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Jet Engine on a Chip

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the go-go-gadget-jet-engine dept.

Technology 463

Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, our handheld devices are powered by batteries, which are heavy and inconvenient. Fuel cells are just arriving on the market as a replacement. But there is a new contender: micro gas turbine engines under development at the MIT. Engineers there shrunk jet engines to the size of a coat button. And their blades which span an area smaller than a dime can spin a million times per minute and produce enough electricity to power your PDA or your cell phone. While there are still a few hurdles to overcome, these micro turbine engines should be operational in two or three years, with commercial products available four years from now. These micro jet engines also have the potential to free soldiers or travelers from carrying heavy batteries. The engineers even think their engines on a chip could be used in poor countries to bring electricity there. This summary gives you the essential details about a technology which promises to free us to carry extra fuel instead of batteries."

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463 comments

Fear... (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567904)


Engineers there shrunk jet engines to the size of a coat button

Naturally the Department of Homeland Security will declare that people with 4 or more buttons on their coat are 'terrorists'

Re:Fear... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567956)

Brilliant.

Did you ever consider a career in stand-up?

Re:Fear... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568176)

Naturally the Department of Homeland Security will declare that people with 4 or more buttons on their coat are 'terrorists'

Why even look at their coats? The towels on the top of their heads already give them away.

Cool, but misleading title (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567905)

1. That's pretty damned cool. Gas Turbines are some of the most efficient fuel -> energy converters known to man.

2. Saying that a Gas Turbine == a Jet Engine is a bit misleading. It's a bit like saying "Scientists have shrunk an electric motor to 4 nanmometers", then before you even finish thinking about all the MEMS devices, you read "Scientists have produced a 4 nanometer electric genertor for use in making power for MEMS devices." Still very cool, but not the same thing.

Re:Cool, but misleading title (4, Interesting)

maeka (518272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568074)

Why do you say that gas turbines are some of the most efficient fuel to energy converters known to man? Every link I can find in a google search says otherwise. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=45726 [britannica.com] for example.

Gas turbines seem to only become highly fuel efficient when the heat of their exhaust gas is captured by a secondary system, like a steam recovery boiler. http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/v33_1_00/turbi ne.htm [ornl.gov]

Re:Cool, but misleading title (5, Informative)

kaszeta (322161) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568131)

Gas Turbines are some of the most efficient fuel -> energy converters known to man.

Actually, in terms of the overall thermodynamic efficiency, they aren't all that great. 40% efficiency is *very* good for a Brayton cycle (i.e. turbine engine) system, but is fairly easily done with a large-scale steam system. Microturbines tend to run around 25%, which means that (a) you need a fairly big recuperator to run efficiently (which doesn't seem to be part of the MIT design), and (b) you need to be able to reject a lot of waste heat (so running your laptop on one of these means you'll be blowed 200+ watts out the back).

Not that gas turbines are without their advantages. Their specific power (weight per kW) is very good, so for the same amount of power the engine is very light compared to most other engine types (which is why they use them in aircraft). They also start and stop quickly compared to steam turbine systems. And they can be nicely combined with other systems like a steam system to make a combined cycle, the whole system can be fairly efficient.

But, by themselves, they aren't all that efficient.

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567906)

FRirewda POST!

Just what we need... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567910)

...to increase our reliance on petroleum.

Re:Just what we need... (1)

SHiVa0 (608471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567993)

What about hydrogen fuel cell... Not all fuel cell gas are dynosaur based...

Re:Just what we need... (1)

saintp (595331) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568037)

Are you familiar with the abbreviation "RTFA"? Half of the frikkin' article is devoted to extolling the benefits of micro gas turbines over hydrogen fuel cells.

Re:Just what we need... (1)

SHiVa0 (608471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568102)

True bue, why limit ourself to a blog. Fuel cell are a great way to move away from petrol based energy. I'm sure there is a way to use their technology with renewable sources.

Re:Just what we need... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568125)

I hope to see a world where everything from my watch to my telephone is powered with good old Arab oil. Fuck nothing gets me hotter than imagining the day I get to pour a couple of gallons of Middle East crude into P4. A great discovery for all!

exaust (5, Funny)

tubbtubb (781286) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567915)


What about the exaust?
I can't wait to get kicked out of a snooty coffee shop because my dual core G5 laptop was asphyxiating the customers . . .

