New membrane enables us to harvest 'osmotic' energy from water

You've likely heard of solar energy, but what is osmotic energy?

  • Osmotic power plants harvest energy from the difference in pressure or salinity between salt and freshwater using a semi-permeable membrane.
  • One of the major challenges for this kind of renewable energy, however, has been developing effective and durable membranes.
  • Now, new research demonstrates a durable and effective membrane that could significantly improve osmotic energy collection.
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Image source: Rene Böhmer/Unsplash
  • The clothing of the future will look nothing like what we wear today. Or maybe it will.
  • A hunger for sustainability is leading researchers to new organic materials from which to design clothing.
  • Other visionaries are working to make our future outfits as smart as we want to look.
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The next clean energy source? Snow.

Researchers from UCLA invent a device that generates electricity from a rather unusual source.

Photo credit: Bryce Evans on Unsplash
  • UCLA scientists have invented a cheap, flexible, and simple device called snow-TENG that generates electricity when it comes into contact with snow.
  • Scientists have known that snow carries an electrical charge for several decades, but this device is one of the first to capitalize on that effect.
  • The researchers believe that snow-TENG could be used in movement-tracking applications or as a simple weather station that requires no battery to operate.
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Watch scientists melt a satellite part to save us from space junk

Not every part of a satellite burns up in reentry. Considering the growing number of satellites in orbital space, that's a big problem.

  • Earth's orbital space is getting more crowded by the day.
  • The more satellites and space junk we put into orbit, the greater a risk that there could be a collision.
  • Not all materials burn up during reentry; that's why scientists need to stress test satellite parts to ensure that they won't become deadly falling objects.
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This is why microwaved grapes produce flashes of plasma

A parlor-trick mystery explained at last.

  • Two grape halves heated in a microwave produce light-emitting ionized gas, or plasma.
  • The grapes collect and trap microwaves whose energy eventually bursts outward.
  • The discovery could lead to passive microwave antennas.
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