AMNYTT 5/2020 - Page 92

FROM THE INDUSTRY Artificial photosynthesis Refinery for synthetic fuels Generating biomass from water, sunlight, and CO2 – a unique quality of plants. Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, are now competing with them. Their solar mini-refinery extracts CO2 and water from the ambient air. Sunlight is amplified with a parabolic mirror. At around 1,500 degrees, water and CO2 are split and synthesized into syngas. It can be used to produce fuel. The test facility is already operating on the roof of the machine laboratory in Zurich. A second system is being tested in Spain. This plant is part of the EU-funded Sun-to-Liquid project. Hydrogen on track 1,000 km range from a fuel cell In brilliant blue, the Coradia iLint train wooshes through the countryside on the regional link between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude in northern Germany. The train can accommodate up to 300 passengers. It has covered more than 180,000 kilometers in its 530 days in service. The train, developed by Alstom, has it all: A fuel cell is the heart of the drive. It converts hydrogen into electrical energy, which then charges lithium-ion batteries in the train car floor. And these, in turn, supply their energy to electric motors that accelerate the high-tech commuter train to 140 kilometers per hour. The hydrogen tank is located on the roof. With one tank of fuel, the train can travel around 1,000 kilometers, enough for a whole day’s operation. Starting in 2021, the infrastructure is supposed to be expanded in such a way that 14 more hydrogen trains ordered by the German state of Niedersachsen’s regional public transport company can start operation. The mountain calls While the Old World is still just talking about it – 5G conquers Mount Everest While in Germany talking about cell signal dead zones is normal and Telekom is proudly reporting that individual 5G cell towers are being built in Potsdam or Cottbus, the new standard has already been introduced on Mount Everest. This is because Huawei and a Chinese cellular network provider have erected 5G masts at an altitude of over 5,000 meters. On the one hand, this gives mountaineers access to a fast cellular network. This can be vital, because up until now extreme climbers have had to carry heavy satellite telephones. However, the technological quantum leap is even more important for scientists and land surveyors, who are re-measuring Mount Everest using 5G. The three transmitter masts, installed at altitudes of 5,300, 5,800, and 6,500 meters, are initially intended to only be temporary. 150 employees worked on the construction of the 5G facilities, including laying 25 kilometers of fiberoptic cabling at the icy heights. 6