July 16, 2011

Graphite and water could be as good as lithium ion batteries but recharge in seconds

Carnival of Space 206

ZMEscience has the Carnival of Space 206

Discovery News reports that the James Webb Space Telescope closer to the axe

Zubrin trashes the VASIMR

To achieve his much-repeated claim that VASIMR could enable a 39-day one-way transit to Mars, Chang Diaz posits a nuclear reactor system with a power of 200,000 kilowatts and a power-to-mass ratio of 1,000 watts per kilogram. In fact, the largest space nuclear reactor ever built, the Soviet Topaz, had a power of 10 kilowatts and a power-to-mass ratio of 10 watts per kilogram.

There is a very near term solar power system which can achieve 1 kg/kw energy density at megawatt levels.

There is a high energy density nuclear power system which can be developed with MHD generators.

July 15, 2011

New technology from MIT and Harvard can edit DNA at the genome scale

MIT and Harvard researchers have developed technologies that could be used to rewrite the genetic code of a living cell, allowing them to make large-scale edits to the cell’s genome. Such technology could enable scientists to design cells that build proteins not found in nature, or engineer bacteria that are resistant to any type of viral infection.

MIT Technology Review - George Church says he hopes to achieve three goals with the approach. First, he wants to build bacteria that can produce new drugs and other chemicals. Second, he wants to genetically engineer bacteria that cannot live outside the lab because they need unnatural amino acids to survive—a feat that could prevent the environmental damage that might result from such bacteria being let loose in the world. And third, he wants to make bacteria that are immune to viruses, since viruses can cause problems in industrial production. "The way to achieve all these things is to change the [meaning of the] genetic code of your favorite organism," says Church.

In the journal Science, Church's group described how it deleted all 314 instances of a particular codon in the genome of living E. coli and replaced them with another codon.

The researchers combined a technique they previously unveiled in 2009, called multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE), with a new technology dubbed conjugative assembly genome engineering (CAGE).

Science - Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement

Two new brown dwarfs at estimated distances of only 15 and 18 light years from the Sun

False-colour images of the two brown dwarf discoveries WISE J0254+0223 and WISE J1741+2553. (Credit: AIP, NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive)

Arxiv - Two very nearby (less than 5 parsecs) ultracool brown dwarfs detected by their large proper motions from WISE, 2MASS, and SDSS data

WISE provides an infrared all-sky survey which aims at completing our knowledge on the possibly dramatically increasing number of brown dwarfs with lower temperatures. We search for the nearest representatives of the coolest brown dwarfs, which will be very interesting for detailed follow-up observations, once they haven been discovered. We estimate distances of 5.5and 4.6 parsecs and tangential velocities of ∼65 km/s and ∼34 km/s indicating Galactic thick and thin disk membership, respectively.
The next star to the Sun, Proxima, is located slightly more than 4 light years from the Sun, whereas the nearest known brown dwarfs, epsilon Indi Ba and Bb, also found at the AIP several years ago, are about 12 light years away.

It cannot be excluded that ultracool brown dwarfs surround us in similar high numbers as stars and that our nearest known neighbor will soon be a brown dwarf rather than Proxima Centauri.

Soft Memory Device Opens Door To New Biocompatible Electronics

Researchers have created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O, and that functions well in wet environments.

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a memory device that is soft and functions well in wet environments – opening the door to a new generation of biocompatible electronic devices.

“We’ve created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

Advanced Materials - Towards All-Soft Matter Circuits: Prototypes of Quasi-Liquid Devices with Memristor Characteristics

A new class of memristors based entirely on soft and liquid-based matter is presented. The devices are formed by interfacing liquid metal electrodes with water-based gel doped with polyelectrolytes. They memorize the last state of bias polarization on the basis of the asymmetric conductance of the hydrogel-oxide-liquid metal stack. Such devices may find application in circuit-live tissue interfaces, soft robotics, and neuromorphic systems.

July 14, 2011

Update on Broad Groups Plans for Taller Prefabricated skyscrapers

China's Broad group completed national seismic testing of a thirty story building using its 'Can be built' approach

Can Be Built are factory mass produced buildings

* factory produced buildings
* several times less building materials than traditional building methods
* energy saving
* longer lasting structures

Broad group has built nine model buildings
* built in one day the six-story "Shanghai World Expo, the great hall," a
* in one week built the 15-story "New Ark Hotel" (so about 1 day onsite for every 2 stories of building. Two weeks for 30-story, 120 days for 200 stories)

They plan to build one hundred and fifty 30-story apartment building, hotel, office plans using the new system.

Update of Chinese Naval and Military Buildup

Jeff Head has collected loads of pictures of the reconstruction of the Varyag. This shot is of a Varyag from last month as it is getting outfitted and ready to set sail.

There is a lengthy but interesting analysis of China's growing naval power at military aerospace.com.

Seaborne commerce is an essential part of Chinese trade. According to recent Chinese statistics published in the 2010 China's Ocean Development Report, ocean commerce in 2008 alone represented 9.87 percent of China's gross domestic product, with a valuation of nearly 3 trillion RMB (approximately $456 billion). Moreover, some 85 percent of its international trade moves by the sea lanes.

China became the world's largest shipbuilder in 2010, eclipsing long-time leader South Korea; "China built ships with a total deadweight capacity of 65.6 million tons, accounting for 43 percent of the deadweight capacity of ships built in the world." Chinese shipbuilders are not simply servicing Chinese companies, however. In 2010, Chinese shipyards also captured a majority of new orders for ships worldwide.

Eco-pad oil recovery in the Bakken

Billionaire Harold Hamm is convinced thereʼs 24 billion barrels of oil to be coaxed from the Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana. Continental Resources has already prospered from Hammʼs Bakken bet—shares are up 250% since early 2009. Hammʼs 72% stake is worth $8 billion. Hamm currently has 25 of the 175 rigs working the Bakken. In the past year Continental’s Bakken output has exploded 70% to 28,000 barrels per day.

'Amplified' nanotubes another step on the long path to a nanotech electrical grid

Rice University scientists have achieved a pivotal breakthrough in the development of a cable that will make an efficient electric grid of the future possible.

