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« Continental showcases car tires and engine mounts with rubber made from dandelion roots; targeting series production in 5-10 years | Main | Hyundai Motor and Cisco collaborate for global connected car project » NEC Corporation, NEC TOKIN Corporation and TOHOKU UNIVERSITY have jointly created a thermoelectric (TE) device using the spin Seebeck effect (SSE) with conversion efficiency 10 times higher than a test module that was produced based on a multi-layered SSE technology published by the Tohoku University group in 2015. The spin-Seebeck effect is a thermoelectric effect discovered in 2008 by Prof. Eiji Saitoh and Associate Prof. Ken-ichi Uchida of Tohoku University (Keio University at that time). This is a phenomenon in which a temperature gradient applied in a magnetic material produces a spin current along the temperature gradient. The spin current is a flow of a magnetic property of an electron. Thermoelectric conversion technology that converts energy abandoned as waste heat back to electric power is strongly anticipated to be used for saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although conventional spin-Seebeck thermoelectric devices have the advantages of a low manufacturing cost and high versatility and durability, their energy conversion efficiency is inferior. We have improved the conversion efficiency of this spin-Seebeck thermoelectric device by more than 10 times because of its newly developed material and device structure. Furthermore, devices made of flexible material, such as resin, have been achieved using a manufacturing process that does not require high-temperature heat treatment. The conversion efficiency of this new spin thermoelectric device has been improved by almost one million times when compared to the earliest device, and has taken an important step towards practical use as a generator element. The achievement of practical use as a heat flux sensor is also in sight. In the future, the three parties participating in this development aim to further the research and development of technologies to generate electricity from the large amount of waste heat emitted by plants, data centers, vehicles and others. Key features of this new technology are: Development of a low-cost, high-performance ferromagnetic alloy and significant improvement in thermoelectric conversion efficiency. Conventionally, expensive platinum was used as the electrode material to extract electric power in a spin-Seebeck thermoelectric device. This time, new cobalt alloys were developed to replace the platinum. As a result, the cost was significantly reduced. Furthermore, the combination of the thermoelectric effect termed the Anomalous Nernst Effect(ANE), appearing due to the ferromagnetic properties added to the cobalt alloys and the spin Seebeck effect, have improved the thermoelectric conversion efficiency by more than 10 times. The Anomalous Nernst Effect is a thermoelectric effect discovered about 100 years ago, which relates to the magnetic property of a conductive material. Devices with bending resistance and low heat treatment temperature achieved by new deposition technology. New deposition technology fabricates a fine ferrite film for spin-Seebeck thermoelectric devices at 90 ˚C, much lower than the 700 ˚C used with the conventional method. Owing to the decrease in heat treatment temperature, elements can be created on the surface of plastic film, etc., and flexible devices of various shapes are created. This achievement was published in an open access paper in Scientific Reports. These results were achieved as part of the Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) “SAITOH Spin Quantum Rectification Project” (Research Director: Eiji Saitoh, Professor of Tohoku University; Research Period: 2014 - 2020 fiscal year) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).


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Move over, Nessie! There's a new ancient sea monster in town: the Storr Lochs Monster, a fierce, dolphin-like predator that lived 170 million years ago, during the age of dinosaurs. Found on a beach in 1966 near the SSE Storr Lochs Power Station by the facility's manager, Norrie Gillies, the fossil is the most complete skeleton of a Jurassic-era, sea-living reptile that has ever been found in Scotland. The ancient reptile, which belongs to an extinct family of marine reptiles known as ichthyosaurs, measured around 13 feet (4 meters) in length. It had a long, pointed head filled with hundreds of cone-shaped teeth. According to researchers, ichthyosaurs thrived in prehistoric seas, feeding on fish and squid. [In Images: Graveyard of Ichthyosaur Fossils Found in Chile] "Ichthyosaurs like the Storr Lochs Monster ruled the waves, while dinosaurs thundered across the land," Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, said in a statement. "Their bones are exceptionally rare in Scotland, which makes this specimen one of the crown jewels of Scottish fossils." A fossilized skeleton of the Storr Lochs Monster was discovered 50 years ago, but until recently, it was sitting in the National Museums Scotland's storage facility. Thanks to a new research partnership, the fossil has been extracted from the rock that encased the skeleton for millions of years, so that it can now be studied. "It's all thanks to the keen eye of an amateur collector that this remarkable fossil was ever found in the first place, which goes to show that you don't need an advanced degree to make huge scientific discoveries," Brusatte said. Brusatte studied another fossil of the prehistoric marine-reptile found in Scotland, also discovered by an amateur fossil collector. That ichthyosaur specimen was incomplete — consisting of an arm bone and vertebrae — and was smaller than the Storr Lochs Monster. The fossil record, which Brusatte noted is scarce, shows that sometime during the Middle Jurassic, smaller ichthyosaurs went extinct, while the larger, more advanced ones continued to thrive until their extinction about 95 million years ago, in the early stages of the Late Cretaceous period, the researchers said. The reason for this turnover, however, is unknown. As paleontologists continue to study the Storr Lochs Monster, it could shed light on the Middle Jurassic Period, which lasted from about 176 million to 161 million years ago, Brusatte said. "We don't have that many fossils from that time period anywhere in the world," Brusatte told National Geographic. "That's what makes this potentially an internationally important specimen. It's one of the few good fossils of an ichthyosaur that comes from this 'dark' period." The Isle of Skye, where the Storr Lochs Monster was discovered, is one of the few places in the world where fossils from the Middle Jurassic Period can be found, the researchers said. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Utility SSE has agreed the £355m ($510m) sale of 49.9% of its stake in one of the UK’s largest onshore wind projects, the 350MW Clyde Wind Farm in Scotland that will soon add another 173MW.


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Scottish hydro electric power distribution (SHEPD) is operating on a red alert as storm Henry threatens to disrupt power across much of Scotland, SSE said on Monday. In addition to gale force winds of more than 90 miles per hour (40 meters per second), high sea swells are expected to cause flooding along coastal roads across the Western Isles, North West Highlands, Skye and Argyll, it added.


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Siemens has already been lined up for the first phase of Galway Wind Park Utility SSE and Irish forestry group Coillte will press on with the 105MW second stage of the Galway Wind Park after securing €176m ($191m) of financing – a deal they say is the largest yet for a single wind asset in Ireland.

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