Newswise — In line with the Korean government’s recent efforts to achieve the goal of “going carbon neutral by 2050,” the energy transition from fossil fuels to new and renewable sources of energy has been gaining speed. In this context, the joint research team led by Principal Researcher Young Kim of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), an institute under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Science and ICT, and professors Min-sung Kim and Dong-kyu Kim of Chung-Ang University has successfully developed an environment-friendly refrigerant compressor using an electrochemical method instead of a mechanical method.
In contrast to conventional refrigerants containing HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) that destroy the ozone layer and cause global warning, environment-friendly refrigerants (ammonia, R1234yf, etc.) have very small environmental impacts. In accordance with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, advanced nations in Europe as well as the United States and Japan are in the process of transitioning to eco-friendly refrigerants until the complete phase-out of the use of HFCs in 2024. Using environment-friendly refrigerants can help to prevent environmental pollution and contribute to sustainable development.
Meanwhile, mechanical compressors have several limitations such as problems with durability of parts due to rapid rotation, contamination of refrigerants caused by lubricants, and loud noise. As electrochemical compressors have no moving parts and do not require the use of lubricants, they can help to overcome the shortcomings of conventional mechanical compressors. Additionally, a constant flow rate can be provided at various pressure ratios with electrochemical compressors, and the high efficiency thereof can help to significantly increase the COP (coefficient of performance) of the heat pump.
To maximize the energy-saving effect of the rooftop greenhouse, the research team developed a “optimized smart farm operating solution” capable of controlling every aspect of the system such as air conditioning, LED, and hydroponics system in accordance with external weather conditions, and plans to demonstrate this solution through the demonstrated rooftop greenhouse.
The joint research team has secured the core technologies necessary for producing the environment-friendly electrochemical refrigerant compressor and for designing the system thereof, and has successfully implemented the test run. With the newly developed environment-friendly electrochemical refrigerant compressor, the desired flow rate and pressure can be obtained by stacking.
Unlike conventional mechanical compressing, an electrochemical compressor compresses refrigerants through the movement of ions by charging the ion exchange membrane with DC (direct current) voltage, while using hydrogen as the carrier gas. Additionally, it also allows for isothermal compression by applying a multi-layer freezing technology where cells are accumulated in a stack configuration. To date, the refrigerants that have been successfully compressed are ammonia, a natural refrigerant, and R1234yf, an eco-friendly refrigerant. The joint research team designed cells capable of operating solidly even under repeated high-pressure conditions and also demonstrated a leak-free design to prevent the leakage of refrigerants at high pressure. Moreover, by designing a channel capable of producing high performance even at high voltage, the joint research team has succeeded in maximizing the compression efficiency of the electrochemical compressor.
The electrochemical compressor is capable of offering the desired compression ratio regardless of the size thereof, and can provide a stable flow rate in accordance with the compression ratio, and has excellent efficiency. Therefore, it can be used not only for constructing high-efficiency plants and heat pumps but also for building small-scale systems. In particular, as an electrochemical ammonia compressor can be used for compressing ammonia even when the ammonia acts as a hydrogen carrier, it can also be used for constructing hydrogen infrastructure.
Dr. Young Kim of the KIMM’s Department of Thermal Energy Solutions was quoted as saying, “The eco-friendly electrochemical refrigerant compressor is highly efficient and requires a small footprint, which makes it economically attractive.” Dr. Kim added, “We are planning to develop a heat pump system using this technology to contribute to the achievement of the goal of going carbon neutral by 2050.”
Meanwhile, this research was conducted with the support of the project for the “development of a chemical absorption-type heat pump using an electrochemical compressor” led by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Unlocking the Next Frontier: Odysseus Lunar Lander’s Historic Mission
“Odysseus lunar lander aims to make history with first U.S. spacecraft touchdown on moon in 50 years. A testament to human ambition and innovation.”
In the vast expanse of space, where dreams of exploration meet the harsh realities of technology and finance, Thursday marks a potential landmark moment in the annals of space exploration. The Odysseus lunar lander, a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, stands on the precipice of making history as it aims to achieve what no U.S.-made spacecraft has done in five decades: a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.
After a breathtaking lift-off from Florida, Odysseus embarked on its journey towards the moon, capturing awe-inspiring images of our planet Earth along the way. Now, as it hurtles closer to its destination, the anticipation mounts for what could be the most perilous test yet – a soft landing on the moon’s surface.
Intuitive Machines, the pioneering force behind Odysseus, dares to tread where no private company has ventured before. If successful, this endeavor would mark the resurgence of American-made spacecraft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.
However, the road to lunar exploration is fraught with challenges, both technical and financial. While the Apollo program once commanded a budget exceeding 4% of all U.S. government spending, today’s NASA operates on a fraction of that, a mere 0.4%. To stretch resources further, NASA has turned to outsourcing robotic lunar landings to commercial entities like Intuitive Machines, aiming to achieve ambitious goals like the Artemis program’s lunar return with reduced costs.
