The Douro region in northern Portugal is set to recieve a £1.5 billion investment in hydro power.

In the Douro region, a place in northern Portugal is set to receive a major economic boost as a massive £1.5 billion investment in renewable energy. Hydro energy which is what will be invested in, in the Douro area. Three new dams and a power plant is planned to be built by the Spanish utility board, Iberdola. The plants will be located on the Tâmega and the Torno rivers, tributaries of the larger Douro, which rises in Spain and flows across northern Portugal to the Atlantic Ocean. Iberdola the parent company of Scottish power will start operating a new infrastructure in 2023.
“The development of the Tâmega hydro power scheme involves three of Iberdrola’s core strategic undertakings,” said Ignacio Galán, chairman and CEO of Iberdola. “Investing in clean generation capacity, the development of new storage capacity – with pumped hydro being the only technology to store large amounts of energy efficiently – and sustainable financing. 23 per cent of our financing is already green, which highlights our commitment to sustainable development.”
The Iberian market are set to receive up to 1,760GWh and 13,500 new jobs will be created in the Douro region during the construction phase and several hundred jobs would be made permanent after to keep up with the maintenance of the dams. Funding from the European international bank of around £650 million was confirmed in Madrid later.
“This agreement represents a new step towards the implementation of the EU energy policy and climate action objectives,” said EIB vice-president, Emma Navarro. “This EIB financing will support the increase of renewable generation in the Portuguese energy mix and will contribute to a sustainable and secure supply of energy. The EIB, which stands ready to step in to finance sound projects that meet our criteria and respond to EU energy policies, is particularly committed to financing green energy projects across the Union.”

The UK is set to introduce the world’s first gigawatt network of rapid EV charging points and grid-scale batteries

Pivot Power has released plans for a £1.6bn programme to build the infrastructure needed to support the increase in popularity of electric vehicles. The battery network will also help the National Grid to manage supply and demand, particularly with the greater use of intermittent renewable energy and mass charging of electric cars. The company, which has secured funding from UK investment manager Downing LLP, is planning to develop 45 sites across the country, with the first likely to begin operating at a location near Southampton in 2019, according to chief technical officer Michael Clark.

A further nine sites are due to begin operating within the next 18 months, he said. “Then the ambition is that over a five-year period, we’ll have all 45 sites up and running.”. “It means that we can operate at a scale that we couldn’t dream about if we were going in at the 11,000-volt network on the distribution side,” he said. “It also means that we can avoid some of the costs that we would have to occur if we were a lot further down the distribution system.”

The battery network will be capable of storing enough electricity to supply 235,000 homes for a day and releasing or absorbing two thirds of the power of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power plant. The vehicle charging stations will be able to support up to 100 rapid 150kW chargers. Once available in the UK, they will also be able to support rapid 350kW chargers. Each charging station will have a 20MW power connection, enough to supply a town of 10,000 homes. Combining batteries with electric vehicle charging will maximise the value from each grid connection, while gaining economies of scale from such a large network should drive down building and operating costs, the company said.

The first ever mid-air refuelling has been completed by Airbus

Airbus has claimed the worlds first automatic refuelling. While the manoeuvre had previously been undertaken to refuel a fighter jet, this time around the Airbus’ A310 company development tanker linked up with a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport, also made by Airbus. During the June 20 flight off the coast of Spain, the two tankers performed seven automatic contacts.
For this manoeuvre to happen, the refuelling system uses passive techniques such as image processing to determine the receiver’s refuelling receptacle position. Once engaged, fully automated flight control flies and maintains the boom aligned with the receiver’s receptacle. A tube to transfer the fuel from one aircraft to another is controlled in a range of ways including manually by the Air Refuelling Operator (ARO), a relative distance-keeping mode to make sure the 2 aircrafts don’t drift apart too far causing it to damage one of the aircrafts, or full auto-mode to perform the contact.
“It was extremely impressive to see how accurately the A3R system tracks the receiver,” said David Piatti, the Airbus Test ARO, or “boomer”, on the A310. “It can be very useful to be able to refuel another tanker or transport, for example to extend its deployment range or to avoid taking fuel back to base, but it is also a challenging operation and this system has the potential to reduce workload and the risk involved.
RAAF Squadron Leader Lawry Benier said the RAAF was assisting Airbus Defence & Space on the development of A3R and other technologies to increase the KC-30A’s battle capabilities.
“It’s very encouraging to come to Spain and see the progress that’s been made with A3R, and be able to witness it first-hand refuelling our KC-30A,” he said.
“Refuelling large receivers is a role RAAF has conducted extensively on operations and exercises, allowing us to extend the reach and responsiveness of our air mobility fleet, as well as keep surveillance aircraft in the air for longer.”

