Curious about Everything

Category: Environment (Page 1 of 12)

What is the UV index? An expert explains what it means and how it’s calculated

Sarah Loughran

Principal Researcher and Electromagnetic Energy Program Manager, ARPANSA, and Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Wollongong

You’ve probably seen the UV index in the day’s weather forecast, and you know it tells you when you need to cover up and wear sunscreen.

But where does that number come from? We produce it at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

It’s our job to help keep Australia safe from all kinds of radiation, and that doesn’t just mean nuclear reactors and mobile phone signals – it also means radiation from the Sun.

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Toyota, Subaru, Mazda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki working to develop new combustion technology that burns hydrogen and biofuel in traditional engines

Autocar »

Speaking together at the Super Taikyu Race in Okayama earlier this week, representatives from each of the firms vowed to collaborate on “expanding fuel options” using existing ICE technology, bucking a wider industry trend towards full electrification.

The companies “intend to unite and pursue the three initiatives of participating in races using carbon-neutral fuels; exploring the use of hydrogen engines in two-wheeled and other vehicles; and continuing to race using hydrogen engines.”

Toyota’s efforts in this area, particularly, are well documented. The company is already using a lightly modified Corolla race car to determine the viability of hydrogen-combustion technology, which, it says, would reduce the emissions of its vehicles without disregarding the several decades it has invested in developing its existing petrol and diesel engines.

Now, as part of this new joint initiative, Toyota will expand its existing partnership with Subaru to test ‘carbon-neutral’ synthetic fuels in a race environment. Next year, Subaru and Toyota will enter a BRZ and GR 86, respectively, into Japan’s Super Taikyu race series (in which the hydrogen-combustion Corolla currently races) using synthetic fuel derived from biomass.

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Elsewhere » Green Car Congress

Bill Gates’ backed nuclear power company, TerraPower, selects a site in Wyoming for a first-of-it’s-kind sodium-cooled reactor

John Timmer / Ars Technica »

Kemmerer, Wyoming, population roughly 2,500, has been the site of the coal-fired Naughton Power Plant, which is being closed. The TerraPower project will see it replaced by a 345 megawatt reactor that would pioneer a number of technologies that haven’t been commercially deployed before.

These include a reactor design that needs minimal refueling, cooling by liquid sodium, and a molten-salt heat-storage system that will provide the plant with the flexibility needed to integrate better with renewable energy.

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