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The Ice Harbor Dam in Washington state where Sensor Fish testing is done

It’s a tough row to hoe for young salmon in the Pacific Northwest as they make their perilous journey from upriver to the ocean. Besides hungry birds and sea lions, the regions many hydroelectric dams and their swirling turbines produce manmade currents and other obstacles that make it challenging for the fish to navigate. But now with the help of an artificial Senor Fish created by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), existing larger dams and newer, smaller hydroelectric facilities can become more fish-friendly.  Read More

Rendering of the GE9X fan using a new fourth-generation composite

GE is looking to a new generation of carbon-fiber composites to make the fan blades for its GE9X jet engine. That engine is being developed for the Boeing 777X passenger airplanes that are set to enter service in 2020 and the new blades promise to provide larger, lighter engines with greater fuel efficiency.  Read More

The CSIRO has generated 'supercritical steam' at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3,400 psi) and 57...

Researchers at Australia's CSIRO have claimed a world record for the highest temperatures ever achieved using solar energy to generate "supercritical" steam at its solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia. Featuring more than 600 directional mirrors (heliostats) directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, the researchers produced the steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570° C (1,058° F).  Read More

The first Trent XWB moving from the factory floor

Last year, the Airbus A350 XWB took to the air for the first time. Eleven months later, Rolls-Royce announces that the first production Trent XWB turbofan engine that powers the plane has left the factory and is on its way to Toulouse, France to be installed in a Qatar Airways A350 XWB. According to Rolls-Royce, Qatar airways has ordered 80 of the aircraft and the “world's most efficient aero engine” engine is the first of 1,600 ordered worldwide by 40 airlines around the world.  Read More

The Buoyant Air Turbine, from Altaeros Energies

Winds are stronger and steadier at higher altitudes, that’s why the Buoyant Air Turbine (BAT) from Altaeros is pushing to be the highest wind turbine in history. Already tested to 500 feet off the ground in 45 mph winds, this helium-filled shell with a wind turbine in the middle is soon shooting for a world record 1,000 ft float. Packing down into a shipping container for transport, the BAT is being proposed as a quickly deployable tethered power source for remote areas and emergency zones.  Read More

Fellows hopes to break the existing record of 115.8 mph (186.4 km/h) set by Jason Bradbury...

Australian Daz Fellows wants to ensure proper nomenclature is used when describing his modified street luge. Sporting twin-turbines with a combined output of 537 lb of thrust, and a custom formed board composed of carbon fiber, Daz has made clear that the conveyance he'll be climbing aboard when he shoots for a world record attempt of 300 mph (482 km/h) next year is a "jet luge."  Read More

A twenty four-stage roughing pump developed at the University of Michigan (Photo: Universi...

Three DARPA-funded research teams have completed a foundational study of chip-scale vacuum pumps by inventing three very different approaches to removing air from a sample chamber with a volume of one cubic millimeter, which is about one-tenth the volume of a grain of rice. These new technologies will enable many micro-scale devices which require a vacuum or a controlled flow of gas, such as Lab-on-a-Chip sensors, radio frequency MEMS switches and microscopic vacuum tubes.  Read More

Are 'innovative' wind technologies ever a match for three-blade turbines?

Virtually every week there are articles about new and innovative methods for harvesting wind energy. And every week more megawatts of capacity from three-blade horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) becomes operational, despite all of the contenders. Why aren't these innovative new products knocking the iconic HAWT off its perch? Is it possible to tell which are likely to be viable? These eight points are a useful way to assess which technology has potential, and which are likely just hot air.  Read More

NASA's high altitude ice cloud test rig being readied for action (Photo: NASA)

About once a month on average, an incident is reported in which turbofan jet engines flying at high-altitude lose power. The pilots report that there is little if any bad weather that might explain the power loss and although uncommon, this fault is potentially disastrous. The culprit is called ice crystal icing, and NASA scientists are making progress in understanding the problem using a world first test facility that creates an artificial ice cloud similar to that encountered by planes at high altitudes.  Read More

Cross-section of the GE ADVENT engine design

GE Aviation is developing a revolutionary new jet engine that aims to combine the best traits of turbojet and turbofan engines, delivering supersonic speed capability and fuel efficiency in one package.  Read More

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