Armchair quantum wire (AQW) will be a weave of metallic nanotubes that can carry electricity with negligible loss over long distances. It will be an ideal replacement for the nation's copper-based grid, which leaks electricity at an estimated 5 percent per 100 miles of transmission.

A prime technical hurdle in the development of this “miracle cable" is producing pure batches of armchair carbon nanotubes. Andrew Barron’s lab demonstrated a way to take small batches of individual nanotubes and make them dramatically longer. Ideally, long armchair nanotubes could be cut, re-seeded with catalyst and re-grown indefinitely. Up to 90 percent of the nanotubes in a batch can now be amplified to significant lengths.

NBF - I have criticized the Smalley vision of a carbon nanotube electrical grid in the past.

* Richard Smalley made the promise of a vision for a carbon nanotube electrical grid back in 1995.
* Smalley criticized the vision of mechanical nanotechnology as being scientifically impossible. However, there has be experimental proof that molecules can be moved and made to react with atomic precision
* Despite tens of millions in funding Smalley and now 8 professors and labs that continue the work have not delivered one meter of commercial carbon nanotube cable after 16 years.

Let us say the current work allows some carbon nanotubes to be produced. The world production of carbon nanotubes is 1350 tons per year now. Armchair quantum wire is probably in milligram non-pure quantities now and the breakthrough may bump it up to semi-pure gram or kilogram quantities in 5 years.

About 1 million tons of copper is used for the global electrical grid. It has taken many decades to build out the worlds electrical grids. Even if carbon nanotube cables were 60 times less carbon nanotubes that would still be over a million tons of armchair carbon nanotubes.

Meanwhile ultra-high voltage lines save 30-40% of the energy losses and are deployed now. Superconductors are being deployed to several major electric grid projects around the world

This article discussed the economics and energy benefits of superconducting wire

I think superconductors will be doing the job of making the electrical grid more efficient. I don't think rocking chair nanotubes will be able to get much market traction in 12-25 years. There would have to be massive production breakthroughs very much like the vision of molecular nanotechnology for the situation to change. Even then better molecular manufacturing would boost superconductors production and quality as well.

Nanoletters - Increasing the Efficiency of Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Amplification by Fe–Co Catalysts Through the Optimization of CH4/H2 Partial Pressures

Docking with fiber mooring lines takes 30-90 minutes instead of 240 minutes

COSCO Dalian (a subsidiary of China Ocean Shipping Group) evaluated two mooring lines made with Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber aboard one of its VLCC (Very Large Crude Container) vessels

In January 2008, the COSPEARL LAKE became the world’s first VLCC vessel to be 100%
equipped with mooring lines made with Dyneema®. There were, in total, 22 lines brought on board. Twenty were installed in winches for operation. The other two were stored as spares. Each line had a nominal diameter of 46 mm, a net length of 280 meters and was rated MBL 1300 kN.

China COSCO Suspended nuclear powered shipping study

China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd, the country's biggest shipping conglomerate by market value, said it has suspended its research into nuclear power as an alternative energy to replace fuel oil in vessels after Japan's nuclear incident.

The study on nuclear, wind and solar power, undertaken to find ways to cut carbon emissions, has been under way for almost three years and had made significant progress, said Wei Jiafu, president of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO), the parent of China COSCO.

The amount of container ships will be overbuilt for a few years. The shipping line halted the research into nuclear power because of safety concerns after the nuclear leak in Japan, though the company will continue with the studies on wind and solar power. China COSCO has reduced vessel speeds to cut emissions of pollutants and to save costs.

IEA Monthly energy statistics through April, 2011

Monthly Electricity Statistics from the IEA through April, 2011

Electricity production was 771.5 TWh in April 2011.
- This was higher by 8.5 TWh, or 1.1%, compared to April 2010.
- This was a decrease of 91.3 TWh, or 10.6%, compared to the previous month.
- Nuclear production showed the most significant percentage change compared to the previous month with a decrease of 13.7%, or 25.5 TWh.

Nuclear production was down 6.5 TWh versus April, 2010.

IEA will publish new energy projection where Nuclear build to 2035 will only by 180 GWe

Every year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) publishes the World Energy Outlook Report. On 12 July, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka appeared before the European Parliament’s Industry, Energy and Research Committee to present a preview of this year’s report, which will be published in November.

Tanaka reported that the projections for increase of energy from nuclear power will be halved. Under the current scenarios, 360 gigawatt (GW) of new capacity would be built by 2035. In light of recent developments, a review of this situation shows that only 180GW will actually be realized, and most of this will happen outside the OECD. This implies that the share of atomic energy in the world will drop from 14% to 10%, leaving a gap between energy production and growing demand.

NBF - I disagree with the IEA New Policy Scenario. China alone will build 200 - 400 GWe of new nuclear power by 2035. China will export nuclear reactors at half the price of current manufacturers (other than South Korea) who will match the price. Non-OECD countries will buy those reactors.

Energy Business as Currently Expected Case

People often talk about Business as usual (BAU) which is to expect the world say in energy to be a replay of what the past 20-50 years has been. BAU is usually focused on the United States, Europe and the rest of the OECD (the traditionally developed countries). However, we can currently expect very little economic growth from the US, Europe and Japan.

Europe has had little growth for a while and now has the debt problem of PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain).

The United States has a debt ceiling problem and other structural problems in its economy and political system which are preventing a return to relatively good growth.

Japan has the recovery from the earthquake and still has not escaped two decades of slow growth.

There is a reasonable baseline scenario which I call the Business as Currently Expected Case (BACE). This has a lot more buildout of nuclear power than looking at a flawed BAU case which focuses on a world dominated by the US, Europe and Japan. This incorporates the stated plan that China has put forward. China is indicating that they will build to 80-120 GWe of nuclear power by 2020 and more by 2030. Perhaps 300-400 GWe or more.

Also, China has indicated that they will start exporting nuclear reactors by 2013. Then China and South Korea will both be exporting nuclear reactors that are about half the cost of reactors from Japan and France and the USA.

