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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Scientists suggest quantum control of atoms may make fusion energy production more efficient

March 03, 2017

Scientists at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chile are proposing that quantum-controlled motion of nuclei, starting from the nanometer-size ground state of a molecule, can potentially overcome some of the difficulties of thermonuclear fusion by compression of a fuel pellet or in a bulk plasma.

Their report on quantum-controlled fusion suggests that rather than heating atoms to temperatures found inside the sun or smashing them in a collider, it might be possible to nudge them close enough to fuse by using shaped laser pulses: ultrashort, tuned bursts of coherent light.

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Reseachers attribute suddent surge in China PEV sales to massive subsidies and huge non-monetary incentives

January 09, 2017

Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in China—battery-electric and plug-in hybrid—suddenly soared 343% in 2015 to about 331,000 units—more than 3 times the number sold in the US that year. China-based BYD is now the world’s leading manaufacturer of PEVs, jumping ahead of Nissan and Tesla. Six other China OEMs are among the top 20 PEV manufacturers.

However, notes a team from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis and CATARC (China Automotive Technology and Research Center), just the year before PEV sales were stagnant, despite large subsidies and incentives. In a new paper in the journal Energy Policy, they explore the factors behind the surge and ways to maintain the strength of the market.

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7 finalists announced for USDOT Smart City Challenge; Amazon Web Services new partner

March 14, 2016

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, announced the seven finalists for the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors—into their transportation network.

The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA. Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives of the seven city finalists, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales for the announcement at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held during the South by Southwest conference (SXSW).

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