If Earth’s water were drained into a single drop, it would measure about 950 miles in diameter. Roughly three percent is fresh water, and just one-third of that is easily accessible. Meeting the growing need for water is a critical challenge. Many countries rely on desalination to produce fresh water, but current techniques are typically energy-intensive, using enough energy globally to power nearly seven million homes. That’s why today GE is launching an open innovation challenge to improve the energy efficiency of water desalination. Find out more about the challenge here. GIF by Julian Glander and based on data from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Energy use and water conservation go hand-in-hand. Today, we’re getting ready for World Water Day 2014 by hosting a Google Hangout on the interdependent relationship between energy and water. Join us there at 1PM ET to talk about how technology can improve and ensure the global accessibility of these two resources.
GE Global Research engineers built this demonstration to show the power of nonthermal plasma. Scientists in the Aero-Thermal & Mechanical Systems lab generate a “cold” plasma inside the clear box on the right using high voltage, low current electricity.
Smoke inside the box is pumped out through the vent in the middle when the electricity breaks the surrounding air into ions, which creates flow. This system transforms electrical to mechanical energy while using no moving parts.
The team investigates nonthermal plasma technology to assist engine combustion by improving fuel burn and performance.
This ultra-efficient water-jet cutter can blast through slabs of metal with ease. Engineers at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., are investigating the computer-guided advanced milling tool for use in several industries. Here, the water jet is being tested to cut wind turbine parts from a solid aluminum ingot.
Firing an abrasive mixture of garnet dust and plain water at a pressure of 60,000 pounds per square inch, the water-jet cutter could dramatically reduce manufacturing time at GE plants.