A quick note on the sustainability of electric vehicles
“How effective are electric vehicles at promoting sustainability?”
Electric vehicles are often touted as one of the drivers of the frontier of sustainability. However, one should keep in mind that electric vehicles draw their power from the grid, and if the grid is not powered by sustainable sources then electric vehicles will not be sustainable either. So one when we continue the battle against greenhouse gases in transportation, we must keep in mind that we must not limit our efforts to only one field.
Pumped hydrogen storage
“How can we use a gravitational potential to store energy?”
If you have ever taken an introductory physics class, then you know that anything with a mass at some distance from the Earth has an energy potential associated with it given by the equation P.E = mgh, with m being the mass g being gravity and h being the height. So logically speaking, if we were to vastly increase the mass then we would also vastly increase the potential energy. So if we have a large enough mass, we can store enough energy for an electric grid!
This is the exact idea behind a technology known as pumped hydrogen storage. Pumped hydrogen storage takes two water reservoirs at a height gradient, and discharges energy to the grid by moving the water through a turbine and stores more energy by using a grid powered pump increase the level of water on the top layer
“What are those tiny solid and liquid drops in the air?”
When we think of the Earth’s atmosphere, we probably imagine that it is completely gaseous. But this is not the case, and in fact, it is impinged by tiny droplets of solid and liquid known as particulate matter. Particulate matter originates from sources such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires, and are usually have diameters that range from 2.5-10 micrometers. This small size allows for particulate matter to be inhaled and cause serious health problems in the lungs and bloodstream. However, with the help of a little bit of government regulation, particulate matter can be reduced!
Solar Communications Security System
“Can solar powered grid systems have security systems in place?”
Solar power is often fused to the surrounding energy community through the use of smart grids. However, such systems are prone to cyber attacks. After realizing the potential consequences of such actions, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, United Technologies Research Center, and Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory have joined forces (with a hefty 900,000 USD grant from the U.S Department of Energy) to develop a generic cybersecurity system for monitoring communications between distributed resource energy generators (such as solar). This would ensure the safety of customers when using such systems, and can galvanize electric utility providers to switch to clean and sustainable energy!
“Are there plants that do not use seeds to reproduce?”
Plants are famous for their use of seeds in reproduction. However, are there some plants species that do not use seeds? Well, let’s use our scientific mindset to find out. If we look closely enough into nature, then we will find out that there are actually a group of plants that use spores to reproduce called Ferns! Because Ferns do not use seeds for reproduction, they do not contain any flowers! Ferns are typically found in tropical countries, and can range from 2 mm to 25 m in height!
“How do fungi and ferns reproduce?”
There are many forms of asexual reproduction. One form commonly employed by fungi and ferns are known as spores. Spores are analogous to seeds in plants, in the fact that they are a self-contained environment for reproduction. What makes spores so special is that they are often unicellular. When spores are released into the wild, all they need is a suitable environment to grow and thrive!
Why you get sick from reading in a car
“Why do you get sick while reading in a car?”
Have you ever noticed how you get sick when you read in a car? Well, you have nothing but your own body’s physiology to blame. To estimate your location, your body receives some of its spatial information from its inner ear and eyes. When you are concentrating on a book, all you see is the stationary tome, but your ears will be listening to cracks, bumps, and changes in velocity. This incongruity of perceptual information will cause your brain to become disoriented and induce motion sickness. To avoid such an issue, try looking out of the window from time to time during the vehicular voyage.