlier this year.

    “The TEB has the same functions as the subway, while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway,” another engineer Bai Zhiming told news outlet CCTV.

    One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, according to the firm. However, it is unclear when the vehicle will be widely used in Chinese cities.

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