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Tech

Iberdrola ups R&D dollars, and treating cancer with nanotech

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The parent company of two NYS utilities is investing big in R&D.

Iberdrola, the Spanish energy firm that owns Energy East (parent company of RG&E and NYSEG), invested 130 million euros in research and development, reports OilVoice.com, topping its previous year investment by 44 percent.  Included among its projects are charging stations for electric vehicles, carbon capture, and "compressed air energy storage."  That last one is pretty sci-fi:

The most important initiative carried out by the company in the area of energy storage is what is known as the CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) in the state of New York. This project consists of using a compressor to store air in a cavern during off-peak periods and releasing it at peak load times to generate electricity.

Nanoparticles
Ithaca Journal staff writer Rachel Stern reports that Cornell has gotten FDA approval to treat cancer with glowing nanoparticles:

The dots are stuck to tumor cells and when exposed to near-infrared light, the dots shine and serve to identify the target cells. The technology, according to the statement, can show the extent of a tumor's blood vessels, cell death, treatment response, and invasive or metastatic spread to lymph nodes and distant organs. Ulrich Wiesner, professor of materials science and engineering, has worked for eight years to research and develop the dots. It is the first time the FDA approved using an inorganic material in the same fashion as a drug in humans.

Five patients are part of the initial trial.

Air pollution
Steve Orr writes at the Democrat and Chronicle that Rochester's air pollution levels are dropping, thanks to lower vehicle and power plant emissions:

The decline in concentrations of the air pollutants — tiny particulates and sulfur dioxide gas, which come largely from vehicle exhaust pipes and power plant smokestacks — is documented in a new study by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center, or URMC, and Clarkson University. The study found that sulfur dioxide levels in local air dropped 53 percent between 2002 and 2009, the number of "fine" particles declined 43 percent and the number of "ultrafine" particles declined 37 percent. Sulfur dioxide and both kinds of particles can induce or exacerbate asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Particulates also can impair heart function, and their effect on people with pre-existing heart or lung disease can be fatal.

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