August 15, 2008

Hyperion uranium hydride nuclear reactor gets eastern european customer

Hyperion Power Generation's CEO, John R. 'Grizz" Deal has announced that the company has received its first Letter of Intent to purchase the Hyperion Power Module (HPM), a small, compact, transportable, nuclear power reactor. (H/T Energy from Thorium forum)

The intention to purchase up to six units for various projects, at approximately $25 million each, was placed by TES Group, an investment company focusing on the energy sector in Central Eastern Europe.
TES Group could potentially be in the market for up to 50 HPMs.

Hyperion Power Generation, the developers of the uranium hydride reactor, have completed another development phase and are on target for 2013 commercialization

John R. "Grizz" Deal, the company’s CEO has announced the completion of another development phase and that the company has now begun discussing installation commitments with interested parties, for commercial deployment starting in 2013.

The Hyperion Power Module (HPM) was conceived at Los Alamos National Laboratory and licensed to New Mexico-based Hyperion for commercialization under the laboratory’s technology transfer program. Inherently safe and proliferation-resistant, the HPM utilizes the energy of low-enriched uranium fuel in a technology unlike any other currently in use or in development. Approximately 4,000 units of the same design, each offering 70 megawatts of thermal (heat) energy, or 27 megawatts of electricity via steam turbine, will be produced and sealed at manufacturing sites. That amount of electricity can power 20,000 average American-style homes or the industrial equivalent for $20 to $30 million each.

This site has provided extensive past coverage of the uranium hydride reactor

Uranium hydride reactor update April 2008

Uranium hydride reactor could blunt peak oil

Generating heat to extract oil from the oilsands.

Powering Vasimr rocket engines for fast travel inside the solar system

Are disposable reactors a safe option

In the link, uranium hydride could blunt peak oil, this site has reviewed the patent for this reactor.

They use 4.9% enriched uranium.
Fissile fuel burnup of at least 50% should be achievable with adequate design. This about 450 gigawatt days per ton of uranium or thorium.
This is about ten times more efficient than current nuclear reactors. There would half as much left over uranium (unburned fuel)

The present invention is based on and takes advantage of the physical properties of a fissile metal hydride, such as uranium hydride, which serves as a combination fuel and moderator. The invention is self-stabilizing and requires no moving mechanical components to control nuclear criticality. In contrast with customary designs, the control of the nuclear activity is achieved through the temperature driven mobility of the hydrogen isotope contained in the hydride. If the core temperature increases above a set point, the hydrogen isotope dissociates from the hydride and escapes out of the core, the moderation drops and the power production decreases. If the temperature drops, the hydrogen isotope is again associated by the fissile metal hydride and the process is reversed.

It's fuel lasts for about 5 years. Other reactors also have re-fueling. In this case, refueling is done by digging up the reactor if needed and then having the manufacturer perform the refueling. In between there are no people operating the reactor because it is self-regulating.

It's parts

is basically a hot tub full of uranium hydride with some hydrogen and some heat exchange rods.

The right tub of materials regulates itself while generating electricity

Tata s Electric Car's

A radical redesign of cars to cheap, safe, lightweight electrical cars is beyond the imagination or believability of some people.

"We cannot have lightweight electrical cars, they are not safe because we have SUVs and trucks".
- Air bags work to protect in a collision. Lightweight cars bounce from collision with heavier vehicles.
- Formula One race cars weigh 440kg but drivers can survive collision at 200mph.

Air bags inflate and are tough enough to survive collisions.

So inflatable electric cars are not an unreasonable development goal. The company (XP Vehicles) claims to be trying to make the inflatable electric car.

An alternative is converting the $2500 cars like the Tata Nano to be plug in hybrids or all electric and making them lighter.

Tata has stated that electric and hybrid cars are on their development path. They will be making over a million/year Tata Nano's within a few years.

Tata promises an electric car within 12 months (by Aug 2009)

Five electric car models by Tata

Toyota and other companies are working on more lightweight materials for cars. Vehicles that weighed 600 kg instead of 1000kg would have 30% better fuel economy.

How long can Uranium last for nuclear power ? 5 billion years at double current world electricity usage.

Breeder reactors: A renewable energy source by Bernard L. Cohen, American Journal of Physics, 1983 (H/T Crowlspace Uranium can last for 5 billion years with a withdrawal rate of 6,500 tonne per year from the oceans [with breeder reactors this would be double current world electricity usage]. This estimate does not include using Thorium which is more common in the earth's crust than Uranium.

UPDATE: Japan is working towards large scale uranium from seawater using genetically modified seaweed.

A 600MW breeder reactor has been working in Russia since the 1980s and an 800MW version will be completed in about 2012.

Excellent molten salt reactor designs are ready to be built. Molten salt reactors were built and operated for a few years in the sixties and seventies in the USA

It now seems quite certain that uranium can be extracted from the ocean at well below $1000 per pound ($100-800/lb in recent analysis of Japan's extraction process) and there is even some optimism that it can become competitive at current market prices ($65/lb). It is clear, then, that uranium from seawater must be considered as a completely acceptable fuel for breeder reactors, contributing less than 1% to the cost of electricity. In terms of fuel cost per million BTU, even at $400/lb the uranium cost is only 1.1 cents.

Seawater contains 3.3×10–9 (3.3 parts per billion) of uranium, whence the 1.4×10**18 tonne2 of water in the oceans contains 4.6×10**9 tonne of uranium. The energy content of uranium burned in a breeder reactor is 1 MW day/g, or 1000 GW day/tonne; at 37% efficiency, readily achievable in a breeder reactor, this is 1.0 GWe yr/tonne (GWe = GW of electricity). All of the world’s present electrical usage, 2325 GWe [372 GWe of nuclear make up 16% of world electrical supply] , could therefore be supplied by the uranium in seawater for (4.6×10**9/2325) = 1.98 million years.

At ten times the power level, it would last 198,000 years and at one hundred times it would be 19,800 years.

Rivers bring 3.2×10**13 tonne/yr of water into the oceans, and their uranium content averages 1.0×10–9 (one part per billion), whence a total of 3.2×10**4 tonne/yr of uranium enter the oceans from this source.

We can withdraw 16 000 tonne/yr of uranium from seawater continuously for hundreds of millions of years. This is enough to produce 16 000 GWe or 480 quadrillion BTU per year, which is 6 times the world’s present electricity usage, and almost the world’s present total energy consumption.

Uranium from seawater.

Using algae blooms to concentrate uranium from seawater was considered in a 1973 paper by researchers from the Nuclear Research Center Juelich (KFA), Juelich, Germany.

Uranium from phosphates

Another calculation of how long nuclear resources would last using different reactor technology

Recent uranium and nuclear power news roundup

75% of new power added from 2010-2020 is projected to not be in the OECD. No political uncertainty in China, Russia, India.
Of the nuclear reactors being built (36) or where millions have already been spent on planning for imminent build start (93).

Only 12 are expected in the USA.
31 in China
17 Russia
16 India
13 Japan
8 South Korea
5 Canada
The rest in 14 other countries (1-3 each).

The future of nuclear power does not rest in the United States. The United States should adopt nuclear power as a safe and clean energy source, but world nuclear power usage will carry on even if the United States makes the wrong choice.

Carbon nanotubes as strong as theory and irradiation makes them stronger

True strength properties of carbon nanotubes measured and they match with theoretical predictions. Previous measurements came up a lot weaker than theory. Not only do the new measurements show that defect free carbon nanotubes are as strong as predicted but the an irradiation strategy can fix defects and provide cross links to help carbon nanotube bundles [macro scale rope and tethers] be stronger.

