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Smart Cities Are Coming, and They’ll Need Data Centers
The street light may not look like technology. But many technologists believe the humble street light will illuminate the future of smart cities.
These new smart street lights come equipped with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which last longer and use less power than traditional street lights. But there’s more: these light poles can also include built-in wireless connectivity (Bluetooth and wifi), high-definition digital cameras, and sensors to monitor weather and air quality. Most smart street lights come with a control network that can connect a city-wide array of sensors, and analytics packages.
“The real killer app for smart cities is smart street lighting,” said Sean Tippett, the Director of Smart Cities and IoT at Silver Spring Networks, which specializes in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for business. “It pays for itself, and then you have an IoT network in place.”
Smart street lights are the leading edge of an ambitious vision for smart cities, with the IoT bringing intelligence to everything from trash cans to park benches to dedicated ad-supported wifi kiosks like the LinkNYC or CIVIQ SmartScapes. The goal is to allow cities to use sensors and data analysis to bring intelligence to urban environments, and improve the quality of life for residents.
“A smart city harnesses the power of its data to run more efficiently,” said Melvin Greer, Chief Data Scientist at Intel Corp. “Every company and every city is now data-centric.”
It’s a vision that will arrive slowly, and in phases. The first phase involves deploying networks of sensors to collect data.
The trajectory of smart cities has been further transformed by the rise of autonomous vehicles, which have the potential to bring transformational changes in how cities are designed and function. Futurists and smart cities advocates foresee a future in which self-driving cars communicate with one another and the infrastructure around them. Imagine an urban landscape in which cars communicate with streetlights to improve traffic flow, and use sensors to locate empty parking spaces – and naturally, park themselves.
The realization of data flowing from vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) could be decades away. But it underscores the disruptive potential of combining the Internet of Things and autonomous cars.
A New Role for Data Centers
Smart cities are a key component of our digital future, bringing together the Internet of Things, BigData, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars to change the way we live and do business in major urban centers.
Data centers will be major beneficiaries of the emergence of smart cities, which will require lots of connectivity, data storage and compute power for analytics to crunch all that data. How big is this opportunity, and when will it arrive?
To answer these questions, Data Center Frontier has spent the past 18  months speaking with leading technologists, vendors and public officials to understand how the evolution of smart cities may change the data center landscape. We’ve attended conferences like the Industry of Things World and Internet of Things World, along with data center industry events.
The bottom line: True smart cities will arrive slowly, and face challenges in gaining funding and political support. But early adopters are already deploying networks of sensors and devices to lay the groundwork for more ambitious smart infrastructure ahead.
“Data centers that support smart cities can’t be designed on power and real estate concerns,” said Intel’s Greer. “They’ll be designed in a much smaller footprint and focused on a much more concentrated series of concerns. In the smart cities of the future, the data will be more important than the center.”
Beyond the Hype: Making Smart Cities Real
The smart city is an urban development that integrates information technology and the Internet of things (IoT) into the fabric of city life, using analytics and sensors to better manage cities and make urban ife safer, more efficient and sustainable. It’s just one more expression of how next-generation technologies are remaking the American landscape.
As with most new technologies, the smart cities movement has generated excitement about the possibilities.
“People want their pizza delivered in two minutes, by a drone” said Lou Lutostanski, Vice President for Internet of Things at Avnet. “Technology is no longer a limiter. Our imagination is the only limitation.”
But it’s easier to imagine technology than build it and pay for it. So it will be with smart cities, which will emerge gradually.
“I think we’re at approximately the peak of the hype cycle,” said Sharelynn Moore, VP of Global Marketing at Itron, a leading vendor in the IoT and smart cities sector. “But there is real business to be had here. There’s a lot of really amazing things coming. The cost and power of the technology has come down enough to make it work.
“If you get the infrastructure overlay, these applications will appear,” Moore added. “There are on-ramps that can get you started. But we are just getting started on innovation.”
Silver Spring’s Tippett says smart city strategies will serve as an economic development tool.
“We see very progressive, forward-looking cities seeing this as an innovation point and a differentiator, using early investments to attract developers and businesses,” said Tippett.
Leading With Lighting