Construction is changing, But is the Construction industry adapting to digitised methods?

Innovation and Technological advancements are changing all industries worldwide. Construction appears to be no different, with firms now using digital construction methods to increase profitability we look at whether there are issues that come with these changes.

One firm who provide fire protection systems to the industry are one of many trying to develop their methodology.


Do demonstrate how digitisation is affecting the sector we can look at all the different software applications used from day to day to complete projects. Bolster is one of those, and its aim is to deliver transparency and clarity on projects remotely.

“We use Bolster every day, its brilliant it allows us to see in real-time the work our operatives are doing on our sites,” one user says. “We simply upload a drawing that can be accessed by desktop or mobile device; the operative can log in and mark the room where they are working on the job and take photos as work progresses.”

This digital worksheet is date and time stamped so that the operatives seniors and the client can follow the progress every step of the way. In addition to this it also allows everyone to keep an eye on budget and costs throughout.

Middle age ground

Research shows that age does on occasion present itself as a critical factor in the new systems success. This is particularly relevant due to the industries ageing workforce.

“I’ve noticed that the age category [of staff] makes a huge difference,”. One senior director says. “Our younger member of the team who are approximately 18-27 that are coming through are very open, happy to take things on board and adapt to whatever [digital innovation] they are given.”

He believes it is vital to find some middle ground. “We could play a role in finding a happy medium to bring in training courses and more awareness for [older staff on technology], but still have paper exercises in place for the younger ones,” he says. “It’s about recognising people’s individual capabilities and limitations and trying to capitalise on that while bringing them up to speed.”


Discovering Antarctica’s ‘missing meteorites’

Manchester University scientists have successfully tested new metal detecting technology which would help to find lost meteorites, in which can be a help to find out the earlier days of the earths formation in Antarctica. The technology was developed at the UK NERC Artic research centre in Svalbard in Norway. Meteorites are different from meteors in the fact that meteors burn up before reaching the earth’s atmosphere, whereas meteorites are rocky fragments that reach the earth and are rich in iron. The region’s great expanse of ice makes searching for the blackened remains of objects that have fallen from the sky a particularly productive exercise. But the UK venture will target a strangely underrepresented class of meteorites – those made of iron. These are the smashed up innards of bodies that almost became planets at the start of the Solar System.
The Manchester team, based at the Ny-Ålesund Station on the Arctic island of Svalbard, is testing metal detecting equipment, in which the University has particular research strengths; it applies its expertise to optimising airport security, landmine removal, recycling, and non-destructive testing in manufacturing, this technology started developing in 2016 and is now expected to be in use in 2020. “I’m thrilled our testing at Ny-Ålesund worked,” said Dr Evatt. “We now have the opportunity to commence on a truly exciting scientific adventure. If successful, our expeditions will help scientists to decode the origins of the Solar System and cement the UK as a leader in meteoritics and planetary science.”
These territories have largely been ignored by meteorite hunters to date. But from satellite images, it is clear they have extensive areas of dense, blue ice – the kind of ice that has been forced upwards and brushed clean of snow by Antarctica’s relentless winds. Dr Joy plans a reconnaissance to the region in the same season that the detection rig is put through its paces at Halley. “Nasa has just announced the Psyche space mission which will visit an iron asteroid. That’s going to a body made of exactly the type of material we hope to be collecting in Antarctica,” she said.

Electric car could help solve renewable energy’s storage issue

Electric car manufactures say that electric cars will have 10 times the already electricity capacity as they bring in the idea of batteries on wheels. Consumers worldwide are embracing electric vehicles, Gielen said. In Norway, half of all cars sold last year were electric, while China, the world’s largest market, is expected to reach 10% next year.

An introduction to smart charging for electric cars could also help tackle an huge issue with renewable energy, Gielen said – the massive storage capacity needed to keep grids going when the sun has set and the wind has stopped blowing. “You can look at these electric vehicles as batteries on wheels,” he said. “Ninety-five per cent of the time they are parked, and we need storage to integrate high shares of solar and wind into the grid, so why not use these batteries? The amount of car batteries, the gigawatts of car batteries, will be 10 times what we have compared to stationary batteries – that’s a lot of battery capacity.

“It doesn’t mean there is going to be no ownership at all, people can still choose to pay 10 times more, just like they choose to pay 10 times more for a watch,” he said. “That is all right, they are free – but most transportation will be autonomous, on–demand and electric.”

3,000 people are set to be hired by BT

BT are set to hire 3,000 new employees to speed up their BT Openreach push to provide ultrafast service to more than 1 million more homes and firms are planned. They’re planning to get rid of all their non-spots in cities particularly in suburban and rural areas. BT are trying to kick off and employ engineers to make sure that over 3 million homes have gigabit speed internet by 2020. A drive from recruitment from BT is to ensure that they make up for the great deal of job cuts last year, where they cut 4,000 job roles in which there were half of the jobs cut in the UK with most being back office and managerial.