"Imaging and measurement resolutions as well as atomic structural ambiguities (defects) obscured the results of most experiments and provided unreliable mechanical predictions," said Horacio Espinosa, a professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Espinosa and his group at Northwestern have resolved these issues using a nanoscale material testing system based on microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology. This system allows electronic measurements of load and displacement during a test, which is performed inside a transmission electron microscope to provide real-time atomic imaging.

"This method removes all ambiguity from testing results," Espinosa said. "We can be certain of all the quantities we have measured, and the results match quantum mechanics predictions very well."

Espinosa collaborated with George Schatz, Morrison Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, as well as with Peter Zapol, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory. This work is published online in Nature Nanotechnology and will appear in print in the journal's October issue.

Further research also was reported in the same article regarding the effect of electron irradiation on these materials. One would think that irradiation would degrade the atomic structure of the material, but the researchers found the opposite.

"Irradiating a multiwalled carbon nanotube with an intense electron beam actually forms bonds among the shells of the tube. This is like combining multiple nanotubes into one to form a stronger structure," said lead author Bei Peng, who recently received his doctoral degree from Northwestern under Espinosa's supervision.

The irradiation work was supplemented by detailed atomistic modeling. Using computer simulations of the atomic structure of the nanotubes, the team of researchers was able to isolate the mechanism of strengthening due to irradiation.

"The same procedure used to strengthen individual multiwalled nanotubes by irradiation may also be used to link together individual nanotubes into a bundle," said Mark Locascio, a doctoral student co-author of the paper.

This mechanism of crosslinking is a promising method for creating much larger nanotube-based structures. When nanotubes are packed together, they typically have very weak interactions along their surfaces; a spun nanotube rope would not be nearly as strong as its nanoscale constituents. However, irradiation may be the key to improving these interactions by inducing covalent bonds between tubes. If the properties of nanotubes can be scaled up to macroscale ropes and fibers, they may become a viable option for any high-strength application. This could include large cables for applications in industry or infrastructure, as well as smaller threads for lightweight woven fabrics, ballistic armors or composite reinforcement.

China and the World's emerging middle class

The World Bank estimates that the global middle class is likely to grow from 430 million in 2000 to 1.15 billion in 2030. The bank defines the middle class as earners making between $10 and $20 a day -- adjusted for local prices -- which is roughly the range of average incomes between Brazil ($10) and Italy ($20). In 2000, developing countries were home to 56% of the global middle class, but by 2030 that figure is expected to reach 93%. China and India alone will account for two-thirds of the expansion, with China contributing 52% of the increase and India 12%. The expectation is of the nearly 700 million new middle class by 2030 that nearly 350 million will be from China. This figure could be an underestimate based on stronger GDP growth in China.

Middle classes and affluent classes are needed for robust domestic consumer markets. Economic growth that is dependent on exports are in trouble of the export markets falter. Also, in order to grow the world middle class to 1.15 billion means that just selling to the existing 400-500 million middle class will not be enough. It is also important to understand the emergence of a global middle class to understand the structure of the future and of new market opportunities.

The forecasted emergence of China's middle class from a 2006 McKinsey projection. The McKinsey projection is based on conservation assumptions of 6.5% GDP growth for China, which has been averaging 10.5-11% GDP growth since 2006. This site forecasts a bit over 9% growth for China from now to 2015. This would put the overall GDP and per capita GDP 30% higher than McKinsey to 2015.

Lower middle class (25K yuan-40K yuan per year in household income). This is about US$4k-6K based on current exchange rates.

McKinsey projection
2009 73 million households (32%) out of 220 million
2011 96 million households (40%) out of 240 million
2015 140 million households (50%) out of 280 million

McKinsey + 30% GDP to 2015
2009 85 million households (37%) out of 220 million [+9% GDP]
2011 125 million households (52%) out of 240 million [+16% GDP]
2015 140 million households (50%) out of 280 million [+30% GDP, more richer]

The upper middle class (40K yuan-100K yuan per year in household income)
This is currently about US$6K-15K (6.8 yuan to 1 US dollar).
If the yuan moves to 3 to 1 USD by 2015. Then the McKinsey upper middle class definition is US$13,000-33,000.

2009 24 million households (11%) out of 220 million
2011 29 million households (12%) out of 240 million
2013 39 million households(15%) out of 260 million
2015 59 million households (21.2%) out of 280 million

Adjusted McKinsey Projections
2009 27 million households (12%) out of 220 million [+9% GDP]
2011 40 million households (17%) out of 240 million [+16% GDP]
2013 65 million households (25%) out of 260 million [+23% GDP]
2015 80 million households (29%) out of 280 million [+30% GDP]

For the 100+k yuan (US$15,000+), in 2015, they will be 6% or about 28 million households. In 2025, they are projected to be about 11% or about 40 million households.

Adjusted projections: 9% in 2015 and 20% in 2025.

Other sources estimating China's Middle class
Euromonitor indicates 80 million in 2007 with 60,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan.

It is forecast to expand to 700 million by 2020, driven by continued strong economic growth.

Gary shilling, Insight wrote in Forbes

China's middle and upper classes amount to about 110 million. This indicates that only 8% of the total 1.4 billion population are middle class in terms of having measurable discretionary purchasing power.

Wikinvest looks at the rise of China's Middle Class There is analysis of rising consumer spending in electronics, cars, insurance and other markets.

Present estimates of “middle class” in China range from 100 million to 247 million, depending on how much income renders one “middle class.” Assuming that an income of about$9000 is necessary to be considered middle class, China could have over 600 million middle class citizens by 2015. The China State Information Center, by contrast, considers those earning 50,000 yuan ($6,227) per year to be middle class – and expects 25% of the populace to qualify by 2010.

Estimates of the size and growth rate of China’s middle class vary. Roughly half of China's projected urban population will be middle class in 2025. Unlike the United States, where income typically peaks between the ages of 45 to 54, it is predicted that the wealthiest consumers in China will be between 25 to 44 years old because the younger generation will be more highly educated.

The meteoric rise in China’s middle class is tied to dramatic increases in its per capita income, which is growing at a nearly unprecedented rate. The first industrial revolution created a 250% increase in per capita income over a 100 year period. The second industrial revolution triggered 350% per capita income growth over 60 years. By comparison, China is on track to create a 700% growth in per capita income in just 20 years.

Chinese households currently save 25% of their post-tax income, according to the China Statistical Yearbook. A survey by McKinsey indicated that this high savings rate was driven, in part, by Chinese citizens’ belief that they need to set aside funds for retirement and healthcare expenses. If these expenses do not rise as rapidly as income levels, then Chinese consumers may have a surplus of funds that they are willing to spend. And, if health care costs do rise, the Chinese healthcare sector may be an attractive investment.

There was a previous article on this site that examined adding the GDP of other countries to equal China's growing GDP and looked at the GDP of China's top regions.

Mckinsey Quarterly looks at the value of China's emerging middle class

- Growth translates into rising incomes.
- Rising incomes will create a large urban middle class.
- The largest category of spending in China is food.
- Spending on categories other than food will increase faster.

This is likely an underestimate. Some assumptions of the McKinsey projection:
- urban Chinese consumers, rising from 42 percent of the total population today to more than 60 percent by 2025.
- assumed average growth of 6.5 percent in per capita GDP from 2005 to 2025 (a midrange forecast), with higher annual growth initially but slowing after 2015.

This site believes that China's urbanization has been underestimated and will reach 75-80% by 2020.

This site also projects that China's economic growth will be stronger. Estimating about 9% GDP growth until 2015 and then an average of 7% GDP growth from 2016-2025. This means and accumulation of 30% more GDP performance up to 2015 over the McKinsey assumptions and another 30% from 2015-2025. The currency projection of this site would mean stronger per capita income when converted to US dollars for comparing the United States and China.

