Solar power accounts for less than 2 percent of U.S. electricity but could make up more than that if the cost of electricity generation and energy storage for use on cloudy days and at nighttime were cheaper.

 

A Purdue University-led team developed a new material and manufacturing process that would make one way to use solar power – as heat energy – more efficient in generating electricity.

The innovation is an important step for putting solar heat-to-electricity generation in direct cost competition with fossil fuels, which generate more than 60 percent of electricity in the U.S.

 

“Storing solar energy as heat can already be cheaper than storing energy via batteries, so the next step is reducing the cost of generating electricity from the sun’s heat with the added benefit of zero greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kenneth Sandhage, Purdue’s Reilly Professor of Materials Engineering.

 

The research, which was done at Purdue in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, published in the journal Nature.

 

A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/PMC3EE19ouw.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.purdue.edu

Astronomers are building instruments that can characterize the many alien worlds the Kepler spacecraft revealed—and look for signs of life.

 

One of Earth’s most venerable planet-hunters, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, has gone quiet. On October 30th 2018, the space agency announced that after nearly a decade of staring at the stars, Kepler is out of fuel. Now, the spacecraft will stay in its Earth-trailing orbit, looping around the sun and never coming closer than a million miles from home.

 

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nationalgeographic.com

Scientists have finally confirmed that the massive object at the heart of our galaxy is, in fact, a supermassive black hole.

Researchers used the European Southern Observatory’s sensitive GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe infrared radiation flares coming from the accretion disc around Sagittarius A* — the massive object at the center of our galaxy. Scientists think that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center, but they’d never before had the data and observations to prove it.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.astronomy.com

Researchers monitored a group of participants from 8 countries across the world with results showing that every single stool sample tested positive for the presence of microplastic and up to 9 different plastic types were identified.

Microplastics have been found in the human food chain as particles made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) and others were detected in human stools, research presented today at the 26th UEG Week in Vienna reveals.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.eurekalert.org

Historically, computer-assisted detection (CAD) in radiology has failed to achieve improvements in diagnostic accuracy, decreasing clinician sensitivity and leading to unnecessary further diagnostic tests. With the advent of deep learning approaches to CAD, there is great excitement about its application to medicine, yet there is little evidence demonstrating improved diagnostic accuracy in clinically-relevant applications. A group of scientists now trained a deep learning model to detect fractures on radiographs with a diagnostic accuracy similar to that of senior subspecialized orthopedic surgeons. They were able to demonstrate that when emergency medicine clinicians are provided with the assistance of the trained model, their ability to accurately detect fractures significantly improves.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pnas.org

The fabric of civilization is materials science. Humanity’s success in material science is written into our history. Our early progression, from the Stone Age through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, demonstrates the relentless development of novel materials: stronger, lighter or more versatile than those that came before. But such has been our success that we are long past an age that could be summed up by a single element. The range of materials used by industry has become ever-more complex — not just in terms of their variety, but also in their scale and how they are used together.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.kurzweilai.net