Bioprinting company finds stable revenue stream by making 3-dimensional “constructs” of diseased or dysfunctional human cells for better drug testing

Xconomy reports that Organovo is bioprinting 3-dimensional “constructs” of diseased or dysfunctional human cells that can be used as models for testing new drugs. Creating a 3-D matrix of cells enables each cell to interact with adjoining cells, so they react to drug compounds much as they would in the body. Pharmaceutical companies are paying enough for this product and service so that Organovo can skip at least one round of venture funding.

Electronic transport in two-dimensional graphene

Review Modern Physics - Electronic transport in two-dimensional graphene

A broad review of fundamental electronic properties of two-dimensional graphene with the emphasis on density and temperature-dependent carrier transport in doped or gated graphene structures is provided. A salient feature of this review is a critical comparison between carrier transport in graphene and in two-dimensional semiconductor systems (e.g., heterostructures, quantum wells, inversion layers) so that the unique features of graphene electronic properties arising from its gapless, massless, chiral Dirac spectrum are highlighted. Experiment and theory, as well as quantum and semiclassical transport, are discussed in a synergistic manner in order to provide a unified and comprehensive perspective. Although the emphasis of the review is on those aspects of graphene transport where reasonable consensus exists in the literature, open questions are discussed as well. Various physical mechanisms controlling transport are described in depth including long-range charged impurity scattering, screening, short-range defect scattering, phonon scattering, many-body effects, Klein tunneling, minimum conductivity at the Dirac point, electron-hole puddle formation, p-n junctions, localization, percolation, quantum-classical crossover, midgap states, quantum Hall effects, and other phenomena.

Optics table on a chip is a tubable superconducting circuit on a sapphire chip

NIST's "optics table on a chip" is a superconducting circuit on a square sapphire chip about 6 millimeters wide. Scientists use the chip to place a single microwave photon in two frequencies, or colors, at the same time. The photon is prepared by an "artificial atom" (small yellow square) in the middle of the chip. The arrow shape at the lower left connects to a transmission line used to tune the SQUID (small black area near the point of the arrow). The SQUID couples together two resonant frequencies of the cavity (meandering line), and the photon oscillates between different superpositions of those frequencies. Credit: D. Schmidt/NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a tunable superconducting circuit on a chip that can place a single microwave photon (particle of light) in two frequencies, or colors, at the same time.
This curious "superposition," a hallmark of the quantum world, is a chip-scale, microwave version of a common optics experiment in which a device called a beam-splitter sends a photon into either of two possible paths across a table of lasers, lenses and mirrors. The new NIST circuit can be used to create and manipulate different quantum states, and is thus a prototype of the scientific community's long-sought "optics table on a chip."

Nature Physics - Quantum superposition of a single microwave photon in two different ’colour’ states

Could Thorium solve the world's energy problems?

Nuclear technologist Kirk Sorensen has spent much of his career researching the potential of thorium fission reactors. Sorensen has recently founded a company, Flibe energy, which is dedicated to developing small, portable thorium power plants. In an interview with Sander Olson (exclusively for Nextbigfuture.com), Sorensen discusses why he believes that thorium could be used to meet all of the earth's future energy needs, and how thorium reactors could eventually produce electricity for a penny per kilowatt hour.

Kirk Sorensen indicates that he is confident to have sufficient funding to have a prototype thorium reactor by 2016.

Kirk Sorensen

Question: How did you first find out about Thorium reactors?

I had just finished grad school, and was working with a group at NASA that does advanced technology work. I read a book on advanced nuclear reactors, and did some web research. I discovered that Thorium reactors have the potential to effectively solve the world's energy requirements.

Defending Planet Earth [from space asteroids

Defending Planet Earth [from space asteroids] 15 page presentation from Future of Space Operations talk

4 approaches depending on circumstances

* Civil defense (evacuation, sheltering, first aid, etc.
- Up to 50 meter in diameter?

* Slow Push-Pull (tug, solar heating, albedo change, gravity tractor, et al.)
- Needs decades to operate (plus time to build, etc.)
- Max size 300-600 m diameter
- Gravity tractor closest to ready and least dependent on properties of NEO

* Kinetic Impacts (Super Deep Impact)
- sensitive to porosity of top meters to tens of meters
- momentum transfer efficiency not known
- much wider range of applicability (max size 1 to 1.5 km, shorter warning for small ones)

*Nuclear blast
- standoff blast best
- works up to 10 km and relatively short warning

July 13, 2011

Cheaper superconductors and magnets will make MHD generators more affordable

MHD Generators could make zero emission coal generators affordable and efficient and MHD generators could also make nuclear power for space very light with an energy density of one to three kilograms per kilowatt. Magnets are about 22% of the cost. Superconductors and new permanent magnets (using nanomaterials) could make more powerful magnets that are far cheaper. Superconductors appear on track to become several times cheaper and more powerful over the next 5 years.

Development of 2G HTS Wire for Demanding Electric Power Applications (30 pages, by Superpower Inc) Superpower Inc is improving the cost performance of its superconducting wire and is expecting major market gains over the next few years.

XCOR Lynx Slated to Fly New Suborbital Telescope

Universe Today - Commercial space company XCOR Aerospace has signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Planetary Science Institute, laying the groundwork for flying a human-operated telescope on board XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft. The Atsa Suborbital Observatory is a specially designed telescope for use in suborbital space vehicles, and when used with commercial suborbital vehicles, PSI says it will provide low-cost space-based observations above the contaminating atmosphere of Earth, while avoiding some operational constraints of satellite telescope systems.

The Atsa Suborbital Observatory (11 pages)

Russian and other work on MHD nuclear space power and higher efficiency ground based chemical reactors

Superconducting Magnets For Space Application Nuclear Power and Propulsion Systems (2005, 31 pages)

By passing very-hot ionized combustion gas through a strong magnetic field a magneto hydrodynamic (MHD) generator can convert heat to electric power, without any rotating or moving parts. This makes it possible to reduce mechanical losses and operate at elevated temperatures using a ―topping cycle to increase the overall cycle thermal efficiency above what is possible for more conventional Brayton and Rankine cycles—thereby effectively increasing the idealised Carnot efficiency.

