Tag Archive | "france"

Agricultural engineer says tobacco could be used to produce biofuels

Good news this week for tobacco growers, especially in emerging nations, worried that the health risks from smoking might one day affect their business following the revelation that their plants could help power the next generation of motor cars.

Research from the Public University of Navarre in Spain has reportedly shown that genetically modified tobacco plants are viable as raw material for producing biofuels.

Ruth Sanz-Barrio, an agricultural engineer at the university and a researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology, revealed this month that specific tobacco proteins – known as thioredoxins – as biotechnological tools in plants, which can be used to produce biofuels.

Specifically, she has managed to increase the amount of starch produced in the tobacco leaves by 700% and fermentable sugars by 500%.

“We believe these genetically modified plants could be a good alternative for producing biofuels,”Sanz-Barrio told European journalists .

“With these sugars, according to the theoretical calculation provided by the National Centre for Renewable Energies, one could obtain up to 40 litres of bioethanol per tonnes of fresh leaves.”

China is the world’s largest tobacco grower producing four times more than the second biggest India with Brazil and the USA in third and fourth place.

Thirteen countries in Europe grow tobacco including Spain, home to the university, the largest producer Italy and neighboring France, which has produced its unique dark tobacco cigarettes for more than a century. Tobacco production in the EU has fallen dramatically in the past two decades as farming subsidies were withdrawn and fewer people took up smoking and now accounts for just 4% of world production.


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Turkey goes nuclear

More than 30 countries have nuclear reactors, which produce 13.5% of the electricity distributed worldwide. Turkey is building its first nuclear power plant with the help of the Russian government. Lorraine Bangera reports

Turkey has agreed to build it first nuclear power station called Akkuyu at a cost of $20 billion. Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Taner Yıldız, says the project is part of a determined effort by the country to cut reliance on foreign imports for energy. Turkey currently imports 72% oil and gas and has been considering nuclear energy for more than four decades. The nuclear power plant will be built in the Büyükeceli region around the Mersin province, and will generate 4,800 MW– enough to supply the electrical demands of more than one million people. The agreement with Russia includes future cooperating in other areas like the treatment of used nuclear fuel, radioactive waste, and decommissioning. Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation will build, own and operate the plant. Rosatom will provide finances with 100% equity in the Akkuyu project and once complete it will sell up to 49% back to the Turkish government. Funding is expected to take 15 years to pay off at which stage the Turkish government will receive 20% of the plant’s profits. The power generation licence and environmental approval are expected by the end of 2013, and the construction licence is expected in mid-2014, enabling full construction to start in 2015 or January 2016.

Other nuclear projects
Turkey’s second nuclear plant will be constructed in Sinop, a region around the Black Sea. The Franco-Japanese consortium has been planned to be built since February 2008, along with a $2.3 billion nuclear technology centre. There are also proposals to build a third plant in an effort to meet the nation’s predicted 100 GWe requirment by 2030. Reports suggest that Turkish Atomic Energy Authority has identified Igneada on the Black Sea, 12km from the Bulgarian border. Last month Rosatom presented its technological proposals for the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. Rosatom is one of five candidates that meet the tender specifications for expansion. The company’s AES-2006 design for Russian power plants combines active and passive systems and Rosatom’s bid for the expansion of the Paks plant will be based on that technology. The $13.6 billion investment could be recovered in 15 years and Hungarian suppliers could get 20-30% of the contracts. Rusatom Overseas Magyarország, the Hungarian branch of the Russian company, is set to hold a conference with suppliers.

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Europeans set for wave power by 2016

A new $20million European project has been launched to look at harnessing the power of waves.

Iberdrola Ingeniería, in partnership with the Swedish company CorPower Ocean  and the Portuguese marine research centre WavEc, has embarked on the development of the R&D project HiWave, focused on high efficiency wave power.

This project aims to demonstrate wave power harnessing using a new type of compact device with advanced control technology and then design an offshore farm based on this technology.

CorPower – specialising in wave energy converters – will be responsible for designing the device, Iberdrola Ingeniería will oversee development the offshore farm, and WavEc will provide analysis and validation support during the various stages.

Madrid-based Iberdrola Ingenieria is an engineering services company with involvement in construction across the power sector, including nuclear.

HiWave has a budget of 15m euros ($20.4m) and the target date to open the wave farm is 2016.

This project is partly funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) through one of its knowledge and innovation communities (KIC InnoEnergy).

A spokesman for Iberdrola Ingenieria said: “The initiative shows the Group’s firm commitment to the promotion of R&D. Iberdrola Ingeniería is currently working on projects in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear fusion, gaseous pollutant capture and smart grids.

“Moreover, the Iberdrola Group is a pioneer in marine energy harnessing initiatives. The core of its business in this sector is offshore wind power, where it is already carrying out projects totalling over 8,000 megawatts (MW).

Iberdrola is also promoting projects based on other marine technologies: wave and tidal energy. As regards wave energy, the Company is building a plant using the Pelamis P2 technology. Pelamis P2 is a snakelike infrastructure capable of absorbing wave energy and turning it into electricity through a series of hydraulic cylinders.

As for tidal energy, it is partnering with the Austrian company Andritz Hydro Hammerfest and the French corporation Alstom in a project totalling up to 10 MW in the Sound of Islay, in Scotland, which will include devices similar to an onshore wind turbine, but using ocean currents instead of the effect of the wind.

These two plants are being developed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on the island of Orkney, in the north of Scotland.


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Current Issue October 2013