News Article | May 11, 2017
The hunt for “needle in a haystack” materials that could help efficiently produce fuel from just water, sunlight and carbon dioxide has, over four decades, yielded only 16 prospects, none of which led to the creation of a commercially viable solar fuels generator. But the number of materials that could serve as catalysts for creating solar fuel is now significantly expanding thanks to the development of a new “discovery pipeline” by a team of researchers in California—a breakthrough that puts more options on the table for scientists trying to develop a renewable energy source. In two years, the research team identified nearly double the number of applicable materials using a new method developed through a partnership between the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Materials Project. The scientists say they have also discovered, but not yet reported, dozens of additional materials that may be capable of splitting water using energy from the sun. After splitting water, the extracted hydrogen atoms can be used to create hydrogen gas or combined with carbon dioxide to create hydrocarbon fuel. High-throughput theory By mimicking the natural process of photosynthesis, scientists aim to convert and store the energy of the sun for on-demand use in cost-effective and scalable systems. But since water doesn’t separate into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of sunlight, a material known as a photoanode is needed to facilitate that reaction. John Gregoire, principal investigator and research thrust coordinator with the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, said researchers face a significant challenge when trying to identify potential photoanodes. While metal oxides are “very promising materials” for photoanodes due to their stability, they usually don’t absorb visible light. “The trick is finding the special kind of metal oxides that absorb visual light or, more technically, have a band gap energy in the visible range,” Gregoire told Laboratory Equipment. “These are really kind of needle in a haystack materials. There are many known metal oxides, but very few of them exhibit all the necessary properties to be solar fuels photoanodes.” For example, there are only 16 known oxide photoanodes, despite the thousands of metal oxides chemists work with on a daily basis. To accelerate the process of identifying potential photoanodes, Gregoire and a team of researchers co-led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Jeffrey Neaton and Qimin Yan developed a discovery pipeline that integrates theory and experiment. The researchers started by selectively mining a database of roughly 66,000 compounds with a well-defined hypothesis and identified 174 potentially promising vanadates, which contain vanadium, oxygen and one other element. They then screened those vanadates using a computational method aimed at predicting which materials would exhibit the properties of a photoanode. “High-throughput theoretical materials discovery has been on the rise recently, but a shortcoming is that such efforts do not involve experiments and therefore are limited by the accuracy of the computational methods,” Neaton, also a principal investigator with the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, told Laboratory Equipment. The center is a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub dedicated to the development of solar fuels. But, in the integrated discovery pipeline developed by Gregoire and Neaton, promising materials identified by the computational methods were passed directly to experiment, where researchers measured the materials’ optical and photocatalytic properties. While high-throughput techniques are commonplace in pharmaceutical and biological labs, materials science tends to be more complex in that running high-throughput theory and high-throughput experiments separately has yielded ineffective results. “By combining them and coming up with a screening pipeline that uses both experiment and theory together is how we’ve been able to really accelerate the discovery process,” Gregoire said. While the researchers acknowledge the 12 materials they identified and reported in their study are far from appearing in any type of commercially available solar fuel generator, they say one of the keys to accelerating the development of solar technology is identifying more potential photoanodes. And the integrated pipeline does just that—quickly. “This is a discovery that they have any activity at all,” Gregoire said. Additional calculations and experiments are next to figure out how the newly discovered materials can be optimized. Several questions about the materials need to be answered in the process, including, what is their maximum activity? and what is the limit of their efficiency? As if identifying 12 new materials suitable as photoanodes isn’t accomplishment enough, Gregoire, Neaton and colleagues said they are not done yet. “The bigger picture is that we only used one of our design criteria to identify these 12. We have a number of other design criteria. So we are exploring very different metal oxides and are continuing to rapidly discover photoanodes in these other spaces, as well. Now that we have this high-throughput discovery pipeline working, we’re getting very good at finding all the needles in the haystack. We have dozens more discoveries.” Artificial leaf Other researchers at the Joint Center of Artificial Photosynthesis have developed an artificial leaf, a solar-driven system that splits water to create hydrogen fuels. The system is made up of two electrodes—one photoanode and one photocathode—and a membrane. The photoanode uses sunlight to oxidize water molecules, generating protons and electrons as well as oxygen gas. The photocathode recombines the protons and electrons to form hydrogen gas. A key part of the JCAP design is a plastic membrane, which keeps the oxygen and hydrogen gases separate. If the two gases are allowed to mix and are accidentally ignited, an explosion can occur; the membrane lets the hydrogen fuel be separately collected under pressure and safely pushed into a pipeline. In studies, the system was shown to convert 10 percent of the energy in sunlight into stored energy. During natural photosynthesis, plants convert about 1 percent of the sunlight’s energy into stored energy. Additionally, the artificial leaf system was proven capable of continuously operating for more than 40 hours. “Our work shows that it is indeed possible to produce fuels from sunlight safely and efficiently in an integrated system with inexpensive components,” said Caltech’s Nate Lewis in August 2015, when the system was announced. “Of course, we still have work to do to extend the lifetime of the system and to develop methods for cost-effectively manufacturing full systems, both of which are in progress.” Part of what Neaton, Gregoire and their team is trying to do is find replacements for the more expensive materials in prototype devices, like the artificial leaf, to drive down costs and create efficient, affordable and scalable solar fuel generation technology. “This photoanode material is just one material in the overall device that involves having to integrate many materials and having them all work together,” Gregoire said. “We don’t know yet whether any of these discoveries will be able to be integrated with the other known components and create an efficient technology that is deployable and cost competitive with existing methods for producing fuels, but it gives us a lot more options to explore.” The timeline for when solar fuels may be powering people’s cars and homes is not clear, but researchers say their new method is giving a boost to that effort. “It’s not going to be next week, tomorrow, even two years from now. It’s still down the road,” said Neaton. “We need to be patient, but I do think that the way to accelerate this process is going to be identifying new materials that could realistically be used in devices.”
News Article | May 13, 2017
WARRENTON, VA, May 13, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- For the second year in a row Craftsman Construction has been among the nation's top remodelers. Every year remodeling Magazine compiles a list of the nation's top 550 remodelers. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University estimates there are approximately 87,000 remodeling companies with payrolls. This means companies with at least 1 employee. Seven out of eight of these companies will never reach the point of doing a $1 million in revenue per year says JCHS. The Remodeling 550 is a list of the nation's largest residential renovation companies. It comprises four categories: full service remodeling, specialty and replacement, insurance restoration companies and franchise operations. Craftsman Construction was named on the full service remodeling list, #291 Nationwide. According to the magazine, full-service remodeling companies offer general contractor services in renovation projects ranging from whole-house remodels to handyman jobs. Craftsman Construction President, Jerry Jackness said, "Being named among the top 550 remodeling companies in the entire United States is a strong boost of confidence to the Craftsman Construction team. Great design and workmanship, combined with the best customer service and warranty in the business, bring us a lot of repeat clients who also refer us to their family and friends." Craftsman Construction is celebrating its 30th year in business. Over the past 30 years they have built a solid reputation in the Northern Virginia area. The future is bright for the home remodeling industry! Craftsman Construction is proud to be part of this innovative industry, and to serve homeowners in and around The Northern Virginia area. We look forward to continuing to fulfill our clients' dreams and create beautiful projects for many years to come. Craftsman Construction Specializes in Design Build Projects with an emphasis on energy conservation. Craftsman Construction builds environmentally friendly and energy efficient homes for the new millennium. Craftsman Construction transforms home environments for middle and upper income clients, so families can live, work and play according to their lifestyle. We are unique in the building industry because we enrich the lives of families we work with thru our Design Build Process.
News Article | May 16, 2017
Hanley Wood, the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries, announces the release of the 2017 Remodeling 550 List. This list published by Hanley Wood’s REMODELING, is an annual ranking of the biggest full-service remodeling and replacement contractor firms, as well as the leading insurance restoration and franchise operations. “After a year of strong revenue growth, this year’s REMODELING 550 looks in good shape to hit its collective target of 12% growth and $5.17 billion in total revenue,” REMODELING Editor-in-Chief Craig Webb says. “This expected 2017 showing follows a year that saw both full-service and replacement contractor firms grow.” The top 300 full-service firms on REMODELING’s list reported 6.7% more revenue in 2016 than last year’s top 300 did in 2015. Meanwhile, the top 150 replacement contractor companies saw a 16.1% increase in home improvement revenue in 2016 compared to what their peers did the previous year. Those are notable achievements considering how hard it is to succeed as a residential remodeler. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) estimates that about one-fifth of the roughly 87,000 general remodeling businesses with payrolls drops from that status every year, either by shrinking to just one worker or going out of business entirely. Roughly seven out of eight never even reach the point where they take in $1 million in revenue per year, JCHS says. In contrast, the average revenue for the top 300 full-service firms on this year’s list is $5.1 million, and for replacement contractor/home improvement businesses it was $18.3 million. REMODELING’s 550 List can be found online at remodeling.hw.net/550. There you can sort and filter the data, which includes information on the company’s location, 2016 revenues, number of projects, and average job size. The website also includes numerous charts and profiles that illuminate details regarding the group. The bulk of the information in the REMODELING 550 comes from the companies themselves based on their responses to an online survey. Additional information came via email, phone calls, and public sources. REMODELING, published by Hanley Wood, is the leading publication in the home improvement industry. REMODELING has been and continues to be the indispensable tool that remodelers cannot do without—delivering the business know-how, product and technical information that home improvement pros need to help make smart decisions that will shape their project success. About Hanley Wood Hanley Wood is the premier company serving the information, media, and marketing needs of the residential, commercial design and construction industry. Utilizing the largest analytics and editorially driven Construction Industry Database, the company provides business intelligence and data-driven services. The company produces award-winning media, high-profile executive events, and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com.
News Article | May 2, 2017
PULLMAN, Wash. - A WSU research team for the first time has developed a promising way to recycle the popular carbon fiber plastics that are used in everything from modern airplanes and sporting goods to the wind energy industry. The work, reported in Polymer Degradation and Stability, provides an efficient way to re-use the expensive carbon fiber and other materials that make up the composites. Carbon fiber reinforced plastics are increasingly popular in many industries, particularly aviation, because they are light and strong. They are, however, very difficult to break down or recycle, and disposing of them has become of increasing concern. While thermoplastics, the type of plastic used in milk bottles, can be melted and easily re-used, most composites used in planes are thermosets. These types of plastics are cured and can't easily be undone and returned to their original materials. To recycle them, researchers mostly have tried grinding them down mechanically or breaking them down with very high temperatures or harsh chemicals to recover the expensive carbon fiber. Oftentimes, however, the carbon fiber is damaged in the process. The caustic chemicals used are hazardous and difficult to dispose of. They also destroy the matrix resin materials in the composites, creating a messy mixture of chemicals and an additional waste problem. In their project, Jinwen Zhang, a professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his team developed a new chemical recycling method that used mild acids as catalysts in liquid ethanol at a relatively low temperature to break down the thermosets. In particular, it was the combination of chemicals that proved effective, said Zhang, who has a chemistry background. To break down cured materials effectively, the researchers raised the temperature of the material so that the catalyst-containing liquid can penetrate into the composite and break down the complex structure. Zhang used ethanol to make the resins expand and zinc chloride to break down critical carbon-nitrogen bonds. "It is critical to develop efficient catalytic systems that are capable of permeating into the cured resins and breaking down the chemical bonds of cured resins," he said. The researchers were able to preserve the carbon fibers as well as the resin material in a useful form that could be easily re-used. They have filed for a patent and are working to commercialize their methods. The work was funded by the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) in collaboration with industry partner, Global Fiberglass Solutions. The state-funded JCATI works to support the Washington's aerospace industry by pursuing research that is relevant to aerospace companies and by providing industry-focused research opportunities. In addition to Zhang, researchers on the project included Junna Xin, assistant research professor, Tuan Liu, postdoctoral research associate, and graduate student Xiaolong Guo. The research is in keeping with WSU's Grand Challenges initiative stimulating research to address some of society's most complex issues. It is particularly relevant to the challenge of "Smart Systems" and its theme of foundational and emergent materials.
News Article | April 26, 2017
To treat headaches, back pain or fever, most of us have reached for ibuprofen at one point or another. But we often have to take doses every four to six hours if the pain warrants it. Now scientists are working on a way to package the commonly used drug so it can last longer. Their approach, reported in ACS' journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, could also be used to deliver other drugs orally that currently can only be taken intravenously. Recently, scientists have been studying compounds called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are made of metal ions linked to organic ligands, for drug delivery. Active ingredients can be packed inside MOFs, which are porous, and some of them have additional traits such as water solubility that make them good candidates for drug couriers. But few studies have so far investigated whether such MOFs could be used in oral formulations. J. Fraser Stoddart and colleagues wanted to test promising MOFs using ibuprofen as a model drug. The researchers loaded therapeutically relevant concentrations of ibuprofen into easily prepared, biocompatible MOFs with cyclodextrin and alkali metal cations. Testing in mice showed that the compounds reached the blood stream quickly in about 10 to 20 minutes and lasted twice as long as ibuprofen salts, which are the active ingredient in commercial liquid gel formulations. The researchers say the promising findings suggest that these compounds could take the next step toward commercial development for delivering ibuprofen and potentially other drugs. The authors acknowledge funding from the Joint Center of Excellence in Integrated Nanosystems at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and Northwestern University, and the National Cancer Institute. The abstract that accompanies this study is available here. The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact email@example.com.
News Article | May 8, 2017
A team of researchers from Washington State University (WSU) has developed a method to recycle carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites that strays from traditional approaches. The researchers’ method does what only a handful have been able to accomplish: recycling epoxy-based thermoset composites. As the researchers explain, thermoplastics are easily recycled, but thermosets are not due to their cured resin. For the research, Jinwen Zhang, a professor in the WSU School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his team studied a chemical recycling method that used mild acids as catalysts in liquid ethanol at a relatively low temperature to break down the thermosets. To break down cured materials effectively, the researchers raised the temperature of the material so that the catalyst-containing liquid could penetrate into the composite and break down the complex structure. The approach is similar to Hayward, Calif.-based company Connora Technologies’ approach, which also breaks down thermoset CFRP composites at the chemistry level. Zhang says the combination of chemicals is what makes the approach effective. The team used ethanol to make the resins expand and zinc chloride to break down critical carbon-nitrogen bonds. “It is critical to develop efficient catalytic systems that are capable of permeating into the cured resins and breaking down the chemical bonds of cured resins,” Zhang said. The work was funded by the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) in collaboration with Global Fiberglass Solutions. The state-funded JCATI works to support Washington’s aerospace industry by pursuing research that is relevant to aerospace companies and by providing industry-focused research opportunities. The ability to recycle carbon fiber is imperative to the growth of the state’s economy. According to a study by honor society Phi Kappa Phi, Boeing and Airbus each generate as much as a 1 million pounds of cured and uncured carbon fiber prepreg waste each year from Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 XWB production. In the state of Washington alone, 96 composites companies produce 2 million pounds of production waste carbon fiber each year that is sent to a landfill.
News Article | February 22, 2017
PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - The Cambia Health Foundation is making a dramatic impact by advancing projects that create a more person-focused health care system. Improving children's mental health, expanding access to palliative care and streamlining the way the health care system works are all at the forefront of the Cambia Health Foundation's efforts. To support programs that raise the standard of health care, the Cambia Health Foundation has awarded over $1.2 million in grants to non-profit organizations both regionally and nationally. Listed below is a synopsis of the eight efforts that were recently funded by the Cambia Health Foundation. The VitalTalk program was granted $279,725 over two years to develop and pilot a regional training hub in Salt Lake City in partnership with the University of Utah School of Medicine. This is the second regional hub that has been developed in an effort to expand the VitalTalk program on a national level. The goal of the program is to help train physicians to build communication skills that help support the seriously ill and their families. The program will provide a regular offering of one-day communication courses for clinicians in Utah and Idaho with a goal of training 240 clinicians. A recent survey funded by the Cambia Health Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation demonstrated that even though 99 percent of physicians surveyed felt that advance care conversations were 'very important', only 14 percent of these physicians had billed Medicare for actually conducting one of these conversations. In addition, most physicians reported having no formal communication skills training which is critical in helping these patients and their families make the right decisions in difficult situations. A Joint Center for Health Systems Innovation at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health The Ariadne Labs program was granted $70,000 for one year to support the consensus process and writing of a white paper and journal article after a two-day Summit on Quality Metrics in Serious Illness Communication which will take place at the Cambia Grove in May 2017. The white paper will summarize the state of the evidence about measurement of communication, key themes and recommendations for a national strategy for implementation of a consistent, scalable measurement framework across health systems. Additional activities will focus on engaging national advocacy and policy organizations to promote the framework and infrastructure nationally. The Unity Center for Behavioral Health was granted $225,151 over two years to assist individuals who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis, 30 percent of which are living unsheltered according to the 2015 Point-In-Time Count study. The behavioral health emergency room model will be staffed by both psychiatric and medical providers as well as social workers, peer specialists and other resource specialists who can address a patient's acute care needs as well as initiate therapeutic intervention and connect individuals with appropriate community resources. Neighborcare Health was granted up to $200,000 over two years to completely transform the business and service model based on Lean Management and Leadership Development. Serving as the first Federally Qualified Health Center System in the country, the goal is to develop a business model that focuses on improving health outcomes, reducing costs and inefficiencies, and creating an unparalleled consumer experience. The work will take place across 24 health centers in King County, Washington, serving over 60,000 patients. The Virginia Garcia Memorial Fund was granted $250,000 over two years to achieve better mental health for children through an innovative school-based model of integrated primary care and mental health care. In addition, they will develop an agency-wide assessment and action plan to initiate a system-wide transformation to trauma-informed care. The goal of the program is to increase access to sustainable mental health care for priority patients and identify how to integrate a trauma-informed approach across Virginia Garcia's six School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and primary care clinics. The CHOICE Regional Public Health Network was granted $87,500 for one year to support four pilot schools to provide a better support structure for care to support at least 200 children. The program is designed to connect children with unmet behavioral health needs to the services that they need, including behavioral health, physical health, and social support services, and to ensure that communities in this region are aware of trauma-informed practices and the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences. A standard teacher training program will be developed that can easily be shared across school districts all over the region in the most cost-effective way. The North by Northeast Community Health Center was granted $41,000 for 18 months to deliver personalized, high quality, cost effective care designed for the African American community in the Portland Metropolitan Region. The project will double its successful primary and preventive care model from approximately 525 patients in 2017 to more than 1,100 by the end of 2019. The expanded, culturally specific primary care model will be supported by chronic disease prevention and management groups, health screenings, and their Cuts&Checks™ barbershop blood pressure program. The Healthy Living Collaborative of Southwest Washington was granted $45,000 for 18 months to continue support for their Community Health Worker programs in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum counties. Each of the projects are improving consumer knowledge, increasing healthy behaviors, and mobilizing community advocate for healthier communities. The three pilot sites have formed a regional learning and navigation network that supports individual and population health goals. Based in Portland, Ore., Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate Foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. Founded in 2007, Cambia Health Foundation awards grants in three program areas: Palliative Care, Transforming Health Care and Children's Health. The Foundation has funded just over $29 million in grants to support these causes. Cambia Health Foundation's investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Learn more at www.cambiahealthfoundation.org, and follow us on Twitter: @CambiaHealthFdn.
