Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Methanol fuel cells the latest in portable power

Methanol fuel cells the latest in portable power
by Mark Rutherford
February 22, 2009 6:00 AM PST
A German company has introduced a "wearable" fuel cell that usesdirect methanol fuel cell technology, doing away with the weightymechanical components usually associated with generation of electricalpower.

Based on an award-winning unipolar stack technology design, the Jenny600S delivers 25 watts of power for up to 20 hours at a time,according to the company Smart Fuel Cell (SFC).
SFC fuel cells took top honors in the U.S. Department of Defense'sWearable Power Competition last October against stiff competition froma host of big-name competitors. But it's not the only game: companieslike UtraCell and Jadoo Power also offer a range of portable fuel celloptions to military customers.
The Jenny uses replaceable liquid methanol fuel cartridges and can beworn by soldiers in a vest, where it instantly kicks in from standbymode to automatically recharge batteries when needed. It workssilently in both vertical and horizontal positions, according to SFC.It can also be left in a hands-off mode to automatically power upequipment in the field. The company estimates that the unit couldreduce the weight of the batteries that soldiers must carry on certainmissions by up to 70 percent.
And the SFC system uses nonpressurized methanol, which has been giventhe seal of approval in tests by Army Research Lab and Natick SoldierCenter, according to SFC. Low pressure gives it a leg up, in terms ofsafety over pressurized gases like hydrogen, propane, or butane.
It's not available to civilians yet, but look for systems like this toshake out in the near future. Mark Rutherford is a West Coast-based freelance writer. He is amember of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Emailhim at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New freely accessible nanotechnology and nanoscience publications archive

New freely accessible nanotechnology and nanoscience publications archive

Research at the nanoscale has the potential to solve many fundamental scientific problems and lead to new developments in different disciplines and application areas such as medicine, electronics, energy, and the environment. Successful outcomes to such research will have a measurable impact on the future well-being of our global society; however this can only be achieved through improving access to information and opportunities for international collaboration. The ICPCNanoNet project is one such initiative in this framework. Funded by the EU under FP7 for four years from June 2008, it provides:
an electronic archive of nanoscience publications that is freely accessible to researchers around the globe;
an electronic database of nanoscience organizations and networks in ICPC;
links to nanoscience researchers and stakeholders across the globe;
annual reports on nanoscience developments in eight ICPC regions: Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), Latin America, Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPC), Western Balkan Countries (WBC);
online networking tools (forums, workshops);
annual workshops, one in each of EU, China, India, and Russia, which will also be webcast to facilitate greater access.
The project brings together partners from the EU, China, India and Russia and aims to provide wider access to published nanoscience and nanotechnology research and opportunities for collaboration between scientists in the EU and International Cooperation Partner Countries. This will be achieved through the creation of an open access electronic archive of nanoscience publications and tools to facilitate networking between scientists in different world regions.
The project builds on previous initiatives including Nanoforum ( which provides information on nanoscience and technology in the EU; EuroIndiaNet ( which promoted stronger collaboration between EU and Indian nanoscientists and technologists, and NanoforumEULA ( which promotes stronger collaboration between EU and Latin American nanoscientists and technologists.
ICPCNanoNet is coordinated by the Institute of Nanotechnology (UK) and includes Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (Portugal), St Petersburg Electrotechnical University (Russia), Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (India), Chinese Society of Micro-Nano Technology (China), MERIT, Universiteit Maastricht (Netherlands), and Malsch TechnoValuation (Netherlands).
To register your interest in ICPCNanoNet please contact the project coordinator:
Dr Mark Morrison
Institute of Nanotechnology
Tel. +44 (0)141 303 8444.
or register on the project websites: (main project website) and (electronic archive).
Source: ICPCNanoNet

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New catalyst paves the path for ethanol-powered fuel cells

(Nanowerk News) A team of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Delaware and Yeshiva University, has developed a new catalyst that could make ethanol-powered fuel cells feasible. The highly efficient catalyst performs two crucial, and previously unreachable steps needed to oxidize ethanol and produce clean energy in fuel cell reactions. Their results are published online in the January 25, 2009 edition of Nature Materials.

Like batteries that never die, hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen and oxygen into water and, as part of the process, produce electricity. However, efficient production, storage, and transport of hydrogen for fuel cell use is not easily achieved. As an alternative, researchers are studying the incorporation of hydrogen-rich compounds, for example, the use of liquid ethanol in a system called a direct ethanol fuel cell. READ MORE...

World's highest drug levels entering India stream

Jan. 26, 2009By Margie Mason, AP Medical Writer Patancheru, India (AP)—When researchers analyzed vials of treated wastewater taken from a plant where about 90 Indian drug factories dump their residues, they were shocked. Enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000.

And it wasn't just ciprofloxacin being detected. The supposedly cleaned water was a floating medicine cabinet—a soup of 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients, used in generics for treatment of hypertension, heart disease, chronic liver ailments, depression, gonorrhea, ulcers and other ailments. Half of the drugs measured at the highest levels of pharmaceuticals ever detected in the environment, researchers say. READ MORE...

AP National Writer Martha Mendoza contributed to this report from California.
SOURCE: The Associated Press.

UN declares 2011 as International Year of Chemistry

UN declares 2011 as International Year of Chemistry

New York, Paris, 30 December 2008 - The 63rd General Assembly of the United
Nations has adopted a resolution proclaiming 2011 as International Year of Chemistry,
placing UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)
at the helm of the event.
Ethiopia submitted the U.N. resolution calling for the Year, which will celebrate
the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humanity. The
Year will also draw attention to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development 2005-2014. National and international activities carried out during 2011
will emphasize the importance of chemistry in sustaining natural resources.
Chemistry is fundamental to our understanding of the world and the cosmos.
Moreover, molecular transformations are central to the production of food, medicines,
fuel, and countless manufactured and extracted products. Through the Year, the world
will celebrate the art and science of chemistry, and its essential contributions to
knowledge, to environmental protection and to economic development.
“The International Year of Chemistry will give a global boost to chemical science
in which our life and our future are grounded. We hope to increase the public
appreciation and understanding of chemistry, increase young people’s interest in science,
and generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry,” declared the President of
the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Professor Jung-Il Jin. READ MORE...

Source: IUPAC/UNESCO release, 30 Dec 2008