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Swedish scientists develop fastest hydrogen sensor for hydrogen-powered vehicles

Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have developed the first hydrogen sensors ever to meet the future performance targets for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles. The device is capable of detecting 0.1 percent hydrogen in the air in less than a second.

In a study published in the scientific journal Nature Materials, physicists Ferry Nugroho, Christoph Langhammer and other colleagues, explain that their optical nanosensor contains millions of metal nanoparticles of a palladium-gold alloy, a material that is known for its sponge-like ability to absorb large amounts of hydrogen. The device is also encapsulated in a plastic material.

Hydrogen sensor

The sensor’s performance is based on an optical phenomenon that occurs when metal nanoparticles are illuminated and capture light of a certain wavelength. This phenomenon is known as a plasmon. The plasmon then causes the sensor to change colour when the amount of hydrogen in the environment changes.

At the same time, the plastic around the sensor accelerates the uptake of the hydrogen gas molecules into the metal particles where they can be detected, this allows it to increase its response time. The plastic also acts as an effective barrier to the environment, preventing any other molecules from entering and deactivating the sensor.

“We have not only developed the world’s fastest hydrogen sensor, but also a sensor that is stable over time and does not deactivate. Unlike today’s hydrogen sensors, our solution does not need to be recalibrated as often, as it is protected by the plastic,” Nugroho said in a media statement.

In Nugroho and his colleagues’ view, ​the sensor could be part of a major breakthrough for hydrogen-powered vehicles because, in order for hydrogen cars and the associated infrastructure of the future to be sufficiently safe, it must be possible to detect extremely small amounts of hydrogen in the air and, therefore, sensors that are quick enough to detect leaks before a fire occurs are key.

According to Langhammer, the sensor could also be used in the electricity network industry, the chemical and nuclear power industry, and can also help improve medical diagnostics.

Source

National Drug Stores Selling CBD, but Not Walmart or Target—Yet

Mainstream retailers are leaping into the world of products like skin creams and oils that tout such benefits as reducing anxiety and helping you sleep.

The key ingredient? CBD, or cannabidiol, a compound derived from hemp and marijuana that doesn’t cause a high. CVS, Martha Stewart, and Neiman Marcus are selling CBD products. Walmart and Target are holding off for now.

Retailers are taking advantage of the booming industry even as its legal status and health benefits remain murky. And the flood of products is only testing how federal regulators can police it.

Retail sales of CBD consumer products in 2018 were estimated to reach as much as $2 billion, according to Cowen & Co. By 2025, that figure could hit $16 billion in retail sales, the investment firm predicts.

CBD has been cropping up in everything from dog treats to bath balms in the past few months. Domestic diva Martha Stewart is working with Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. to develop new CBD products. Authentic Fitness is planning to sell CBD foot creams, oils and soaps under the Nine West brand starting this fall. CVS Health is beginning to sell CBD-infused creams, sprays, lotions and salves at more than 800 stores in seven states; drug store rivals Walgreens and Rite Aid are now following suit. And the nation’s largest mall owner, Simon Property Group, has hooked up with a cannabis goods maker to open roughly 100 kiosks at its U.S. malls by mid-summer.

Neiman Marcus Is Getting In

Even high-end retailers are getting in on the action, charging anywhere from $12 to $150 an ounce. Barneys New York has opened a shop in Beverly Hills, California, that sells CBD-infused creams along with hand blown glass bongs and other accessories, while Neiman Marcus is now offering an array of CBD-infused beauty products from balms, lotions soaps and masks in five of its stores.

“There’s definitely a huge opportunity for expansion,” said Matthew Mazzucca, creative director at Barneys New York.

He acknowledged, however, the legal hurdles are still hard to navigate and companies should take it slow.

Walmart, Target, Amazon: Not Yet

Indeed, some are doing just that. Walmart says it doesn’t have plans to carry CBD-infused products at this time and Target, which in 2017 sold hemp extract products on its website but then quickly yanked them, said it’s monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, online behemoth Amazon is staying clear of the stuff. Spokeswoman Cecilia Fan says the company prohibits the sale of products that contain CBD and will remove them from its site if it sees them.

CBD’s ubiquity persists despite very little evidence for all the health claims the industry touts. If you believe in the hype, CBD treats pain, reduces anxiety and helps you sleep and keeps you focused. But most claims are based on studies in rats, mice or in test tubes. Human research has been done but on small numbers of people.

Only drugs that have been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective can make claims that they treat or prevent diseases or medical conditions. Many CBD producers try to get around that by using vague language about general health and well-being.

That seems to be good enough for at least some shoppers eager to calm their nerves.

“We are a more anxious society and people are looking for cures,” said Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. “There’s a growing distrust in business and pharma and so people are wanting to find cures that seem more real and wholesome.”

Seems to Work for Some

Amy Nichols, a former food scientist from Indianapolis, reflects that distrust. Nichols, 46, who’s been battling symptoms from autoimmune illness, has been using CBD oils by a brand called Recept that she sticks under her tongue.

“For me, this is a more natural solution to treating symptoms that I am having instead of taking pain killers,” said Nichols, who now works as a sales representative for Recept. “I have more energy. I get more done. I am in less pain. I am more active.”

Different States, Different Laws

CBD is operating within a patchwork of regulations that vary by cities and states. In New York City, regulators are prohibiting outlets to sell CBD-infused food and beverages, threatening them with fines. Other states like Ohio and California are taking similar action. Maine’s governor, on the other hand, signed an emergency bill in late March allowing CBD in food products after state inspectors warned stores to pull them from shelves earlier in the year.

