“Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.” – William J. H. Boetcker
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Turn your Bobcat loader into an efficient concrete mixer with this rugged, cost-effective attachment.
The Bobcat concrete mixer attachment lets you mix, transport and dump concrete much more quickly than a traditional stand-alone mixer and wheelbarrow. It’s ideal for working in hard-to-reach or limited-access areas. The attachment’s compact size makes it perfect for sidewalks, driveways, finish work, fence posts and footings and floors of small buildings.
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Karelia/russia – Jul 03 2016: Terex Excavator Digging a Trench at Building Site. Terex Corporation Products Construction Vehicles Since 1933
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Biofuels like the ethanol in U.S. gasoline could get cheaper thanks to experts at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University.
They’ve demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to corn stalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published this month on the cover of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
“The bottom line is we can cut down the cost of converting biomass into biofuels,” said Shishir P. S. Chundawat, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Typically, the enzymes tapped to help turn switchgrass, corn stover (corn stalks, leaves and other leftovers) and poplar into biofuels amount to about 20 percent of production costs, said Chundawat, whose department is in the School of Engineering. Enzymes cost about 50 cents per gallon of ethanol, so recycling or using fewer enzymes would make biofuels more inexpensive.
In the United States, gasoline typically contains up to 10 percent ethanol and corn grain is the primary feedstock of ethanol, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Biorefineries produce about 15 billion gallons of ethanol a year.
In the last few years, some refineries began converting the inedible parts of corn plants into ethanol, Chundawat said.
“The challenge is breaking down cellulose (plant) material, using enzymes, into sugars that can be fermented into ethanol,” he said. “So any advances on making the enzyme processing step cheaper will make the cost of biofuel cheaper. This is a fairly intractable problem that requires you to attack it from various perspectives, so it does take time.”
Biomass contains lignin, an organic polymer that binds to and strengthens plant fibers. But lignin inactivates enzymes that bind to it, hampering efforts to reduce enzyme use and costs, according to Chundawat.
The Rutgers and Michigan State University researchers showed how specially designed enzymes (proteins) can limit their binding to and inactivation by lignin. That would ultimately lower enzyme use and make enzyme recycling feasible for biorefineries in the near future, Chundawat said.
Squid-inspired proteins can act as programmable assemblers of 2D materials, like graphene oxide, to form hybrid materials with minute spacing between layers suitable for high-efficiency devices including flexible electronics, energy storage systems and mechanical actuators, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers.
“2D layered materials can be made by vacuum (chemical vapor) deposition,” said Melik C. Demirel, Pierce Development Professor and professor of engineering science and mechanics . “But the process is expensive and takes a long time. With chemical vapor deposition the problem also is we can’t scale up.”
Materials like graphene oxide are composed of single layers of molecules connected in a plain. While the length and breadth of the sheet can be anything, the height is only that of one molecule. To make usable composites and devices, 2D materials must be stacked either in piles of identical sheets or combinations of sheets of different composition stacked to specification. Together with Mauricio Terrones, professor of physics, chemistry and materials science and engineering, and director of 2D Atomic Center, Penn State, Demirel and his team are currently looking at stacking sheets of identical materials using a solvent approach that self assembles.
“Using the solvent approach the molecules are self-assembling, self-healing and flexible,” said Demirel. “Currently we are stacking identical layers, but they don’t have to be the same.”
To make these molecular composites using solvent technology, the researchers combined the sheets of graphene oxide with synthetic polymers patterned after proteins found in squid ring teeth. One end of the protein strand attaches to the edge of a graphene oxide sheet and the other end attaches to the edge of another graphene dioxide sheet. The sheets of graphene oxide self-assemble to stack up with proteins linking the edges of the sheets. The length of these tandem repeat proteins — their molecular weight — determines the distance between sheets.
“Up until now, no one has been able to stack composite layers closer than 1 nanometer,” said Demirel. “We can stack them at atomistic precision with 0.4, 0.6 or 0.9 nanometer resolution by choosing the right molecular weight of the same protein. Respectively.”
The researchers tested this material’s ability to make tiny devices by creating bimorph thermal actuators. A bimorph activator is a small piece of material made from two different layers and placed perpendicular to a surface. When activated, usually by an electric current, the bimorph actuator bends from the perpendicular.
The researchers report in the July issue of Carbon that “these novel molecular composite bimorph actuators can facilitate thermal actuation at voltages as low as about 2 volts, and they boast energy efficiencies 18 times better than regular bimorph actuators assembled using bulk graphene oxide and tandem repeat films.” They believe that higher molecular weight proteins could reach much higher displacements.
