Posted tagged ‘year’

USE YOUR BOOZE AS YOUR FUTURE FUEL

September 10, 2011

biofuel-from-whiskyTill date, all types of alcoholic drinks, or booze as they are commonly called, are produced only with the intention of drinking for socializing, fun, recreation and to drown one’s sorrows.
However the researchers of Abertay’s School of Contemporary Science have found a different and more beneficial use for alcoholic drinks.

The researchers here have been awarded the prestigious Carnegie Trust Research Grant to help them in the investigation of turning the residues that are found in the production of beer and whisky, into a form of renewable biofuel.

This is anticipated to be a project that takes about a year to find new methods of turning the spent grain of these drinks into an efficient biofuel, bioethanol.

Bioethanol is a much more environmentally friendly alternative to the present fossil fuels you find around you.
The reason it is considered better to using bioethanol, instead of traditional fuels for your fueling purposes is that it is CO2 neutral. It is also produces 65% less greenhouse gas emissions because it burns at temperatures that are at a much better level for fire safety.

With the supply of fuel being predicted to be finite, with half of the world’s oil supply already having been consumed in the passed 200 years, scientists are looking for simple and cost effective means of producing more biofuels from low value and waste products. there is a race going on for finding environmentally friendly alternatives to fuels for the future of the world, and this is why spent grains of alcohol and beer manufacture are considered to be a safe and efficient option for this.

Today Brazil and USA together produce over 70% of global supplies through the creation of bioethanol from sugarcane and maize starch respectively.
Though the US has beaten Brazil in its production, Brazil is still the largest exporter that sends about 3.2 billion liters of bioethanol in the last year alone.

Like all things in life, there are some negative aspects to this method of generating fuels. Both these countries tend to create an increased demand for land to grow the energy crops they require for generating bioethanol. In fact, in countries like Brazil, the safety of tropical forests too is threatened where even the benefits of using biofuel too may be cancelled out.

This is why researchers are considering using the waste products received from the manufacture of alcohol for creating biofuels. This may be a more complicated process of turning waste products into bioethanol. However it is a perfect example of a second generation biofuel.

The products used for the creation of this biofuel is usually disposed of or at the most, used for processing animal feed.

Instead of this, using them to produce fuel would be an attractive means of using this resource. However presently, there are many technical challenges and hindrances that have to be overcome to help in converting waste biomass into fuel.

And the search is still on for a more efficient and cost effective process for producing biofuels from alcoholic wastes.

Daughters’ Ages

August 24, 2011

Two MIT math grads bump into each other at Fairway on the upper west side. They haven’t seen each other in over 20 years.

THE FIRST GRAD SAYS TO THE SECOND: “how have you been?”
SECOND: “great! i got married and i have three daughters now”
FIRST: “really? how old are they?”
SECOND: “well, the product of their ages is 72, and the sum of their ages is the same as the number on that building over there..”
FIRST: “right, ok.. oh wait.. hmm, i still don’t know”
SECOND: “oh sorry, the oldest one just started to play the piano”
FIRST: “wonderful! my oldest is the same age!”

problem: how old are the daughters?

Solution

solution: start with what you know. you know there are 3 daughters whose ages multiply to 72. let’s look at the possibilities…

AGES:            SUM OF AGES:
1 1 72            74
1 2 36            39
1 3 24            28
1 4 18            23
1 6 12            19
1 8 9             18
2 2 18            22
2 3 12            17
2 4 9             15
2 6 6             14
3 3 8             14
3 4 6             13

after looking at the building number the man still can’t figure out what their ages are (we’re assuming since he’s an MIT math grad, he can factor 72 and add up the sums), so the building number must be 14, since that is the only sum that has more than one possibility.

finally the man discovers that there is an oldest daughter. that rules out the “2 6 6” possibility since the two oldest would be twins. therefore, the daughters ages must be “3 3 8”.

(caveat: an astute reader pointed out that it IS possible for two siblings to have the same age but not be twins, for instance one is born in january, and the next is conceived right away and delivered in october. next october both siblings will be one year old. if a candidate points this out, extra credit points to him/her.)

this question is pretty neat, although there is certainly a bit of an ahafactor to it. the clues are given in such a way that you think you are missing information (the building number), but whats important isn’t the building number, but the fact that the first man thought that it was enough information, but actually wasn’t.

even if the candidate doesn’t know the solution, they could come up with some interesting thoughts. if they just stare at you and shrug “i dunno” then thank them for their time and don’t give them afogcreek pen.

