Tag: New Atlas

Potentially the cheapest way of generating clean energy?

I’m sharing this as an potentially-optimistic vision of another way of creating a lot of energy for the world. As the article states, this particular version might not be it, but sea waves contain a lot of energy…

Solar electricity generation is proliferating globally and becoming a key pillar of the decarbonization era. Lunar energy is taking a lot longer; tidal and wave energy is tantalizingly easy to see; step into the surf in high wave conditions and it’s obvious there’s an enormous amount of power in the ocean, just waiting to be tapped. But it’s also an incredibly harsh and punishing environment, and we’re yet to see tidal or wave energy harnessed on a mass scale.

That doesn’t mean people aren’t trying – we’ve seen many tidal energy ideas and projects over the years, and just as many dedicated to pulling in wave energy for use on land. There are a lot of prototypes and small-scale commercial installations either running or under construction, and the sector remains optimistic that it’ll make a significant clean energy contribution in years to come.


SWEL claims “one single Waveline Magnet will be rated at over 100 MW in energetic environments,” and the inventor and CEO, Adam Zakheos, is quoted in a press release as saying “… we can show how a commercial sized device using our technology will achieve a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) less than 1c€(US$0.01)/kWhr, crushing today’s wave energy industry reference value of 85c€ (US$0.84)/kWh …”


[T]hese kinds of promises are where these yellow sea monsters start smelling a tad fishy to us. Despite many years of wave tank testing, SWEL says it’s still putting the results together, with “performance & scale-up projections, numerical and techno-financial modeling, feasibility studies and technology performance level” information yet to be released.


If SWEL delivers on its promises, well, you’re looking at nothing short of a clean energy revolution – one it’s increasingly obvious that the planet desperately needs, even if it comes in the form of yet more plastic floating in the ocean. But with investors lining up to throw money at green energy moonshots, the space has no shortage of bad-faith operators, wishful thinking and inflated expectations. And if SWEL’s many tests had generated the kinds of results that extrapolate to some of the world’s cheapest and cleanest energy, well, we’d expect to see a little more progress, some Gates-level investment flowing in, and more than an apparent sub-10 head count driving this thing along.

Source: Wave-riding generators promise the cheapest clean energy ever | New Atlas

Peeking around corners with holographic cameras

It’s amazing to think that 10 years ago we thought we were only a few years away from fully autonomous vehicles. Even now, we’re in the early stages of actually making them safe.

Blind corners have long troubled drivers, but they might not pose such a hazard for much longer. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new holographic camera technology that can peer around corners by reconstructing scattered light waves, quickly enough to spot fast-moving objects like cars or pedestrians.

When light strikes an object, it scatters, and some of that finds its way to our retinas, or the sensors of a camera, allowing the object to be seen. Of course, that means we can’t see objects behind other objects, or through scattering media like fog or skin. But there might be a way to use the scattering of light off multiple objects to see around corners.

Position a mirror just right, and you can see objects around corners. Even without a mirror, that principle still holds true – it’s just that the secondary object scatters the light too much for us to reconstruct the target. But an emerging technology called non-line-of-sight (NLoS) imaging can do just that.

NLoS systems work by beaming light out, which bounces off a surface, strikes an object and bounces back to the surface, then back to a sensor. Algorithms can then create an image of the object around a corner. As you might expect however, images reconstructed in this way can often be low resolution, or take too long to process.

Source: Holographic camera reconstructs objects around corners in milliseconds | New Atlas

Improving VO2max through blood protein analysis

My wife and I have recently bought new smartwatches (me: Garmin Venu 2, her: Fitbit Versa 3) and the things they tell us really makes a difference to how we exercise. What’s reported here looks like next level even to the detailed stats we’ve got already.

The team identified a set of 147 proteins that could indicate a person’s VO2max, a marker of cardiorespiratory fitness, before the exercise program, and then a set of 102 proteins that could indicate the change in VO2max after it had been completed. Some of these proteins were also found to be linked to a higher risk of early death, highlighting a connection between cardiorespiratory fitness and long-term health.

“We identified proteins that emanate from bone, muscle, and blood vessels that are strongly related to cardiorespiratory fitness and had never been previously associated with exercise training responses,” says Gerszten.

Based in these revelations, the scientists developed what they call a protein score, which could be used to predict how much a person’s VO2max would change as a result of the exercise. Baseline levels of certain proteins were able to predict who would respond to the exercise with more reliability than established patient factors, according to the scientists, and also predicted which subjects would be unable to significantly improve their VO2max even after a sharp uptake in physical activity.

Source: Blood protein score might predict which exercise will benefit you most | New Atlas