Year GDP(yuan) GDP growth Yuan per USD China GDP China+HK/Ma US GDP 
2007 24.66      11.9%      7.3           3.38      3.7       13.8  
Jun08 26.0                 6.88          3.78      4.2            Past Germany
Oct08 26.7                 6.65          4.0       4.45
2008 27.3       10.2%      6.35          4.3       4.8       14.0 
2009 30.1        9.8%      5.62          5.4       5.9       14.2 Pass Japan
2010 33.7        9.5%      5.11          6.6       7.1       14.6
2011 37.0        9.5%      4.64          8.0       8.5       15.0
2012 40.6        9.5%      4.26          9.5       10.0      15.4
2013 44.2        9.0%      3.91         11.3      11.8       15.9
2014 48.2        9.0%      3.72         13.0      13.5       16.4
2015 52.0        8.0%      3.54         14.7      15.2       16.9
2016 56.2        8.0%      3.53         16.7      17.2       17.4 Passing USA
2017 60.4        7.5%      3.38         18.8      19.4      17.9 Past USA
2018 64.2        7.0%      3.20         20.9      21.5      18.4
2019 69.2        7.0%      3.09         23.0      23.6      19.0 
2020 74.0        7.0%      3.0          25.2      25.8      19.6
2021 78.4        6.0%      2.9          27.2      27.8      20.2
2022 83.1        6.0%      2.9          29.4      30.0      20.8
2023 87.3        5.0%      2.8          31.5      32.2      21.4
2024 91.7        5.0%      2.8          33.7      34.4      22.0
2025 96.3        5.0%      2.7          36.1      36.8      22.7
2026 101.1       5.0%      2.6          38.7      39.4      23.4 
2027 106.1       5.0%      2.6          41.4      42.1      24.1
2028 111.4       5.0%      2.5          44.4      45.1      24.8
2029 117.0       5.0%      2.5          47.5      48.2      25.5
2030 122.8       5.0%      2.4          50.9      51.6      26.3  Close to double USA


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Self-assembling polymer arrays improve data storage potential

In a collaborative effort between academic and industry, chemical and biological engineering professors Nealey and Juan de Pablo and other colleagues from the UW-Madison NSEC partnered with researchers from Hitachi Global Storage Technologies to test a promising new twist on the traditional computer memory and storage methods. In the Aug. 15 issue of the journal Science, the team demonstrates a patterning technology that may revolutionize the field, offering performance improvements over existing methods even while reducing the time and cost of manufacturing.

The technique has been used in a demonstration of terabit per square inch hard drives

The block co-polymer not only multiplies lithographically-patterned densities by a factor of four, it also cleans up defects that plague current high-resolution lithography, including line roughness and uniformity.

The technique combines the best aspects of lithography with self-assembling materials. The method could commercialized in a year or two for computer hardrives and higher densities are possible.

The method builds on existing approaches by combining the lithography techniques traditionally used to pattern microelectronics with novel self-assembling materials called block copolymers. When added to a lithographically patterned surface, the copolymers' long molecular chains spontaneously assemble into the designated arrangements.

"There's information encoded in the molecules that results in getting certain size and spacing of features with certain desirable properties," Nealey explains. "Thermodynamic driving forces make the structures more uniform in size and higher density than you can obtain with the traditional materials."

The block copolymers pattern the resulting array down to the molecular level, offering a precision unattainable by traditional lithography-based methods alone and even correcting irregularities in the underlying chemical pattern. Such nanoscale control also allows the researchers to create higher-resolution arrays capable of holding more information than those produced today.

In addition, the self-assembling block copolymers only need one-fourth as much patterning information as traditional materials to form the desired molecular architecture, making the process more efficient, Nealey says. "If you only have to pattern every fourth spot, you can write those patterns at a fraction of the time and expense," he says.

August 14, 2008

Myostatin manipulation doubling lean muscle

Wired talks about new strength and muscle enhancement technology

Johns Hopkins' Se-Jin Lee recently found that overproduction of one myostatin inhibitor pumps the mice up even more than previous results instead of 60% up to 81 percent in females and a whopping 116 percent in males. Results of human clinical trials are pending.

Researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego found that an existing medication, called GW1516, raises the levels of this gene, resulting in a 68 percent endurance improvement in fit mice.

In related news, the mainstream media (NY Times) is advocating allowing all performance enhancement in sports. This site agrees that all performance enhancement should be allowed in sport and in society in general.

Once upon a time, the lords of the Olympic Games believed that the only true champion was an amateur, a gentleman hobbyist untainted by commerce. Today they enforce a different ideal. The winners of the gold medals are supposed to be natural athletes, untainted by technology. After enough “scandals,” the amateur myth eventually died of its own absurdity. The natural myth is still alive in Beijing, but it’s becoming so far-fetched — and potentially dangerous — that some scientists and ethicists would like to abandon it, too.

Norman Fost, a professor of pediatrics and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin. “The claims of the common fatal or irreversible harms of anabolic steroids are without any medical foundation. There’s no reason to think the risk of injury or death is as high as the risk from simply playing sports like football or baseball.”

Carnival of Space #67

Blacklight Power follow up and other claims

Blacklight Power has claimed to have produced 50KW power generator prototypes which they expect to start selling in 2009. They also claim that the Hydrino technology will enable better lasers, batteries and new materials. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2009.

The latest expected unit costs for the Blacklight power system compared to current energy technology:

The Blacklight hydrogen production plant diagram

Potential Applications for Blacklight Power Technology
- H2(1/p) Enables laser at wavelengths from visible to soft X-ray
- VUV photolithography (Enables next generation chip)
- Blue Lasers
- Line-of-sight telecom and medical devices
- High voltage metal hydride batteries
- Synthetic thin-film and single crystal diamonds
- Metal hydrides as anticorrosive coatings

The better lasers come from the claim of generating more light using less power

Some of the other claimed superiority's of Blacklight

Part of the Proof that Blacklight offers is that their physics formulas provide more accurate prediction of experimental results.

170+ page powerpoint technical presentation on Blacklight Power

103 page paper on various experimental results

More spectra readings, and predictions of astronomical phenomena (like Dark matter is hydrinos) and predictions on what kind of readings one would get if they are right etc....

August 13, 2008

Stanford, Korean nanofab center, Oregon-based semi startup claim 3D computer chipbreakthrough

The 3D IC, which was processed on 8-inch wafers with industry standard 0.18-micron CMOS technologies both at NNFC and SNF, contains 128 million vertically oriented devices as a test vehicle, and was uniquely processed at low temperatures -- below 400 degree Celsius, the parties explained. Also, a sub-micron-thick single crystalline silicon layer was initially formed above the silicon substrate with two metal interconnect layers, followed by vertical devices and additional metal layer.

EE Times also has coverage and a video clip discussing the 3D IC

"The cost of BeSang's 3-D chips should be much lower, because you are reducing the overall chip area by putting all your logic in one process on the bottom wafer, putting all of your memory, using a different process, on the top wafer, and using the conventional vias to interconnect them," Sze predicted.

This technology (shown left) forms full 3D interconnects below and above the vertical devices, whereas conventional semiconductor technologies contain planar devices on the surface of the semiconductor substrate and interconnects only above the planar devices.

Stanford University Professor and head of SNF, Dr. Dr. Yoshio Nishi explained in a statement, “One of unique features of BeSang’s 3D IC is the capability of unrestricted 3D interconnections using conventional via technologies that does not require wafer alignment nor through-silicon vias for 3D interconnects. Conventional CMOS technology is facing its scaling limits. Therefore, this emerging 3D IC technology will extend the lifespan of CMOS technology, because it is an excellent alternative way to accommodate more devices on a given wafer area.”

