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NEWS
From international, national and local sources, vaeng.com highlights continuously updated news, events, and announcements affecting Virginia’s engineering community. Virginia’s Professional/Technical societies, colleges and universities, private firms, and industry are strongly encouraged to submit news pertaining to their engineering activities. We want to hear from and about you. Contact us at news@vaeng.com for details.

Most Recent News Item:
Evaporation-Harvested Energy Could Be New Source of Power Generation
November 24, 2017

As the search for alternate forms of energy generation beyond solar and wind continues, researchers are casting their gaze into investigations of possibly more reliable and unique methods.

According to information provided by Columbia University, researchers have discovered, in the first evaluation of evaporation as a renewable energy source, that U.S. lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of power, nearly 70 percent of what the United States currently produces.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the study, “Potential for natural evaporation as a reliable renewable energy resource,” published in a recent issue of the journal Nature Communications, notes that evaporation-harvested power could in principle be made on demand, day or night, overcoming the intermittency problems plaguing solar and wind.

Although currently limited to experiments in the lab, the study’s senior author Ozgur Sahin, associate professor of Biological Sciences and Physics at Columbia, noted that, “We have the technology to harness energy from wind, water and the sun, but evaporation is just as powerful. We can now put a number on its potential.”

Evaporation is nature’s way of cycling water between land and air. Prof. Sahin has previously shown how this basic process can be exploited to do work. One machine developed in his lab, the so-called Evaporation Engine, controls humidity with a shutter that opens and closes, prompting bacterial spores to expand and contract. The spores’ contractions are transferred to a generator that makes electricity. The current study was designed to test how much power this process could theoretically produce.

One benefit of evaporation is that it can be generated only when needed. Solar and wind power, by contrast, require batteries to supply power when the sun isn’t shining and wind isn’t blowing. Batteries are expensive and require toxic materials to manufacture.

“Evaporation comes with a natural battery,” said study lead author, Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu, a graduate student at Columbia. “You can make it your main source of power and draw on solar and wind when they’re available.”

The researchers simplified their model in several ways to test evaporation’s potential. They limited their calculations to the United States, where weather station data is easily accessible, and excluded prime locations such as farmland, rivers, the Great Lakes, and coastlines, to limit errors associated with modeling more complex interactions. They also made the assumption that technology to harvest energy from evaporation efficiently is fully developed.

The researchers are working to improve the energy efficiency of their spore-studded materials and hope to eventually test their concept on a lake, reservoir, or even a greenhouse, where the technology could be used to simultaneously make power and save water.



News Items
Below are listed the 12 most recent News Items.
To see the entire list of News Items, visit the News Items Archive.
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Evaporation-Harvested Energy Could Be New Source of Power Generation
November 24, 2017

Reliability and Water Savings are cited as other potential benefits.

New Nanomaterial More Efficiently Extracts Hydrogen From Seawater
November 24, 2017

Breakthrough could potentially lead to a new source of clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

Researchers Refine Pesticides
November 22, 2017

Study demonstrates that molecular tweaks can make the difference.

Dewberry Wins VTCA Transportation Engineering Award
November 22, 2017

The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA) has awarded the Route 7 Truck Climbing Lane project in Loudoun County with its VTCA Transportation Engineering Award…

Exosuit Designed To Help Retail Employees
November 21, 2017

The lightweight exosuit is designed to help employees lift and move product through the store more efficiently.

AHRI Announces New Officers and Award Recipients
November 21, 2017

Chris Peel, President and COO of Atlanta-based Rheem Manufacturing, is AHRI’s new Chairman.

CTL Opens New Branch Office In Virginia
November 20, 2017

CTL Engineering, Inc. (CTL) is excited to announce the acquisition of Virginia-based Geotechnical Engineering, Inspection and Testing division of Burgess & Niple, Inc.

ASNT Old Dominion Section Announces November Meeting
November 20, 2017

Meeting provides networking opportunity and provides a forum for exchange of NDT technical information.

Virginia Has Cleanest Air In At Least 20 Years
November 17, 2017

The summer of 2017 was the cleanest ground-level ozone season in Virginia in at least 20 years, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced recently.

Researchers Explore Drone-enabled Services
November 17, 2017

Researchers with the Service Enterprise Engineering (SEE) 360 initiative are exploring drone-enabled services with a system called SmartPark, a drone-based intelligent parking system…

Aging Water Systems Nationwide Pose Health Threats
November 16, 2017

Traditional water treatment efforts have focused on water leaving the treatment plant, but a large number of recent waterborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. can be traced to plumbing systems in buildings.

Next Advance in Computer Security
November 16, 2017

A new non-contact, remote biometric tool could be the next advance in computer security.


News Items Archive
 
 
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