The farm bill, passed late last year, gave states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to regulate industrial hemp, a type of cannabis that is high in CBD. That opened the door to hemp-derived CBD products. CVS and Walgreens are sticking to topicals. Others are rolling the dice and selling CBD-infused drinks and supplements.

But the farm bill gave the FDA authority over the food supply and the agency recently warned that it’s illegal to add CBD or THC—the compound that gives marijuana its high—to human or animal food and beverages and transport it over state lines. Dietary supplements using CBD are also illegal.

Bigger players like CVS and Walgreens are sticking with skin creams and lotions where the FDA hasn’t specifically expressed concern. Others are rolling the dice and selling CBD-infused drinks and supplements anyway in hopes of a profit, said Whitt Steineker, a Birmingham, Alabama, attorney who advises the hemp industry.

“They have determined the reward is worth the risk,” Steineker said.

With rules and guidance still being written, the landscape is highly uncertain but Steineker expects that to improve.

“Now that hemp is legal, I think the USDA and state departments of agriculture are interested in seeing what type of crop it will be and what its applications are,” he said. “They’ll move with the speed governments often move with … (but) by the 2020 growing season, people will have a better understanding how to operate within the law.”

Source

Gold buying frenzy by global central banks to push bullion prices higher

Gold prices could reach $1,400 per ounce in 2019 due to the US Federal Reserve’s less aggressive stance on interest rates, bullion purchases by central banks and lingering global uncertainties, market analysts explain.

“I think that we expect gold to continue to trade pretty much within that range for the coming months,” said Martin Huxley, global head of precious metals at financial services firm INTL FCStone. “But over the second half of the year we expect it then to grind higher, and potentially it could test 1,400 towards the end of the year,” he told CNBC, referring to gold’s price per ounce in relation to the dollar.

The yellow metal was trading at about $1,283.57 an ounce as of 09:19am GMT on Tuesday.

According to Huxley, the Federal Reserve’s signal that there will be no more interest rate hikes this year has helped boost the outlook for gold and other metals.

“The view is that there won’t be any interest rate rises this year, which again will be supportive for the precious metals sector,” he said.

Metals expert Suki Cooper of Standard Chartered also said last month she expects bullion prices to move higher in 2019. “We expect gold to end the year on a strong note,” Cooper said, adding that it is “in the fourth quarter that we’ll see gold prices testing the highs that we saw in 2018 and 2017, and potentially matching the highs from five years ago.”

Central banks have been accumulating gold at levels not seen in 50 years, as part of a broader diversification of reserves away from currencies including the US dollar. Their reserves surged 651.5 tons, or 74 percent year on year, in 2018, according to data from the World Gold Council (WGC).

“And turn the clock back maybe 10 years, before the financial crisis, central banks were net sellers of gold and now there’s a dramatic twist, probably a thousand ton twist,” said INTL FCStone’s Huxley. He explained that it is not just countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan that are on a gold-buying spree but central banks in Poland, Hungary, the Philippines and China have also joined in.

“The fact that central banks and the official sector are diversifying their reserves, I think, is a very positive statement for the sector,” the expert said.

Source

NEWS: PLUS Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jake Heimark to Present at the 3rd Annual Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

PLUS Products Inc. (“PLUS™” or the “Company”) (CSE:PLUS) (OTCQB:PLPRF), a cannabis branded product manufacturer dedicated to making cannabis safe and approachable, is pleased to announce that co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jake Heimark, will present at the 3rd Annual Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, held on April 17-18 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Canada. Jake will be speaking on the 18th at 1:20PM EST.

Benzinga describes the Cannabis Capital Conference as “The premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America. No other conference offers the level of access and seamless interaction between entrepreneurs building future billion-dollar cannabis enterprises and the investors whose capital will make that happen.” The audience consists of over 750 institutional investors, retail investors, public and private cannabis companies as well as media.

About PLUS Products
PLUS Products creates safe and delicious cannabis food products. PLUS’s mission is to make cannabis safe and approachable – that starts with high-quality products that deliver consistent experiences. The gummies are manufactured at PLUS’s own factory in Adelanto, CA, where dosage is tested twice internally and then tested twice again by an independent lab. PLUS is headquartered in San Mateo, CA with 60 employees.

According to BDS Analytics, the company’s retail sales in the fourth quarter were $10.53 million, an increase of 39.6% over the third quarter of 2018. According to retail analytics firm Headset, the PLUS Uplift Sour Watermelon gummy was the top selling branded product of the more than 20,000 products sold across all cannabis categories in California in 2018. According to BDS Analytics, PLUS “Uplift” and PLUS “Restore” remained the #1 and #2 best-selling edible products in California.

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NEWS: Standard Lithium Announces Receipt of Additional $426,000 to Proceeds of $1.00 Offering

Standard Lithium Ltd. (the “Company”) (TSXV: SLL) is pleased to announce that it has received subscriptions for a further $426,000 of the Company’s $1.00 unit offering.  The Company has accepted these subscriptions, and has issued 426,000 units (each, a “Unit”) at price of $1.00 per Unit.  Each “Unit” consists of one common share of the Company, and one-half-of-one common share purchase warrant (each whole warrant, a “Warrant”).  Each “Warrant” entitles the holder to acquire one additional common share of the Company at a price of $1.30 per share, subject to adjustment in certain events, for a period of thirty-six months.

The Units were offered by the Company on a non-brokered private placement basis, and are subject to a four-month-and-day statutory hold period in accordance with applicable securities laws.  No fees or commissions were paid in connection with the acceptance of these additional subscriptions.

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