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EUROPA - Research and Innovation: What's New in Innovation

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PV energy is 40 times more efficient than the best bio-fuels_"Let the sun shine!"


PV energy is 40 times more efficient than the best bio-fuels_"Let the sun shine!"

Monday, May 27, 2013

The solar car driving Egypt into the future - Information Centre - Research & Innovation - European Commission

EGYPT's EVIRONMENTALLY DRIVEN Sunny Vehicles project, responds to one major global environmental concern, if not the main environmental concern, ie ever increasing GHG-Green House Gases  & their dominant role in CC-Climate Change due to place of the organic fuel based automobile in present & future society.

The Sunny Car project prototype is one of four built based upon solar-powered electric cars for the Egyptian passenger and light transport market. The eco-friendly machine converts sunlight into energy with photovoltaic cells on the roof, which means there are no-fuel costs and zero greenhouse gas dioxide emissions. 

Backed by a €246,975 grant from the European Commission, Sunny Vehicles is also supported by local Sharm El Sheikh-based engineering firm Airtec, Egypt's Mansura and Suez Canal universities, the Egyptian Establishment for Import - Export and Communications

Agencies (BISO) and Jordan's Royal Scientific Society, as well as Italy's Comcor Engineering and University of Modena, both of which work with famed Italian car brands Ferrari, Lamborghini and Fiat.

The main prototype, which the team hopes to develop into a two-seater city run around car or small transport vehicle, can travel at 40-50km/h with around 80km autonomy. However, the team has also developed a sportier, dune buggy, which can be used for desert, and reaches 100km/h.

The innovative simplicity of sunny cars lies in the charging process: each vehicle takes about ten hours to fully charge and any excess energy is stored in the batteries for cloudy days or night time. "Charging is not a problem,"Backed by a €246,975 grant from the European Commission, Sunny Vehicles is also supported by local Sharm El Sheikh-based engineering firm Airtec, Egypt's Mansura and Suez Canal universities, the Egyptian Establishment for Import - Export and Communications

Agencies (BISO) and Jordan's Royal Scientific Society, as well as Italy's Comcor Engineering and University of Modena, both of which work with famed Italian car brands Ferrari, Lamborghini and Fiat.

The main prototype, which the team hopes to develop into a two-seater city run around car or small transport vehicle, can travel at 40-50km/h with around 80km autonomy. However, the team has also developed a sportier, dune buggy, which can be used for desert, and reaches 100km/h.

The innovative simplicity of cars lies in the charging process: each vehicle takes about ten hours to fully charge and any excess energy is stored in the batteries for cloudy days or night time. "Charging is not a problem," Hafez says. "Sharm el-Sheikh is a city full of sunshine; the sun glows 365 days a year for more than 10 hours a day."

There are other advantages: the solar panels work silently so they don't add to the noise pollution already on the road; and the electric motor is more efficient and quiet than a petrol engine, with few vibrations produced by the smaller, lighter and easier to maintain motor.
WORK To Be Done (wTBD)
Much work remains to be done before Sunny Vehicles is ready to go into production, including cutting the cost of materials, and boosting the performance of the solar cells and batteries. "But every day we learn something new, and use it to improve the car," says Hafez.

Nonetheless, the prototype has already been showcased around the country, and in June 2011, the then Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf even lent his support to the project. 
Hafez talks of using the technology in buses and boats in Egypt's tourist centres, and says the zero emission electric motors will help transform the image of the region. "It is easy: you do not have to pay anything, so long as the sun shines," he says.

Project details
  • Project acronym: DEVCO-RDI Sunny Vehicles
  • Participants: Egypt (Coordinator), Italy, United Kingdom


2. Euro-mediterranean conf 2012 (pdf)


Friday, May 24, 2013

Innovation often misunderstood, says B.Guilhon_ Some of the ramifications of pretended misunderstandings and misinterpretations are presented below based on B. Guilhon of SKEMA Biz School article-book review in Le Monde

When Innovation is taken into Hostage! by Bernard Guilhon. Translated from Le Jounal, Le Monde

The Economy as an (unbelievably simple) Software Programme - 
[simplified for the sake of argument or book reviewing by Le journal Le Monde(in French)?]

Guilhon pretends (pure supposition?) that many economists and public decision makers(?) in France at least,wrongly believe that it is sufficient "to pull the levers" or "oil the springs" of an economy based upon knowledge,  the so called "knowledge economy." In doing so the flow of innovations will be constantly fed an thus the country (France) will maintain its position in the worldwide economic competition.

However the loss of export market share questions the above definition of the innovation process?