A lot of those early investments are in smart lighting projects, which can piggyback on a larger trend to convert legacy streetlights to LED to reduce energy costs.
“We do a lot of work in the connected lighting sector, and we’re seeing it continue to grow,” said Tippett, who sees an opportunity in providing monitoring and management to cities, which often don’t want to do it themselves. As connected things proliferate, it’s not a small job.
Early projects have been promising. In 2014, San Diego installed a network of 3,000 smart streetlights from GE, which is now saving the city about $250,000 annually in electricity and maintenance costs (since outages are reported electronically, allowing targeted truck rolls for repairs during daylight hours).
Other cities are beginning to install these systems at scale. Officials in Edinburgh, Scotland are deploying a network of 64,000 smart street lights from Telensa, complete with wireless nodes to provide wifi for residents.
“If all of our vision for the IoT comes to pass, there will be a lot of devices out there, and scalability becomes important,” said Tippett. “There needs to be a very strong emphasis on security. The technology provider has a responsibility to ensure that the solution is secure and can scale.”
Clearing the Confusion on the Tech & the Opportunity
The expo hall at Internet of Things World stretches across much of the Santa Clara Convention Center. As you walk past booth after booth of connected things, it’s a dazzling array of IoT tech. Some of it is super cool, while some leaves you scratching your head.
“We’re really trying to grapple with all this,” said Jon Walton, CIO of San Mateo County. “So much of the stuff we see on the expo floor is so new. We don’t know what’s really going to be around. The IoT is actually far ahead of where government wants to engage.”
On a panel of municipal officials, Walton said that learning curve is a challenge for cities seeking to evangelize a smart cities strategy.
“You need executive sponsorship and strong leaders,” said Walton. “You have to make IoT tangible. IT in government has always been seen as an expense. The conversation we’re having now is ‘are some of these a service?’ If we’re not going to try to monetize IoT, maybe we focus on providing a benefit, rather than advertising or business models.”
Walton and San Mateo County have developed a “Smart Region Model” to focus on agencies working together to use shared technology resources to solve regional problems. The concept brings together smart parking solutions, smart street lights, waste management, energy management and asset tracking.
Finding the Funding, and the Business Model
In an era of tight budgets for cities and counties, a key question is how governments will fund their investment in smart city initiatives.
“What’s the ROI (return on investment) on public wifi versus affordable housing?” Walton said. The key selling point will initially be financial efficiency – finding better and cheaper ways to provide services. Some IOT-driven services may provide opportunities for monetization through public-private partnerships (PPPs) that offer a public benefit while providing a financial incentive for the business partner.
One option is creating wired innovation districts that can attract startups and other connected businesses. Many early monetization strategies focus on the sale or exchange of data gathered through sensor networks, which raises privacy questions.
Dave Tolson of DBT Data has a unique perspective on the smart cities discussion. For many years, Tolson built upscale housing in urban markets, before shifting his focus to data center development. Building truly smart cities will require serious investment in infrastructure, Tolson said, which is not an area where government has a strong track record – with the exception of cities preparing for the Olympics or Super Bowls.
“At the federal, state and local level, there’s not enough money to update infrastructure,” said Tolson. “The return would be phenomenal. It’s intelligent and profitable to do. But where is the money going to come from? It can’t come completely from the private sector.
“I’m a little skeptical,” he said. “The opportunity is currently very limited.”
The Evolving Role of the Data Center
What does this mean for data center economics? A number of developers and service providers are positioning themselves to benefit from demand for urban IT infrastructure. Smart cities are a particular flavor of edge computing, with the accompanying focus on right sizing the data center form factor.
When it comes to data center infrastructure, smart cities will mix the old and the new, creating opportunities for traditional “core” connectivity hubs as well as smaller data centers  optimized for edge computing.
Multi-tenant carrier hotels have been cornerstones of the Internet economy since the 1990s, and are some of the most successful properties in the colocation industry. Typically located in the central business district of major cities, buildings like One Wilshire (LA) and 60 Hudson Street (New York) and the Dallas Infomart, these buildings house meet-me rooms, a common area where providers can make physical connections between their networks.
Executives at Netrality, which owns carrier hotels in five U.S. markets, say its facilities are positioned to benefit as smart city technologies are deployed.
“All these applications are highly-dependent on low-latency connectivity,” said Gerald Marshall, President and CEO of Netrality. We’re starting to see the infrastructure to support these initiatives in our properties.”