While chip level 3D IC has been explored for many years by the semiconductor industry, market introduction of chip level 3D IC has been delayed due to technical challenges, including high-temperature processing, defects in semiconductor layers, limited 3D interconnections, and a complex process.

However, BeSang said it will be able to address these problems and has generated high-performance and reliable devices on single crystalline silicon layers that are subsequently formed above another silicon substrate at low temperature, which is an important aspect of this technology.

The BeSang website

The Stanford Nanofabrication facility site

United States population forecast

Over one year ago this site wrote about the likely undercount and underprojection of population for the United States and California.

The U.S. has nearly 305 million people today. The new census projection is US population to hit 400 million in 2039 and 439 million in 2050. The previous middle projection was 392 million in 2040.

The new census projection is that white people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042, according to new government projections. That's eight years sooner than previous estimates, made in 2004.

By 2050, whites will make up 46 percent of the population and blacks will make up 15 percent, a relatively small increase from today. Hispanics, who make up about 15 percent of the population today, will account for 30 percent in 2050, according to the new projections. Asians, which make up about 5 percent of the population, are projected to increase to 9 percent by 2050. The population 85 and older is projected to more than triple by 2050, to 19 million.

This site thinks there are still undercounts of illegal immigrants, underestimated lifespans and that the higher estimates for US population will prove to be more accurate.

The high series estimate for the census bureau is in table C of this PDF from 1996 on page 5. It projects 295 million in 2005, 314 million in 2010, 357 million in 2020, 405 million in 2030, 458 million in 2040 and 519 million in 2050.

Progress in Radiation Protection

More effective radiation protection will be very useful for space exploration and for reducing radiation deaths in the event of nuclear bombs or nuclear accidents. Radiation protection that is vastly improved could increase the widespread beneficial uses of nuclear power and nuclear technology for space, energy and transportation.

There are six categories of radiation protection/technology that all seem to be improving.

1. The anti-radiation damage drugs of which the James Tour one is the highest potential. There are others.

A nine month study was commissioned (Jan 2008) after preliminary tests found the drug was greater than 5,000 times more effective at reducing the effects of acute radiation injury than the most effective drugs currently available.

"More than half of those who suffer acute radiation injury die within 30 days, not from the initial radioactive particles themselves but from the devastation they cause in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body," said James Tour, Rice's Chao Professor of Chemistry, director of Rice's Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL) and principal investigator on the grant. "Ideally, we'd like to develop a drug that can be administered within 12 hours of exposure and prevent deaths from what are currently fatal exposure doses of ionizing radiation."

2. Radiation immunity enhancement. Several gene therapy and drug treatments that could make what would have been 50% fatality down to 20% or less.

Gene therapy provides temporary protection from radiation

3. New physical materials. Like graphene and nanotubes with high hydrogen doping levels. Optimized shielding for space radiation protection

4. Electric, electro-static, magnetic shielding

5. Materials for converting radiation directly into electricity.

6. Metamaterials can guide electromagnetic waves around objects for invisibility. They could also guide certain wavelike radiation around objects. The metamaterials that they are trying to use to make objects invisible to light and sound.

US and Global Oil market Forecast 2008 to 2009

US Oil Supply
In 2008, total domestic crude oil output is projected to average 5.15 million bbl/d, up slightly from the 2007 average of 5.10 million bbl/d. Production growth in the Lower-48 region is expected to more than offset declines in Alaskan output. In 2009, total production is projected to increase to 5.36 million bbl/d, due mostly to the Thunder Horse and Tahiti platforms coming on-stream in late 2008 and 2009, respectively. This projection includes an expectation of hurricane-induced outages of about 10 million barrels for the offshore region in 2008. Fuel ethanol production is projected to increase from an annual average of 430,000 bbl/d in 2007 to 590,000 bbl/d in 2008 and to 650,000 bbl/d in 2009.

US Oil Consumption
During the first 5 months of 2008, total petroleum consumption fell by an average of almost 900,000 bbl/d from the same period in 2007. During June and July, the year-over-year declines narrowed to just over 400,000 bbl/d. The year-over-year declines in consumption are not expected to be as large over the forecast period, with 2009 average total consumption about 120,000 bbl/d lower than the 2008 average.

Global Oil Supply
If new projects come online as now anticipated, total non-OPEC supply is projected to rise by about 510,000 bbl/d in the second half of 2008 and by 850,000 bbl/d in 2009 compared with year-earlier levels. This compares with a 330,000 bbl/d decline in non-OPEC supply recorded during the first half of 2008. Non-OPEC supply growth through 2009 is expected to be led by Brazil, the United States, and Azerbaijan.

OPEC crude oil production is expected to rise to 32.9 million bbl/d during the third quarter of 2008, up from 32.3 million bbl/d in the second quarter. The forecast assumes that Saudi Arabia will maintain its July 9.7 million bbl/d production level through the third quarter, representing a 400,000 bbl/d rise from second quarter levels. OPEC crude oil production is projected to drop to about 32.4 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2008, and to decline to 31.6 million bbl/d in 2009. Lower crude production combined with planned increases in OPEC total liquids production capacity suggests OPEC surplus crude production capacity could increase from 1.2 million bbl/d currently to about 3.6 million bbl/d by the end of next year.

Global Oil Consumption
Preliminary data indicates that global consumption rose by roughly 500,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) during the first half of 2008 compared with year-earlier levels, as a 1.3-million bbl/d rise in consumption outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was partially countered by an 800,000 bbl/d drop in U.S. consumption compared with year-earlier levels. Total world oil consumption is expected to grow by a little over 1 million bbl/d during the second half of 2008 and by almost 1 million bbl/d in 2009 compared with year-earlier levels. The projection for 2009 consumption is about 460,000 bbl/d lower than last month's assessment, reflecting lower expectations for consumption in the United States and other OECD countries.

Nuclear and uranium news roundup

This site recently mentioned that China's new nuclear power generation target for 2020 is 70GW an increase from 40GW two years ago and 60GW last year. China is also planning to build or have in process of being built 100 AP-1000 nuclear reactors.

Electricité de France (EdF) finalises a joint venture with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company enabling it to co-own and operate two nuclear reactors at Taishan, the China National Nuclear Corp has announced work will start on another nuclear power station in Hainan by the end of 2009. So three nuclear reactors that each will generate 1650MW. In addition to the two Changjiang reactors, work is expected to begin on a further 14 units in China over the next two years.

Bannerman Resources has announced a fivefold boost in indicated resources at its Goanikontes deposit in Namibia. The overall resource estimate increased by 48%.

The company is proceeding to a definitive feasibility study for mining, due for completion by March 2009, with the intention of producing a reserve statement, and possibly moving to mine production in 2011. A preliminary study on mining the deposit was undertaken last year, and showed good prospects for an open pit mine producing 2500 to 3500 tU per year. A preliminary mine plan put production costs at around $60/kgU. Capital costs, including an acid plant, were estimated at $467 million.

Australia's WildHorse Energy has joined with state-owned Mecsekérc to assess the feasibility of restarting uranium mining in the Mecsek Hills near Pécs in southern Hungary.

Exploration drives uranium resources up 17% Worldwide around 5.5 million tonnes of uranium that could be economically at $59/lb mined has been identified. The category of uranium that could be expected to be found based on the geologic characteristics of known resources has grown by 500,000 tonnes to 10.5 million tonnes.

22 million tons of uranium in phosphates and 4 billion tons in seawater

Over 1 million industrial robots

China is buying the newest manufacturing equipment.

In China (now the third largest Asian robot market), robot investment is still booming, with 5,800 units installed in 2006, an increase of 29% on the previous year. Here, alongside the automotive sector, demand is increasing in the electronics and rubber and synthetics industries.

