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Idea: Austin-based robotics startup Apptronik has unveiled a humanoid robotic named Astro. It’s a general-purpose robotic that may work alongside people.

Nature of Disruption: Astro is a human-centered robotic system that features vision-based greedy. It leverages ML know-how to seek out, seize and decide up objects. The robotic has fashionable actuation packed right into a small type issue. The startup claims the robotic to be agile, safer, and extra succesful than the beforehand present programs. Astro includes adaptable robotic know-how that’s appropriate for unstructured environments throughout enterprises. The robotic can help the human workforce in operations akin to facility inspections, provide chain operations, and different laborious or harmful duties. It will also be used as a general-purpose robotic throughout a number of industries to get rid of challenges.

Outlook: At current, each main business is going through huge productiveness and provide chain points. The introduction of commercial automation into important industries can remedy issues related to them. Apptronik’s humanoid robots supply scalable options for essentially the most urgent points. The robots can be utilized throughout the manufacturing and automotive industries. In June 2022, the startup raised $14.6 million in seed funding led by Capital Manufacturing facility, Grit Ventures, and Perot Jain. Apptronik goals to make the most of these funds to commercialize humanoid robots. Moreover, the startup plans to make robots, a central instrument for mankind throughout essential industries as clients and robots are working efficiently out there.

This text was initially revealed in Verdict.co.uk

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Tweaking turbine angles squeezes more power out of wind farms

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How not to short-circuit the clean energy transition


Credit score: Pixabay/CC0 Public Area

A brand new management algorithm for wind farms that alters how particular person generators are oriented into the wind guarantees to spice up farms’ total effectivity and energy output by optimizing how they take care of their turbulent wake.

The algorithm, which was examined at a business wind farm in India however might be employed anyplace, gives the potential for a right away, no-cost enchancment in present . It additionally could allow wind farms to be constructed in tighter quarters, thus squeezing extra out of much less —mitigating an enormous con of wind energy.

Collectively, wind farms generate about 380 billion kilowatt-hours annually in america. If each U.S. wind farm have been to undertake the brand new technique and see effectivity will increase just like these discovered within the new research, it might be equal to including tons of of recent generators able to powering tons of of hundreds of houses to the nation’s energy grid, says Caltech’s John O. Dabiri, the Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, and senior writer of a paper on the venture that was revealed by the journal Nature Energy on August 11.

“Particular person generators generate uneven air, or a wake, which hurts the efficiency of each turbine downwind of them,” Dabiri says. “To deal with that, wind farm generators are historically spaced as far aside as doable, which sadly takes up loads of actual property.”

After years of learning the issue, Dabiri and his former graduate scholar Michael F. Howland, lead writer of the paper and now the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, developed an algorithm that forces particular person wind generators to cease performing solely in their very own curiosity—that’s, maximizing their very own entry to wind by dealing with straight into it—and as an alternative act for the higher good of the wind farm’s manufacturing.

A yearlong, real-world take a look at and tune of the algorithm performed in India from 2020 to 2021 was made doable by Varun Sivaram who, on the time, was the (CTO) of ReNew Energy, India’s largest renewable energy firm, and who’s now senior advisor to U.S. Particular Presidential Envoy for Local weather John Kerry, as his managing director for clear energy and innovation. Sivaram can be a coauthor on the paper.

Sivaram had been impressed by a presentation Dabiri made in 2017 to the board of administrators of a Canadian energy utility about utilizing algorithms to enhance the effectivity of wind farms. When he grew to become CTO of ReNew Energy in 2018, Sivaram reached out to see whether or not Dabiri can be desirous about collaborating.

“I referred to as up John and requested if we might do that. And he mentioned, ‘I’ve bought a unprecedented grad scholar proper now, and I feel this could be the right venture for all of us to deal with.'”

Howland’s curiosity in collective wind-farm management started when he was an at Johns Hopkins College learning the physics of airflow by way of wind farms. “I used to be desirous about creating for wind farms, which can be utilized to enhance effectivity,” Howland says. “Nevertheless it’s extremely costly when it comes to compute energy to simulate the complete physics of the atmospheric and wind farm stream.”

It was throughout his undergraduate analysis that Howland first explored how misaligning the angle of the turbine with respect to the wind makes an amazing impression on the wake.

To clarify the importance of that adjustment, it helps to know that there should not loads of methods to simply tweak the efficiency of a wind turbine with out putting in further {hardware}. They aren’t designed to have their tilt, or their up-and-down angle, altered. However they are often swiveled aspect to aspect, adjusting their yaw.

“Some earlier research centered on modifying the drag created by the ability era of the turbine,” Howland says. “Letting the blades spin extra freely creates much less intense wakes, however the turbine with modified operation additionally generates much less energy.” Yaw misalignment, however, doesn’t simply cut back wake power—it redirects its impression downstream.

After his undergraduate research, Howland pursued his graduate levels with Dabiri, who was then at Stanford College. Dabiri had beforehand accomplished work at Caltech learning how wind turbine placementinfluenced energy output. In 2019, Howland and Dabiri developed a pc mannequin to aim to enhance the efficiency of a particular array of six generators, after which performed a two-week take a look at on the array to gauge the efficiency of the generators. They demonstrated {that a} farm-wide orientation technique that features yaw misalignment can enhance total efficiency. The issue was, had they actually optimized the efficiency at that farm? Or just improved it considerably in comparison with the industry-standard management strategies?

With out with the ability to take a look at the entire doable suboptimal methods and straight select the most effective one, it was unimaginable to say. So, the staff centered particularly on creating improved fashions for the way adjusting an upwind turbine’s angle impacts each the downwind generators and likewise the efficiency of the misaligned turbine itself. Importantly, the efficiency of the misaligned turbine depends upon the incident atmospheric wind circumstances that stream into the farm. Modeling the joint impact of the angle adjustment and the incident wind circumstances was vital to creating an correct mannequin that may predict the absolute best farm orientation technique.

“As a result of robust wake results cut back the ability manufacturing of downwind generators, the upwind turbine is doing the heavy lifting for the full farm manufacturing,” Howland explains. “Precisely modeling the ability of the yaw-misaligned turbine, relying on the atmospheric wind stream, was typically ignored in fashions used for wind farm flow-control optimization. This was a spotlight for each our mannequin improvement and our validation experiments.”

Primarily based on that analysis, Howland, Dabiri, and their colleagues developed an algorithm that forces particular person generators—beginning with the main turbine—to misalign their yaw by as much as 25 levels as a way to maximize total farm effectivity and due to this fact energy output.

Relying on the velocity of the wind, the brand new algorithm was able to tweaking the orientation of the generators to spice up the general output of the wind farm in India by between 1 and three %.

“Nobody must construct or purchase something new to begin instantly getting extra energy out of their wind farm,” Dabiri says.

Nevertheless, the actual profit, Howland and Dabiri say, is the potential for the algorithm to permit wind generators to be clustered nearer collectively by actively addressing the wake subject, both by including new generators in between present ones or by permitting future building plans to pack extra generators right into a given plot of land.

Some of the necessary components of the brand new algorithm is that it has the potential to be helpful anyplace, from an offshore wind farm within the North Sea to the wind farms that dot the desert exterior Palm Springs, California, by predicting the most effective technique for orienting the yaw misalignment of particular person generators. “There was no technique to reliably do this prediction till this paper; there was solely trial and error,” Dabiri says. “The issue is, you may’t spend a very long time doing a ton of experiments on a wind farm that has an obligation to be producing energy for its prospects.”

As an alternative, Howland and Dabiri’s algorithm boils every wind farm website down to a couple necessary parameters that mathematically describe how wakes might be created by its generators. The algorithm then predicts the most effective methods to mitigate that wake. For instance, one vital issue is whether or not the wind farm is over land or is offshore, as a result of land gives extra frictional resistance to wind than water does, and thus breaks up a wake over a shorter distance. The algorithm is grounded within the physics of the atmospheric and wind farm stream, nevertheless it leverages operational wind farm information to be taught and enhance the mannequin, considerably decreasing the predictive errors and uncertainties.

A key factor of the venture is that it’s not simply primarily based on concept; somewhat, it was examined in the actual world at a power-generating wind farm. At Sivaram’s route, ReNew Energy invested in LiDAR models (laser scanning gadgets) that measured the height-dependent wind velocity and route within the stream incident to the wind farm, providing fine-grained information that allowed Howland and Dabiri to enhance their algorithm as wanted. As well as, engineering groups have been established in India and Spain to collaborate with Howland and Dabiri again within the States.

“On the finish, everybody was blown away by the magnitude of what was completed: an enchancment in efficiency that prices nothing when it comes to infrastructure funding to attain,” Sivaram says. ReNew Energy is now working to increase the findings to enhance the remainder of its fleet of wind farms.

In the meantime, the staff plans to increase its discipline demonstrations to deal with offshore wind farms, which current new challenges and alternatives.

“The wakes are likely to persist for for much longer distances over the ocean, so these new strategies turn out to be much more necessary,” Dabiri says. “On the similar time, the wind useful resource offshore is phenomenal and nonetheless largely untapped. And, we are able to design these wind farms from scratch utilizing these concepts, so we’re not restricted by present wind layouts, as is the case for present wind farms on land.”

The actual-world testing of the algorithm was made doable partly by the efforts of Caltech’s Workplace of Know-how Switch and Company Partnerships (OTTCP), which helped the engineers in Pasadena negotiate a relationship with ReNew Energy in India and likewise Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Innovation & Know-how in Spain (the corporate that designed the generators ReNew Energy operates).

“Working with OTTCP was incredible,” Sivaram says. “What we created is a groundbreaking, three-continent settlement that I now use as a mannequin.”

Sivaram sits on the steering committee of Mission Innovation, a world analysis and improvement alliance introduced by President Barack Obama in 2015 to deal with local weather change and make clear energy extra inexpensive.

“That is my centerpiece instance for the way we wish to do worldwide R&D collaboration,” Sivaram says. “If we’ve got 100 extra partnerships like these, then we’ll change the world.”

The venture was additionally a real product of the COVID-19 pandemic, because the engineers from the U.S. and Spain solely met in-person one time—at a dinner in Pasadena held in February 2020 to kick off their new enterprise.

“We thought then that we might all be assembly up commonly to share notes and talk about concepts,” Dabiri says. “Fortunately, we have been all in a position to pivot towards work through video convention, with a number of on-line conferences every week all through 2020, 2021, and 2022.”


How to build a better wind farm


Extra data:
Michael Howland, Collective wind farm operation primarily based on a predictive mannequin will increase utility-scale energy manufacturing, Nature Energy (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41560-022-01085-8. www.nature.com/articles/s41560-022-01085-8

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What if we could recycle the energy remaining in discarded batteries? Scientists now know how

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What if we could recycle the energy remaining in discarded batteries? Scientists now know how


Credit score: Unsplash/CC0 Public Area

Alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries are frequent in lots of self-powered units. Nonetheless, as soon as a battery is discharged, it’s not usable and is discarded. In line with estimates, practically 15 billion batteries are produced and offered worldwide yearly. Most of those find yourself in landfills and a few are salvaged for precious metals. Nonetheless, though these batteries will not be usable, there’s often a small quantity of energy left in them. In truth, about half of them include as a lot as 50% energy.

Lately, a bunch of researchers from Taiwan investigated the feasibility of recovering this energy from single-use (or main) discarded batteries. Led by Professor Chien-Hsing Lee from NCKU, Taiwan, the group centered its analysis efforts on this entrance to advertise a round economic system for discarded batteries.

The researchers, of their research, proposed a brand new technique known as “self-adaptive pulse ” (SAPD) that can be utilized to find out the optimum values of two key parameters—pulse frequency and obligation cycle—that decide the discharge present from the discarded batteries. A excessive discharge present, merely put, quantities to a excessive quantity of recovered energy.

“Draining small remaining energy from family batteries is a place to begin for waste discount, and the proposed energy restoration technique serves as an efficient device to reutilize a lot of discarded main batteries,” says Prof. Lee, explaining his motivation behind the research, which was revealed in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics.






A brand new method to extracting residual energy from waste batteries may function a place to begin for waste discount analysis. Credit score: Nationwide Cheng Kung College (NCKU)

Moreover, the researchers constructed a {hardware} prototype for his or her proposed method that was used to get better the remaining capability of a battery financial institution able to holding a minimum of 6 and at most 10 batteries of various manufacturers. They managed to get better between 798–1455 J of energy with a restoration effectivity between 33%– 46%.

For a discarded main cell, the researchers discovered that the short-circuit discharge (SCD) technique had the best discharge fee in the beginning of the discharge cycle. Nonetheless, the SAPD technique confirmed a better discharge fee on the finish of the discharge cycle. Through the use of the SCD and SAPD strategies, the energy recovered had been 32% and 50%, respectively. Nonetheless, upon combining these strategies, 54% of energy was recovered.

To additional validate the feasibility of the proposed technique, a couple of discarded AA and AAA batteries had been chosen for energy restoration. The crew may efficiently get better 35%–41% of the energy from discarded batteries. “Whereas there appears to be no benefit in draining a small quantity of energy from a single discarded battery, the recovered considerably will increase if a lot of waste batteries are exploited,” says Prof. Lee.

The researchers counsel that there might be a direct hyperlink between the restoration effectivity and the remaining capability of discarded batteries. As for the long run implications of their work, Prof. Lee speculates that “the mannequin and the prototype developed could be utilized to battery sorts apart from AA and AAA. Along with several types of batteries, , reminiscent of , can be examined to supply extra details about the variability amongst totally different batteries.”


Design and implementation of a lithium-ion battery management system for EVs


Extra info:
Chien-Hsing Lee et al, An Strategy to Get well Energy From Discarded Main Batteries Earlier than Being Disassembled, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2021). DOI: 10.1109/TIE.2021.3088367

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What if we may recycle the energy remaining in discarded batteries? Scientists now know the way (2022, August 11)
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How artificial intelligence could lower nuclear energy costs

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Tech billionaires rally around nuclear as energy crisis looms


Credit score: CC0 Public Area

Nuclear energy crops present giant quantities of electrical energy with out releasing planet-warming air pollution. However the expense of operating these crops has made it tough for them to remain open. If nuclear is to play a job within the U.S. clear energy economic system, prices should come down. Scientists on the U.S. Division of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne Nationwide Laboratory are devising methods that would make nuclear energy extra aggressive utilizing synthetic intelligence.

Nuclear energy crops are costly partially as a result of they demand fixed monitoring and upkeep to make sure constant energy movement and security. Argonne is halfway by a $1 million, three-year undertaking to discover how sensible, computerized methods may change the economics.

“Operation and upkeep prices are fairly related for nuclear models, which presently require giant web site crews and in depth maintenance,” stated Roberto Ponciroli, a principal nuclear engineer at Argonne. “We expect that autonomous operation might help to enhance their profitability and in addition profit the deployment of superior reactor ideas.”

The undertaking goals to create a that would detect issues early and suggest acceptable actions to human operators. The know-how may save the greater than $500 million a 12 months, Ponciroli and colleagues estimate.

A typical nuclear plant can maintain lots of of sensors, all of them monitoring completely different elements to ensure they’re working correctly.

“In a world the place choices are made in accordance with information, it is essential to know you could belief your information,” Ponciroli stated. “Sensors, like some other element, can degrade. Realizing that your sensors are functioning is essential.”

The job of inspecting every sensor—and in addition the efficiency of system elements comparable to valves, pumps, —presently rests with workers who stroll the plant flooring. As an alternative, algorithms may confirm information by studying how a standard sensor capabilities and searching for anomalies.

Having validated a plant’s sensors, a man-made intelligence system would then interpret alerts from them and suggest particular actions.

Ponciroli presents an instance: As an example your automotive’s dashboard alerts you to a tire with low air strain. that you just needn’t pull over immediately, however you may resolve to decelerate a bit to keep away from a puncture till you may fill the tire with air.

People make some of these judgment calls on a regular basis. We consider data, decide and take motion, like altering controls (within the situation above, slowing down the automotive) and making repairs. A synthetic intelligence technique referred to as replicates the mind’s logic by instructing the system to make choices by evaluating potential outcomes. At a nuclear plant, computer systems may detect issues and flag them to plant operators as early as attainable, serving to optimize controls and in addition avert dearer repairs down the road. On the similar time, computer systems may forestall pointless upkeep on gear that does not want it.

“The lower-level duties that individuals do now could be handed off to algorithms,” stated Richard Vilim, an Argonne senior nuclear engineer. “We’re attempting to raise people to the next diploma of situational consciousness in order that they’re observers making choices.”

Partnering with trade to develop testing situations, Argonne engineers have constructed a pc simulation, or “digital twin,” of a complicated nuclear reactor. Whereas the system is designed to serve new reactor applied sciences, Vilim stated, it is also versatile sufficient to be utilized at present nuclear crops.

The workforce is validating its idea on the simulated reactor, and up to now they’ve accomplished methods to regulate and diagnose its digital elements. The rest of the undertaking will deal with the system’s decision-making capacity—what it does with the diagnostic information.

As a result of an autonomous requires these diverse capabilities, the tip product of the Argonne workforce’s work is a system structure that stitches a number of algorithms collectively. For instance, engineers are adapting code together with Argonne’s System Evaluation Module (SAM), an evaluation software for superior reactors. SAM, which was developed in collaboration with engineering agency Kairos Energy, gained a 2019 R&D 100 award.

“Argonne is effectively suited to this undertaking, as a result of we have already got all of the capabilities we want in-house,” Ponciroli stated. “It is only a matter of mixing them to get much more out of them.”


3D printed nuclear reactor components installed at TVA Browns Ferry nuclear plant


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