BT said that the first cities that have gigabyte internet rolled out would be Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. These would connect to 40 towns in the UK over the next 10 years. Clive Shelley, the chief executive of Openreach, the division that controls most of the UK’s broadband network, said: “Openreach is getting on with the job of building an ultrafast Britain. We are accelerating our plans; where possible, we will be ‘fibre first’.

Fibre broadband will be 50 times faster than standard UK broadband and three times quicker than the fastest option currently available from BT. Gigabit speeds will allow consumers to download 4K-quality movies in minutes rather than hours.

Dispute in trading continues between the giants of jet manufactuers.

A large trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier is still not over as a ruling denies Boeing to request 292% of Bombardier’s traffic of C-Series jets. Boeing had put an argument forward that its rival received unfair subsidies from the British and Canadian governments, but a decision to impose tariffs made by the US Commerce Department in December has now been overruled by the International Trade Commission. In a statement, Bombardier said the decision was “a victory for innovation, competition and the rule of law”. The ruling was welcomed in the UK, as more than 1,000 jobs at Bombardier’s factory in Belfast were potentially at risk. Trade union Unite said workers in Northern Ireland would be “breathing a huge sigh of relief”.

A statement from Bombardier says that the ruling was welcomed in the UK, meaning that more than 1,000 jobs at Bombardiers factory in Belfast are in risk. Hayward said that the importance of the ITC decision could not be underestimated, as any Boeing appeal on this case could take years, by which time the climate of US protectionism instigated by President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ stance could have changed. Even if the ITC decision is reversed on appeal, it buys time for the C-Series to become established in the world market. “It’s a good aircraft,” said Hayward. “It’s the first that’s been designed specifically with low-cost carriers in mind.”

Google’s aim for the moon comes to an end, as their comepetition closes after 10 years.

Google sponsored a competition in which the winner would receive $30 million, the aim of the competition was to send a private spacecraft to the moon, but of recent times due to the lack of competition and interest it got cancelled, leaving the $30 million to be unclaimed. The competition lasted over 10 years and with the 5 finalists chosen and the aim of the Earth’s natural satellite set to take orbit by 31st March and with the 5 final designs chosen, none of them were expected to be released in time. “While we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar XPrize will go unclaimed,” wrote founder Peter H. Diamandis and CEO Marcus Shingles online.
They also stated that it was incredibly difficult to land on the moon which is why they gave such a large prize, over a long period of time. They’re expecting the best of the best which is why they didn’t select any of the finalists from XPRIZE competitions, so they are aiming high in terms of achievements to try and achieve a tremendous goal. Teams and companies raised $300m in their attempts, creating hundreds of jobs and establishing the first commercial space companies in India, Malaysia, Israel and Hungary. STEM ran programmes alongside the competition, which awarded more than $6m in prize money for passing previous goals. Despite failing to launch, one team successfully received the first ever mission approval from the US government to send a private spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit to the Moon.

Funding of £20 million to be used for the Institute of Coding announced by the government.

Many universities, companies and industries has come together to create the Institute of Coding, a new UK project backed by £20m of government funding a new Institutes developed by companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Cisco. The project is led by Bath University, with a £20 million investment to show the digital skills gap within the UK in which is matched by a further £20 million by industry to fund for equipment and training. “The strength of the Institute of Coding lies in the fact that it brings together educators, employers and outreach groups to co-develop digital skills education at undergraduate and masters level for learners in universities, at work and in previously under-supported groups across the country,” said Institute director, Dr Rachid Hourizi.
Universities involved are bringing their expertise and the areas they thrive in, from sector leaders in business and computer science to experts in arts and design to specialists in widening participation and outreach. According to the Department for Education, the Institute of Coding will be based around five core themes:
1. University learners – This is to increase the amount of employability for graduates of universities to help them get into work with targeted qualifications. Inversion of Control programmes will incorporate learning which solves real-world business problems and develops business, technical and interpersonal skills.
2. The digital workforce – To develop specialist skills training in areas of strategic importance.
3. Digitalising the professions – to help and develop different job roles and professions to take a step in digital transformation such as helping learners retrain via new digital training programmes.
4. Widening participation – To help increase the equality and diversity in technology-related jobs and education such as tailored workshops, boot camps, innovative learning facilities and other outreach activities. In 2017, female programmers and software developers made up just 3.9 per cent of tech and telco professionals in the UK.
5. Knowledge sharing and sustainability – To share outcomes and good practice between the universities to ensure long-term sustainability of the IoC. This will include building up an evidence base of research, analysis and intelligence to anticipate future skills gaps.