Thursday, February 23, 2006

The magical mining microwave

Just published in the The Guardian's weekly technology section.
Wave goodbye to the daily grind

Microwaving rocks to release the minerals inside could save the mining industry millions and halve its use of electricity

Natasha Loder
Thursday February 23, 2006, The Guardian

Sitting innocuously on a bench in a laboratory in Chelmsford is what has been advertised as the "world's most powerful microwave". It's a slightly grubby white plastic oven that was, apparently, bought at Currys by researchers at the technology company e2v. In anticipation, I have brought a bag of potatoes. Trevor Cross, e2v's technical director, reckons his souped-up beauty can cook a baked tatty in 0.02 seconds, although he warns that it might not really resemble a potato when it is done. It might be vapourised. (more...)