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Sustainability

Part of the Charter Street Heating and Cooling Plant on the UW-Madison campus. A new model for control systems could help large central plants like these save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Courtesy: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Energy Management July 29, 2020

Control approach helps campuses minimize energy costs

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers designed a new stochastic model predictive control system for central utility plants, which could help universities and manufacturing facilities that generate a lot of energy.

By Jason Daley
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, demonstrated a novel fabrication method for affordable gas membranes that can remove carbon dioxide from industrial emissions. Courtesy: Zhenzhen Yang/UT
Energy Management July 17, 2020

Carbon-loving materials designed to reduce industrial emissions

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are advancing gas membrane materials to expand practical technology options for reducing industrial carbon emissions produced by fossil fuel industries.

By Ashley C. Huff
At left, a copper current collector with a laser-induced silicon oxide coating created at Rice University. At right, a scanning electron microscope image of the coating created by lasing adhesive tape on the copper collector. Courtesy: Tour Group/Rice University
Energy, Power July 15, 2020

Adhesive tape improves lithium batteries’ performance, lifespan

Rice University researchers turned adhesive tape into a silicon oxide film improve lithium metal technology and make them last longer.

By Mike Williams
Changyeong Jeong, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, measures how well light passes through a sheet of flexible transparent conductor. The material sandwiches a thin layer of silver between two “dielectric” materials, aluminum oxide and zinc oxide, producing a conductive anti-reflection coating on the sheet of plastic. Courtesy: Robert Coelius/University of Michigan Engineering
Energy, Power July 13, 2020

Making plastic more transparent while adding electrical conductivity

University of Michigan researchers have made plastic conductive while also making it more transparent, which can improve large touchscreens, LED light panels and window-mounted infrared solar cells.

By Kate McAlpine
Courtesy: SSOE
Energy Management July 6, 2020

Top 5 Plant Engineering articles June 29 to July 5, 2020

Articles about energy assessment tips, Product of the Year winners, industrial lubrication applications, the manufacturing index and process control and safety systems were Plant Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 29 to July 5, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
Research involving Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source demonstrates crystal-like heat conduction in a solid-liquid hybrid, AgCrSe2. Courtesy: Jill Hemman/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy
Energy, Power June 30, 2020

Spectrometry research advances could lead to safer rechargeable batteries

Researchers have found a way to advance safer rechargeable batteries with spectrometry. Their findings could improve batteries used for consumer electronics such as laptops and cellphones.

By Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Hot electrons travel along the molecule into the probe tip. The molecule only allows electrons within a narrow range of energies to pass. Credit: Enrique Shagun, Scixel
Energy Efficiency June 25, 2020

Electron energy distribution measured for improved storage, conversion

Researchers at the University of Michigan, Purdue University, and the University of Liverpool in the UK have figured out a way to measure how many hot charge carrier are present in a metal nanostructure for improved energy storage and conversion.

By Kate McAlpine
Small batteries were used to study the spontaneous formation of nanoscale hollow structures in the laboratory of Matthew McDowell at Georgia Tech. Courtesy: Matthew McDowell, Georgia Tech
Energy, Power June 15, 2020

Nanoscale hollow structure formation could boost battery storage

Researchers at Georgia Tech, ETH Zurich and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered particles can change a nanoscale hollow structure formation, which could be beneficial for lithium-ion battery storage.

By John Toon
Courtesy: Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, www.controleng.com 
Power Quality June 3, 2020

COVID-19 emergency support for safety circuits, VFDs, vision, PLC power quality, SCADA

System integrators can provide emergency support for automation troubleshooting to shorten or prevent downtime, improve quality and save money as manufacturing restarts or continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Matt Ruth
Figure 8: Cost comparisons for parallel pumps. Courtesy: Mentor
Automation, Controls May 25, 2020

Top 5 Plant Engineering articles May 18-24, 2020

Articles about plant cooling system optimization, Product of the Year winners, COVID-19 grant for wastewater, digital twins and COVID-19's impact on engineering jobs were Plant Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 18-24, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra