Solid-oxide fuel cells that use gasified coal as a hydrogen source are a good candidate for the power plants of the future, because they can operate cleanly at high efficiencies and large sizes. But among the challenges they face, high manufacturing costs loom large. Now, GE researchers have demonstrated a method for assembling layers of ceramic and metal materials cheaply enough that a solid-oxide fuel cell system can be built for about $800 per kilowatt, which starts to approach the $500 to $550 per kilowatt of a conventional gas-fired plant. GE’s six-kilowatt prototype (left) is a little more than two meters tall, with the fuel cell stack in the top section, and piping and control systems in the cooler lower section. The performance of the prototype suggests that a larger version could lead to gasified-coal-fueled power plants with greater than 50 percent efficiency, much better than the 35 percent efficiency of conventional plants. “I do believe GE has established a new state of the art,” says Wayne Surdoval, technology manager for fuel cells at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI
One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.
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