At the end of 2007 about 1 million industrial robots were working in factories worldwide according to the initial 2007 results. About 118,000 new industrial robots were supplied worldwide in 2007, 5% more than in 2006. In 2008, The automotive industry is continuing robot investment in the growing markets such as China, India, Southeast Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe and South America to increase capacities. The non-automotive sector will continue to increase their robot investments, especially the metal and machinery industry, the glass/ceramics industry, the semiconductor industry, the photovoltaic industry and the furniture industry. Small and medium enterprises will become first time robot users, due to attractive prices and intelligent easy to use systems. The high quality and environmental standards are forcing all manufacturing industries especially in countries such as India, Russia or China to modernize their plants in order to be
competitive on the global market.

Robot investment was still booming in China in 2007, the third largest Asian robot market, with 6,600 units supplied in 2007, an increase of 14% on the previous year. Here, demand is increasing in all industries, including the automotive sector. Total supplies in the United States grew by 12% to 16,600 units and in Canada by 67% to 2,900 units. In Japan, the largest robot market in the world, sales increased slightly by 2%, at 38,100 units.

It not just cheap labor but the faster speed and flexibility of building in China.

So as robotics improve China is adopting that technology. Plus if robotics are going to win that Japan has the lead not the USA.

For Service Robots there are no accurate 2007 figures. In 2006 estimated that there are about 35,000 service robots for professional use and 3.6 million service robots for personal/domestic use will be sold worldwide in the period 2007 – 2010.

Indian Point Worst Case Nuclear Accident Scenario is not Credible

There was a 2004 study that posited a worst case nuclear accident scenario. This is related to a previous analysis of the deaths per TWH from different energy sources.

It assumes super-terrorists making a successful attack on the Indian Point nuclear reactor with a plane and then assume that optimal weather and optimal everything else for maximum casualties.

I do not believe the starting point of the scenario. Successful hijacking of a plane post 9-11. Since 9-11 pilots do not come out of the cockpit no matter how many passengers or crew are killed. If you are worried about terrorists doing this then do not secure all of the rich targets in the USA or other places but kill terrorists like Al Qaeda which is being done. There have been no major terrorist operations of this scale and the public and the system are ready to resist this scenario. Also, a simple defense is to setup about 10-15 story poles with sparse cabling so that any jet would run into that and be destroyed before hitting any of the nuclear containment structures. The netting or cabling would be like somewhat larger versions of the netting over a golf driving range or baseball backstops.

The report considered an attack on the Biblis B PWR by a small jet (Airbus A320) or medium-sized jet (Airbus A300) travelling at speeds from 225 to 394 miles per hour, where the peak speed of 394 mph was determined through the use of simulators. GRS concluded that for an event in which the jet did not penetrate the containment, but the resulting vibrations caused a primary coolant leak, and the control room was destroyed by debris and fire (a condition similar to a station blackout), then control of the sequence of events would be “ uncertain.” Biblis B was designed for protection against the crash of a 1960s-era Starfighter jet and as a result is equipped, like most German reactors, with a double containment. In contrast, Indian Point 2 and 3, while of the same 1970s vintage as Biblis B, were not designed to be resistant to airplane crashes, and do not have double containments.

I do not believe the radiations deaths figures that are quoted or the resultant cancer deaths.

the $2 trillion is based on the 99.9 percentile case of a BS scenario. 95% was $1 trillion.

Nuclear plant security is adequate

Anti-Radiation drugs far (5000 times ) better than potassium iodide are being developed.

Spalling concrete with material going deeper into the floor concrete and the ground does not create the bad scenarios that are postulated.

Indian Point is safe.

Indian Point will stay open.

The full independent Indian Point safety report is here.

Pg 127-133 are the relevant part for the airplane strike scenario.

Visual inspection of the concrete for signs of cracking and spalling are required by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Section 11 IWL Code and are performed regularly. The structural integrity of the buildings and its leak tightness are regularly verified by testing. The buildings were pressurized to 54 pounds per square inch (psi) (115 percent of the accident rating) – Unit 2 was tested in March 1971 and Unit 3 in January 1975. Integrated leak rate tests are performed periodically to pressurize the containment buildings to 47 psig and measure total leakage. During these tests, the building expands several inches and the concrete is therefore expected to experience minor cracking due to the physical growth of the structure. Visual inspections are performed during and following the test to observe for unexpected cracking or spalling of the concrete. The last tests were performed on Unit 2 in 2006 and on Unit 3 in 2005 with no structural concerns identified.

Numerous tests and analyses by research organizations conclude that the large commercial aircraft and turbojet engines in use today would not penetrate a containment structure like that at IPEC, even on a direct hit at 350 mph. Structural integrity and leak tightness of the buildings would be maintained. Furthermore, the energy of impact would be absorbed by the structure, causing only minor movement, and would not dislodge or damage equipment on the interior of the building.

In order for terrorists to hijack and then succeed in crashing an aircraft into the IPEC facility, there would need to be a collective failure of all of the barriers – regulatory, procedural, institutional and societal – which stand in the way of such an event. These include:

- Multiple terrorists would have been able to avoid detection by federal, state
and local law enforcement agencies to plan a coordinated attack, to acquire
the weapons they need to take over the aircraft, and to penetrate airport
- The terrorists would have to successfully wrest control of the aircraft from
its crew and successfully resist the opposition of one or more sky marshals,
if aboard, and of perhaps 100 determined passengers. (Evidence from
United Flight 93, the apprehension of shoe‐bomber Richard Reid, and the
widespread recognition that the pre‐ 9/11 tactic of passive acceptance by
airline passengers of hostile acts in the air strongly suggests that this is
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Controllers, who
continually monitor the adherence of aircraft to authorized flight patterns,
would have to have been ineffective in detecting the airspace violation and
mobilizing the interdiction capabilities now in place.
- The terrorist hijackers would then have to successfully maneuver and
control their large aircraft near the ground at a high rate of speed, in the
difficult terrain surrounding IPEC, and score a direct hit on a target (an IPEC
reactor containment or fuel pool) that is tiny by comparison with the World
Trade Center. This would be an extraordinary feat of airmanship.

The walls of the IPEC containment buildings are constructed of reinforced
concrete of thicknesses varying from 3½ to 4½ feet. This concrete is
reinforced with layers of large (most are 2¼ inches in diameter) welded
steel bars. The critical areas of the containment building are located at the
lowest level of the building where the concrete walls are the thickest. The
wall surfaces are all curved, adding substantial strength in comparison to
flat surfaces. The buildings are completely lined, on their interior surfaces,
with welded steel sheets. They are airtight and leak resistant, and are
regularly inspected and pressure tested.

Given structural design and configuration of the IPEC containment buildings and fuel
storage facilities, the redundancy and separation of accident mitigation systems, the
design and redundancy in fire protection, the capability of on‐site firefighting and
emergency response, and the availability of off‐site support systems, the Panel concludes that the probability of a large aircraft part striking the buildings with nuclear fuel inside and causing a significant release of radioactivity is extremely low, to the point of being non‐credible.

Biofuels before draft animals

Some people worry that if oil supplies were to radically drop that there would not be enough fuel to build non-fossil fuel replacement. They then promote the use of draft animals and small windmills. This article will show that there is enough oil and fuels to supply a transition build and that even if supplies were constrained it is always more efficient to make five more acres of biofuel than to feed a draft animal with those same acres. This site does not believe that oil dependence and transition is as difficult as these others believe and if a faster oil transition was necessary than there are better solutions than they propose.

The draft animal proposal is also incredibly hypocritical because places like the Oil Drum are always complaining about the lower EROI (energy returned on energy invested) of biofuel crops. Then Gail of the Oil Drum proposes growing similar crops and feeding them to draft animals for an even lower EROI.

