Home Back Issues December 2011 Next: heat energy

Next: heat energy

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By Linda Baker

1211_NextChemistry is like cooking. Except instead of tenderizing a pork roast with lime, spices and soy sauce, a chemist might mix up a batch of indium cobalt antimony, sink the concoction in copper oxide and then nuke the results in the microwave. Or at least that’s what materials science professor Mas Subramanian and his post-doctoral researchers did recently in their Oregon State University lab. The goal was to produce a “skutterudite,” a type of compound that’s very good at solving an age-old problem: converting excess heat into useful electricity. Waste heat, be it car or factory exhaust, is considered an abundant source of electric power. It is also underutilized, in part because making materials such as skutterudites is a time-consuming undertaking. So like any harried chef, Subramanian took advantage of the microwave’s efficiencies to reduce the amount of time from a couple of days to just a few minutes. “It really speeds up the process,” says Subramanian, adding that the team is now looking for industrial collaborators to help scale up the research, an effort that could lead to more efficient factories and cars. So how did the team decide to zap a metal mixture? “It was mainly curiosity,” says Subramanian. The serendipitous outcome was classic “kitchen chemistry,” he adds. “Like making a pizza.”

 

More Articles

Risks & rewards of owning triple net investments

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 24, 2014
NNNinvestmentBY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Interview: Dr. Mark Goulston

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 10, 2014
JustListenBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS