Plastic Fantastic? Indonesia plans to turn waste into road tar

by Luh De Suriyani on 10 August 2017



After laying a 700-meter plastic-tar road at a university campus in Bali, Indonesian officials announced plans to use the material on roads in Jakarta and other cities.


So-called plastic roads, which incorporate melted plastic into road tar, are promoted as a novel waste-disposal method that also produces cheaper and more durable roads than conventional materials.


Some environmentalists are concerned about the potential for plastic roads to leach hazardous chemicals and shed micro-plastics into the ecosystem.


Indonesia has a serious plastic waste problem.


According to the country’s environment ministry, Indonesians consume a million plastic bags per minute, and rank second in the world (behind China) for dumping plastic into the sea.


Plastic waste lines roadsides and river banks, and has devastating effects on marine life. The unsightly mess also threatens to “ruin” Indonesia’s tourism industry, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan told reporters earlier this year.


In response, the government has pledged to devote $1 billion per year to reducing plastic and other marine waste by 70 percent, a commitment reiterated by President Joko Widodo at the recent G-20 meeting.




In addition to public education campaigns and a pilot program introducing charges for plastic bags, the government is rolling out a new waste management strategy: turning discarded plastic into road-building material.


So-called plastic roads — which add shredded, melted plastic waste to the road-tar mix — are touted as being stronger, cheaper and more durable than conventional roads, while also providing a solution for disposing of tons of plastic that would otherwise sit in landfills or clog waterways.


Some environmentalists, however, are skeptical, claiming that the environmental benefits of such roads are overstated, while the overall approach fails to deal with the root problem of over-consumption of single-use plastic.


Plastic waste litters a Balinese beach. Photo by John Rawlinson via Flickr.


Seeking solutions

Indonesia has already carried out its first plastic-road trial, at Udayana University in Bali, where a 700-meter (0.43-mile) stretch of plastic road was laid on July 29.


Now, officials plan to use the material on roads in the Javanese cities of Jakarta, Bekasi and Surabaya, with preparations scheduled to start within weeks.


The plastic-road project is a joint effort of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. According to Safri Burhannudin, a deputy minister at the coordinating maritime ministry, these two agencies will be working with the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association (Adupi) to collect and sort waste in 16 large cities.


“In this waste reduction effort, the first stage is public education, then we ask for the support of the Ministry of Public Works. We hope the use of plastic waste for asphalt will become an appropriate solution for the problem of waste in Indonesia,” Burhanuddin said in a press release.


“Every kilometer of road, with a width of seven meters, requires between 2.5 to 5 tonnes (2.75-5.5 tons) of mixed plastic waste. So you can imagine if the results of this study are implemented across Indonesia, which has thousands of kilometers of roads,” said Danis Hidayat Sumadilaga, head of the ministry of public works’ Agency for Research and Development.


Plastic waste in Indonesia is estimated to reach 9.52 million tonnes by 2019, or 14 percent of the country’s total waste. With each kilometer of road requiring 2.5 to 5 tonnes of plastic, plastic waste could be used to pave 190,000 kilometers of road.


In addition, the resulting material is stickier than traditional asphalt. This, Sumadilaga explained, means stronger and more stable roads: “Stability increases by around 40 percent. This makes the performance even better.”


Workers lay a plastic-tar road at Udayana University in Jimbaran, Bali on July 29. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.


The downside

Building roads with plastic isn’t a new idea. The process was developed around 15 years ago in India, where there are already more than 21,000 miles of plastic-tar roads.


These roads, which have proven remarkably durable in the face of floods and heat, have many fans. They also have detractors among the conservation community.


Since Indonesia announced plans to follow in India’s footsteps, local researchers and activists like David Sutasurya, director of the Bioscience and Biotechnology Development Foundation (YPBB) have gotten in touch with their counterparts in India, such as Dharmesh Shah of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).


According to Sutasurya, these India-based activists highlighted a number of shortcomings in the actual implementation of road-building plans. For example, while plastic tar was initially proposed as a solution for plastic that would otherwise be wasted, India’s road quality standards actually require the use of plastic types — LDPE and HDPE — that are already sought-after for recycling. Meanwhile, other materials such as the laminated plastics commonly used for packaging still accumulate as waste.


Some efforts have been made to develop techniques for incorporating layered and laminating packaging into road tar, but again, Indian authorities only allow limited amounts of very thin laminated plastic to go into the mix.


Another potential problem with this technology is micro-plastic pollution. Plastics are melted to form a sticky coating over bitumen, but don’t actually break down. Thus, weathering of the road over time can degrade plastic into micro-particles that enter the ecosystem.




Activists in India have also raised concerns about the possibility that such roads could introduce hazardous chemicals into the environment, since the tar is processed at a maximum temperature of 160 degrees Celsius — hot enough to melt plastic but not enough to ensure various toxins are degraded. Thus, when exposed to light, heat and water, the plastic in such roads has the potential to leach chemicals into the surrounding ecosystem in the same way that any plastic waste does.


Officials from the ministry of public works review the specifications for plastic-tar roads. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.


Sutasurya of YPBB, who is also a member of Alliance for Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) said that while there is not yet firm evidence that plastic roads leach hazardous materials, that does not necessarily mean they are safe. It simply means that research has not yet been done on the subject. “In accordance with the principle of precaution, a technology that has not been adequately studied should not be applied widely, but used on a laboratory scale,” he said.


Catur Yudha Hariani, activist with Bali’s Environmental Education Center for (PPLH) agreed that plastic tar must be approached carefully if the plan is to use it for big projects. She also warned that while plastic roads may prove to be a novel solution for disposing of used plastic, they won’t solve the problem of over-consumption.


“The point is that if you want to reduce plastic, this must be done by changing mindsets and behavior patterns,” said Hariani, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness about waste as well as the need for policies that make plastic expensive and require companies accept back the plastic waste their products create.

https://news.mongabay.com/2017/08/plastic-fantastic-indonesia-plans-to-turn-waste-into-road-tar


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Los Angeles is coating roads in reflective paint to beat the heat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 August, 2017, 


edited by kcontents


Can a splash of grey pavement paint help streets cool and combat global warming as well?


In Los Angeles, where summer temperatures regularly surpass 38 degrees Celsius, or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, workers are coating streets in special grey treatments in a bid to do just that.


The City of Angels, home to four million people, is the first major city to test the technology.


Normal black asphalt absorbs 80 to 95 per cent of sunlight, while the gray “cool pavement” reflects it - dramatically lowering ground temperature and reducing urban street heat, advocates of the method say.


During a demonstration of the technique, Jeff Luzar - sales director at GuardTop, which markets the product - showed how applying the reflective paint could drop street temperatures by about 7 degrees Celsius after just one coat.The Guardtop reflective finish is said to reduce street temperatures by 7 degrees Celsius


Los Angeles is the first city in California to test the treatment on a public road, after initial trials on parking lots, according to Greg Spotts, assistant director of the city’s Bureau of Street Services.


“We’re hoping to inspire other cities to experiment with different ways to reduce the heat island effect,” he said. “And we’re hoping to get manufacturers to come up with some new products.”


“Potentially there could be a huge market for cool pavement products, and in fact, it’s part of a much larger economic trend where solutions for climate change could be the next great investments for the future,” Spotts added.


The city will also monitor how Angelenos react to the newfangled asphalt - and how quickly the notoriously thick LA traffic dirties the grey coating.


George Ban-Weiss, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California, said cool pavements show promise in reducing heat, but “may have some environmental penalties.”


“Recent and current research is working out whether the environmental benefits of cool pavements outweigh those penalties,” Ban-Weiss said.


Still, “the city of Los Angeles is taking the right approach and installing and assessing several cool pavement test sections before committing to widespread adoption,” he said.


Ban-Weiss noted that heat mitigation strategies like planting trees along streets and using cool roofing materials were more “no-brainer” remedies.


Alan Barreca, an environmental science professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the pavement cooling technology could be more equitable than current methods like air conditioning.


