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

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces announced

News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-1000pxwBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


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