Any peak oil believer should be pushing for more nuclear power, electric vehicles and better and more biofuels, and more wind etc... There are better energy plans [this link critiques the Al Gore proposal and proposes other solutions]

Here is comparison of some biofuel sources

unmodified Miscanthus has been found to be 2.5 times more efficient than corn and switchgrass.
9.3% of cropland equivalent to grow Miscanthus to offset 20% of fuel. 23.25% to offset 50% of fuel. Genetic modifications can boost Miscanthus efficiency by 300%. Modified Miscanthus 8% of land to offset 50% of fuel.

So algae and Modified miscanthus should be pushed for biofuels. Plus the other stuff as stopgap.

The cropland argument against biofuels is not correct

Zubrin defends biofuels

The real-world data don’t back up these claims. For starters, the Searchinger study’s central assumption—that the rising demand for ethanol will lead to a decline in U.S. agricultural exports—is just not true. There has been no reduction in U.S. corn exports, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that corn supplies for food exports, for feed, and for other non-biofuel uses will continue to grow even as ethanol production expands.

Second, Searchinger’s study relies on a flawed assumption about the scope of the U.S. corn ethanol program, one in which the U.S. will be producing 30 billion gallons of corn ethanol per year by 2015. But in the very 2007 law that mandated the increased use of biofuels, Congress put a cap on the production of corn ethanol—a limit of 15 billion gallons by 2015. This error in the study was pointed out in a devastating online response penned by Michael Wang, a researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory, and Zia Haq, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Energy. Searchinger, they wrote, “examined a corn ethanol production case that is not directly relevant to U.S. corn ethanol production for the next seven years.” Wang and Haq’s rebuttal is especially powerful since the agricultural model that Searchinger employed was actually first developed by Wang a decade ago.

Third, contra Searchinger, there is no evidence that the U.S. corn ethanol program is causing arable land to be cleared elsewhere.

The flaw in biofuels is that the program is not big enough:
We need to do more—and can. Congress should take the critical step required to break OPEC’s vertical monopoly on our economic lifeblood by passing a bill mandating that all new cars sold in the United States be flexible-fueled—that is, able to run on any combination of gasoline, ethanol, or methanol. Such cars already exist and only cost about $100 more than comparable non-flex-fuel models. By making flex-fuel a requirement for the American auto market, we will make it the international standard as well, and will for the first time force gasoline to compete at the pump against alcohol fuels all over the world.

140 billion gallons of oil for the USA now.
20 billion gallon biofuel/ethanol target for 2015 [3 mbd]
Domestic production in the range of 6.3 mbd in 2015 [more gulf of mexico oil]
(one third 45 billion gallons)
1-2 mbd imports from Canada.

There are uses where coal and shale can displace oil usage if needed. But it would be better to have more nuclear power or renewables. More drilling and more enhanced recovery that brought in an extra 1 million bpd or more would also help in any transition. So again TOD should get behind that instead of draft animals. Especially as cows need 4-5 acres of grass each (horses and other similar animals also need a lot of grass acrage). The USA used to set aside 160 million acres for draft animals. There could be ten times more acrage for biofuels which even with inefficient corn would be equal to 5 million barrels per day and with Miscanthus would be 12.5 million barrels of oil per day and with modified Miscanthus would be 37 million barrel of oil per day. The draft animal plan is very inefficient instead of growing modified Miscanthus and/or algae for fuel and building more non-fossil fuel electrical (nuclear and other renewables that can keep pace).

10-11 million barrels per day is enough to finish the conversion even if 60 billion gallons/year of demand would need to be destroyed over a few years during a transition. There is a lot of other technology that will be helping to mitigate the situation. thermoelectrics making cars and trucks 10% or more efficient

The danger of the draft animal/small windmill plan is that it is an amazingly inefficient and poor plan relative to alternative plans. Fortunately it is a plan that will not be adopted on any wide scale.

August 12, 2008

Aging biomarkers

Scientists have identified biomarkers that indicate telomere shortening. CRAMP, stathmin, EF-1α, and chitinase are proteins that they found to be secreted from telomere-dysfunctional bone-marrow cells of late generation telomerase knockout mice. Their study, which was published this week in PNAS, showed an increase in expression of these markers in the blood of aging and geriatric people with age-related disease; it also allowed them to discriminate between young and old and between disease and healthy control groups. Protein biomarkers are easier to track with inexpensive blood tests.

Proteins induced by telomere dysfunction and DNA damage represent biomarkers of human aging and disease

Telomere dysfunction limits the proliferative capacity of human cells by activation of DNA damage responses, inducing senescence or apoptosis. In humans, telomere shortening occurs in the vast majority of tissues during aging, and telomere shortening is accelerated in chronic diseases that increase the rate of cell turnover. Yet, the functional role of telomere dysfunction and DNA damage in human aging and diseases remains under debate. Here, we identified marker proteins (i.e., CRAMP, stathmin, EF-1α, and chitinase) that are secreted from telomere-dysfunctional bone-marrow cells of late generation telomerase knockout mice (G4mTerc−/−). The expression levels of these proteins increase in blood and in various tissues of aging G4mTerc−/− mice but not in aging mice with long telomere reserves. Orthologs of these proteins are up-regulated in late-passage presenescent human fibroblasts and in early passage human cells in response to γ-irradiation. The study shows that the expression level of these marker proteins increases in the blood plasma of aging humans and shows a further increase in geriatric patients with aging-associated diseases. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the expression of the biomarkers in the blood plasma of patients with chronic diseases that are associated with increased rates of cell turnover and telomere shortening, such as cirrhosis and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Analysis of blinded test samples validated the effectiveness of the biomarkers to discriminate between young and old, and between disease groups (MDS, cirrhosis) and healthy controls. These results support the concept that telomere dysfunction and DNA damage are interconnected pathways that are activated during human aging and disease.

One dose of RNAi reduces Cholesterol by 60% for three weeks

Half of the people do not respond to current cholesterol drugs, but one dose of a new RNAi treatment lowers LDL cholesterol by 60% in mice and monkeys.

The Alnylam Pharmaceuticals drug might one day provide another option for patients who are resistant to existing cholesterol-lowering drugs due to genetic factors, or it might also be used in combination with existing cholesterol-lowering drugs to increase their effectiveness.

The drug employs an approach known as RNA interference, a principle that is being studied to develop drugs for many diseases, including cancer. With this technique, scientists create short RNA molecules that bind to messenger RNA in the cell, causing it to self-destruct. That interrupts the process of gene transcription, and thus the synthesis of the proteins coded by the gene. Alnylam's new drug targets an enzyme called PCSK9, previously shown to affect LDL cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.

PCSK9 is a hot drug target, says Kevin Fitzgerald, Alnylam's director of research. But it's difficult to find small molecules that block the enzyme directly because there's no obvious place for those molecules to bind. The company's findings demonstrate that blocking the production of PCSK9 with RNA interference works in nonhuman primates, and that it's effective in a single dose, says study coauthor Jay Horton, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern who focuses on digestive and liver diseases. The study appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The Alnylam researchers designed short, double-stranded RNA molecules to silence the gene for PCSK9 in rodents, monkeys, and humans. They packaged the molecules into lipid-based nanoparticles developed by biomedical engineer Robert Langer and his group at MIT. The nanoparticles protect the molecules in the bloodstream and escort them to liver cells.

Injecting the drug into mice and rats lowered total cholesterol by up to 60 percent, and in monkeys, a single dose cut LDL cholesterol by 50 to 60 percent. The reduction lasted about three weeks. Although PCSK9's importance was clear from genetic studies in rodents and humans, "what was not known was, if you were to acutely knock down the level of PCSK9, how long would it take for cholesterol to go down," Fitzgerald says. "The answer was, if you knock it down today, then your cholesterol is down tomorrow."

