Archive for February 26th, 2013

The long-term effort to revitalize manufacturing and boost the industry image has spread to the Web. The recently launched “Manufacturing is Cool” website encourages student from grades K-12 to be original thinkers, and features need-to-know information and videos for students, parents, and teachers to get a better understanding of the industry. Read more

Justice Gavel

The effect of government regulation on American manufacturing has been a hotly debated issue since the introduction of federal clean air and water guidelines about 40 years ago. Here we look at what manufacturing trade groups consider the real economic impact of regulations on U.S. manufacturers and consumers.

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Chinese and US currency

Currency manipulation by U.S. trading partners, particularly China, creates a drag on the U.S. economy. Cracking down on manipulators would significantly reduce the trade deficit and provide a major boost to American manufacturers. In fact, the solution may be as simple as the stroke of a pen. Read more

A graphene buckyball

The nano-material graphene could prove to be the most important synthetic material since plastic, but producing it is cost-prohibitive. However, several teams of researchers around the world are trying to crack the code to produce industrial quantities of the super material. Read more


In Antifragile, bestselling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb looks at why some systems benefit from volatility and disorder, and explains how to take advantage from this knowledge. Read more

Raceway pond used for the cultivation of microalgae. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Raceway pond used for the cultivation of microalgae. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

While biofuel made from algae shows strong promise over fuel made from food crops – it can be cultivated on wasteland and produce more energy per square foot than any other crop – it has seen a number of roadblocks along the way. For this reason, many of the companies that have pursued it have failed. The players that have continued R&D on algae biofuel have struggled, and some have had to stay financially afloat by producing and selling into smaller, niche algae markets such as skincare products. Experts call this period from early research and development to commercial success “The Valley of Death,” and so it has proved to be for many companies. Algae-based biofuel will need to be produced on a huge scale to lower costs enough to enable it to compete with petroleum.

The two most common targets for advancement of algae biofuel are the growth media (open pond vs. closed bioreactor) and methods to remove the intracellular components of the algae. There are several organizations that have continued to press on. Read more

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