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Technology Trending

The date of: 2022-09-20
viewed: 1
Technology Trending – fire safe storage, customising magnets, Ethereum’s energy, lunar mining for fusion




source:smart-energy
Energy storage fire safety demonstrated, customisation of kagome layered magnets, the new energy efficiency of Ethereum and the possibility of mining the moon for helium-3 are on the technology radar.
Fluence cube demonstrated fire safe
Energy storage provider Fluence Energy has reported that its sixth generation Fluence Cube, a modular energy storage building block, has surpassed industry safety testing requirements.
In a test with DNV, an extreme fire such as may be caused by thermal runaway was initiated in a Cube but remained contained without impacting any neighbouring Cubes.
“The test was particularly impressive in that, despite a full-scale fire in the originating Cube, neighbouring Cubes didn’t reach internal temperatures that could have triggered thermal runaway, even without intervention from external emergency personnel,” comments DNV business development leader Martin Plass.
What this means in real-world terms is that if a fire does occur, operational downtime is minimised as a consequence, while the damaged unit is replaced.
Customising magnets
Customising magnets with specific characteristics may be in prospect, with the results of new research by US scientists on kagome layered structures – named after the honeycomb like hexagon-triangle pattern of the traditional Japanese basket weaving technique.
Kagome materials have complex structures at the electronic level with the electrons behaving in unique and potentially tunable ways.
Working with the kagome topological magnet TbMn6Sn6, the scientists at Ames National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory were able to map its magnetic properties and to establish that for example, changing the Tb (terbium) for a different rare earth element would change the magnetism of the compound.
While much further work is still required on kagome metals, the findings hold promise for impact on any devices containing magnets from quantum computing to magnetic storage media and high precision sensors and the many applications in the power sector from transformers to turbines and generators.
Ethereum gets greener
Ethereum, the second largest and most valuable cryptocurrency, has undergone ‘The Merge’ – the long awaited transition from the energy intensive ‘proof of work’ mechanism to the more energy efficient ‘proof of stake’.
Although the energy consumption of Ethereum has been lower than that of Bitcoin – a June 2022 estimate had Ethereum’s consumption at 112TWh/year, close to half that of Bitcoin at 200TWh/year – with proof-of-stake, the consumption, and the corresponding carbon footprint, is expected to plummet by 99.95% or even more to as little as (relatively) 0.01TWh/year.
The Merge was years in the planning and comes as efforts increase, such as in Europe and the US, to encourage and legislate crypto energy consumption reporting.
While the new energy consumption of Ethereum remains to be seen, so too are the wider impacts. With proof of work no longer needed, former Ethereum miners with banks of equipment have become redundant and some have started to move to other proof of work cryptocurrencies, which may raise their consumptions, although others have reportedly simply dropped out.
Mining the moon for nuclear fusion
Helium-3, a rare but stable isotope of helium, is considered as a potential fuel for nuclear fusion among its use for other applications such as quantum computing and cryogenics. The problem is that the supply is limited, perhaps to the low tens of tons.
But up on the moon there is believed to be much more, perhaps up to 1 million tons – and it is renewable as it is continually being deposited due to the activity of the sun.



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