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The GE Brief – September 13, 2018

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A QUIETER SONIC BOOM

Seven decades ago, pilot Chuck Yeager flew NASA’s first rocket plane past the sound barrier — and confirmation of his feat rang out across the desert in the form of a sonic boom. Unfortunately, it was that same thundering nature of the boom that spurred the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ban supersonic travel over land in the 1970s.

Now, NASA is trying to bring supersonic travel back with its X-59, a single-pilot demonstration plane that is designed to produce a quieter sonic boom. NASA approved Lockheed Martin’s plane design in May and has chosen it to be powered by a GE jet engine. In theory, when the X-59 breaks the sound barrier, the plane will produce several small shock waves that are eight times quieter than a typical sonic boom — hopefully small enough to mitigate the biggest drawback of supersonic speeds. If the theory works well in practice, NASA intends to share as much data as possible with commercial firms who could develop supersonic passenger planes.

Read more about the X-59 project here.

CUTTING THE POWER BILL

GE’s plant in Belfort, France has been making steam and gas turbines and generators for the last 60 years, and one of its winning gas turbines even powers the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant, according to Guinness World Records. But now GE engineers are using data and software to bring energy efficiency back home, a tough challenge given that some the buildings have been around 150 years.

Checking the data: Parts of the new process are straightforward. For instance, over the next few months, GE engineers will be installing 130 electric submeters and collecting data from existing gas and water gauges to build up a more detailed picture of the site’s energy consumption. The team will then analyze the data to zero in on, say, an inefficient ventilator and fix it or replace it.  Their target is to reduce energy consumption by 13% from current levels within the next five years, which would bring savings of around €400,000 (about $465,000) per year by 2023.

Read more about the Belfort plant’s plans here.

PROGRAMMING SKIN CELLS

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies recently found a way to reprogram cells present in an open wound and turn them into new skin cells. They successfully tested the procedure, published in the journal Nature, on rodents. One day, it could help doctors heal wounds as well “counter the effects of aging” and help them to “better understand skin cancer.”

How it works: The cells found in healing wounds, known as mesenchymal cells, are responsible for closing the wound and inflammation, but they cannot generate healthy skin, according to the team. That job belongs to stem-cell-like cells called basal keratinocytes, which slip in the area from healthy skin surrounding the wound. The team was able to reprogram the former cells into the latter and create a topical solution they applied to skin ulcers on mice. “When we examined the mice three months and six months later, we saw that the newly generated cells functioned like healthy skin,” wrote Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, whose laboratory carried out the research.

Read more about the research here.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Future of Agriculture

The future of farming is moving indoors, and GE Current is providing the "sunlight." https://invent.ge/2AQhieA

Posted by GE on Tuesday, August 7, 2018


 

Quote: GE Reports. Images: NASA. 

 

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