At the other end of the spectrum are micro data centers that will help deploy infrastructure for 5G wireless connectivity and low-latency applications.
Edge computing specialist Vapor IO has begun deploying unmanned “lights-out” data center modules  in downtown Chicago, including a test site that serves as a launchpad for drone startup Hangar.  In an early example of infrastructure for a robot-powered smart city, the two companies are creating an edge computing network to manage drones as they fly missions to collect and analyze oceans of business data.
The companies see the collaboration as the first step towards a larger network to manage an automated society. Hangar’s real-time tracking system is currently focused on drones, but can also be used to support autonomous cars.
Intel’s Greer said data center modules are part of an exploding ecosystem of devices and vehicles that will comprise the smart cities to come.
“Smart cities are going to disrupt this idea of the huge, monolithic data center,” said Greer. ” The iPhone X isn’t a smartphone. It’s an artificial intelligence device. The (car) key is a sensor. It knows when you are in proximity to your vehicle. This is the future.”
https://datacenterfrontier.com/smart-cities-data-centers/?_lrsc=3da468fb-1e79-4f3b-b39f-bbeb81783c87
Published inIndustry News
Cork to be fastest growing Irish city over the next 20 years
Cork is set to become the fastest growing city in the country over the next 20 years.
Today's annual congress of the International Academy of Urbanism will hear that its population is set to treble.
Delegates will discuss the challenges it faces and how to ensure a quality of life is maintained for residents.
Cork City Council Deputy Chief Executive Pat Ledwidge says a lot of issues for the city need to be tackled.
"We're basically trying to bring prosperity to our citizens, and to do that we have to provide them with jobs, we have to provide them with a good environment in which to live, we have to look at issues such as education, we have to look at issues such as housing, and we have to look at how we do all this in a sustainable way, so we don't jeopardise the future for the urgency of the present," he said.
https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/cork-to-be-fastest-growing-irish-city-over-the-next-20-years-851667.html
Published inIndustry News
Irish construction experiences sharp increase in activity
Activity in Ireland’s construction sector increased at a sharper pace in July amid widespread reports of strengthening demand for services.
New orders continued to increase at a substantial pace and companies raised employment and purchasing activity accordingly, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity. Meanwhile, the rate of input cost inflation remained marked amid some reports of material shortages.
The PMI rose to 60.7 in July from 58.4 in June. The reading signalled a fifty-ninth consecutive monthly rise in construction activity, and one that was sharper than in the previous month. Respondents pointed to increases in new work and specific strength in the housing sector.
Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms experienced accelerated rates of expansion in July. The headline PMI picked up from what was already a highly elevated reading of 58.4 in June to stand at 60.7 last month, a level consistent with very rapid growth in activity. Firms continue to benefit from sharp rises in incoming new business flows as they report ongoing improvement in client demand for their services. In turn, the buoyancy of activity and orders patterns continues to underpin strong demand for construction workers, with the pace of job creation remaining substantial in July, albeit not quite as exceptionally strong as June.”
He added that cctivity growth was broadly-based in July, with firms operating in civil engineering reporting a welcome return to expansion – perhaps linked to the recent marked step-up in the growth of Exchequer capital spending. “But as has been the case for much of the construction recovery to date, commercial and housing activity remain the main sources of the sector’s growth,” he said. “Commercial activity again increased sharply in July, while particularly encouraging was a notable quickening in the rate of expansion in housing activity where the PMI rose to an exceptional 63.9. Not only does this leave housing as the strongest-performing sub-sector, but it is one of the highest readings in the survey’s 18- year history.”
New order growth eases New orders continued to rise sharply amid reports of improving customer demand. New business has now increased in each of the past 61 months, although the rate of growth eased from June to a four-month low.
The need to keep up with improvements in demand encouraged construction firms to raise their employment and purchasing activity during July. Employment increased at a substantial pace, with job creation now having been recorded continuously for almost five years. Meanwhile, the rate of growth in purchasing activity eased for the second month running but was still strong.
July saw an improvement in confidence among construction firms, with optimism regarding the 12- month outlook for activity remaining strong.
https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/irish-construction-experiences-sharp-increase-in-activity
Published inIndustry News
More than €1bn in Irish data centre investments in second quarter
