The energy-efficient power networks of the future will require entirely new ways of forecasting demand on the scale of individual households. That won't be easy.
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When it comes to cities, being big and rich is better for the planet than being big and poor, according to a new study of carbon dioxide emissions from cities around the world. But is this correct?
Engineers have built a powerful microscopic engine that relies on the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen. One problem: nobody knows how it works.
If electric cars become popular quickly, the demand for charging them is likely to exceed supply. Now mathematicians have worked out how electricity companies can distribute their power fairly to car owners. But the price--accurate information about driving habits--may be too much to ask.
Electrodialysis has the potential to desalinate seawater quickly and cheaply but does not remove other contaminants such as dirt and bacteria. Now chemical engineers have worked out how to do that too.
Large cities are more productive than small ones so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they produce more CO2 as well, say physicists.
The ability to teleport energy from one location to another could revolutionise the way quantum devices operate, but only if it can be made to work over practical distances. Now physicists think they know how.
Routing gas around Europe using the same decentralised control techniques developed for the internet could reduce the way energy crises cascade, say network and complexity theorists.
Computer scientists have simulated from first principles the way batteries wear out as they are charged and discharged for the first time
Understanding the temperature of the Arctic ocean and the way icebergs form and melt is hugely important for climate models. A new laser tracking technology should help