Scientists develop enhance container for hydrogen fuel

South Korean scientists have developed an enhanced material to contain hydrogen fuel that could significantly reduce the size of containers while holding more fuel, the government said Thursday.The new material could help speed up the development of hydrogen-fuel cars while improving the efficiency and overall competitiveness of such vehicles, as it will help reduce the size of fuel tanks, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The ministry partly funded the research by a team from Insilicotech, a local materials development company.

Existing hydrogen containers use microporous materials, which have small pores that hold hydrogen and are about 0.321 nanometer in diameter. The team successfully expanded the size of pores in the material to 0.8 nanometer by injecting pyridine molecules that work as pillars between layers of the porous material.

For full article see Yonhap News.

POSCO develops technology to extract lithium from seawater

POSCO said Thursday its affiliated research center had developed technology to directly extract lithium from seawater that reduced production time from a year to a month. The Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology succeeded in producing high yields of lithium from salt water using the new technology, POSCO said in a press release.

Whereas natural evaporation had left other elements of the salt water in the form of impurities, the new technology allows separate extractions of lithium as well as other high-value added elements such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and boron. POSCO filed for patents on about 30 related technologies at home and abroad.

Based on the new technology, POSCO plans to build lithium extraction plants overseas through cooperation with lithium producers that own the rights to the salt water.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Busan LED Marine Convergence Center unveiled new 6 marine LED products

Source: Korea IT News

“From improving marine ecosystem to growing fry and seaweed”. LED-Marine Convergence Technology R&D Center on February 21 unveiled 6 marine LED products and test bed, which it has developed for about one year since its opening.

The new products include “LED lighting for improving marine ecosystem,” “Lighting for growing fishes,” “Lighting for fluorescent fish,” ”Lighting for seaweed,” “Lighting for incubating,” and “LED lightening engine.”

These products with LED lighting will be helpful to improve undersea environmental pollution, grow fry, enhance aquarium effects, help germination of seaweed seeds, etc.

For full article see Korea IT News.

Korea to invest $14.2 billion in scientific R&D in 2012

South Korea will invest about 16 trillion won ($14.2 billion) in scientific research and development (R&D) efforts this year, a presidential body said Wednesday. The amount is up 7.6 percent from the 14.89 trillion won set aside for the same purpose last year, according to the National Science and Technology Commission.

The final decision on details relating to the investment will be made during a meeting Thursday where the commission will review the R&D spending plans jointly proposed by 25 government institutions. Of the total, about 3.31 trillion won will be used to develop technologies related to satellites and other areas where the private sector does not have sufficient capacity to spearhead efforts, the commission said.

The government also plans to invest some 1.29 trillion won to support R&D efforts in developing medicines, medical equipment and bio materials, the commission added.

Source: Korea Herald.

Hyundai Heavy Industries to build surgery robots

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. on Friday opened a laboratory dedicated to building surgery robots within the Asan Institute for Life Sciences, the company said.  The center, run by medical professors at the Asan Medical Center, will focus on localizing high-tech robotic equipments used for surgeries on joints and ligaments.

“We’re working to build an upgrade of a robotic surgical system for artificial joint operations that allows a more elaborate procedure in a shorter period of time,” an official at Hyundai Heavy said. “Some of hand-operated parts will come automated in the new version.”

In the opening ceremony of the laboratory Friday, the company announced plans to develop high value-added medical robots especially for brain and spine surgeries in collaboration with Asan Medical Center. The two in October signed an agreement to work in partnerships to lead the market for medical robotics in which 30 medical professors, including chief of Asan Institute for Life Sciences Kim Choung-soo, will participate.

For full article see  Korea Herald.

Samsung may close solar cell business

Doubts in solar cell profitability are prompting Samsung Group to review the value of the solar business. “We are evaluating the business on a `zero-base’,’’ said a Samsung official, asking not to be identified, Tuesday.

Already, a cut of up to 40 percent in our investment plan has been decided, he said. Samsung had planned to invest 6 trillion won for solar batteries by 2020.  “The solar-cell market is reeling from continued oversupply amid aggressive expansion by Chinese cell manufacturers,’’ the official said.

“Samsung is not certain about advancing further with the current level of technology to make the business profitable,’’ said an industry expert.

Solar cells were on the list of its “next-growth revenue drivers’’ along with secondary batteries for electric vehicles, light-emitting diodes (LED), medical equipment and biopharmaceuticals.

For full article see Korea Times.

Private sector R&D to surpass record W41tr

Korea’s private sector research and development spending is expected to surpass the 41 trillion won ($36.4 billion) mark for the first time ever, a report by a local industrial association said Monday.

The Korea Industrial Technology Association report based on a poll conducted on 607 companies engaged in R&D work showed spending likely to go up 8.4 percent on-year to 41.05 trillion won.

Of the total to be spent, money earmarked by large conglomerates is expected to rise 8.9 percent compared to the year before to 31.76 trillion won. Money to be allocated by small and medium enterprises is likely to gain 6.6 percent to more than 9.29 trillion won.

KOITA said that R&D investment growth forecast for 2012 represents a marginal 0.2 percentage point gain from the year before.

For full story see Korea Herald.

KAERI developed non-destructive robots detecting less than 1mm fine defects

A Korean research team has developed pipe inspection robots which can detect microscopic defects with less than 1mm in complicated and narrow pipes.

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced on February 7 that a team, led by Dr. Kim Seung-ho at the department of Nuclear Fusion Technology Development, developed non-destructive inspection robots which can detect foreign substances in pipes and less than 1mm fine defects such as hollow or projecting parts in pipes by using lasers.

The robots have been developed over three years starting in 2009 with the investment of 1.25 billion won as a part of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning’s project on the fusion and original technology development of the electric power industry.

For full article see Korea IT News.

Korea develops new software for world’s fastest supercomputer

A team of Korean scientists has developed a new software that uses graphic processing units (GPUs) instead of central processing units (CPUs) as a main computing device to build the world’s fastest supercomputer, the science ministry said Tuesday.

The use of GPUs instead of CPUs for general computing is already common for supercomputers, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Most existing supercomputers are built on the mechanism known as “general purpose computing on GPU,” but currently use only two CPUs per node.

The new mechanism or software, developed by the team from Seoul National University, connects at least three and up to six GPUs to each node or connection point, making its end-product much faster and more efficient.

For full article see Korea Times.

Korea to build research reactor for production of isotopes

The government took the first step toward building its first research nuclear reactor that can produce molybdenum-99, a radioactive isotope used to diagnose and treat various illnesses, including cancer.

The country already has a research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes but not molybdenum, which is most frequently used in medical procedures, according to an official from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).

The new 20-megawatt reactor, along with an isotope production facility, will be built in Busan, 450 kilometers south of Seoul, by 2016. The 290 billion won ($259 million) project will be partially funded by the city of Busan, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said.

For full article see Korea Times.