Pilot to Mechanical engineer-the story so far.

August 23, 2011

“What do you want to become when you grow up, a doctor or an engineer?” asked my grandpa when I was a four year old. A question that evolved from a typical malayali mindset. Most of the mallu kids are taught to reply either doctor or engineer if somebody asks. My answer was pilot. A couple of trips to Trivandrum airport and my favorite toy aeroplane might have struck the spark in me. The ‘pilot bug’ gradually died down as it was replaced by police,inspired by some action movies.


I imitating a policeman ( Cops never aim & salute simultaneously :-P)

Quite ironically another movie which I saw when I was 7-8 years old, made me quit the desire to become a policeman. The movie was ‘Nanma niranjavan sreenivasan’ ( a Malayalam movie, Jayaram starrer). The hero of the movie was a police constable and in one particular incident the hero had to guard a deadbody, alone throughout a night. The next morning he was shivering with fever. That scene made an impact on my ‘weak heart’.

I fell in love with science @ school in 3rd or 4th standard. I dreamt of becoming a scientist . I stood odd in my class when teachers asked about ambition. The funniest part of ‘scientist story’ was that I did some experiments hoping serendipity.I still remember trying to burn various shrubs and grasses to discover biofuels when the hyped story of Ramar Pillai’s biopetrol was at its peak. Though I wanted to become a scientist, my mind wandered between astronomy, biology and geology.

I wrote the entrance exam for admission in Sainik school (9th std) and got shortlisted for the interview and medical checkup. To be frank I was more interested in the discipline , the sports and games and the huge campus, than becoming a defense personnel. The ‘scientist bug’ didn’t leave me. It was time for the interview and I had to strike a balance between ‘scientist’ and ‘defense personnel’. The interview panel consisted of three people, all of them defense staff. They shot the ‘ambition question’ and my answer was scientist in defense sector. They asked ” what do you mean ?” . I answered ” just like A.P.J Abdul Kalam”. Pokhran II and my interview happened in the same week and I went not stop about fission, fusion etc. They asked “what will you do if you don’t become a scientist?”. I replied ” I will join the defense services”. It didn’t convince them and finally I didn’t make it. They were interested in future soldiers, not scientists.

My grandpa’s question again came back when I finished 10th standard. This time from my parents. I changed my mind to engineer from scientist, but my parents wanted me to become a doctor( guess they were attracted by the social status and moreover my grandpa’s wish). I was in a reluctant mood , wrote the medical entrance and ended up in failure. After that I went for 1 year medical entrance coaching at a reputed coaching center . I neither gave 100% commitment to it nor dishearten my parents by saying a ‘no’ to the medical stream. I couldn’t get enough rank the second time also. The truth was that I often went in a ‘stealth mode’ practicing some maths problems which helped me fetch a fair rank in engineering entrance exam. Now there weren’t many options left other than joining bachelors degree course in engineering. I never blame my parents for the ‘lost’ 1 year, In fact I say I am responsible for the good or the bad that happen in my life.I should have taken a bold step. People (friends, relatives etc.) call it ‘lost’ year , but I never felt so and moreover learnt a couple of lessons in life.

Now it was time to choose the branch of engineering. The general trend was choosing electronics and communication . I was also in the mood until I got enlightened about Mechanical engineering by Dr. S. Jose , my relative and academic guru. Himself being a Mechanical engineer and Asst Professor, threw insight to the various aspects of mechanical engineering and I never thought twice to choose my stream. Mechanical engineering, being a ‘broad’ stream of engineering rendered me numerous options to choose- energy sector,oil and gas ,automobiles, aeronautical, aerospace,thermal.

I never had an interest in computer programming. I still remember, how tough the C++ programming was in 3rd semester for me, just managed to fetch a pass in that subject. 90% of the companies which came to my college for campus recruitment were IT companies. All the placement activities started in 7th semester. Though I wasn’t interested, just for the sake of attending tests and interviews, I participated in the drives. 3-4 companies came and I didn’t manage to get 1. Finally I got a job in a reputed IT company .I never wanted to join that company and told my intentions to parents. They advised it will be utter foolishness if I don’t join the IT firm, without having another job in hand. I was mentally preparing for a fight with them, thought of firing all guns to get a job in core field. I continued writing exams and attending interviews, and got a job in one of the fields which I dreamt of getting into- Oil & gas industry.My parents were happier than me. Thanks to all. Presently, striving hard to achieve my goals, and will be writing a part 2 to this post some years later. 🙂

And The Phrase” The Sun Is On…!” Hurts..!