Apple’s decision to shelve plans for a €850 million data centre in Co Galway hasn’t stopped other companies from wanting to build such facilities here, a new report shows.
More than €1 billion of new data centre projects were announced in the Republic in the second quarter of the year bringing the total planned investment in such facilities up until 2021 to €9.3 billion.
Amazon, Google, CyrusOne and Crag Digital were among the companies to announce 10 new investments between April and June.
Overall, €1.2 billion was invested in constructing data facilities here last year with forecasts indicating total investment for 2018 will be €1.1 billion. About €1.5 billion is expected to be invested in new facilities next year, with a further €1.4 billion in 2020.
According to figures compiled by Host in Ireland and Bitpower, 46 data centres are currently in operation in the Republic, with the largest cluster southwest of Dublin. An additional eight new facilities are under construction with a further 12 having received planning permission.
The report reveals total data centre capacity in Ireland is currently 483 megawatts (MW) of power with a further 138MW of power under construction. Overall, capacity is expected to grow to more than 1,200MW by 2024.
“Ireland remains attractive as a country at the forefront of an industry building modern digital infrastructure which has evolved to become one of the pillars for attracting foreign direct investment,” said Host in Ireland founder Gary Connolly.
A recent report by Grant Thornton carried out on behalf of IDA Ireland found that Irish data centres employ about 5,700 people and have generated €1.6 billion in direct economic benefits since 2010.
Apple
In a recent interview with The Irish Times, Apple chief executive Tim Cook also said the tech giant may consider locating another data centre in Ireland when its requirements dictated that Apple needed to expand its data centre capacity. “We don’t plan on stopping growing, and so things will come back around at some point in time,” he said.
A two-year delay caused by legal appeals against a previous Apple data centre project saw Athenry in Co Galway ultimately lose out on the investment as the tech giant opted for another location. Mr Cook said he would welcome changes proposed by the Government to planning rules that would reduce time limits for some planning applications and tighten the rules for who is eligible to take judicial review proceedings.
Mr Cook said the company respected the Irish planning process, it just needed to work more quickly to provide certainty for businesses trying to make decisions that impacted their future.
“This was something that we really wanted to do and we stuck with it for quite a long time in the hope that things would move forward. We very much respect that there has to be a process for people to disagree, and I think that’s positive,” he said. “I would hope that the process can just work faster because businesses need a level of certainty over time. That doesn’t mean that every call should be what we want or what any company wants, but the speed of it is key.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/more-than-1bn-in-irish-data-centre-investments-in-second-quarter-1.3576002
Published inIndustry News
1,200 more homes as Dublin steps up social housing push
Dublin's local authorities are working on a number of major new projects to build thousands of social and affordable housing units in the capital, the Sunday Independent has learned.
A London-based venture capital fund has held exploratory talks with Dublin City Council chiefs regarding a plan that proposes using a Public-Private Partnership business model to build and retrofit thousands of social housing units in the capital.
Fingal County Council is also advancing plans for a major tranche of 1,200 residential mixed-tenure housing units close to the IBM campus at Church Fields in Mulhuddart. The scheme is similar to one announced last week for Donabate.
The Mulhuddart scheme, which has now moved to the design stage, will provide 1,200 houses with a mix of social and affordable housing, as well as a possibility of some private housing.
The council is expected to lodge a Part 8 planning application in October for a new road to access the site.
Funding proposals for the scheme, which will include apartment buildings up to six storeys, are being examined.
Meanwhile, UK venture capital fund Blue Castle Partners - which has a track record of managing a portfolio of asset-based investments valued at £2bn - hosted a meeting with a number of Dublin City councillors in recent weeks, according to lobbying register filings.
The meeting was facilitated by a social investment vehicle backed by former Dublin hotelier Jim Staunton. Staunton set up investment vehicle Medipro Life after netting €12m from the sale of his Dublin townhouse hotel Stauntons on the Green in 2015.
The investment vehicle is working with Blue Castle Partners and City Council officials on a plan to kick-start a major development drive to solve the capital's social housing crisis.
Lobbying register filings reveal the discussions explored "ways to finance the construction of homes for the DCC [Dublin City Council]. Discussions also took place in regard to the additional streams of revenue for the DCC as well as fire-safety standards" and new technology to reduce energy costs.
Medipro Life CEO John Kidd, a former Siptu official and firefighter, said the ambitious proposals tabled at the meeting could slash council waiting lists, which currently stand at an estimated 20,000 families and individuals.

