Monday, January 2

Is 2006 going to be the cool year?

The year 2005 saw large wind power installments come into a price range where they are now competitive with traditional grid prices. 2006 could see several solar designs do the same. Cold fusion was boosted with two, concurrent and independent sonofusion breakthroughs, though the stigma in the name is still deeply seated. 2006 could see floating wind turbines arrive on the commercial scene -- floating in the water like oil rigs, or floating high in the air, courtesy of helium. 2006 will see at least three companies offering after-market kits for adding Brown's gas (H and O from electrolysis, common ducted) to the air intake of vehicles for enhanced mileage and performance. Many other fuel economizing systems are slated to mature in the marketplace. Climate change evidence will continue to mount. It will yet be years before we harness lightning, but stable tornado systems prototypes that tap waste heat from power plants could arrive this coming year. Will 2006 be the year that clean energy becomes more the vogue than cool computer gadgets?"

Sunday, January 1

AP Wire | 12/30/2005 | Professor builds computer models for wine

AP Wire | 12/30/2005 | Professor builds computer models for wine: "PITTSBURGH - Distinguishing fine wine from plonk is usually left to connoisseurs and winemakers, who rely on their senses, rough chemical measurements and the whims of nature to produce an exceptional tipple. But a Carnegie Mellon University professor, working with industry scientists in Chile, is hoping that computer models will identify the traits of good wine to help vintners produce more of it.

Lorenz 'Larry' Biegler, who teaches chemical engineering at the university, is working on mathematical formulas to automate the fermentation process, adjusting ingredients and conditions to ensure robust flavors and higher yields from grape harvests.

Scientists don't fully understand the delicate mix of compounds that emerge during fermentation and why they create such pleasing sensations for wine drinkers. Biegler's research focuses on yeast, which consumes sugar and produces alcohol.

'We would like to come up with a reasonably good model of how this yeast cell behaves ... then control this fermentation process so we can make better-quality wines,' he said.

Much of the work is being carried out at an 'aroma lab' at Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, where industry-sponsored researchers are trying to isolate chemicals that produce desirable fragrances and flavors, Biegler said."