Normally, fire whirls are one natural phenomenon you'd want to stay well clear of. When these flaming maelstroms develop in the wild, they are catastrophically dangerous. But scientists are attempting to harness their power in the lab. In a new experiment, engineers at the University of Maryland in College Park ignited a tiny fire whirl and were able to transform it into a new kind of blaze. This “blue whirl” burns nearly soot-free, and may be able to produce energy with low amounts of pollution, or offer a new tool to clean up oil spills.
A Mississippi “clean coal” power plant which received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal subsidies is facing an investigation by the Securities and Exchange commission, the branch of the government that manages laws surrounding stocks and markets, according to a new report from the New York Times.
MIT Technology Review reports that the U.S. could be closer to implementing a new type of nuclear plant known as the small modular reactor. This month, the Tennessee Valley Authority is slated to apply for a permit to build a small modular reactor at Clinch River. Clinch River is the same site the TVA developed for $1 billion in the 1970s for the Clinch River Breeder Reactor. In 1983, the project was abandoned.