"We support the proposals by Dublin City Council's head of housing, deputy chief executive Brendan Kenny, for a large-scale rezoning of industrial estates in central Dublin for new housing, as this would transform the landscape of the city,” said Kidd. “We want to build thousands of new energy efficient homes and retrofit thousands of old housing stock to help solve the social housing crisis once and for all. We have secured the finance for the project. Now we want to work with the council to help deliver it.”
In a letter sent to Dublin City Council chiefs in support of the exploratory talks, Blue Castle Partners executive director Edward L Williams confirmed his firm’s interest.
 “Blue Castle Partners would like to express an interest to participate in an innovative partnership programme with Dublin City Council,” he wrote. “We believe that our involvement could provide financial instruments to address outstanding issues regarding social and affordable housing by building 20,000 carbon-neutral units.”
Dublin West Fine Gael councillor Kieran Dennison, who chairs Fingal’s economic development committee said that the funding model for the Mulhuddart scheme was still under discussion but that there was a push on in the county council to move the scheme to the building phase as quickly as possible.
“It is the first time this local authority has built on this scale and we are putting in a lot of the infrastructure and facilities in advance,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/property-mortgages/1200-more-homes-as-dublin-steps-up-social-housing-push-37229328.html
Published inIndustry News
Profits at construction giant Balfour Beatty quadruple in six months
Profits at construction giant Balfour Beatty quadrupled in the six months to 29 June.
The UK-based company, which established a presence in Ireland in 2004, said pre-tax profits grew to £50m from £12m in the six month period as it hailed its "Build to Last" transformation programme.
It came as revenue dipped to £3.2bn from £3.5bn in the period.
Read more: Building costs rapidly rising to Celtic Tiger peak: surveyors
"All our businesses are now either achieving industry-standard margins or on track to do so in the second half," Leo Quinn, CEO of Balfour, said.
"The disciplines installed under Build to Last are also enabling us to increase the order book with key infrastructure projects to translate Balfour Beatty's expert capabilities into future profitable growth."
In Ireland the group has worked with a number of high profile customers including the Dublin Airport Authority.
Looking forward, the company said it is well placed to capitalise on the anticipated increasing demand for new and renewed infrastructure in the UK, Ireland, US and Far East.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/profits-at-construction-giant-balfour-beatty-quadruple-in-six-months-37217920.html
Published inIndustry News
Dublin’s housing crisis brings silver lining for the regions
Cork. Donegal. Portlaoise. Athlone. Sligo. These locations all featured as the homes for new multinational investment projects, mainly from US companies, announced by IDA Ireland last month. In July last year there were announcements in Cork and Waterford, but the rest were all heading for Dublin. Something is changing. And the Dublin house price squeeze and the familiar tale of high prices and soaring rents is a significant part of this story.
Many of the major players will still look to locate in the big urban hub that is Dublin – this kind of clustering is the way a lot of industries work, offering them the key advantage of access to pools of skilled staff in their sector. But slowly over the past few years we have seen high costs becoming a key factor in pushing companies – or parts of companies in many cases – out of Dublin city centre. Some have set up operations in the outer suburbs, looking for a balance of lower cost but still access to the city centre.
Now, increasingly, the regional option is coming into play. When your employees are struggling to afford rent on a wage of €40,000-€50,000, then you are forced to consider your options. And with the IDA trying to promote the regions and somewhat better grants available, there are pull factors as well as the push caused by costs.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is not the be all and end all of economic development, of course and bodies such as the National Competitiveness Council argue that we are overly reliant on it and vulnerable to international tax changes or problems in key sectors. In the past, big regional multinational closures have also dealt heavy blows.