August 23, 2011
It is the day that i have awaited more than My 20th B’day. Ofcourse i dint worked that hard to deserve anything!
TORQUE_ A Technical Orchid……..Quest for Excellence is the event that i have wauted for.!The last event in the year 2011 in UCE…!
Initial hiccups couldn’t deter the determined organizers from conducting the event.!With a modest support from the department and a meagre amount of Rs.20,000/- funds!
I still wonder how these guys had managed such an event to fare far better than other events in University!
The very first day saw many fresh faces in department…
Enormous inflow of new waters flooded into old still waters.
With a big question mak on my face i continued to wonder ” Will it be a success..?”
There isn’t even a single instant from which i could learn nothing right from the startig of inagural function to the last word of Thanks gving speech of Valedictory!
Its alwaz irritating to sit in an audi hearing to some blah blah…of eminent speakers with all doors either closed or guarded by some self proclaimed coordinators.!
Somehow they got crowd for that Inagural!
I have managed to escape to stalls.!
I was participating in every torque…
This is my 3rd Torque and 3rd time i have been in stall!
When i was in 1st yr we dint celebrated even though we got some profits….!!
But as the time gre my mind started transforming and i found that celebration of every possible ocassion will be the essence of Engineering life.!
3 different teams in 3 Torques!
Ofcourse i(We) have started celebrating in 2nd yr!
The cricket fever which was feared of was perfectly battled!
Achievable target and dogged performance from Men In Blue and of course some luck of Mr.Cool MSD could have costed us dearly.!
But thanks to performers who kept the audience to glue to their chairs.!
U happened to be computer operator for that day’s culturals ” ROCK ON”
Very close to stage!
I Torque-10 It was ” MY Love Is Gone”
And In Torque-11 It was MJ’s ” DANGEROUS”
Everyone is going crazy of MJ these days….
I feel that MJ fever is still on even though MJ Departed.!
And the thing i came to know
and which has adrenalized my thoughts of organising a whole college event is That JNTU is under transformation!
I’m in the university since 3 yrs…
But i haven’t spotted A Jr Anchoring an Event…
Thanks to all enthusiastic jrs….
I expect their cooperation for whole college Techno-Cultural Fest!
And the other thing is A Boy and Girl from same class dancing together on same stage…!!
A welcomed sign for a world class university!
And the good news came by air in the midst of celebration that Men In Blue had edged Kangaroo’s out of CWC-11
Thunderous applause to MIB rocked the Whole university campus…!
Finally the show halted at 1:00 am
for the next few hours i have slept and when i woke up i found the Sun is Just on….
Another day of surprises is waiting!

Artificial photosynthesis

August 23, 2011

Artificial photosynthesis is one of the newer ways researchers are exploring to capture the energy of sunlight reaching earth.

01-photosynthetic reaction-receive sunlight as photons-transfer energy to a network of pigment protein complexes

Photosynthesis:

01-Photosynthesis-basics-operation-oxygen release-hydrogen splits


Photosynthesis is the conversion of sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into usable fuel and it is typically discussed in relation to plants where the fuel is carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Using only 3 percent of the sunlight that reaches the planet, plants collectively perform massive energy conversions, converting just over 1,100 billion tons of CO2 into food sources for animals every year.

Photovoltaic Technology:

This harnessing of the sun represents a virtually untapped potential for generating energy for human use at a time when efforts to commercialize photovoltaic–cell technology are underway. Using a semiconductor–based system, photovoltaic technology converts sunlight to electricity, but in an expensive and somewhat inefficient manner with notable shortcomings related to energy storage and the dynamics of weather and available sunlight.

Artificial Photosynthesis:

01-photosynthesis system-Artificial Photosynthesis-Artificial Photosynthesis Solar energy to produce hydrogen directly used in fuel cell

Two things occur as plants convert sunlight into energy:

  • Sunlight is harvested using chlorophyll and a collection of proteins and enzymes, and
  • Water molecules are split into hydrogen, electrons, and oxygen.

These electrons and oxygen then turn the CO2 into carbohydrates, after which oxygen is expelled.

