A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a device that generates electricity from the
microbial degradation of organic and inorganic substrates. Constructed wetlands (CWs) are natural wastewater treatment systems that constitute a suitable technology for the sanitation of small communities. The synergy between MFCs and CWs is possible because of the presence of organic matter in CWs due to wastewater characteristics and the naturally generated redox gradient between the upper layer of CWs treatment bed (in aerobic conditions) and the deeper layers (completely anaerobic). As a result of MFC implementation in CWs (MFC-CW), it is possible not only to produce an energy surplus while wastewater is treated but also to improve and monitor the overall treatment process. Moreover, the implementation of MFCs may exert other beneficial effects on CWs, such as a decrease of surface treatment requirements, reduction of greenhouse gas
emissions or clogging. Finally, MFCs implemented in CWs would be also a suitable bioelectrochemical tool for the assessment of treatment performance without any additional cost involved in the process. Overall, though considered to be at an infancy stage, MFC-CW represents a promising synergy between technologies that may reduce energy costs and enhance treatment performance and monitoring while wastewater is treated. The envisaged main challenges for maximizing the synergy between both technologies
are linked to the optimization of both operational and design criteria in CW and MFC cell architecture and materials.
Free public teaching of physics in Catalonia started in the early 19th century, even if the interest in experimental physics goes back to the 18th century, where this discipline was discussed at various learned societies. The first chair of Physics in Barcelona was not a university chair but that of the Junta de Comerç de Barcelona (Trade Board of Barcelona), which had several scientific-technical Schools. In fact, at that time, Barcelona had no university, because it had been supressed by King Felipe V after the War of the Spanish Succession (ended in 1714). The promoter of free public teaching of experimental physics was Pere (Pedro) Vieta i Gibert (17791856), who was the first professor of that subject both at the School of the Trade Board and at the University of Barcelona, once it was restored in 1842. Vieta, who was a surgeon in the Army, combined his two professions and his interest in meteorology, he having recorded meteorological observations in Barcelona for many years. Many of his students were influential people in the scientific, intellectual, political and economic history of the 19th century in Catalonia and Spain. [Contrib Sci 11:237-247 (2015)]
Molecular hydrogen is an environmentally clean source of energy, but it is not available on Earth. Steam reforming of bio-derived compounds represents a valuable route for the generation of molecular hydrogen and has the advantage that it is CO2-neutral and it requires a limited amount of additional infrastructure for implementation. At present, suitable catalysts for selective bio-alcohol and dimethyl ether reforming into hydrogen and carbon dioxide are being developed, but their use on structured wall reactors for practical application is still under way. Among them, aerogel-based coated structures appear very promising due to their very high mass transfer rates and their ability to disperse highly active metal nanoparticles. The performance of these systems improves considerably by using microreaction technologies. Microreactors based on silicon micromonoliths together with integrated downstream carbon monoxide selective oxidation hold a promising futurefor the effective on-site and on-demand generation of hydrogen from renewable fuels in portable fuel cell applications.
The measurement of the atmospheric chloride deposition on land allows the estimation of long-term average aquifer recharge when the average chloride content in the recharge
water is known. This is a well-established, simple method, although not exempt from theoretical and practical difficulties. In spite of its potential, it is seldom applied. Under favorable circumstances, the results are reliable and the associated
uncertainty can be determined. The chloride content of recharge water can be obtained from sampling the top of the water table. The method and its improvements have been the
subject of extensive research and it has been applied to several aquifers throughout Spain, in the context of applied research
projects and in doctoral thesis studies, by the Groundwater Hydrology Group of the Geoengineering Department of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). For aquifers discharging into springs or developed by means of deep wells, the vertical mixing of groundwater recharged at different altitudes is important. Thus, the chloride content may overestimate aquifer recharge and corrections are needed. In the present study the method has been developed and improved. It compares favorably to other methods, although it yields diverse recharge estimations that have to be referred to the appropriated site and time.
Narcís Monturiol (1819–1885) played an essential
role in the history of submarine navigation. He was a person of
strong convictions and fought for democracy at a time of
changes and political convulsions in the Spanish society. Utopian
republican and socialist, he spread the Communist ideas
of Étienne Cabet in Catalonia, organizing the Cabetians around
the weekly, La Fraternidad (1847–1848). He also became the
leader of the Icarian community in Barcelona. Frequently persecuted
because of his political beliefs, he was often forced to
seek refuge in Cadaqués, and it was there that he conceived
his project of a submarine vessel, the Ictineu. Although treated
with mistrust by the authorities, he was able to secure sufficient
financial and technical support to carry out the project. Together
with a team of technicians, he constructed the first Ictineu,
which was launched in the waters of Barcelona in 1859, Subsequent
improvements led to a second Ictineu, launched in
1864 and fitted in 1867 with a steam engine. However, economic
difficulties led to eventual failure. As an autodidact, Monturiol
received the support of Barcelona’s scientific elite and
continued inventing until his death. His work, Ensayo sobre el
arte de navegar por debajo del agua (Essay on the Art of Navigating
Under Water), was a pioneering, monumental work
about submarine navigation and a remarkable contribution to
the historiography of science and technology.
This paper shows the result of years of work by a cooperative research group including chemical engineers, environmental scientists and computer scientists. This research has been focused on the development and implementation of new techniques for the optimisation of complex process management, mainly related to wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). The experience obtained indicates that the best approach is a Supervisory System that combines and integrates classical control of WWTP (automatic controller for maintaining a fixed dissolved oxygen level in the aeration
tank, use of mathematical models to describe the process...) with the application of knowledge-based systems (mainly expert systems and case-based systems). The first part is an introduction to wastewater treatment processes and an explanation of the complexity of the management and control of such complex processes. The next section illustrates the architecture of the supervisory system and the work carried out to develop and build the expert system, the casebased
system and the simulation model for implementation in a real plant (the Granollers WWTP). Finally, some results of the field validation phase of the Supervisory System when dealing with real situations in the plant are described.
In this work, we show how to implement effective constructions, coding and decoding of algebraic codes by means of Omega, a system specifically designed and programmed for general mathematical computations. For alternant codes, the main class we consider (which includes BCH, RS and classical Goppa codes), we give an implementation of the Euclidean division BM decoding algorithm. For cyclic codes we implement the Meggitt decoder, and to illustrate how it works we provide an implementation of the Meggitt syndrome tables for the two Golay codes. Finally, we present several other groups of functions and the computations and problems (still almost in the area of error-correcting codes) they solve.