Re:exaust (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568003)

What about the exaust?

Well, your cell phone only needs about a watt, a PDA about 2-10 watts, and your laptop about 20-100 watts. If you consider that cars produce kilowatts of constant power output, you should realize that the amount of exhaust shouldn't be anywhere close to what your car puts out.

In addition, these turbines will probably use something a smidge cleaner than gasoline. Even kerosine is better, but ethanol would probably rank the cleanest.

Speaking of kerosine, these turbines shouldn't even be as back as burning a kerosine lamp. :-)

Re:exaust (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568054)


Well, your cell phone only needs about a watt, a PDA about 2-10 watts, and your laptop about 20-100 watts. If you consider that cars produce kilowatts of constant power output, you should realize that the amount of exhaust shouldn't be anywhere close to what your car puts out.


Which is quite good, as they don't let you run your car on a plane. But using your numbers, 20 or so people using laptops on a plane would be the same as someone running a car in the passenger cabin. That's not good.

Re:exaust (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568091)

In addition, these turbines will probably use something a smidge cleaner than gasoline. Even kerosine is better, but ethanol would probably rank the cleanest.

What about hydrogen? I know that's kind of a played-out concept but look at the possibilities. You could have your own electrolyser at home and bottle your own hydrogen, then slap it into your laptop and go. You could generate the electricity off the grid, or whatever. Output is water vapor, which is pretty harmless as long as it's exhausted outside the case of the laptop.

Boom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568109)

see
http://www.nlhs.com/hindenburg.htm

Re:Boom! (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568153)

That was the magnesium struts that caused most of that explosion.

Hydrogen is safer than gasoline

Mod parent up...and... (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568145)


And please don't forget to mod *down* all the muppets that think that Hydrogen is in any way more dangerous than Petrol(gasoline), Kerosine or Ethanol ;)

Re:exaust (1, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568168)

The primary difference is energy density. As fuels go, petroleum is the the most energy dense fuel short of nuclear. While there are attempts to find even denser fuels, none of the alternatives that have been investigated are stable enough or safe enough for use.

Storage (4, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568197)

Long-term storage of hydrogen is still a bit of a problem. Hydrogen has a tendency to penetrate ANYTHING you try to store it in, resulting in hydrogen embrittlement. In short, anything you store hydrogen in (esp. pressurized hydrogen) will eventually become weakened by the hydrogen permeating it.

Re:exaust (2, Insightful)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568172)


Why not use a small tank of compressed gas (i.e., nitrogen) to drive the turbine? For small portable power, the inefficiency inherent in compressing the gas in the first place isn't that big of a deal.

Exhaust? (1)

baudilus (665036) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568196)

I wouldn't worry about the exhaust, I would worry about shock. What are the implications of having a relatively tiny turbine spinning that fast and be dropped / jostled / jiggled / wiggled? Would that interrupt the rhythm and therefore the power output?

can it power (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567916)

Taco's portable anal stimulator (a.k.a "teh dildo") ?

Re:can it power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568083)

No. You'd need a 400+HP car engine for that.

Roland Piquepaille! (3, Interesting)

recursiv (324497) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567923)

Fantastic! Glad to see a post by you Roland! You see, I really enjoy absolute shit, so I am glad to see another of your presumably bought and paid for fluff stories.

Re:Roland Piquepaille! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567950)

Have you noticed if Rolly's submissions are OK'd mainly by Michael?

Re:Roland Piquepaille! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567983)

Roland is Michael's gay lover. He must be sucking his shriveled smelly cock in return for article submissions.

MOD PARENT UP (3, Interesting)

jmays (450770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567989)

This is exactly true. Roland Piquepaille submits fluff stories to /. over and over and over just to generate traffic to his blog. Slashdot ... come on. You can do better.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568215)

michael won't give it up. He knows people notice this, but he wrote "everybody loves roland" in a story recently.

In short, he's letting RR use slashdot as his advertisement platform.

How much do you think michael gets in kickbacks? It has to be a pretty penny.

Re:Roland Piquepaille! (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568015)

A couple of decades ago, journalism relied on the efforts of hardworking individuals who would go to great lengths for a story. Sometimes to the point of sacrificing their liberty for refusing to name a source or even their lives for walking into places that could only be described as Hell on Earth -- where even the ones fortunate enough to leave physically whole were not unscathed.