Difficult sell
But whatever way you slice it, the influx of FDI into Dublin has been a huge part of the region’s development and getting firms to look at other locations has been a difficult sell for the IDA. As the agency’s own 2017 end-of-year statement put it: “Convincing international investors to consider locations outside of Dublin continues to prove challenging with multinational companies increasingly looking to invest in bigger communities globally.”
However, slowly but surely more regional investments are coming on the map.Some of the projects are not too surprising – Cork has long been a pharma hub, for example, and some other announcements are expansions of existing plants. Others are more notable, in terms of signalling change, including significant investments in Sligo,the mid-west, Dundalk and Longford, among others. Some 51 of the 114 IDA jobs announcements in the first half of the year were outside Dublin and 344 projects have gone to regional centres in the past 3½ years, roughly equal to the total for the previous five years.
The key point for the companies coming here in areas such as tech and financial services is being able to attract people with the right skills, not only from Ireland but also from around Europe. And so Brexit has helped the effort to attract firms here, as some are favouring Ireland over the UK, fearing that controls on immigration will deter – or stop – people from migrating there for work. It is all about access to “talent”. And even better-paid employees are now finding that moving to the capital is a financial stretch.
Little wonder. Rental Tenancy Board figures for the first quarter show Dublin rents for new tenancies of over €1,500 on average, more than twice those in a regional location such as Sligo. Daft.ie data suggests city centre Dublin rents approaching €2,000 a month, compared with €700-€800 in many regional locations. And they are still rising.
Social problems
These rents are creating a huge social problem – and also an economic blockage. The level of pay employees require to be able to afford to rent – and live – is rising and this is tipping the scales for many firms. Attracting people to come and work in Dublin for €45,000-€50,000 is now problematic, because of the cost of housing. On any calculation, paying over €1,500 a month is going to stretch someone earning €45,000 a year or even €50,000. This has swung the dial for some companies in favour of regional locations.
Big recruiting companies are noticing. Tracy Keevans, FDI director at Morgan McKinley, says that over the past 18 months firms are increasingly considering regional locations, where employees face a more reasonable cost of living and companies can operate at a lower cost base. Big financial companies are still looking to Dublin, she says, but in tech, highly sought talented employees “are embracing the lower cost of living, reduced commute, affordable quality rental and purchase properties” available in other locations, when this comes with access to high-quality jobs.
The housing crisis is the most pressing issue facing the Government, but whatever policy is used to deal with it is going to take time. The market has failed and the State has failed, with obvious social consequences and economic knock-ons. But if part of this is increasing investment in regional Ireland, then we should do what we can to take advantage of this. For the Government, getting its act together on the rural broadband plan – now in huge difficulties – and pushing ahead with the national investment programme plan to develop the regional cities are the two obvious measures.
The regions are the part of our economy most exposed to the risks from Brexit, due largely to their reliance on the food sectors and SMEs. New multinational investment is not the answer to all the problems for the regional economy, but with Brexit on the horizon and high costs inhibiting investment into a choking Dublin economy, there is an obvious opportunity here which we should do all that we can to grab.
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/dublin-s-housing-crisis-brings-silver-lining-for-the-regions-1.3592285#.W3GDyM6sy4k.linkedin
Published inIndustry News
A New Laser Material is Going to Combine Thermal Tolerance with High Power