But cost isn’t the only hurdle. The technical feat of landing a spacecraft precisely on a celestial body a quarter of a million miles away is akin to hitting a golf ball from New York to Los Angeles and landing it in a specific hole – a daunting task even with today’s advanced technology. Compounding the challenge is the time delay of roughly three seconds for signals to travel between Earth and the moon, leaving little room for error during critical maneuvers.
Moreover, the legacy of Apollo-era expertise has waned over the decades, leaving a gap that new technology alone cannot bridge. As Dr. Scott Pace of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute aptly notes, “These are people doing it for the first time, and there’s no substitute for that experience.”
Yet, amidst these challenges, there’s an undeniable sense of optimism and determination. As Lisa Altemus of Intuitive Machines emphasizes, success in lunar exploration requires collective resilience, collaboration, and a willingness to learn from failures. It heralds not just a scientific achievement but the dawn of a new era – an emerging lunar economy where the moon’s resources could unlock boundless opportunities for humanity.
If Odysseus achieves its mission, it will not only mark the first U.S. spacecraft landing on the moon in half a century but also pave the way for future lunar endeavors, including the exploration of the moon’s south pole, a region rich in potential resources like ice and water.
As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let us marvel at the audacity of human ambition, the tenacity of scientific endeavor, and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond Earth’s confines. The journey to the moon may be fraught with challenges, but with each step, we inch closer to unlocking the mysteries of our celestial neighbor and forging a new chapter in the saga of space exploration.
NASA Astronaut Available for Interviews Prior to Space Station Mission
NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson is available in limited opportunities to discuss her mission beginning at 8 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26. The interviews will take place ahead of Dyson launching to the International Space Station in March.
Interested media must submit a request to speak with Dyson no later than 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston newsroom at 281-483-5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dyson is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft Thursday, March 21, and will spend approximately six months aboard the space station. She will travel to the station with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya of Belarus, both of whom will spend approximately 12 days aboard the orbital complex.
During her expedition, Dyson will conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations that help prepare humans for future space missions and benefit people on Earth. Among some of the hundreds of experiments ongoing during her mission, Dyson will continue to study how fire spreads and behaves in space with the Combustion Integrated Rack, as well as contribute to the long-running Crew Earth Observations study by photographing Earth to better understand how our planet is changing over time.
After completing her expedition, Dyson will return to Earth this fall with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft.
Learn more about International Space Station research and operations at:
New NASA Mission will Study Ultraviolet Sky, Stars, Stellar Explosions
WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — As NASA explores the unknown in air and space, a new mission to survey ultraviolet light across the entire sky will provide the agency with more insight into how galaxies and stars evolve. The space telescope, called UVEX (UltraViolet EXplorer), is targeted to launch in 2030 as NASA’s next Astrophysics Medium-Class Explorer mission.
In addition to conducting a highly sensitive all-sky survey, UVEX will be able to quickly point toward sources of ultraviolet light in the universe. This will enable it to capture the explosions that follow bursts of gravitational waves caused by merging neutron stars. The telescope also will carry an ultraviolet spectrograph to study stellar explosions and massive stars.
“NASA’s UVEX will help us better understand the nature of both nearby and distant galaxies, as well as follow up on dynamic events in our changing universe,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This mission will bring key capabilities in near-and far-ultraviolet light to our fleet of space telescopes, delivering a wealth of survey data that will open new avenues in exploring the secrets of the cosmos.”
The telescope’s ultraviolet survey will complement data from other missions conducting wide surveys in this decade, including the Euclid mission led by ESA (European Space Agency) with NASA contributions, and NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, set to launch by May 2027. Together, these missions will help create a modern, multi-wavelength map of our universe.
“With the innovative new UVEX mission joining our portfolio, we will gain an important legacy archive of data that will be of lasting value to the science community,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters. “This new telescope will contribute to our understanding of the universe across multiple wavelengths and address one of the major priorities in Astrophysics today: studying fleeting changes in the cosmos.”
NASA selected the UVEX Medium-Class Explorer concept to continue into development after detailed review of two Medium-Class Explorer and two Mission of Opportunity concept proposals by a panel of scientists and engineers, and after evaluation based on NASA’s current astrophysics portfolio coupled with available resources. The UVEX mission was selected for a two-year mission and will cost approximately $300 million, not including launch costs.
The mission’s principal investigator is Fiona Harrison at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Other institutions involved in the mission include University of California at Berkeley, Northrop Grumman, and Space Dynamics Laboratory.
The Explorers Program is the oldest continuous NASA program. The program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the agency’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs.
Since the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958, which discovered the Earth’s radiation belts, the Explorers Program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer missions that led to Nobel prizes for their investigators.
The program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the Science Mission Directorate, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system, and the universe.
For more information about the Explorers Program, visit:
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