Technology Overview for Integration of an MHD Topping Cycle with the CES Oxyfuel Combustor (more efficient chemical system, 34 pages, 2009)

For decades Russia has devoted considerable resources to develop a light compact propulsion as well as power system for future space ships. Over the years Russia has developed a number of different types of MHD generators. Some were intended for ground use and thus were not limited by weight. In the eighties the Kurchatov Institute in collaboration with Energia corporation developed and successfully launched a superconducting magnet for a sub orbital test flight to prove that it was possible to shield plasma with magnetic field and in this way maintain radio communication when spacecraft has being going trough the dense layers of the atmosphere

High Energy Density Nuclear power for Space

Multi-MW Closed Cycle MHD Nuclear Space Power Via Nonequilibrium He/Xe Working Plasma (9 pages)

Prospects for a low specific mass multi-megawatt nuclear space power plant were examined assuming closed cycle coupling of a high-temperature fission reactor with magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) energy conversion and utilization of a nonequilibrium helium/xenon frozen inert plasma (FIP). Critical evaluation of performance attributes and specific mass characteristics was based on a comprehensive systems analysis assuming a reactor operating temperature of 1800 K for a range of subsystem mass properties. Total plant efficiency was expected to be 55.2% including plasma pre-ionization power, and the effects of compressor stage number, regenerator efficiency and radiation cooler temperature on plant efficiency were assessed. Optimal specific mass characteristics were found to be dependent on overall power plant scale with 3 kg/kWe being potentially achievable at a net electrical power output of 1-MWe. This figure drops to less than 2 kg/kWe when power output exceeds 3 MWe. Key technical issues include identification of effective methods for non-equilibrium pre-ionization and achievement of frozen inert plasma conditions within the MHD generator channel. A three-phase research and development strategy is proposed encompassing Phase-I Proof of Principle Experiments, a Phase-II Subscale Power Generation Experiment, and a Phase-III Closed-Loop Prototypical Laboratory Demonstration Test.

Zubrin Trashes the VASIMR

Robert Zubrin wants to go to Mars a couple of decades ago and he does not want to develop any new technology or wait for any new systems to get built. Robert Zubrin trashes the VASIMR plasma rocket in a recent article. VASIMR, or the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket has been claimed to be able to power future missions at faster speeds like going to Mars in 39 days if it gets scaled up to tens of megawatts.

I have reviewed detailed VASIMR proposals for the next 5-10 years.

25 Tesla World-record Split Magnet system

Split Coil magnet

Optics, nanoscience and semiconductor research will receive a boost this summer with the debut of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory's Split Magnet system, a custom-built, $2.5-million instrument with the potential to (literally) open up high-field magnet research. The magnet is successfully operating at 25 tesla; the standing record for this type of magnet was 17.5 tesla.

The magnet's design required engineers to rethink the structural limits of resistive magnets, then invent, patent and find (sometimes elusive) builders for the technology that could carry their idea through. The Split Magnet features four large elliptical ports that enable scientists direct, horizontal access to the magnet's central experimental space, or bore, while maintaining a high magnetic field. "Tesla" is a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field; 1 tesla is equal to 20,000 times the Earth's magnetic field.

Modified carbon nanotubes can store solar energy indefinitely

Modified carbon nanotubes can store solar energy indefinitely, then be recharged by exposure to the sun.

Storing the sun’s heat in chemical form — rather than converting it to electricity or storing the heat itself in a heavily insulated container — has significant advantages, since in principle the chemical material can be stored for long periods of time without losing any of its stored energy. The problem with that approach has been that until now the chemicals needed to perform this conversion and storage either degraded within a few cycles, or included the element ruthenium, which is rare and expensive.

Nanoletters- Azobenzene-Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes As High-Energy Density Solar Thermal Fuels

UPDATE - Ars Technica notes that the material has not been made yet and is computational chemistry

In terms of energy storage, the azo/CNT nanostructures outdo lithium-ion batteries. Kolpak and Grossman calculate that the azo/CNT system will have volumetric energy densities of about 690 watt-hours per liter; lithium-ion batteries range from 200 to 600 watt-hours per liter. For comparison, azobenzene alone has a volumetric energy density of only about 90 watt-hours per litter.

Kolpak and Grossman’s proposed azo/CNT system could be adapted for use with other photoactive molecules, as it appears that placing them on carbon nanotubes enhances their energy storage properties. This is perhaps the most important result from their work.

While Kolpak and Grossman have presented a promising new approach to making solar thermal fuels, there are potential drawbacks, and the fact that they haven't actually created the substance isn't even the most substantial. The energy stored in the azo/CNT system can only be released as heat. If you want to use the stored energy to power electrical devices, you would need to convert the heat to electricity. This adds a step that requires more equipment and can result in energy loss during the conversion.

July 12, 2011

Flywheels for cheaper hybrid cars

Technology Review - The automakers Volvo and Jaguar are testing the possibility of using flywheels instead of batteries in hybrid electric vehicles to aid acceleration and help engines operate more efficiently. The devices could reduce fuel consumption by 20 percent and would cost a third as much as batteries. Volvo will begin road-testing a car with the technology this fall.

The original Flybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) was a small and light device designed to meet the FIA regulations for the 2009 Formula One season.

The key system features were:

* A flywheel made of steel and carbon fibre that rotated at over 60,000 RPM inside an evacuated chamber
* The flywheel casing featured containment to avoid the escape of any debris in the unlikely event of a flywheel failure
* The flywheel was connected to the transmission of the car on the output side of the gearbox via several fixed ratios, a clutch and the CVT
* 60 kW power transmission in either storage or recovery
* 400 kJ of usable storage (after accounting for internal losses)
* A total system weight of 25 kg
* A total packaging volume of 13 litres

Flybrid have built and tested a 530 kJ, 60 kW storage system that weighs just 27 kg. This system is designed for vehicle mounted short-term storage applications and has been developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli Motorsport.

New Tool provides a view into how neurons communicate and work together

Isolated cluster formation on CNT multi electrode array (MEA).