If you work in technical recruitment or even engineering jobs then you will know how exciting it is when new projects like this come on the market. After all, everyone benefits and it is only a matter of time until other people start to follow in the footsteps of those who are making headlines. Engineers have devised a method to try and combine disparate materials. In other words, this means that you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to laser material. Any material that is capable of producing laser light need to meet certain requirements. Researchers have found a way to try and combine alumina crystals with a substance known as neodymium. The ions for this have the ability to produce a very high-powered pulse and this can be done across a huge range of wavelengths.

Another great benefit? It has the ability to resist thermal shock as well. Now both neodymium and even alumina are very common materials when you look at solid state lasers. The former gives you the chance to make the metal ions that are required for the light and the other is designed to withstand heat. The problem is that the two of them are incompatible.

That is, until now. Researchers have found a way to try and combine these two ions and substances so that a high-powered laser can now be operated to the maximum efficiency without any worry. The researchers over at the university have been working very hard on this project and they have also really put the work in to try and make sure that the final project version is viable as well. So far everything looks to be good and this could make a huge difference to the industry.

Published inIndustry News
A 1.5 Billion Euro Power Investment is Happening in Portugal

Northern Portugal is now starting to receive an economic boost. This is all down to the latest announcement- stating that a hydro powerplant is going to be established in the Douro Valley. Iberdola is commencing the build for three brand new dams. This would mean that power could be produced in the area and there is even going to be a pumped storage facility as well. Those who work in engineering jobs or even technical recruitment will know what a fantastic move this could be and it is going to take advantage of the fact that the water rises in Spain, before it flows over to Portugal. The development of the scheme is going to involve three core strategic undertakings.

After all, there is going to be a brand-new storage facility and there is also going to be a brand new capacity as well. This, combined with the fact that the pumped hydro is the only technology that is able to store large amounts of energy efficiently means that the whole project is very exciting to say the least. This just goes to show that the area is very focused when it comes to sustainable development and it also shows that people in the area are doing everything they can to really make the most out of the planet.

The three dams combined are expected to produce around 1,760 GWh and this is going to happen every single year. They are going to serve the Iberian market and they are estimated to create around 13,500 jobs when the construction phase begins. This is very exciting news and it is great for those who live in the local area as well as it means that the economy will surely benefit from this.

Published inIndustry News
Material is Being Formed from Crab Shells and It Could Put an End to Plastic Packaging

There have been a lot of experiments done lately to try and cut down on the amount of plastic that we are pumping out into our oceans and it seems as though a possible solution has been found. J. Carson Meredith who is a professor at the Georgia Tech School has come out to say that there is a new material that could replace the need for plastic. This is made from crab shell, otherwise known a chitin and it also uses cellulose as well which comes from tree fibres. Multiple layers of chitin are used to create a flexible yet firm alternative to standard plastic film.

As we all know, cellulose is the most well-known form of biopolymer and this is great news for those who work in technical recruitment or even engineering jobs. To create the plastic alternative, the team over at the university created a method that involved suspending cellulose and chitin in water. They were then sprayed on a surface in layers, alternating one another. When the whole thing had dried, the result is a flexible yet strong, fully transparent alternative to plastic. The best thing about it? It is fully compostable as well!

J. Carson Meredith is the person who led the research and they have come out to say that this could actually have some advantages over plastic. It has a lower level of oxygen permeability and this means that it could actually help to keep food fresher, for longer. With that being said, more and more companies are now trying to put an end to plastic usage and they are also doing their best to try and stop the amount of plastic being released into the environment as well. This could be a worthwhile solution.

Published inIndustry News

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