It's not yet clear how well an RNA-interference-based drug that requires injections could compete with existing medicines for lowering cholesterol. No such drugs have yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, although several are in clinical trials. While there have been some safety concerns with RNA-based therapeutics, scientists at Alnylam say that they saw no unacceptable side effects in animals given the cholesterol-lowering treatment, and people who naturally lack PCSK9 seem healthy.

August 11, 2008

North Dakota Bakken oil hitting transportation and refining limits

Pipeline and refinery construction projects will constrain North Dakota oil exports in coming months, the state’s chief oil and gas regulator told lawmakers Wednesday. Oil companies will not expand drilling plans by buying or bringing in more drilling rigs until the constraints have passed in early 2010.

North Dakota's director of the state Department of Mineral Resources indicates that they should still be able to produce and transport 160,000 barrels of oil per day selling at $97 per barrel. The state in May 2008 was producing more than 156,000 barrels per day, and in June its price peaked at more than $136 per barrel before trending down along with the world price drop. If production goes higher, the extra oil likely will sell at a steep discount, he said. “We’re working on some ways out of this,” he said. Plans are being made to ship by rail oil that would normally be in the Enbridge line.

And, Helms said, his office is doing everything possible to help the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation build its new refinery on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

The Enbridge pipeline, a major outlet for North Dakota oil running from near Williston, N.D., to Grand Forks and beyond, will shut down soon for pressure testing, in preparation for an upgrade project, in which it will go from a capacity of 110,000 barrels per day to 160,000 barrels per day. Its capacity will be reduced during the upgrade construction. It is a $120 million expansion project.

Enbridge pipeline expansions across North America are discussed in the Q2 2008 earnings call transcript

The Phase 6 expansion, now moving to North Dakota, the Phase 6 expansion on slide 13 of our North Dakota System is waiting regulatory approvals, which we anticipate will be received on a timely basis so that the 51,000 barrels per day of incremental capacity will be available by early 2010.

Adding other countries together to equal China's GDP and population

China's population estimate 1.33 billion in 2007 (0.6% increase) Add in Hong Kong and Macau 8 million. Total population in 2008 1.35 billion. This analysis was related to a question from Tom Craver, what would China's GDP look like if you split it into two countries ?

The overall GDP was 3.3 trillion (2007) and heading to over 4 trillion at the end of 2008 with GDP growth and exchange rate increases. The future GDP of China will be rising quickly. the IMF thinks about 7 trillion by 2013 and others believe closer to or exceeding the $14 trillion PPP figure in 2013 because of a more rapidly strengthening chinese currency. The rapid rise in nominal GDP (exchange rate basis) means that the additive country mix to get the equivalent of China is rapidly changing. China is adding a Belgium (10 million) in population each year.

By 2013, China is either something in the range of a Germany in GDP or adding a Germany and Japan in GDP. The population of China in 2013 will be about 1.4 trillion.

As fast as China's national GDP is growing, the 4 richest Chinese provinces plus Shanghai are growing at 14% per year. The wealthiest are growing even faster. Plus their population is growing with more migration from poorer provinces.

Currently, the bottom one billion would approximate the economy of India but would be richer by 200% [US$2 trillion, or kind of like India plus Mexico with a bit fewer people] and the then the top 350 million (including Hong Kong) would be like Brazil but richer and more populated by 60%.

By 2020, when China will likely have passed the economies of Europe and the United States. China will be equal to a supersized Europe population with comparable economy or Europe plus India to equal population and GDP.

The top 4 provinces in China in terms of GDP plus Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Guangdong 3.3 trillion yuan (2008)
[US$480 billion, $5k/per cap]
Shandong 2.7 trillion
[US$390 billion, $4k/per cap]
Jiangsu 2.6 T yuan
[US$380 billion]
Zhejiang 1.9 T yuan
[US$280 billion]
Shanghai US$165B(U$9000 per cap)
Hong Kong US$218B in 2008

330 million people
US$1.9 trillion GDP.

The Guangdong provincial GDP has jumped from 1350.2 billion RMB in 2002, to 3060.6 billion RMB in 2007, with an average annual growth of 14.5%. About US$500 billion. Its ratio in proportion to the national GDP increased from 1/9 to 1/8. Guangdong’s GDP, after overtaking those of Singapore and Hong Kong, has surpassed that of Taiwan. Guangdong’s GDP per capita has reached 4000 US dollars. Guangdong population at the end of 2007 is 94.49 million

Is China's economy being statistically underestimated

China's economic projection

List of China's administrative divisions bu GDP

Jiangsu population (2006) 75,495,000 (5th)
GDP (2007) CNY 2.56 trillion (3rd) CNY 33,689 (5th) per cap GDP

Zhejiang Population (2004) 47,200,000 (11th)
GDP (2007) CNY 1.86 trillion (4th) CNY 37,128 (4th) per capita

In 2007, the nominal GDP for Shandong was 2.59 trillion yuan (US$340 billion). It's GDP per capita was 27,723 yuan (US$3,646), ranking seventh.

Shanghai 18.5 million, GDP US$157.8 billion (7th), per cap US$8,949 (13th) [2007]

Restored liver function helps prevent cellular aging and keep organs young

Researchers at Yeshiva University have used transgenic mice to turn on a process that helps keep the liver of older mice young and healthy. Using a double transgenic mouse model that could be modulated to selectively increase the number of receptors for damaged proteins, they found that the process of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) could be controlled to allow mice to continuously degrade and recycle proteins that accumulate with old age. Functionally, this could have significance for diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

Professor Ana Maria Cuervo has shown that lysosome function is a crucial part of the ageing process. Cuervo has also shown, he says, the critical role the lysosomal receptor molecules play in keeping the liver clean of damaged proteins.

Lysosome buildup removal is one the seven parts of SENS The lysosens project is targeted at removing the lysosome buildup.

Aubrey de Grey, Methuselah Foundation Chairman and Chief Science Officer and the founder of the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) program, is good friends with the senior author. Aubrey says "It's the result of the year - sensational."

Thomas von Zglinicki, Professor of Cellular Gerontology at Newcastle University, said that the results were "very exciting". "It's not often you see studies where they have managed to improve function in this way. "What they seem to have managed is to maintain the mice at this young stage, and both restore and maintain normal activity." He said that it should, in theory, be possible to achieve the same effect across the whole body.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer's Society said: "As we age we have an increase in protein misfolding and general faults in protein processing, so the ability to maintain an effective system to clear these would be beneficial.

The Nature Medicine article: Restoration of chaperone-mediated autophagy in aging liver improves cellular maintenance and hepatic function

egradation of cytosolic proteins in lysosomes, contributes to the removal of altered proteins as part of the cellular quality-control systems. We have previously found that CMA activity declines in aged organisms and have proposed that this failure in cellular clearance could contribute to the accumulation of altered proteins, the abnormal cellular homeostasis and, eventually, the functional loss characteristic of aged organisms. To determine whether these negative features of aging can be prevented by maintaining efficient autophagic activity until late in life, in this work we have corrected the CMA defect in aged rodents. We have generated a double transgenic mouse model in which the amount of the lysosomal receptor for CMA, previously shown to decrease in abundance with age, can be modulated. We have analyzed in this model the consequences of preventing the age-dependent decrease in receptor abundance in aged rodents at the cellular and organ levels. We show here that CMA activity is maintained until advanced ages if the decrease in the receptor abundance is prevented and that preservation of autophagic activity is associated with lower intracellular accumulation of damaged proteins, better ability to handle protein damage and improved organ function.

