National Taiwan University (NTU) research teams yesterday announced the development of electrochromic smart glass that turns from transparent to black when a small current of electricity is applied, and the formulation of a synthetic nanoparticle that is able to extract oil from algae and turn it into biodiesel.
The team, led by NTU chemistry professor Ho Kuo-chuan (何國川), developed an electrochromic glass the color and opacity of which alternates when an electric current is applied, changing the oxidation of the material’s atoms.
The invention can be used to reduce a window’s absorption of sunlight, with buildings covered by the glass expected to absorb 25 percent less sunlight, which translates into a 20 percent reduction in air conditioner use, Ho said.
Smart glass is used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in antiglare rear-view mirrors for cars and in low-energy-consumption displays, Ho said.
The glass is the world’s first electrochromic composite material made with metal macromolecules which are capable of changing color within two seconds, with the glass able to achieve a 52.7 percent difference in opacity, he said.
The team can make flexible glass with different colors using metal ions, which can be coated onto smart glass using an ordinary inkjet printer, he said.
Meanwhile, an NTU research team led by NTU chemistry professor Wu Chia-wen (吳嘉文) synthesized a magnetic nanoparticle for harvesting microalgae, extracting algae oil and converting the oil’s fatty acids into a methyl ester, which is used in biodiesel.
The team used iron oxide and silicon dioxide to form nanoparticles, which, when applied to algae solution, magnetically attract algae and convert their fat into biodiesel with an alkaline-based catalyst, Wu said.
Traditional algae-harvesting methods require large amounts of energy to break down cell walls, but the team’s nanoparticles effectively convert algae oil to biodiesel with a maximum yield of 97.1 percent of the oil’s fatty acid methyl esters, compared with existing methods, which yield less than 60 percent, Wu said.
Microalgae contain the highest fat content among biomaterials commonly used to produce biofuel, so microalgae has replaced corn and barley as a favored source for the industry.
Referring to the past few years’ food safety and tainted oil scandals, NTU president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) said that nanoparticles can also turn waste cooking oil into biodiesel.
The two innovations were the results of the NTU’s cooperation with Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science, a long-term project in the fields of energy, biomedicine, photonics and nanotechnology, Yang said.
A Keelung high school on Saturday night apologized for using a picture containing a Chinese flag on the cover of the senior yearbook, adding that it has recalled the books and pledged to provide students new ones before graduation on Thursday. Of 309 Affiliated Keelung Maritime Senior High School of National Taiwan Ocean University graduates, 248 had purchased the yearbook. Some students said that the printer committed an outrageous error in including the picture, while others said that nobody would notice such a small flag on the cover. Other students said that they cared more about the photographs of classmates and what was
GOING INTERNATIONAL: Rakuten Girls squad leader Ula Shen said she was surprised that baseball fans outside of Taiwan not only knew of them, but also knew their names Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德). The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit. Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present. Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese
WAY OF THE RUKAI: ‘Values deemed worthy often exist amid discomfort, so when people go against the flow, nature becomes entwined with our lives,’ a student said “Run, don’t walk” after your dreams, Nvidia cofounder and chief executive officer Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) told National Taiwan University (NTU) graduates yesterday, as several major universities held in-person graduation ceremonies for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. “What will you create? Whatever it is, run after it. Run, don’t walk. Remember, either you’re running for food, or you are running from becoming food. Oftentimes, you can’t tell which. Either way, run,” he said. Huang was one of several tech executives addressing graduating students at Taiwanese universities. National Chengchi University held two ceremonies, with alumnus Patrick Pan (潘先國), who is head of Taiwan
A 14-legged giant isopod is the highlight of a new dish at a ramen restaurant in Taipei and it has people lining up — both for pictures and for a bite from this bowl of noodles. Since “The Ramen Boy” launched the limited-edition noodle bowl on Monday last week, declaring in a social media post that it had “finally got this dream ingredient,” more than 100 people have joined a waiting list to dine at the restaurant. “It is so attractive because of its appearance — it looks very cute,” said the 37-year-old owner of the restaurant, who wanted to be