(a) A bright field image of a neuronal cluster on a CNT electrode. The electrode diameter is 30 µm and the inter electrode distance is 200 µm (b) A fluorescent microscope image of the cluster in (a), stained for cell nuclei (DAPI-blue), glia (GFAP-green) and neurons (TUJ1-red). (c) A bright field image of clusters on a MEA chip. Color coded lines show the Pearson correlation between the electrical activities of all cluster pairs above a threshold of 0.1. The electrically isolated clusters (red full circles) were distinguished from linked clusters (blue full circles) both functionally (no significant correlations to other clusters) and visually (no apparent extensions to other clusters).

Tel Aviv University team has connected neurons to computers to decipher the enigmatic code of neuronal circuits

They have developed a new kind of a lab-on-a-chip platform that may help neuroscientists understand one of the deepest mysteries of our brain — how neuronal networks communicate and work together. The researchers believe their tool can be also used to test new drugs. It might also advance artificial intelligence and aid scientists in rewiring artificial limbs to our brain.

Plos One - Innate Synchronous Oscillations in Freely-Organized Small Neuronal Circuits

Laser light produces synthetic tissue for regenerative medicine by creating 3D scaffolds with one micrometer resolution

Test matrix consisting of a polymer support structure and a protein functional structure. (Image: Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen)

Laser light produces synthetic tissue for regenerative medicine (4 pages)

Tissue engineering pursues the aim of replacing natural tissue after injuries and illnesses with implants which enable the body to regenerate itself with the patient’s own cells. So that tissue can be produced to replicate the body’s natural tissue, knowledge of the interaction between cells in a three-dimensional framework and the growth conditions for complete regeneration is essential. Using a special laser technique, research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and other Fraunhofer Institutes have succeeded in producing hybrid biomimetic matrices. These serve as a basis for scaffold and implant structures on which the cells can grow effectively.

Breakthrough in mixing carbon nanotubes evenly into nanocomposites

Left: The Billups-Birch alkylcarboxylation reaction allows functional groups to propagate down the CNT from points of pre-existing defects. Right: Electron microscopy shows "banded" CNTs with distinct functionalized and intact regions along their lengths. Photo credits: Nature Communications.

CNT need to soluble, have the ability to be dispersed in a liquid environment (nanocomposite with polymers) or to evenly coat a solid composite material. Unfortunately, in their raw state CNTs are insoluble; they clump together rather than disperse.

for CNTs that delivers solubility and preserves electrical and optical properties. They purposefully functionalize defects on the tubes in useful-not random-places, creating strategic "functional groups." These carefully placed molecular groups allow CNTs to readily disperse while retaining their optical properties and ability to conduct electric current in large regions along the tube.

The challenge has been to control the chemical reactions that produce the functional groups on the CNTs. By using a chemical process called Billups-Birch reductive alkylcarboxylation, Wang's team found they could progressively add new functional groups to the CNT wall in a controlled way without introducing unintended new defects.

Nature Communications - Confined propagation of covalent chemical reactions on single-walled carbon nanotubes

China's Solar Power Maker Suntech will push cheaper solar panels with higher efficiency

Forbes - Suntech is selling the two new silicon solar panels in the North and Latin America first.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. is the world's largest producer of solar panels, with 1,800MW of annual production capacity by the end of 2010. Overall, Suntech expects to have 2.4 gigawatts of total production capacity by the end of 2011.

The first panel, called HiPerforma, produces 245 watts of power, which is about 7-9 percent higher than the 225-watt to 230-watt panels that are more commonly found on the market, said Andrew Beebe, Suntech’s chief commercial officer. The Chinese manufacturer is marketing HiPerforma for all types of power generation projects, from rooftop systems for homes and businesses to utility-scale power plants.

* HiPerforma panel has an efficiency of up to 14.8 percent, which is more efficient that older multicrystalline solar panels by Suntech.

Stanford engineers build a nanoscale device for brain-inspired computing

Researchers at the Stanford School of Engineering have delivered a nanoelectronic synapse that might drive a new class of microchips that can learn, adapt and make probability-based decisions in complex environments. Their work might one day lead to real-time brain simulators that enhance our understanding of neuroscience.

It takes today's state-of-the-art supercomputer eight-and-a-half minutes to simulate just five seconds of normal human brain activity. Meanwhile, that supercomputer will consume 140,000 times as much electricity as the brain – 1.4 million watts to ten to be exact – to do the work. For sheer processing power and efficiency, nothing quite compares to the human brain.

Nanoletters - Nanoelectronic Programmable Synapses Based on Phase Change Materials for Brain-Inspired Computing

This is a follow up on June, 2011 coverage of the Nanoletters paper The new information is the Stanford press release.

This research is also part of the trend that I see towards significant mainstream adoption of neuromorphic chips.

Recreating human livers, in mice for better drug testing and screening

By growing human liver tissue inside mice, Alice Chen has created “humanized” mouse livers that respond to drugs the same way a human liver does.

“What’s exciting to researchers is this idea that if we can create these mice with human livers, we can basically create a slew of human-like patients to do drug-development screens, or to … develop new therapies,” says Chen, who works in the lab of Sangeeta Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of HST and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

PNAS - Humanized mice with ectopic artificial liver tissues

Functional Tooth Regeneration Using a Bioengineered Tooth Unit as a Mature Organ Replacement Regenerative Therapy

Molar teeth and jaw bone were grown from stem cells in one mouse and then transplanted to another mouse. This was a proof of concept for growing mature organs for harvest and transplant from an individuals stem cells.

Plos One - Functional Tooth Regeneration Using a Bioengineered Tooth Unit as a Mature Organ Replacement Regenerative Therapy

Donor organ transplantation is currently an essential therapeutic approach to the replacement of a dysfunctional organ as a result of disease, injury or aging in vivo. Recent progress in the area of regenerative therapy has the potential to lead to bioengineered mature organ replacement in the future. In this proof of concept study, we here report a further development in this regard in which a bioengineered tooth unit comprising mature tooth, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone, was successfully transplanted into a properly-sized bony hole in the alveolar bone through bone integration by recipient bone remodeling in a murine transplantation model system. The bioengineered tooth unit restored enough the alveolar bone in a vertical direction into an extensive bone defect of murine lower jaw. Engrafted bioengineered tooth displayed physiological tooth functions such as mastication, periodontal ligament function for bone remodeling and responsiveness to noxious stimulations. This study thus represents a substantial advance and demonstrates the real potential for bioengineered mature organ replacement as a next generation regenerative therapy.