Chumps.

What about pollution? (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567924)

What about pollution from this? Has that even been considered?

Re:What about pollution? (4, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567985)

If the fuel is a clean hydrocarbon, the exhaust will be CO2 and H2O. Using batteries pollutes too, you just don't see it right there because it's either at the power plant where your battery charger got it's energy from, or it's in the chemical pollution of used dead batteries, or both.

Re:What about pollution? (3, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568202)

Hmmmmm, the last thing I would want to happen, is to go into a restaurant/bar/nightclub with a PDA in my trouser pocket, stand up, and have everyone notice there's a damp patch somewhere personal.

Re:What about pollution? (2, Insightful)

wolenczak (517857) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568005)

I'd bet it is neglectible compared to the pollution caused by regular alkaline batteries that end up in the dumpyard.

At most the pollutants would be CO2 and some other carbon based compounds.

Re:What about pollution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568073)

I'd bet it is neglectible compared to the pollution caused by regular alkaline batteries that end up in the dumpyard.


No, it's not. The point is that you don't spend all your time inhaling the dumpyard or the power station. You spend a long time with your face near your laptop or PDA...

Re:What about pollution? (4, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568048)

What about pollution from this? Has that even been considered?

Compare with traditional rechargable batteries.

First, there is the one-time environmental cost of manufacturing the batteries. Making a battery requires fuel for mining equipment, transporting the materials, running the manufacturing equipment, and producing the electrolyte.

Second, there is the energy required to charge the battery. This energy comes from the power grid. Ultimately, it comes from burning fossil fuels in power plants. This energy must be transmitted via wires to an electrical outlet, turned into DC by a rectifier, and finally, used to charge the battery.

In other words, here's the energy path for the turbine:

Fossil fuel ---> Combustion ---> Turn turbine ---> Generate DC power

And for the rechargable batteries:

Fossil fuel ---> Combustion ---> Turn turbine ---> Generate AC current ---> Transform to high voltage ---> Transmit down wires ---> Transform back to low voltage ---> Rectify to DC power

Which do you think is more efficient?

Re:What about pollution? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568119)

Except my batteries (mouse batteries) are rechargeable ones I recharge from a grid that gets its power from hydroelectricity if I'm not mistaken. Of course, there's probably pollution from that still, but minor compared to other methods.

Re:What about pollution? (1)

azmatsci (759463) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568162)

Who cares? Don't be a tree-hugging hippie when this is obviously a cool concept that may not even be used on this planet.

Re:What about pollution? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568166)

"What about pollution from this? Has that even been considered?"

Compared to all the old batteries now sitting in landfills?

Re:What about pollution? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568217)

I think the key will be how high they can get the efficiency. Some other commenters have said that turbines can be really efficient, but I don't know how well that will scale, and the article IMHO didn't really give us much to go on.

It is, however, encouraging that they are seriously discussing putting these into laptops. Since waste energy almost always comes out as heat, and while a lot of that will presumably come out the exhaust, a lot will also go into the laptop itself. If they aren't going to toast the laptop they much be expecting some pretty decent efficiency.

If they can get the efficiency to a point comparable to the efficiencies attained at large, centralized power plants... and that is quite a challenge because due to the ecomomies of scale power plants can do a lot of things to improve efficiency (or decrease pollution) that last little .05% that make no sense on smaller scales... then it'll basically be a wash in pollution terms for household power generation vs. what we have now.

Only large scale use like millions of people using it as their primary power generation matter. Even if I used it to power my laptop, and I am a heavy laptop user, do you have any idea how long it would take me to go through even a gallon of fuel? Compare that to a single truck. Small scale, I'd guess these will be several times more friendly than conventional really-quite-nasty batteries, just looking at it from a thermo-dynamic-limit point of view. Many fewer conversion inefficiencies.

Isnt the current problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567939)

More to do with the lack of fossil fuels, and their high cost?

Wouldnt improved batteries be a better idea, or improved wind/hydro/nuclear power generation?

Yeah, uhm, wait what? (1, Troll)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567942)

Am I going to need to crary jet fuel around with me, because that could become real inconvenient. Also, is it going to make that jet engine noise? Am I going to have to deal with exhaust? If I were to attach one to a balloon, would it be able to propel the thing around the room?