BBC News reports on this research, a US team thinks it may have found the genetic levers to help boost a system vital to cleaning up faulty proteins within our cells.

Fightaging has coverage of this development as well

The Last summer olympics where the medal count winner is in doubt

Colorado College professor Daniel Johnson’s mathematical formula—one based on factors such as wealth and politics, and not on athletic ability—has come close to nailing down the final medal count for the last four Olympic Games.

For the Beijing Olympics he has predicted the US getting the most overall medals with a total of 103. They’ll earn 33 golds this time around, while Russia will grab 28 gold medals and 95 in total. He predicts that China will win 44 gold medals and 89 medals overall.

Currently China is ahead in the medal standings and Russia is under performing so far.

Beijing launched Project 119, a training campaign to make itself competitive in all 119 (now 122) events, from the 100-meter dash to kayaking. With 88 of the golds this year coming in swimming and track and field, events in which China has lagged in the past, this year could mark a dramatic turning point—or an even more colossal comedown.

Gamblers are betting that China will win 42 gold medals in the Olympics with the U.S. just behind with 37. Overall the hosts will win 93 medals with Americans bringing home 90.

China's GDP is increasing and will pass the overall size of the US economy in the 2014-2020 timeframe.

China will still have a significant rural and poorer population to draw into the sports system. China will continue to have a better funded and larger population version of the old Soviet sports system.

China will win the medal count totals by large amounts in 2012 and onwards.

3d optical metamaterial brings invisibility and superlenses closer

On the left is a schematic of the first 3-D "fishnet" metamaterial that can achieve a negative index of refraction at optical frequencies. On the right is a scanning electron microscope image of the fabricated structure, developed by UC Berkeley researchers. The alternating layers form small circuits that can bend light backwards. Image by Jason Valentine, UC Berkeley

Three-dimensional optical metamaterial with a negative refractive index brings invisibility and superlenses closer to reality. Superlenses will mean better microscopes, superior capability to see and work at the nanoscale and better computer lithography which will make faster computers.

Metamaterials are artificially engineered structures that have properties, such as a negative refractive index not attainable with naturally occurring materials. Negative-index metamaterials (NIMs) were first demonstrated for microwave frequencies but it has been challenging to design NIMs for optical frequencies and they have so far been limited to optically thin samples because of significant fabrication challenges and strong energy dissipation in metals. Such thin structures are analogous to a monolayer of atoms, making it difficult to assign bulk properties such as the index of refraction. Negative refraction of surface plasmons was recently demonstrated but was confined to a two-dimensional waveguide. Three-dimensional (3D) optical metamaterials have come into focus recently, including the realization of negative refraction by using layered semiconductor metamaterials and a 3D magnetic metamaterial in the infrared frequencies; however, neither of these had a negative index of refraction. Here we report a 3D optical metamaterial having negative refractive index with a very high figure of merit of 3.5 (that is, low loss). This metamaterial is made of cascaded 'fishnet' structures, with a negative index existing over a broad spectral range. Moreover, it can readily be probed from free space, making it functional for optical devices. We construct a prism made of this optical NIM to demonstrate negative refractive index at optical frequencies, resulting unambiguously from the negative phase evolution of the wave propagating inside the metamaterial. Bulk optical metamaterials open up prospects for studies of 3D optical effects and applications associated with NIMs and zero-index materials such as reversed Doppler effect, superlenses, optical tunnelling devices compact resonators and highly directional sources.

In the Nature paper, the UC Berkeley researchers stacked together alternating layers of silver and non-conducting magnesium fluoride, and cut nanoscale-sized fishnet patterns into the layers to create a bulk optical metamaterial. At wavelengths as short as 1500 nanometers, the near-infrared light range, researchers measured a negative index of refraction.

Jason Valentine, UC Berkeley graduate student and co-lead author of the Nature paper, explained that each pair of conducting and non-conducting layers forms a circuit, or current loop. Stacking the alternating layers together creates a series of circuits that respond together in opposition to that of the magnetic field from the incoming light.

The metamaterial described in the Science paper takes another approach to the goal of bending light backwards. It is composed of silver nanowires grown inside porous aluminum oxide. Although the structure is about 10 times thinner than a piece of paper - a wayward sneeze could blow it away - it is considered a bulk metamaterial because it is more than 10 times the size of a wavelength of light.

The authors of the Science paper observed negative refraction from red light wavelengths as short as 660 nanometers. It is the first demonstration of bulk media bending visible light backwards.

The innovation of this nanowire material, researchers said, is that it finds a new way to bend light backwards without technically achieving a negative index of refraction. For there to be a negative index of refraction in a metamaterial, its values for permittivity - the ability to transmit an electric field - and permeability - how it responds to a magnetic field - must both be negative.

The benefits of having a true negative index of refraction, such as the one achieved by the fishnet metamaterial in the Nature paper, is that it can dramatically improve the performance of antennas by reducing interference. Negative index materials are also able to reverse the Doppler effect - the phenomenon used in police radar guns to monitor the speed of passing vehicles - so that the frequency of waves decreases instead of increases upon approach.

But for most of the applications touted for metamaterials, such as nanoscale optical imaging or cloaking devices, both the nanowire and fishnet metamaterials can potentially play a key role, the researchers said.

"What makes both these materials stand out is that they are able to function in a broad spectrum of optical wavelengths with lower energy loss," said Zhang. "We've also opened up a new approach to developing metamaterials by moving away from previous designs that were based upon the physics of resonance. Previous metamaterials in the optical range would need to vibrate at certain frequencies to achieve negative refraction, leading to strong energy absorption. Resonance is not a factor in both the nanowire and fishnet metamaterials."

August 10, 2008

Materials to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient

Titanium could become a lot cheaper and more commonly used. A non-melt consolidation process being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and industry partners could reduce the amount of energy required and the cost to make titanium parts from powders by up to 50 percent, making it feasible to use titanium alloys for brake rotors, artificial
joint replacements, space vehicles and military vehicles.

Carbon fiber production is increasing. However, if 600kg of carbon fiber was needed per car then 60 million cars would need 36 million tons of production of advanced material per year. So advanced material production would need to increase over 300 times to reach the levels needed to replace steel.

Toray Industries Inc. will build the world's biggest carbon fiber plant to meet growing demand from the aircraft, automobiles and other industries, company officials said Friday.

The new plant, to be located in Masaki, Ehime Prefecture, southwestern Japan, is slated to begin operations as early as 2010 with an annual capacity of 4,000 tons, the sources said.

By the end of 2012, Toray's annual carbon fiber output capacity will increase 1.7-fold from the current level to more than 30,000 tons.

The Nikkei reported that Toray Industries Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. will work together to develop a new carbon fiber material for use in auto bodies, with the goal of developing mass-market carbon fiber cars.

The group aims to establish mass production technology for the new material by the mid-2010s. By replacing most of the steel used in cars, they hope to develop vehicles up to 40% lighter than their steel counterparts.

Carbon fiber boasts one-quarter the weight of iron, but is 10 times as strong. High prices have been a major obstacle to the widespread use of carbon fiber in cars: 1 kg of carbon fiber costs several thousand yen, compared with slightly more than 100 yen for steel and 300-400 yen for aluminum. As steel prices will likely continue rising, in part because of increasing market dominance by the three top iron ore
mining companies, the price gap between steel and carbon fiber is expected to narrow over time. Unlike steel, carbon fiber has significant room for increases in production.

Steel accounts for about three-quarters of the average car weight in Japan of around 1,350 kg (2,976 lbs). Using carbon fiber to replace steel in key parts could cut vehicle weight by up to 40%, to slightly above an average 800 kg (1,800 lbs). This could improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide by approximately 30% per car.

Graphene enhanced plastics

Carbon nanotube production is being scaled up.

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