Cascaded logic gates provide path to novel nanophotonic on-chip processor architectures for the dream of optical computing

(a) Schematic illustration of logic gate NOR built by cascaded OR and NOT gates. (b) Optical image of the designed Ag NW structure. (c) Schematics of experimental setup. BS, beamsplitter; OBJ, objective; PLR, polarizer; SBC, Soleil-Babinet compensator; λ/2 PL, half-wave plate.

Nature Communications - Cascaded logic gates in nanophotonic plasmon networks

Optical computing has been pursued for decades as a potential strategy for advancing beyond the fundamental performance limitations of semiconductor-based electronic devices, but feasible on-chip integrated logic units and cascade devices have not been reported. Here we demonstrate that a plasmonic binary NOR gate, a 'universal logic gate', can be realized through cascaded OR and NOT gates in four-terminal plasmonic nanowire networks. This finding provides a path for the development of novel nanophotonic on-chip processor architectures for future optical computing technologies.

Regenerative capacity in newts is not altered by repeated regeneration and ageing

mages of regenerated lenses after the seventeenth lentectomy.

Following along a theme of what some would have called 'Mad Science' (the prior article being about a double leg transplant from a cadaver) we have a researcher who removed the lens from an eye of newts 18 times. Fictional Witches should never run out of the ingredient eye of newt.

Nature Communications - Regenerative capacity in newts is not altered by repeated regeneration and ageing

The extent to which adult newts retain regenerative capability remains one of the greatest unanswered questions in the regeneration field. Here we report a long-term lens regeneration project spanning 16 years that was undertaken to address this question. Over that time, the lens was removed 18 times from the same animals, and by the time of the last tissue collection, specimens were at least 30 years old. Regenerated lens tissues number 18 and number 17, from the last and the second to the last extraction, respectively, were analysed structurally and in terms of gene expression. Both exhibited structural properties identical to lenses from younger animals that had never experienced lens regeneration. Expression of mRNAs encoding key lens structural proteins or transcription factors was very similar to that of controls. Thus, contrary to the belief that regeneration becomes less efficient with time or repetition, repeated regeneration, even at old age, does not alter newt regenerative capacity.

Doctor Frankenstein but in a good way with double leg transplant from cadaver

Leg transplant: The bones were attached first followed by the tendons and nerves. It is possible the patient will be able to feel their legs again in a year Graphic courtesy of El Mundo

The world's first-ever double leg transplant has been carried out successfully in Valencia's La Fe hospital at the hands of ace surgeon Pedro Cavadas, who has already transplanted hands, arms, feet and even faces.

Google Plus should have 10 million users tomorrow and 20 million this weekend

Paul Allen, the Ancestry.com founder, not the co-founder of Microsoft, posted on Google+ last night the results of a "surname-based analysis" which "shows that the number of Google+ users worldwide reached 7.3 million yesterday (July 10) — up from 1.7 million users on July 4th. That is a 350% increase in six days.

More impressive than last week's growth is the astonishing growth in users from yesterday at mid-day to tonight -- a 30% jump. My latest estimate tonight shows approximately 9.5 million users. This suggests that 2.2 million people have joined Google+ in the past 32-34 hours.

I project that Google will easily pass 10 million users tomorrow and could reach 20 million user by this coming weekend if they keep the Invite Button available. As one G+ user put it, it is easy to underestimate the power of exponential growth.

Singapore leading the way in water treatment and desalination

Singapore's national water agency, PUB, and Hyflux Ltd have broken ground for the country's second and largest seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant. The $890 million plant in Tuas, which begins operations in July 2013, will triple the Republic's water desalination capacity.

That will bring Singapore closer to its goal of supplying 30 per cent of its water needs from desalination by 2061. The new plant will pump another 318,500 cubic m of water per day into the Republic's national tap. That will add to the current 136,500 cubic m produced daily by the existing plant, which currently supplies 10 per cent of Singapore's water needs. Singapore needs to get close to water independence because their water agreement with Malaysia expires in 2061. Singapore knows that Malaysia will try to gouge them for water supply in 2061.

At a pilot facility in Singapore, Siemens has cut the energy needed to desalinate seawater by more than 50 percent. The plant processes 50 cubic meters of water per day, consuming only 1.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity per cubic meter. The most efficient desalination technique currently in use is reverse osmosis, which consumes more than twice as much energy. The magazine "Pictures of the Future" reports that the new technique uses an electric field to remove the salt from the water. Plans call for demonstration units to be set up in Singapore, the U.S., and the Caribbean by mid-2012.

DARPA funds autonomous robotic manipulation

DARPA’s four-year, multi-track Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program aims to develop software and hardware that enables a robot to autonomously manipulate, grasp, and perform complicated tasks with humans providing only high-level supervision. The ARM robot will be able to adapt to unstructured, dynamic environments.

Over the course of the program in the Software Track, funded performers will develop algorithms that enable the DARPA robot to execute these numerous tasks. In the Hardware Track, funded performers will develop robust, low-cost multi-fingered hands to perform these tasks.

DARPA is also providing public access to an identical robot in the Outreach Track, allowing anyone the opportunity to write software for the ARM robot to complete similar grasping and manipulation challenges.

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics gets more neutrons per joule than National Ignition Facility

Lawrenceville plasma physics has more neutrons per joule than the National Ignition Facility

* NIF produces just a bit less than a million neutrons per joule of energy.

* NIF researchers reported producing an impressive 400 trillion neutrons from the fusion reactions in their best experiments. But NIF uses a lot of energy to accomplish this feat, some 422 million joules of electric energy.

* FoFu-1 has produced 3.7 million neutrons per joule, almost 4 times better than NIF.

* FoFu-1’s best experiments required less than a tenth of one-percent the energy NIF used—thirty-five thousand joules instead of over four hundred million—but still generated 130 billion fusion neutrons.