Rather than release only oxygen at the end of this reaction, an artificial process designed to produce energy for human use will need to release liquid hydrogen or methanol, which will in turn be used as liquid fuel or channeled into a fuel cell. The processes of producing hydrogen and capturing sunlight are not a problem. The challenge lies in developing a catalyst to split the water molecules and get the electrons that start the chemical process  to produce the hydrogen.

There are a number of promising catalysts available, that, once perfected, could have a profound impact on how we address the energy supply challenge:

  • Manganese directly mimics the biology found in plants.
  • Titanium Dioxide is used in dye-sensitized cell.
  • Cobalt Oxide is very abundant, stable and efficient as a catalyst

Artificial Photosynthesis Operation:

01-artificial Photosynthesis-arrays of microwave coated catalysts-split water to make hydrogen or liquid hydrocarbon fuels

Under the fuel through artificial photosynthesis scenario, nano tubes embedded within a membrane would act like green leaves, using incident solar radiation (H³) to split water molecules (H2O), freeing up electrons and oxygen (O2) that then react with carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce a fuel, shown here as methanol (CH3OH). The result is a renewable green energy source that also helps scrub the atmosphere of excessive carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

01-artificial photosynthesis solar collector to energy-concentrated solar radiation- convert photosynthesis to Hydrogen and oxygen

History:

Plants use organic compounds that need to be continuously renewed. Researchers are looking for inorganic compounds that catalyze the needed reactions and are both efficient and widely available.

The research has been significantly boosted by the application of nano technology. It’s a good example of the step wise progress in the scientific world.

Studies earlier in the decade showed that crystals iridium efficiently drove the reduction of CO2, but iridium is extremely rare so technology that required its use would be expensive and could never be used on a large scale.

Cobalt crystals were tried. They worked, and cobalt is widely available, but the original formulations weren’t at all efficient.

Things changed with the introduction of nano technology.

The main point is that this unique approach increasing appears to be feasible. It has the advantage of harnessing solar energy in a form that can be stored and used with greater efficiency than batteries and it is at least carbon neutral.

PRODUCE ELECTRICITY FROM SOLAR HEAT

August 22, 2011

01-solar thermal power conversion-beam radiation-direct normal irradiation-Solar-Power-in-Florida-turning solar heat into electricity

The principles of solar thermal power conversion have been known for more than a century; its commercial scale-up and exploitation, however, has only taken place since the mid 1980s. With these first large-scale 30-80 MW parabolic trough power stations, built in the California Mojave desert, the technology has impressively demonstrated its technological and economic promise. With few adverse environmental impacts and a massive resource, the sun, it offers an opportunity to the countries in the sun belt of the world comparable to that currently being offered by offshore wind farms to European and other nations with the windiest shorelines.

01-direct radiation-solar radiation-electromagnetic radiation-solar collectors-insolation

Solar thermal power can only use direct sunlight, called ‘beam radiation’ or Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI), i.e. that fraction of sunlight which is not deviated by clouds, fumes or dust in the atmosphere and that reaches the earth’s surface in parallel beams for concentration. Hence, it must be sited in regions with high direct solar radiation. Suitable sites should receive at least 2,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of sunlight radiation per m2annually, whilst best site locations receive more than 2,800 kWh/m2/year.

01-solar panels-solar power energy-solar power system-diagram_solar_power-produce electricity from solar energy example

In many regions of the world, one square kilometer of land is enough to generate as much as 100-130 Giga watt hours (GWh) of solar electricity per year using solar thermal technology. This is equivalent to the annual production of a 50 MW conventional coal- or gas-fired mid-load power plants. Over the total life cycle of a solar thermal power system, its output would be equivalent to the energy contained in more than    5 million barrels of oil2).

TURNING SOLAR HEAT INTO ELECTRICITY

01-illustration_trough_collector_from_sunlight-solar collector assembly-parabolic trough solar collector

Producing electricity from the energy in the sun’s rays is a straightforward process: direct solar radiation can be concentrated and collected by a range of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technologies to provide medium- to high temperature heat.


01-concentrating solar power plants-CSP Technologies-Concentrating solar power technologies-direct solar radiation process-parabolic solar trough collectors

This heat is then used to operate a conventional power cycle, for example through a steam turbine or a Stirling engine. Solar heat collected during the day can also be stored in liquid or solid media such as molten salts, ceramics, concrete or, in the future, phase-changing salt mixtures. At night, it can be extracted from the storage medium thereby continuing turbine operation.