Guilhon, as reported in Le Monde, further maintains that the economic crises is a crises of how economies are thought of, defined. For the European countries (EU?) the crises started which started in 2007-2008 is not a financial crises but a crises due to the deindustrialisation hitting,especially,countries which have neglected to strengthen their industrial base.

He continues to chastise "the established view" for its lack of interest for industry (NB. often relatively hard and dirty work despite modern efforts in quality, health and environmental protection in developed countries) Such lack of interest, could he possibly mean low ROI-Return on Investment interest? leads him to use the expression "schizophrenic" concerning the "reigning - panicked" vision of innovation which places "great" value on the production of new knowledge without the desire to seek and implement the opportunities for applications of the said knowledge. Here I must remind the unwary reader and some economists of well known cost  comparisons: If the lab experiment cost is unity, a pilot scale up is 10 times more and a full industrialisation is 100 and that is probably a very conservative estimation.

That innovation is not seen as a transformation of ways of thinking and acting whose consequences provoke the downgrading of products and processes requiring reallocation of competences towards sources of creativity. Really! The guys involved don't know this! But at what cost & to whom?

He carries on R&D bashing as a process of increasing and preservation of scientific progress (over)-fed by pubic spending in R & D and in the creation of knowledge-intensive employment whose main motivation is to validate our main paths of excellence intellectual.

Thus progressively the economic machine looses its vitality (best people, brain drain and what have you)

In France:
1. Ageing of industrial equipment
66%  or 2/3 of all Companies have not sent any equipment to the scrap heap between 1990 and 2006-2011,
2. France has installed 15% less robots than Germany in 2011. (Popn. France/Germany roughly 25% less!     (Try again Prof. Guilhon).
3. France is classed 29th in the world for investment in information technologies.


Constraints due to globalisation are claimed to be under-estimated whereas the violence of the shocks taken require longer recovery times.

Employment has dropped continuously over the last 24 months. In the last 6 months, INSEE - National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies. indicates that unemployment has lowered on only 8 occasions while the level of  economic activity has remained inferior to the level in 2008.

ILO-unemployment rate
Monthly industrial Production indexes
NB-REM:There are 4 levels of economic activity (link) the main reference used by INSEE in France is GDP.

This unemployment produces an erosion of qualifications and tacit or "hands-on" knowledge of the the work-force, a disapprenticeship due to lack of practise, somewhat in contradiction with the basic building block of an economy supposed to be based on knowledge, in this case "Learning by Doing".   This loss of substance in the industrial sector not only deepens foreign debt but does so by replacing industrial work by lower paid work in the service sector.  

R and D policies,(presumably government policies) Guilhon claims, are inappropriate to aim to support companies most exposed to international competition ie. small to middle sized companies are the ones that loose out, while the large companies preoccupied by rationalisation (presumably to increase efficiency and profit ) and implantation close to large attractive markets allocate increasing investment R and D out with Europe (I suppose this means truly democratic Europe, the European Union) 
(NB. including cheaper, equally qualified and maybe less industrially wise although my latter comment may just be wishful thinking).

In this context R & D spending (investment) by industry represents 63% of total R & D spending.

Such weakening of industrial activities and accompanying delocalisation has, according to the US economist Gregory Tassey, a devastating effect on the R and D capacity of the (national) economy which in turn weakens the (Nations) global innovation infrastructure.

 Education and training
Guilhon criticises Education and training. He claims that under investment in Western Europe leads to a penury of qualified work, evident in many sectors (the book review does not say which sectors nor other evidence).

Delocalisation he qualifies as "shadow migration" allowing the "home" country to benefit from qualified productive factors while renumerating them at (lower) welcoming rates.

A LOOSER-LOOSER GAME (A FOOLS GAME when we know the high quality of education and the positions of those targeted,! Strong words indeed ) 

When qualified work moves the European schema appears to reproduce some aspects a Looser-Loser (L-L) Game as opposed to  Win-Win (W-W) play. This L-L game appears to characterise the relationship between  the developed countries and the developing countries 

Countries that export qualified labour (southern Europe) are expected to invest less in education whereas qualified labour importer countries would tend to do the same thing, not invest in education since they can depend on the investment of other countries.

Thus globalisation requires a systems vision of innovation, which requires simultaneous investments in strongly related complimentary actives: new technologies, human capitol, communication technologies, intellectual property legislation, valorisation structures.(I guess this specialist & many others do not follow this blog -I have only 2 followers to date- other wise Innovative issues such as Innocentive incredibly instructive Prof Guilhon.) 

On a global scale, identification of winners and losers depends on a much more detailed classification of the type of tasks done and it is difficult to predict what will be the exact consequences produced.

When the price of certain tasks is no longer set by a local market but by the global market ie. when the service given becomes interchangeable, the ratio salary/productivity (for equal skills) risks to sway in favour of geographical delocalisation of such tasks on an international scale. In this context, the most highly qualified tasks are not necessarily protected! (eg Innocentive's global approach to highly skilled Innovation)

Innovation remains handicapped by the "bonus of the existing product or service" which applies to the already installed productive base. Such down-grading produces losses and makes productivity gains uncertain. Added this innovation handicap Guilhon invokes a certain conservatism in economic judgements, preferring the existing or known to the unknown.  

Guilhon the climate skeptic and R and D bashing again to which he may be interpreted as adding world renowned climate expert bashing.  

Many (economists) diagnose the end of the the current energy (production and consumption) model

Whether this pleases them or not, he says, the current upturn of the american economy is not related to the production of new knowledge but a regain of competitvity by a falling dollar and a substantial reduction in the cost of (NB. dirty energy production & consumption) obtained by applying the (most modern) technologies of shale gas and oil extraction already ancient (1948! (NB 1. The USA is not an example to follow  in all things far from it, eg home arms control, the cowboy, hit it see if its still standing mentalities, arguably still pervades at least some of strates of american life and attitudes.  2. The technology: Guihon is refering to has known much and improved knowlegde and much improved techniques (innovations) but is truely a technology fraught with risk and in no way responds in a responsible way to counter the now well known effects of GHG-CC. One would expect economists not only to understand and decipher not only current economic result and deviation from prevision, but also,to plan with financial backing, for the future. A great start was made several years ago by the Stern Report "long since forgotten?

PS. Having made several comments without reading Guilhon's book perhaps I should read it but this review from Le Monde has not encouraged this step.

MOREOVER-To Get a real feel for Industrial Restructuring and Delocalisation try some of the following links on Glasgow Scotlands Forced Approach (The country of my birth was far from the centre of power in UK, London.
1945 at the end of WWII, 23 shipyards on Glasgow's Clydeside - latterly only 1 Norwegian-Kvaerner and a Yacht builder!
The story goes on concerning steelmaking closures, Integrated Mills near Ship Terminals,
and disloyal delocalisation notably a US Pharmaceutical Plant from Scotland to Luxemburg while I was still a student at University and closures at ICI Imperial chem Ltd due to World Wide overproduction of Nylon then later Silicon (both plants in Ardrossan, Ayrshire Scotland are long closed.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

End-of-Life Tyres (ELTs). update and review by B. Messenger, Editor of Waste Management World (WMW) magazine.

This article was my first choice to introduce readers to the Waste Management World magazine. Indeed it was not so long ago that local authorities here gave echo to their concern on the problems caused by used tyres and their ever increasing stock piles. The full text is given in the reference section. I have made a rapid selection and included all links for rapid reference and indepth lecture and action.

The original title in the Waste Management World magazine is:  TACKLING TYRE WASTE

Tackling Tyres
With the rapidly growing number of vehicles around the world, the disposal of end-of-life tyres is a growing issue. Often simply dumped by the million to pose a serious environmental, health and fire risk, the technology to recover higher value materials and energy from waste tyres is moving forward.

The recovery of energy and materials from used tyres is big business. According to a report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in 2008 around one billion End-of-Life Tyres (ELTs) were being produced globally each year. A further four billion were estimated to be held in stockpiles and landfills. Around the world it is estimated that some 1.5 billion new tyres are produced annually.
Figures published by the U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association estimate that the U.S. - the world's largest producer of ELTs - generated 291.8 million tyres in 2009. With an average weight of 33.4 pounds (15.1 kg) that equates to some 4.4 million tonnes. According to statistics published by the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association (ETRMA), in 2010 Europe produced around 2.7 million tonnes of ELTs.

Using traditional recycling techniques, granulated rubber recovered from waste tyres can be used variously as an aggregate, in tiles, adhesives, asphalt, sports surfaces, and extruded rubber products, to name but a few of its uses. And in terms of energy recovery the natural rubber fraction of the tyre can be considered as a renewable energy source.

With so many ELTs being produced, as well as the huge stockpiles from the past, waste tyres pose many potential dangers. They can contaminate groundwater, harbour disease carrying mosquitoes in pooled water and they are not only flammable, but once ablaze, extremely difficult to extinguish.
Often the result of arson, fires at tyre dumps are not uncommon. In 1990 Hagersville, Ontario was the scene of one of the worst tyre fires in history. As a mechanised army of fire fighters struggled to gain control of the situation, for 17 days 14 million tyres packed onto the 11 acre site spewed toxic clouds of thick black smoke into the air.
According to the New York Times, in addition to the toxic fumes, around 158,000 gallons (600,000 litres) of oil was released by the melting rubber was collected from the site. Chemical pollutants, suspected to have been caused by the operation to extinguish the fire were also found in the aftermath of the blaze.