Geh, what a weird idea.

Re:Yeah, uhm, wait what? (2, Funny)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568011)

Also, is it going to make that jet engine noise?

Can't be worse than those low-cost P4 notebooks. Those fans can already be calles "turbine on a chip".

Is that a... (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567945)

I like Dave so here is a top ten list:

10) Just a second, my jet isn't ready.
9) Mr. hot pants and all - yeah I know it's an excuse to take'em off.
8) You're so hot that you glow with enthusiasm.
7) Need a light - let me pull out my P.D.A. if you know what I mean.
6) Wowoowow those just engines dooo last.
5) How many would you like to buy madam?
4) Do you smell smoke?
3) Hey that's my jet.
2) Where did I put my jet engine - ahh there it is.

1) Jet engine in your pocket or are you glade to see me.

Re:Is that a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567988)

Best. Post. Ever.

3) ?!? Profit!!!@

put can I (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567949)

strap them to my shoes and fly? Or at least hover? Come on, micro jet turbines and we're talking about not having to carry around batteries? Where's your imagination people...

free Nintendo DS
http://c.qckjmp.com/az/ch.php?f=936&i=1492/ [qckjmp.com]

Brilliant (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567975)

So instead of using rechargeable batteries which produce no exhaust and have 80%+ efficiency, we can now use micro turbines which have emissions and are probably 30-40% efficient.

Who funded this project? Halliburton?

Re:Brilliant (2, Insightful)

dykofone (787059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568177)

Cept where did the energy come from to charge that 80% efficient battery? From your local gas turbine powerplant, which once you factor in the efficiency loss of the grid, will come out to much lower efficiency than your hand held gas turbine.

Vaporware (3, Insightful)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 9 years ago | (#10567980)

How many years now have we been hearing about miniature turbine power sources? Too many. Just because some kids at MIT did it doesn't mean it's even close to being commercially viable, and even if it is viable doesn't mean anybody will adopt it. That aside, I do think it's a great concept and I hope it DOES eventually get adopted, especially if they can make the turbines run on vegetable oil :)

This sounds promising (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10567992)

"a technology which promises to free us to carry extra fuel instead of batteries"

That's just what we need, more dependence on combustable fuel. Besides that I feel MUCH safer carrying around extra batteries then a highly explosive fuel.

Re:This sounds promising (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568096)

That's just what we need, more dependence on combustable fuel.

Umm.. Where do you think the energy in batteries comes from?

gas powered calculator (4, Funny)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568000)

There was a bit of calculator one-up-manship in some of my classes, so I always wanted to connect a little model airplane engine to a little generator and use it to power my calculator during exams. Besides the roar of the non-mufflered engine (dropping in RPMs during every keypress as it consumes more power), there would be the smell half-burnt gas coming out of that little two-stroke. The intimidation factor alone would have skewed the curve in my direction.

So, wow, my silly dreams could become reality!

Fan mount... (1)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568012)

Sweet! All I need for my self-powered computer is a fan mount! Cools my processor and powers it at the same time ;)

Runs on Fart Gas? (3, Funny)

zungu (588387) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568013)

I read somewhere that farting releases methane. May be these micro-jet engines can be powered by far gas. On an airplane, the PDA can be inserted in a pocket on the seat and just a fart will power the PDA micro-jet ;-)

Good Laptop Power Source for Travelers? (3, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568017)

TSA Drone: "What do you have in that bottle?"
You: "Oh, it's just some gasoline for my laptop."

Sure...this technology will be a GREAT laptop power source for travelers...

Geese (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568029)

Do these things still make a horrid mess when they accidentally suck geese in through the intake?

Good luck doing anything on a plane (1)

MalHavoc (590724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568035)

With the way air travel is now, you're not likely going to be able to take anything powered by a turbine engine and diesel fuel with you on a flight. A flight full of wierdos with fuel-powered cellphones and PDAs is just what we need. Electric power isn't going anywhere.

Real Beanie Jet Engine Hat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568040)

If I can take 1000 of these microjets, I can convert my Beanie Propeller hat to a Beanie Jet Engine Hat and fly. Since this is posted freely and publicly, this can't be patented anymore.

Ready to take off
5
4
3
2
1

Where did my body go?