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SAW Blade: Thinner Plate for Faster Cuts
DEWALT has updated its line of construction saw blades. The yellow rim has been removed from the blades, making it easier to inspect the sharpness of the blade’s carbide teeth. The 71⁄4-in. blades also now feature a thinner plate design for faster cuts in material that doesn’t require much force. The new thin-plate design is the same as found on the manufacturer’s precision saw blades. DEWALT; www.dewalt.com
Off-Road Truck Chassis: Durable Design
Acela Truck has recently expanded distribution of its Monterra line of extreme-duty truck chassis in North America. Available in 4×4 and 6×6 variants, the trucks are designed for off-road applications including remote construction, oil and gas production, and mining. All-wheel drive and 46-in. tires are standard features, and it boasts a 22-in. ground clearance. Able to work over-the-road without modification, the chassis is powered by a 330-hp Cat 7.2L diesel engine. Acela Truck Co.; www.acelatruck.com
Portable Generator: Improved Power Delivery
The Cat RP12000 E portable generator is capable of delivering up to 12kW of power. The generator has a larger frame than earlier models, and features a 670cc V-twin engine. The generator has an 11-hour runtime when operating at 50% load, and also features a low-power idle mode to conserve fuel. In addition to standard power outlets, the generator also has a 50A 240V outlet for powering heavy-duty power tools. The frame is constructed of durable 35-mm steel tubing. Caterpillar; www.cat.com
Pneumatic Cap Nailer: Lightweight Tool
The Stinger CN1000 pneumatic cap nailer is designed for securing underlayments and housewrap in roofing construction. The tool automatically applies a 1-in. plastic cap to the nail head, reducing the chance of moisture penetration. The caps can also reduce damage to the underlayment from snags and reduce tripping hazards when working on steep-slope roofs. The nailer weighs 1.9 lb and can fire up to three nails per second. A tool-free depth-adjustment gauge allows for quick changes to nail depth. The tool can hold 200 nails and 200 caps at a time. National Nail; www.stingerworld.com
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“Let me pick up the pieces that lay scattered. Let me mend the heart, that I once with a lie shattered. Let me heal your wounded heart, and put the pieces together. Let me take you by the hand, and lead the way. Let me hug you tight and push your fears away. Let us be happy and erase all the hurt!…” – Philip T. M.
While the negative health and environmental effects of mining and burning coal are well documented, simply transporting and storing coal can also adversely affect the health outcomes of individuals living near coal-fired power plants. New research explores the health and environmental costs of coal storage and transportation, finding that increases in the level of coal stockpiles held by U.S. power plants increase local air pollution levels, which in turn increases the average infant and adult mortality rates in the communities near these plants.
The new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, “Handle with Care: The Local Air Pollution Costs of Coal Storage,” was written by Akshaya Jha of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and Nicholas Muller of Middlebury College.
“Despite the thicket of environmental regulations relevant to coal, our paper uncovers an as yet unstudied dimension of coal use that we argue requires policy intervention — the environmental consequences of the coal purchase and storage behavior of U.S. power plants,” said Jha.
Jha and Muller utilized monthly, plant-level data on coal purchases and stockpiles provided by the Energy Information Administration as well as air quality data from the Environmental Protection Agency for the period of 2002 to 2012 to determine how coal stockpiles affect concentration of fine particulates (PM2.5) within 25 miles of coal plants. They assessed how increases in PM2.5 affect mortality rates by studying mortality data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using these data, they estimated that a 10 percent increase in coal stockpiles led to a 0.07 percent increase in air pollution for communities up to 25 miles away from coal plants. They next demonstrated that a 10 percent increase in PM2.5 levels causes average adult mortality rates to rise by 1.1 percent and average infant mortality rates to rise by 6.6 percent in those communities.
Finally, the authors combined their estimates for the effect of coal transportation and storage on PM2.5 and the effect of PM2.5 on mortality rates to calculate the local air pollution costs of coal procurement to areas around power plants. They determined that the local environmental cost of PM2.5 increases is $182.67 per ton of coal stockpiled and the local air pollution cost per ton of coal delivered is $202.51. To put these figures in perspective, the average U.S. coal-fired power plant pays $48.00 per ton for coal, stockpiles 212,781.6 tons of coal and has 106,235 tons of coal delivered to it each month.
The authors’ results suggest that most of the local air pollution costs of coal procurement and storage are borne by the communities within 25 miles of a coal plant. As stated in the paper: “as people living in census tracts with power plants have lower per-capita incomes and educational attainment on average relative to residents of census tracts without power plants, the highly localized environmental costs of coal procurement disproportionately affect economically disadvantaged communities.”
The authors propose low-cost policy solutions that might help mitigate these negative effects. Requiring that coal stockpiles and railcars containing coal be covered is a less expensive and unobtrusive way to reduce PM2.5 levels and reduce the environmental costs. “These types of policies should be easier to implement relative to global anti-pollution policy initiatives since jurisdictions do not need to coordinate with one another,” said Jha. “Given that the local environmental costs of coal storage and handling are incurred primarily by communities living near coal-fired power plants, we hope that local policymakers will consider these simple and easy solutions.”
Find the report at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23417
Materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.