July 11, 2011

Petaflop or faster supercomputer update for Japan, China, Russia and the United States

Japan is trying to pull together a follow up to their 10 petaflop K supercomputer. For the latest supercomputer rankings, K topped the list by clocking 8,162 trillion calculations per second, or 8.162 petaflops, with 672 cabinets of processors. That means K is more than three times faster than the previous champ, China's Tianhe-1A, which grabbed the title last autumn. K could have failed to beat the Chinese rival if RIKEN had not been allowed to use 18.3 billion yen of the 28.5 billion yen earmarked for fiscal 2011 ahead of time in order to purchase some 300 additional cabinets. The additional system boards doubled K's calculation speed.

Leading U.S. manufacturers are building systems that will be as fast as or much faster than K. In Japan, the supercomputer program is in jeopardy due to the budget crunch.

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR)

On July 6, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that protects the health of millions of Americans by helping states reduce air pollution and attain clean air standards. This rule, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), requires 27 states to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states.

This site supports and applauds this rule.

We have covered the benefits of stronger air pollution standards.

We have covered the deaths per TWh for different energy sources.

We have provided background information and analysis of deaths per TWh by energy source.

More air pollution controls would save a lot of lives.

Reduction of Black carbon (soot) would be an easier and cheaper way to reduce climate change and global warming.

We have covered coal power and waste details.
This rule replaces EPA's 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). A December 2008 court decision kept the requirements of CAIR in place temporarily but directed EPA to issue a new rule to implement Clean Air Act requirements concerning the transport of air pollution across state boundaries.

In a separate but related regulatory action, EPA also issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPR) to require six states - Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin - to make summertime NOX reductions under the CSAPR ozone-season control program. Five of those states are already covered in the final rule for interstate fine particle pollution (PM2.5). With the inclusion of these states, a total of 26 states would be required to reduce ozone-season NOX emissions to assist in attaining the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Finalizing this supplemental proposal would bring the total number of covered states under the CSAPR to 28. EPA issued a proposal instead of a final action for these states in order to provide additional opportunity for public comment on their linkages to downwind nonattainment and maintenance areas. EPA is proposing to finalize this proposal by late fall 2011.

Biologically-Inspired Massively-Parallel Architectures – computing beyond a million processors

Biologically-Inspired Massively-Parallel Architectures – computing beyond a million processors (10 pages)

Steve Furber, who was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, is a leader of the Spinnaker project.

The SpiNNaker project aims to develop parallel computer systems with more than a million embedded processors. The goal of the project is to support largescale simulations of systems of spiking neurons in biological real time, an application that is highly parallel but also places very high loads on the communication infrastructure due to the very high connectivity of biological neurons. The scale of the machine requires fault-tolerance and power-efficiency to influence the design throughout, and the development has resulted in innovation at every level of
design, including a self-timed inter-chip communication system that is resistant to glitch-induced deadlock and ‘emergency’ hardware packet re-routing around failed inter-chip links, through to run-time support for functional migration and real-time fault mitigation.

The embedded processor (ARM) technology employed in SpiNNaker delivers a similar performance to a PC from each 20-processor node, for a component cost of around $20 and a power consumption under 1 Watt. One million processors will cost about $1 million.

To simulate 90 billion neurons will take 100 times more cores than the SpiNNaker system will have.

SpiNNaker, which stands for Spiking Neural Network architecture, aims to map the brain's functions for the purpose of helping neuroscientists, psychologists and doctors understand brain injuries, diseases and other neurological conditions. The project is being run out of a group at University of Manchester, which designed the system architecture, and is being funded by a £5m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Other elements of the SpiNNaker system are being developed at the universities of Southampton, Cambridge and Sheffield.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles Researchers Engineer Small Intestine in Laboratory Experiments

Morphology of TESI in the mouse model. (A) Four weeks after implantation, the tissue-engineered intestine formed a sphere about twice the size of the initial implanted polymer (arrow). (B) Hematoxylin and eosin staining at low magnification demonstrates a large amount of continuous mucosa lining the lumen of the TESI. (C) At higher magnification, the mucosa of the TESI is composed of a simple columnar epithelium forming crypt and villus structures. Goblet cells, along the crypt and villus axis, and Paneth cells, at the base of the crypts, can be identified. Scale bar: 40.0 μm. TESI, tissue-engineered small intestine.

Researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have successfully created a tissue-engineered small intestine in mice that replicates the intestinal structures of natural intestine—a necessary first step toward someday applying this regenerative medicine technique to humans.

Tissue Engineering Part A - A Multicellular Approach Forms a Significant Amount of Tissue-Engineered Small Intestine in the Mouse

Tissue engineering, which promises to rebuild or replace injured or failing body parts, has seen some major advancements in recent months, with biological scaffolds used to create new bones in rabbits and regrown muscle in humans.

Google Plus changes expected and Facebook Database Challenges

1. Computerworld - Google will be pushing out changes to Google Plus this week.

* expect Google to tackle issues related to Google+ invites
* improved management of notifications
* and perhaps having circles within circles

New MIT-developed materials make it possible to produce photovoltaic cells on paper or fabric

Graduate student Miles Barr hold a flexible and foldable array of solar cells that have been printed on a sheet of paper. Photo: Patrick Gillooly

Almost as cheaply and easily as printing a photo on your inkjet, an inexpensive, simple solar cell has been created on that flimsy sheet, formed from special “inks” deposited on the paper. You can even fold it up to slip into a pocket, then unfold it and watch it generating electricity again in the sunlight.

The technique represents a major departure from the systems used until now to create most solar cells, which require exposing the substrates to potentially damaging conditions, either in the form of liquids or high temperatures. The new printing process uses vapors, not liquids, and temperatures less than 120 degrees Celsius. These “gentle” conditions make it possible to use ordinary untreated paper, cloth or plastic as the substrate on which the solar cells can be printed.

Advanced Materials - Direct Monolithic Integration of Organic Photovoltaic Circuits on Unmodified Paper

Anthony Atala talks about the potential of Regenerative Medicine at CNN

n a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regenerative medicine is called the "next evolution of medical treatments." The report says the field not only "holds the realistic promise of regenerating damaged tissues and organs in the living body" but "empowers scientists to grow tissues and organs in the laboratory and safely implant them."

