reflections on the technium

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay

Archive for June 2013

Personalized Energy

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What’s an Olympic-sized pool of water, the Sun, and an artificial leaf have in common? The solution to the worlds energy problems! Dr Daniel Nocera (lab, wikipedia) has created an “artificial leaf” that when immersed in water and illuminated by sunlight breaks water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Dr Nocera says that one pool of water contains enough energy (by rearranging its bonds) to more than satisfy our present energy demands. He envisions a energy revolution where we personally create our own energy using the artificial leaf. No more meters… No more centralized electricity production… No more grid…

Video: Dan Nocera: Personalized Energy

Video: Sustainocene: Harvard Leads a New Epoch for Humankind

Video: Dr. Daniel G. Nocera – A Solution to the Global Energy Challenge

Video: The Artificial Leaf

More YouTube videos here.

List of patents by Prof Nocera.



Written by Chuck Petras

June 22, 2013 at 18:11

The Fourth Phase of Water

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States of matter… We’ve been taught that there are three: solid, liquid, and gas (some also add plasma). A researcher and his team in Seattle have added a fourth for water called an exclusion zone. A nether world between solid and liquid that exhibits amazing properties.

Dr Gerald Pollack defines this fourth phase, this exclusion zone (EZ), as “the unexpectedly large zone of water that forms next to many submersed materials, got its name because it excludes practically everything. The EZ contains a lot of charge, and its character differs from that of bulk water.”

An exclusion zone is deceptively easy to create. Whenever water comes into contact with a hydrophilic (water loving) surface a EZ forms. The amazing thing about this is that within the EZ any impurities are squeezed out, plus an electrical potential is created. Even more amazing is the fact that infrared radiation (sunlight) adds energy to the EZ causing it to expand and the electrical gradient to increase.

Essentially he’s identified natures technique for purifying water and making electricity from the sun. Wow!

Dr Pollack has written a book, The Fourth Phase of Water and you can preview some sample chapters here.

Here is a presentation Dr Pollack did on electrically structured water earlier this year: Part 1, Part 2.

Here’s a TEDx talk on the Fourth Phase of Water.

Dr Pollack’s web site and some links to this research are here and here.

Here are some links to patents he’s authored:
Method and system for generating electrical energy from water

Separating components of aqueous mixtures, suspensions, and solutions

Method and apparatus for collecting fractions of mixtures, suspensions, and solutions of non-polar liquids

Method and apparatus for generating a fluid flow

Membrane-electrode assembly for polymeric membrane fuel cell


Written by Chuck Petras

June 22, 2013 at 09:08

Posted in innovation

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