GE’s H-Class, which supports shift to producing more sustainable power, achieved 50 customers and one million operating hours. Also, pacemakers that dissolve into the body, paper that can cool a building. This week’s coolest things are writing the next chapter.

GE’s HA Gas Turbine Fleet Achieves 50 Customers and One Million Operating Hours

GE celebrated its record-setting H-Class heavy duty gas turbine fleet—the fastest growing fleet in its class—has secured more than 50 customers across 20 countries, generated more than 26 gigawatts (GW) of power, and accumulated more than 1,000,000 commercial operating hours.

Since the launch of its flagship in 2014, GE’s HA gas turbine has helped power plant operators reduce emissions, increase efficiency, retire coal-fired facilities, and integrate greater levels of renewable energy. In 2021, HA-powered projects secured recent industry awards including “2021 Plant of the Year”, “Plant of the World” and “Reinvention Award”.

Additionally, GE recently announced new HA-powered pilot projects focused on demonstrating power plants capable of operating on hydrogen. GE’s H-Class gas turbine portfolio currently has the capability to burn up to 50% by volume of hydrogen when blended with natural gas.  This capability is enabled by the DLN2.6e combustion system that is standard on current 9HA.01, 9HA.02 and 7HA.03 gas turbines offerings. Hydrogen is not the only path for decarbonizing gas turbines.  GE’s H-class Combined Cycle Plants can also be configured with a post-combustion capture system to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%.

The Disappearing Pacemaker

Northwestern and George Washington University researchers have created the world’s first transient pacemaker, which dissolves into the body when it’s done its work.

An illustration of a new “transient pacemaker,” which the body reabsorbs on its own five to seven weeks after implantation, eliminating the need for a second surgery. Image credit: Northwestern University/George Washington University.

For heart surgery patients who need temporary pacing or for those who are awaiting a permanent pacemaker, the tiny implantable device would allow for short-term heart rhythm maintenance. In addition, “the bioresorbable materials at the foundation of this technology make it possible to create a whole host of diagnostic and therapeutic transient devices for monitoring progression of diseases and therapies, delivering electrical, pharmacological, cell therapies, gene reprogramming and more,” said Igor Efimov, a GWU researcher who co-led the study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The flexible device can be implanted directly on the heart’s surface, where tiny electrodes introduce an electrical pulse. The pacemaker weighs half a gram, is only a quarter-millimeter thick and is designed to work for a few days or several weeks before eventually absorbing into the bloodstream. “With further modifications, it eventually may be possible to implant such bioresorbable pacemakers through a vein in the leg or arm,” said Rishi Arora, a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist who co-led the study.

The Coolest Use Of Paper Ever

A Northeastern University engineering professor has developed a “cooling paper” that could be applied to the roofs of buildings to reduce inside temperatures by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Northeastern professor Yi Zheng (left) and grad student Yanpei Tian test a paper-based material designed to keep buildings cool and comfortable. Image credit: Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University.

To reduce utility bills and mitigate global warming, the effort to make homes and commercial buildings more energy-efficient through the use of reflective exterior surfaces is already well underway. But because heat is generated inside buildings by appliances and the presence of human bodies, there are also gains to be realized by sucking that warmth out of the building. Yi Zheng and colleagues at Boston’s Northeastern University announced that they’ve developed a “superhydrophobic and recyclable cellulose-fiber-based” product made from simple recycled paper that moves warm air out of a building.

The principle is called passive daytime radiative cooling (PDRC); it involves reflecting sunlight at the same time as it thermally radiates heat into the Earth’s “atmospheric window.” Zheng and his team pulped regular recycled paper to create a cellulose-fiber-based composite that they then coated with the chemical used in Teflon. This allowed their material to absorb wavelengths of visible light to radiate heat away from a surface and at the same time achieve effective radiative cooling.

Tough As Nails

A material’s “energy landscape” maps its brittleness when exposed to strain. Image credit: Mathieu Bauchy.

What is it? Through computer simulations, UCLA researchers identified the “energy landscape” that makes glass fragile.

Why does it matter? The findings, published in the journal Materials Horizons, could one day help engineers design structures with load-bearing glass walls. The same could hold true for vehicle windshields. There’s also potential in digital screens and displays. (Where can we sign up?) “This knowledge could revolutionize the design of glass that is still transparent, but tough like metal,” said Mathieu Bauchy, a UCLA engineering professor who led the study.

How does it work? The team first performed atomic-level simulations that revealed new microscopic details of glass. Then they applied the concept of an energy landscape, which maps the material’s energy as a three-dimensional surface, much like a topographic map. This allowed them to compare glass, a brittle material that scientists term “disordered,” with metal alloys like steel, which are stronger and “ordered.” Bauchy said, “Materials exhibiting ‘rough’ landscapes, with lots of steep mountains and deep valleys, are more brittle than materials that have smooth and flat energy landscapes.” The goal: to make tougher glass with smooth landscapes.

This Microscope Stacks Up

Through computer simulations, UCLA researchers identified the “energy landscape” that makes glass fragile. The findings, published in the journal Materials Horizons, could one day help engineers design structures with load-bearing glass walls. The same could hold true for vehicle windshields. There’s also potential in digital screens and displays.

Image credit: Timo Betz

A research team in Germany built a high-resolution microscope from Lego blocks and cheap cellphone parts. The device was designed to teach kids about science. According to a press release, “the scientists produced instructions for building the microscope as well as a step-by-step tutorial” for nine- to 13-year-olds. One co-author of their research study, published in The Biophysicist, is a 10-year-old child.

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