Regenerative medicine offers the potential to improve the quality of life for many, but also to combat rising health care costs. Early estimates project that regenerative medicine therapies will result in direct health care cost savings in the United States of $250 billion per year for the chronic diseases of renal failure, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, burn and spinal cord injuries.

The world's first laboratory-engineered organ, the bladder, was implanted in patients beginning in 1998. The surgery has helped patients in several ways, such as the new organs being able to hold urine, and avoiding the serious condition of kidney failure.

Skin and cartilage substitutes are available through regenerative medicine techniques, and laboratory-grown tracheas, blood vessels and other tissues have been implanted in patients. Because of the promise of regenerative medicine, the U.S. military has funded an $85 million effort to develop regenerative medicine treatments for wounded warriors. Advancements made through this project will also benefit the civilian population.

Superstrong Ultralong Carbon Nanotubes for Mechanical Energy Storage

Optical microscopy images of CNT/TiO2 strings. Under an optical microscope, TiO2 particles are easily observed. Figure 3b in the text showed that there is an initial stress in the suspended CNT as high as tens of 14 GPa, or a pull of 1´10^-7N, which is much higher than the total gravity force of the several hundred TiO2 particles (1´10-13 N). Therefore, it can be assumed that the suspended CNT is maintained very straight when subjected to the initial stress

Advanced Materials - Superstrong Ultralong Carbon Nanotubes for Mechanical Energy Storage Chinese researchers have synthesized ultralong CNTs with length over 10 cm with perfect structures and no detectable defects. Their CNTs have a breaking strain of up to 17.5%; tensile strength up to 200 GPa; and Young's modulus up to 1.34 TPa. They could endure a continuously repeated mechanical strain-release test for over 180 million times and remained unbroken.

Superstrong, ultralong, individual carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are deposited with TiO2 particles and visualized under an optical microscope with excellent strain-relaxation reversibility and high fatigue resistance capability. The CNTs with perfect structures have tensile strengths of up to 200 GPa, densities to 1.34 TPa, energy density as high as 1125 Wh kg−1 and the power density can be up to 144 MW kg−1 for mechanical energy storage. The superb mechanical properties confirm the potential of an individual CNT as an effective storage medium with mechanical energy for nano-electromechanical systems, flexible devices, sensors, actuators, antennas, etc.

Russia prepares to start new Kalinin 4 Nuclear Reactor and Japan will have two step stress tests for their reactors

1. Russia's Kalinin 4 has moved a step nearer to startup with the commencement of hydraulic testing of the primary circuit of the VVER-1000 unit. Dummy fuel was loaded into the unit in May. The unit is scheduled to start up in September 2011.

2. Two-step stress tests for Japanese plants planned.
Japanese reactors shut for periodic inspections would be able to restart after successfully completing the initial step of ‘stress tests’, while all units would be subjected to more comprehensive tests in a second stage.

China space station, lunar rovers, and Mars mission

Photo of the Tiangong 1 module undergoing testing earlier in 2011. Credit: China Manned Space Engineering Office

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 on June 9, 2011 set off from its moon orbit for outer space about 1.5 million km away from the earth.

* Scientists decided to let it carry out additional exploratory tasks as the orbiter still had fuel in reserve.

* Scientists hope the satellite can continue operations until the end of 2012.

* Besides the current operations, China's ambitious three-stage moon mission will include a moon landing and launch of a moon rover around 2012 in the second phase. In the third phase, another rover will land on the moon and return to earth with lunar soil and stone samples for scientific research around 2017.

Tiangong 1 (English: Heavenly Palace) is a Chinese orbital laboratory module intended to form part of a space station complex. The launch of this module is planned for October 2011.

* The 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1 will be put into preset orbit in 2011

July 10, 2011

DNA-based programming of quantum dot valency, self-assembly and luminescence

University of Toronto researchers have derived inspiration from the photosynthetic apparatus in plants to engineer a new generation of nanomaterials that control and direct the energy absorbed from light.

This work enables a strategy to build higher-order structures, or complexes out of multiple different types of quantum dots.

Nature Nanotechnology - DNA-based programming of quantum dot valency, self-assembly and luminescence

The electronic and optical properties of colloidal quantum dots, including the wavelengths of light that they can absorb and emit, depend on the size of the quantum dots. These properties have been exploited in a number of applications including optical detection solar energy harvesting and biological research. Here, we report the self-assembly of quantum dot complexes using cadmium telluride nanocrystals capped with specific sequences of DNA. Quantum dots with between one and five DNA-based binding sites are synthesized and then used as building blocks to create a variety of rationally designed assemblies, including cross-shaped complexes containing three different types of dots. The structure of the complexes is confirmed with transmission electron microscopy, and photophysical studies are used to quantify energy transfer among the constituent components. Through changes in pH, the conformation of the complexes can also be reversibly switched, turning on and off the transfer of energy between the constituent quantum dots.

Light propagation controlled in photonic chips -- major breakthrough in telecommunications field

Researchers at Columbia Engineering School have built optical nanostructures that enable them to engineer the index of refraction and fully control light dispersion. They have shown that it is possible for light (electromagnetic waves) to propagate from point A to point B without accumulating any phase, spreading through the artificial medium as if the medium is completely missing in space. This is the first time simultaneous phase and zero-index observations have been made on the chip-scale and at the infrared wavelength.

Nature Photonics - Zero phase delay in negative-refractive-index photonic crystal superlattices

China well underway building 210 MWe Pebble Bed module and has path to cost effective pebble bed reactors

A 54 page presentation describes the status of China's pebble bed reactor project, which we have been following. The foundation has been laid and most components have been ordered.

DONG, Yujie of the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET), Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. Presented at the

Interregional Workshop on Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology for Near Term Deployment in Vienna, Austria on 4-8 July 2011

The cost issue is one of the focus in the project.

The conclusion which was accepted is: with partial support of the capital cost and 100% of the R and D cost from government, the HTR-PM demonstration plant will achieve the specific capital cost and generation costs similar to the current PWR in the Chinese market.

Key components
* RPVs

* Steam generators
* Graphite reactor internals
* Carbon reactor internals
* Metallic reactor internals
* Helium blowers

Over 90% of components in price has been ordered

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