News Article | March 1, 2017
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Statement from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) following President Trump’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress: “We support President Trump’s efforts to strengthen economic growth and expand job creation. As the industry that houses 39 million residents, supports over 12 million jobs and contributes $1.3 trillion to the economy, the President’s direct focus on issues of critical importance to the apartment industry such as tax reform, infrastructure investment and rolling back burdensome regulations is commendable. “Today, there are over 43 million renter households and Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies believes that demand for renter households could increase by as much as 4.4 million by 2025. The multifamily sector is under increasing pressure to meet that booming demand across the country, yet, excessive regulation and compliance uncertainty results in costly mandates that make it impossible to develop and operate multifamily housing. “NMHC/NAA applaud the Administration’s efforts to overhaul the federal regulatory landscape. To that end, we look forward to working with the Trump Administration and leaders in Congress to develop policies that drive investment, spark development and remove barriers and remove burdens on current operators, supporting the future growth of the apartment industry.” More information about apartments is available at www.weareapartments.org. For more than 20 years, the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) have partnered on behalf of America’s apartment industry. Drawing on the knowledge and policy expertise of staff in Washington, D.C., as well as the advocacy power of 170 NAA state and local affiliated associations, NAA and NMHC provide a single voice for developers, owners and operators of multifamily rental housing. Apartments and their 39 million residents support more than 12 million jobs and contribute $1.3 trillion to the economy.
News Article | February 15, 2017
OULU, Finland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nokia and the University of Oulu have strengthened their collaboration by establishing a new research and training center focusing on work around wireless infrastructure for 5G and beyond. The Nokia Bell Labs and University of Oulu Joint Center for Future Connectivity collaboration agreement was signed on 10 February 2017. The center aims to be a world leader in developing future 10X technologies – disruptive ideas with ten times greater impact than the state of the art today – for the new digital era, where networks will have seemingly infinite capacity, much greater energy efficiency, heightened application awareness and built-in self-optimization. Our living environment within the next 20 years will be smart, sensing and interactive, requiring very low latency, high-speed broadband connectivity and trustworthy machine-type communications given the billions of devices that will be online and connected with each other. Virtual and augmented reality applications will form the basis for future interactions in seamless connectivity with an abundance of networked devices. In the beginning, the center’s research themes will focus on developing new radio technologies for 5G and early demonstrations of 5G’s possibilities. A new spearhead project has started under this agreement focusing on 5G RFIC design, 5G test network and system development activities. With this collaboration, Nokia can ensure that the right technical selections and architectures for future communication networks will be made early enough. The company will also benefit from the university’s live-lab environment to build joint experiments for pre-commercial products. “Nokia has been one of our most important collaborators for two decades. This new center is mutually beneficial to train future talents for the needs of digital society,” said Oulu University Rector Jouko Niinimäki. “An engineer in 5G and beyond must master the latest technologies to develop disruptive concepts and solve future “big problems” in wireless connectivity,” says research department head Jari Hulkkonen from Nokia Bell Labs.
News Article | February 15, 2017
OULU, Finlandia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nokia e l'Università di Oulu hanno rafforzato la collaborazione aprendo un nuovo centro di ricerca e formazione incentrato sull'infrastruttura wireless per 5G e oltre. L'accordo di collaborazione tra Nokia Bell Labs e il Joint Center for Future Connectivity dell'Università di Oulu è stato firmato il 10 febbraio 2017. Il testo originale del presente annuncio, redatto nella lingua di partenza, è la versione ufficiale che fa fede. Le traduzioni sono offerte unicam