Monday, July 30, 2012

U of MN Morris Windturbine time lapse video

This is a time lapse video of the new windturbine construction at the University of Minnesota Morris in 2011.

This is the second wind turbine on the U of MN Morris campus.  A 2008 federal grant provides money for the University of Minnesota to study wind energy.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aspergillus resources for patients

The following free pamphlets from the Aspergillus Trust and others offer information on prevention and care for aspergillus infections.

Preventing Aspergillus Infections The types of infections are described along with ways to minimize exposure.

Face masks for protection  This covers N-95, P-100 and HEPA filtered respirators.

A guide to Allergic Broncho-Pulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA)

Chest physiotherapy information - provides information on therapies used to improve lung function and clear the airways of individuals with aspergillus infections

Chest Clearance Techniques - Information on methods to keep the chest airways clear.

Reverse field image of Aspergillus fumigatus heads - Photo micrograph - N. Carlson
A high quality Russian animated film on Aspergillus spp. spore production

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Transparent thin film solar cells

UCLA researchers have developed at thin film solar cell that can be attached to windows.  Because the cells capture the energy from the near infrared light spectrum they allow 70% of the light to pass through glass.  The efficiency of the cells is currently 4%. 

The polymer solar cells are light weight, flexible and cheap to manufacture.  They will be useful for  solar windows or sun collecting smart phones.
The UCLA research is very similar to a paper in the Journal of Advanced Energy Materials recently published by British researches investigating 60 nanometer thick solar collecting film. 

A local company 3M also has a line of products designed to assist in the collection of solar energy.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

2013 Mold remediation course date

The U of Minnesota mold remediation course is scheduled to be offered April 23 and 24, 2013 at the Thompson Center for Environmental Management on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.

The class size is limited. The first day of the workshop reviews investigative techniques to find areas of fungal growth and covers issues surrounding sampling and the review of reports. Participants will  work with IR cameras, microscopes, samplers and fungal cultures. The second day of the workshop covers mold remediation. Participants will learn how to set up a containment and wear proper PPE.

The course is taught by Mike Buck and Neil Carlson from the University of Minnesota Department of Environmental Health and Safety along with Troy Blanchard and Sean Gabor from the University of Minnesota's Facilities Management Hazardous Materials Program.

The course will be listed at the U of MN Center for Public Health Outreach website by the fall of 2012.

Alternaria spp. photomicrograph-Neil Carlson

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Electric car innovations

First from the Minnesota Electric Auto Association an short video of an electric Chevrolet Covette

Second, European researchers are investigating biomethanol as a component in fuel cells.  Biomethanol can be produced by fermenting wood chips and other biowaste.  They are attempting to produce an electric fuel cell car with a range of 500 miles. 

Third, German Scientists are working on a more efficient coolant, called CryoSolplus, for use in the batteries of electric cars.  It greatly improves on the efficiencies of air or water as coolants.  The trick for this coolant is to keep the low density parrafin well dispursed in the mixture. 

Fourth,  The chart below shows the sweet spot for electric vehicles in cost per kilowatt hour(KWh).  At current prices electric vehicles need to get down to $250 - 300 per kilowatt hours.
The current US cost per kilowatt hour is in the range of $500 to $625 per hour.  It makes sense to have an X prize for the company to develop an electric vehicl with a reliable battery system with a cost lower than $225 per kilowatt hour and a range of greater than 500 miles. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wallemia mycotoxin

I came across an article on a mycotoxin, walleminol A (CAS No. 126039-09-6), produced by Wallemia spp.   This fungal organism is often found in straw in agricultural settings.  In buildings it is often found on carpet near pop machines as it does well in areas with high amounts of sugar.  It does not grow very well on MEA.  It grows better on DG-18 media.  It can grow on a wide range of water activity down to .69 .

Wallemia spp. in culture on DG-18 agar - photo N. Carlson

Wallemia spp. spores 400x photomicrograph N. Carlson

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mycotoxin video

The IAQ Video Network has produced a new video on mycotoxins.  I have included it below.  The content portion of the video is less than 2 minutes.

Aspergillus flavus - photo N. Carlson

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tesla Model S car is very sporty

There is a very positive review of the all electric Tesla Model S electric car by Dan Neil of the Wall Street Journal.  They seem to have solved the range problem for car with three models of ranges of 160, 230 and 300 miles.  The acceleration is quick at 0 - 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Update Aug 20, 2013 - According to ABC News Tesla scores better than perfect on crash test.

I has a very large touchpad like display.

A very nice sports car for slightly under $100,000.  You can go green without compromise.  It is also Motor Trends 2013 car of the year.  The dealerships plan to use Apple like marketing for the car.  The Motley Fool is bullish on the stock price. 

For more information about innovations in electric cars follow this link.  I also included a Tesla car in my screenplay "A Very Convenient Truthiness" set in 2028. 

Wide Open Throttle Episode: Tesla Model S

Coming soon in 2014 the Tesla Model X SUV
There may be problems with a high end plugin hybrid electric sports car competitor the Fisker Karma.