WhatMeWorry!

Conspicuous omission (4, Insightful)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568045)

Neither "reference" (they aren't worthy of the term) mentions a thing about efficiency.

This matters a lot, because small turbines suffer much more from viscous flow losses and heat-transfer losses than large ones. If a 50 W microturbine is 10% efficient, its waste heat will amount to 450 watts; if it is 5% efficient, the waste heat will be 950 watts! This could easily lead to them being banned from commercial aircraft, because the extra heat load and oxygen consumption would drive A/C loading too high (not to mention the discomfort of adjacent passengers).

Re:Conspicuous omission (1)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568194)

Also, nothing is mentioned about wear. From my understanding, the rate of wear is a real killer for these tiny devices.

Just think, if 0.5mm wears off the sliding surfaces in a conventional turbine, not big deal... if 0.5mm wears off the surfaces of this device you have nothing left.

What about start procedure ? (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568046)

Starting a turbine engine is a complicated procedure. How will we be supposed to start such a tiny engine ? Perhaps using the generator in motor mode to give it enough RPM ?

It could be a nice replacement for hydrogen fuel cells, if it can be tuned to run on hydrogen like some real turbine engines out there. No pollution ! And the hot steam could be used for something else.

Re:What about start procedure ? (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568163)

Using the generator as a starter motor is probably the absolute best way to go. This is probably coming on automobiles, too; we'll end up with a combination AC motor/alternator-generator for starting and charging. This will be driven by everything and I mean everything on the car going electric. No more vacuum lines, no more hydraulic system. The system will be higher-voltage (automobiles are about to go 48V, even in the US) and that will reduce the gauge of wire necessary for the electrical system, further saving weight. Doing this would allow us to eliminate all the pulleys and belts on the vehicle. This will require using higher-technology batteries, like the Optima [optimabatteries.com] types, because electrical system problems (especially battery failure) are the #1 cause of breakdowns.

Re:What about start procedure ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568206)

>>>Starting a turbine engine is a complicated procedure. How will we be supposed to start such a tiny engine ? Perhaps using the generator in motor mode to give it enough RPM ?

I suspect there is a difference in mass involved between the jet engine and this little thing.

oh yyyyaaaa! (1)

Negativeions101 (706722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568079)

More reliance on fuel. That's just what we need! How about Electro magnetism? These alternative power solutions are measly compared to what's actually known to be possible. After we kill off all the capitalists then anything and everything will be possible.

Pencil Sharpener (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568080)

Will they sharpen pencils, too?

Energy = energy, danger = danger (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568082)

"Each disposable cartridge would pack as much energy as a few heavy handfuls of lithium-ion batteries."

We don't really want to carry larger and larger packages of energy on our person. As it is, we are seeing accidents like this one [zwire.com] due to today's ordinary lithium-ion batteries. And I recently got a recall notice from Verizon about the kind of batteries used in my cell phone, so this isn't an isolated incident.

When someone tosses a 9V battery in their pocket and it gets shorted out by a coin, they are startled, yell, and pick the hot coin out of their pocket.

When a cell phone battery acts up, Shelley Kaehr got a handful of battery acid and set fire to the floor.

Multiply that by "a few heavy handfuls" and you start to get the possibility of really serious personal injury.

What we need are breakthroughs on the power consumption side, not ever-increasing power supplies

5 years away, like everything else (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568095)

From the article: Spearing estimates a version capable of putting out enough power to run devices would take two to three years more, with another year or two beyond that to produce a marketable version.

So, it's 5 years away, like flying cars and jet packs and everything else that stays 5 years away. Why don't I feel good about this?

By the way, so anyone else remember seeing TV comercials in the 60's that showed a new miracle insulation material (made of low tech aluminum foil and cardboard) that they showed in a refrigerator keeping both hot coffee steaming hot and live chicks alive, and that we were supposed to have in just a few years to insulate our homes so well that we wouldn't need heat in the winter? What happens to all this good stuff?

Re:5 years away, like everything else (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568120)

hey, at least it's closer than the 20 years of cold fusion!

Units... (2, Funny)

melted keyboard (798559) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568110)

"The engines on three 747s put out as much power as a nuclear power plant."
We need that expressed in a more useful unit of measure, such as burning libraries of congress.