NB NY Times has many links on the subject of ELT

And with a little "lateral" thinking by this blog auther:

2013 Removing the Need to Refill Tires may save compressed air stations by fueling compressed air driven vehicles ( the latter motorisation not entirely condemmed by seminal work by David MacKay FRS: Sustainable Energy - without the hot airSynopsis

In a separate incident an underground dumpsite in Wales,[UK] thought to contain around 9 million tyres, burned for an astonishing 15 years following its ignition in 1989.


High Value Alternatives

While the recovery of rubber, steel and energy from a potentially hazardous waste stream is certainly a big improvement over the not too distant past, increasingly a number of projects around the world are looking to ELTs as a potential source of much higher value materials.
One example of this is Dynamic Energy Alliance Corporation (DEAC), which recently relocated its headquarters from Memphis Tennessee to Dallas, Texas. The company has initiated the prototype phase of a project to validate its patent pending technologies to extract high value organic compounds from waste tyres. DEAC's process involves using pyrolysis to process ELTs with the production not only of energy, but of five marketable products – recycled carbon black, pyrolysis oil, fuel and extracts, a high BTU gas and steel.
The process the company is developing melds two technologies that it recently acquired licenses for, the Terpen Kraftig (TKF) Fractionator and Pyrolytic Augmentation.
The Pyrolytic Augmentation technology includes a series of specialised chemical compounds, which when combined within a pyrolysis plant are intended to enable the decomposition of the tyres to occur at lower temperatures - which would be a critical energy-saving benefit.
According to DEAC, a reactor technology included in the license allows it to recover additional high value organic compounds during tyre processing by changing the chemical reaction that's part of the de-vulcanization process used to convert the tyres' rubber into valuable products.
"The intellectual property includes a class of catalysts new to this industry but with exciting potential to improve the economics of waste tyre processing," explains Dr. Earl Beaver, chief technology officer of DEAC.
"The lower temperature enabled through the catalysts should allow for lower energy costs, lower maintenance costs and higher outputs of the most valuable liquid products and carbon black from tyre pyrolysis," he continues.
The TKF Fractionator process will capture the friable materials in the pyrolysis oil and purify them into high value organic compounds used in the fragrance, cosmetic and solvent industries - without disturbing the oil's hydrocarbon market value.
According to the company, the TKF processes, as adapted to its specifications, would produce up to 20 individual components at purity levels that are in high demand.
The process would consist of a series of unit operations functioning at a narrow range of temperatures, pressures, and volumes – which DEAC anticipates to yield the separation needed to maintain the purity and value of the products. Some of the 20 materials would be made in high purity for use as feedstock for downstream products, while others would be synthetic versions of natural products such as flavours, extracts and essential oils.
While the technology is still in the prototype phase, Charles R. Cronin, Jr., DEAC's chairman, is confident: "We believe these combined processes have the potential to produce more energy than the sum of the energy used to make the original tyre plus the energy expended to recover the products. These technologies may have the ability to transform the waste tyre industry from a landfill or rubber products business into a specialty chemical business."
Cronin added that the additional value will soon be validated in a life cycle analysis.(LCA)

The Tygre Project:

is an EU project and consortium involving a number of commercial and academic European organisations


Based in Redcar in the North East of England, PYReco is planning a facility which will use pyrolysis to breakdown tyres into high tensile steel, carbon black, diesel oil and syngas without producing any waste.


Ben Messenger, Managing Editor of WMW Magazine concludes: 
"While there are still some concerns surrounding illegal dumping or exporting of ELTs, the high recovery rates both in the U.S. and Europe are encouraging. However, in common with other waste streams, the greatest environmental and economic benefits from the treatment of ELTs lie furthest up the waste hierarchy.
Given the expanding global vehicle base, and the consumable nature of tyres, prevention is probably unattainable. Indeed, for the foreseeable future the number of waste tyres being generated globally will continue to grow. And for passenger car tyres, reuse options, such as retreading, are limited.
While the use of tyres as TDF is certainly better than landfilling or stockpiling, there are many interesting projects on the horizon which offer the potential of recovering not only energy or low value materials, but a wide range of high value materials and energy.
Around the world such projects are numerous. Not all will be commercially successful, but there are simply too many to think that none will make it. The date may not yet have been set, but the way in which waste tyres are treated looks set for a revolution."