Saturday, August 29, 2009

Single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand, pictured for first time

It may look like a piece of honeycomb, but this lattice-shaped image is the first ever close-up view of a single molecule.

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

'This is the first time that all the atoms in a molecule have been imaged,' lead researcher Leo Gross said.

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.

To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Potter Drilling Gets Wired

GroundSource Geo spun off from noted deep drilling hotbed Potter Drilling and enjoys a special relationship with the crew there even though you cannot fit everyone in one car to go to lunch anymore. So it with certain pride that we see that the guys (and Tina) of Potter are now "cool" having been feted in Wired Magazine. Here's what they say in this month's issue:

The process of punching a well hasn't changed in a century. The search for oil, gas, or water may extend more than 7 miles, but it's still done with a tricone bit—three grinding cones angled inward and downward, with spinning teeth. This system is effective at crushing and shearing, but every time a bit wears out, engineers have to "trip" the drill: They bring the head to the surface, change it, and send it back down. A lot of drilling time is actually tripping time, which means a project's cost goes up exponentially with depth. So researchers are developing replacement technologies to reach superheated water for geothermal power or stretch down to previously inaccessible fossil fuel. Here are a few ideas for parts that will be greater than the hole.

The Next Drills

Hydrothermal Spallation
Potter Drilling of California uses jets of superheated fluid to break through granite five times faster than traditional techniques, which don't do well against hard rock types. The first field test of the technology is scheduled for next year in the Sierra Nevada.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First LEED PLatinum Geo-cooled Data Center

August 13th, 2009 : Rich Miller,
Special thanks to Daniel Bernstein at Gaia Geo

Geothermal cooling systems haven’t been widely used in data centers. One of the first implementations we’ve come across is a new data center for American College Testing in Iowa City, Iowa that has been awarded Platinum certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, a voluntary rating system for energy efficient buildings overseen by the US Green Building Council.The ACT facility becomes the first data center in the U.S. to complete LEED Platinum certification. A Citigroup data center in Germany has earned Platinum status, while Advanced Data Centers in Sacramento has been pre-certified for Platinum status.

The ACT data center opened in February 2008 and features 4,000 square feet of raised-floor data center space within an 8,000 square foot building. The facility is cooled by a geothermal “bore field” - a system of vertical holes drilled into the earth’s surface which house a closed-loop piping system filled with water and/or coolant. The cool earth allows the underground piping system serves as a heat exchanger. The ACT data center also has an exterior dry cooler as a backup to the geothermal system.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Popular Science GreenDream House

Special thanks to Brad Borgman from the TWT Group.
Putting the Earth to Work: John B. Carnett, PopSci’s staff photographer, is using the latest green technology to build his dream home in the appropriately-named town of Greenwich, N.Y. Lots of nice, innovative features besides the ground source heat pump, including a new kind of structural insulating panel from Kama Energy Efficient Building Systems of Las Vegas. They custom-make the rigid panels out of light-gauge metal studs and a special type of expanded polystyrene called Neopor that's non-toxic, fully recyclable and blended with graphite to lock out heat, moisture and mold. Carnett's home is the first in the U.S. to incorporate Kama's new panels. They cost about 5 percent less than a stick frame would have, but they're reportedly much more energy-efficient.