91. An Ocean Battery, Regrowing Knee Cartilage, BMW’s Magnet Free Electric Motor
91. An Ocean Battery, Regrowing Knee Cartilage, BMW’s Magnet Free Electric Motor
‘Ocean battery’ targets renewable energy dilemma | TechXplore (00:57)
- A wind turbine sitting idle on a calm day or spinning swiftly when power demand is already met poses a problem for renewables, and is one researchers think can be tackled under the sea.
- The company, Dutch startup Ocean Grazer, has come up with the concept of a “ocean battery”
- relies on massive flexible bladders on the seabed, which are filled up with seawater by the wind farm.
- When the power is needed, the pressure of the ocean squeezes the water through the system on the seafloor that includes turbines—and the result is electricity.
- Systems that rely on pressure are already used in hydroelectric dams that pump water into the reservoir behind the dam when electricity demand falls, effectively storing it to come back through the facility’s turbines.
- Bliek, the Ocean Grazer CEO, said undersea systems take advantage of the pressure below the ocean that is free, while creating a system that he said is about 80 percent efficient in storing energy.
- Bliek said his company aims to have an offshore system in place by 2025, though one will be deployed onshore in the northern Netherlands by 2023.
- Though various aspects of energy storage via pressure are not new, the pairing of it with green energy sources carries significant potential.
Compelling Evidence That Multiple Sclerosis Is Caused by Epstein-Barr Virus | SciTechDaily (06:37)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive disease that affects 2.8 million people worldwide and for which there is no definitive cure, is likely caused by infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), according to a study led by Harvard researchers.
- Establishing a causal relationship between the virus and the disease has been difficult because EBV infects approximately 95% of adults, MS is a relatively rare disease, and the onset of MS symptoms begins about ten years after EBV infection.
- A study was conducted on more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the U.S. military and identified 955 who were diagnosed with MS during their period of service.
- The team analyzed serum samples taken biennially by the military and determined the soldiers’ EBV status at time of first sample and the relationship between EBV infection and MS onset
- the risk of MS increased 32-fold after infection with EBV
- Serum levels of neurofilament light chain, a biomarker of the nerve degeneration typical in MS, increased
- The delay between EBV infection and the onset of MS may be partially due the disease’s symptoms being undetected during the earliest stages and partially due to the evolving relationship between EBV and the host’s immune system.
- Alberto Ascherio, senior author of the study stated, “This is a big step because it suggests that most MS cases could be prevented by stopping EBV infection, and that targeting EBV could lead to the discovery of a cure for MS.”
Regrowing knee cartilage with an electric kick | MedicalXPress (12:57)
- Arthritis is a common and painful disease caused by damage to our joints. Normally pads of cartilage cushion those spots. But injuries or age can wear it away.
- As cartilage deteriorates, bone begins to hit bone
- The best treatments available try to replace the damaged cartilage with a healthy piece taken from elsewhere in the body or a donor
- healthy cartilage is in limited supply
- The best possible treatment would be to regrow healthy cartilage in the damaged joint itself.
- “The regrown cartilage doesn’t behave like native cartilage. It breaks, under the normal stresses of the joint”, says UConn bioengineer Thanh Nguyen.
- Nguyen’s lab has also been working on cartilage regeneration, and they’ve discovered that electrical signals are key to normal growth.
- A steady electrical field encourages cells to colonize and grow into cartilage.
- They designed a tissue scaffold made out of nanofibers of poly-L lactic acid (PLLA), a biodegradable polymer often used to stitch up surgical wounds.
- has a neat property called piezo-electricity.
- When it is squeezed, it produces a little burst of electrical current.
- a person walking, can cause the PLLA scaffold to generate a weak but steady electrical field
- The team recently tested the scaffold in the knee of an injured rabbit. The rabbit was allowed to hop on a treadmill to exercise after the scaffold was implanted, and just as predicted, the cartilage grew back normally.
- The results are exciting, but Nguyen is cautious.
- “This is a fascinating result, but we need to test this in a larger animal.”
- His lab would want to observe the animals treated for at least a year, probably two, to make sure the cartilage is durable.
Cancer-targeting treatment “steps on the gas” to kill tumors | SlashGear & MIT News (18:33)
- Immunostimulatory drugs stimulate the body’s immune system, and have potential for treating cancerous tumors, as the drugs trigger the immune system to attack the mutated cells.
- Problem: immune system becomes overstimulated, attacking healthy cells with serious consequences.
- That’s a problem the MIT researchers behind a new cancer immunotherapy study have addressed.
- Developed a new delivery method designed to target cancerous tumors specifically.
- The method involves introducing IL-12, a type of stimulatory molecule, directly where the tumor is located
- Avoiding the toxic effects that can occur when immunostimulatory drugs are given throughout the body.
- In a study of mice, this new treatment eliminated many tumors when delivered along with an FDA-approved drug that takes the brakes off the immune system.
- “Takes the brakes off” references cancerous cells, which produce their own molecules that suppress the immune system’s ability to attack them.
- The researchers wanted to find a way to make cytokines bind strongly to tumors, and that is where aluminum hydroxide, also called alum.
- In mouse models of three types of cancer, the researchers found that the tumors were eliminated in 50 to 90 percent of the mice.
- The researchers also found that the treated mice did not show any of the side effects that are seen when IL-12 is given systemically.
- The new approach of attaching molecules to alum could also be used to deliver other types of immunostimulatory drugs, the researchers say.
BMW’s Fifth-Generation Electric Motor Is a Magnet-Free Masterpiece | Interesting Engineering (23:25)
- BMW’s fifth-generation electric motor provides a solution that combines an old-school sensibility with high-tech EV technology to improve efficiency without the use of rare earth minerals.
- BMW developed its magnet-free fifth-gen motor, which operates as a three-phase AC synchronous motor and, in a retro twist, utilizes brushes and a commutator to power its rotor windings.
- Typically, brushes and commutators generate dust and cause wear that requires them to be replaced periodically.
- Why most electric vehicle makers have opted not to use them.
- Opting towards magnet motors, Rare-earth metals used in permanent magnet motors are increasingly difficult to source in an ethical fashion and China controls over 90 percent of the world’s reserves of the materials.
- According to MotorTrend, a BMW representative told them that the new motor’s brush modules are placed “in an enclosed and sealed compartment, eliminating dust contamination inside the stator/rotor wiring.”
- According to the automaker, its fifth-gen motor has more energy density, better heat management, and faster switching frequency.
- Which translates to higher RPM, more torque, and even more power.
- BMW is helping the electric vehicle industry to address one of the issues spurring detractors to claim it’s not as good for the planet as advertised.
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