USAir could use this technology... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568117)

...to make bacteria late for their business meetings.

Obvious joke (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568124)

"Hey, what is that?"

"WHAT?"

"I said, what is that"

"MY NEW JET-POWERED MP3 PLAYER"

"cool , what are you playing?"

"I'M NOT SURE"

miniature cows (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568134)

without skin.
easily bioengineered.
they produce lots of methane

1)stuff cow with hay
2)plug hose into cow
3)use computer
4)store engine heat via phase conversion (chemical)
5)when cow has digested all hay slap him on the miniature grill (powered by stored heat) for lunch.
6)need to do some more work, stuff another miniature cow with hay

side benefit.
fresh milk for your coffee instead of that soy based, lasts a millenium, make YOU fart milk substitute

Cool? Sure. The technology that will save us? NOT. (1)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568139)

What developing countries (and us) really need is NOT another technology that requires petroleum/gas refinery infrastructure. I don't have the background but it would be interesting to do a cost-benefit tradeoff between existing lithium-ion battery technology vs. portable turbine generator technology. Costs, of course, include the energy put into making the batteries and turbine/generators, as well as the industrial effluent from the plants that make the parts for both.

Real progress will be made when you can teach someone with little prior education how to build a generator or water pump from stuff that he or she can find within a 10 mile radius from their house.

Roland Piquepaille strikes again (1)

ColonPOWL (553451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568160)

Why does this guy continue to link his logs to the story submissions? There has to be some conflict of interest for this guy to continue to submit stories...

Can we PLEASE STOP linking to this guy's blog??? (5, Informative)

sczimme (603413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568167)


In all seriousness, why does /. continue to link to his ramblings instead of to articles that contain real, useful, technical content?

Yes, this is probably off-topic (as in "not about tiny turbines") but it is still relevant. At least give us the option to ignore him.

Roland... (5, Insightful)

addie (470476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568170)

Can we please stop posting directly to stories on this guy's weblog? It's embarassing for Slashdot. The real news link you're looking for is:

here [technologyreview.com]

Bad idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568175)

I am sure the petrochemical companies are salivating at this one. Another machine that runs on petroleum products! What are they thinking?!?! Let's build millions of little engines that will spew harmful biproducts into our environment and further the dependence on oil. And I love how the article plays off the 'hot exhaust' in the last paragraph as if it were anecdotal. The exhaust from that engine would sear the skin right off you, let alone melt anything that you happened to be standing next to! Of all the bright ideas that have come out of MIT, this one is the DUMBEST!

Nothing wrong with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10568193)

"Let's build millions of little engines that will spew harmful biproducts into our environment and further the dependence on oil."

Nah. The biproducts are easily filtered out, and "dependence" on something that is abundant and cheap? We could do much worse.

Roland (5, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568189)

Yet another Roland story. You know, you'd think that if there was enough outrage about this (which I'm SURE the editors are more than aware of) they would have the common decency to listen to their readership instead of just posting more Roland stories.

For as much as I love Slashdot, there exists little recourse for people who want their input on the site to be heard, even when its on as large a scale as the current hatred of Roland posts.

Noise (2, Interesting)

your_mother_sews_soc (528221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568203)

What about noise? A physical device spinning that fast is going to produce hypersonic as well as audible noise. Phase I: Put jet engine in cell phone. Phase II: ? Phase II: Profit from putting even smaller jet engines in hearing aids.

What about cars? (1)

hike2 (550205) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568209)

This sounds all great and stuff ... but if the engine scales down so well how about trying the same thing with cars? Is there an efficiency issue or maybe worse polution or is it just something that people always thought would be overkill? (In case you are wondering I was thinking about using the electricity produced to power the car rather than the thrust which is not that easy to control if I understand the principles correctly)

How is this better, again? (1)

Kalven (804361) | more than 9 years ago | (#10568218)

Now I'm going to have to carry a fuel around with me. I just don't understand how that's better than the current solution. Most fuels are not renewable and are quite volatile, where as batteries, in most cases, are rechargeable and are very stable. Even if the fuel is hydrogen where does the water (a bi-product of hydrogren combustion) go? Not to mention refueling a hydrogen fuel cell is not the easiest procedure. Granted the idea is pretty cool, but the last thing I want to have to do it stop, refuel my PDA and then pull start it to get it going again.
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