“Not everyone has the resources to use air conditioning, so there’s concern that some low-income families will suffer,” he said. “That bothers me on a moral dimension. The pavement would provide benefits to everyone.”

“It can protect people who have to be outdoors,” he added.


Plus, he added, “lower temperatures - due to the pavement - mean less reliance on air conditioning. So, that means less greenhouse gases.”

http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2106692/los-angeles-coating-roads-reflective-paint-beat-heat


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Global Wind Energy Insight: A 2017 Mid-Year Update


August 1, 2017

By Shruti Shukla 

According to the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) figures, clean energy investments during second quarter of 2017 reached US$64.8 billion globally, up 21 percent from the first quarter this year. Of that amount, wind energy accounted for US$26.2 billion in new investments over the second quarter.


Across key individual markets, there are nearly 14 GW of wind capacity under construction, as the U.S. wind industry begins building the huge pipeline of projects that qualified last year for the full production tax credit, according to new figures from the American Wind Energy Association. The year-to-date tally stands around 2.4 GW.


In Europe, just over 6 GW of wind energy capacity was added in the first half of 2017, according to figures released by WindEurope. The figure puts Europe on course for a solid year for installations. India is having a strong year. It is likely to exceed installation figures for 2016. By the end of June 2017, the market saw just over 3.8 GW in new capacity, bringing the cumulative installed capacity to 32.5 GW.




China will likely continue to lead the national tally in 2017 too. In January China's National Energy Administration set a mandatory clean energy target for meeting 20 percent of China's energy needs by 2030. China has pledged to invest CNY 2.5 trillion (~ US$367 billion) in renewables-based generation by 2020.


Recently Saudi Arabia, a fossil fuel producing country, moved a step closer toward the construction of its first utility-scale wind power project. This step was taken in line with the country’s plan to produce 10 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2023. The Saudi Arabian energy ministry asked potential bidders and plant developers to submit their qualifications to build the 400-MW project at Dumat Al Jandal in the Al Jouf region.


2017’s second quarter saw two large offshore wind arrays financed in Europe. These include the 200-MW Borkum West II and 112-MW Albatros projects in Germany’s waters, at US$918 million and US$532 million. Other top project deals of the quarter were two Chinese 300-MW offshore wind arrays, namely the Three Gorges Dafeng and Three Gorges Zhuanghe, costing an estimated US$1.8 billion in total.


The Falling Price of Wind Energy

According to BNEF’s New Energy Outlook, renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the US$ 10.2 trillion that the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040. This will happen largely due to rapidly falling costs, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand. The report expects wind to account for almost 30 percent of this new investment out to 2040.


Various leading industry experts and publications have estimated that the cost of producing energy using wind has dropped to around EUR 100/MWh. This price makes the energy source almost as cost-effective as conventional coal and nuclear energy in most markets.


Europe’s offshore wind industry reached a milestone several years ahead of schedule by achieving the cost of EUR 100 (US$113)/MWh. Overall for wind energy, there has been a fast reduction in price over the last three years, falling almost 27 percent since 2014. Some even predict a further reduction in price. But this hopeful advancement depends on the location and the available turbine, cable, and converter technology.


Wind Power: Fast-tracking the RE Uprising

Wind power’s fall in price marks a major victory for renewable energy because it makes the power source attractive economically and environmentally, which is crucial for its widespread adoption.


It is unlikely that we will use less power as the world’s population increases and economic development continues. To meet the rising energy demand in the medium to long term, new generation will increasingly make use of cleaner and greener options. Advances in wind power are especially promising, as it lays the path for renewables creating both individual and collective gain.




Looking Ahead

We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations. Looking at our rolling five-year forecast, we see just under 60 GW installed globally in 2017, a more or less flat 2018 and then growth again out through the end of the decade to bring total installations up to just over 800 GW by the end of 2021, with the annual market rising to 75 GW in that year.


Global growth will continue to be driven by Asian markets. While we expect the Chinese market in 2017 to do better than last year, due to the imminent feed-in-tariff reduction, it is unlikely to repeat its 2015 record of more than 30 GW, at least in the medium term.


Lead image: India. Credit: LM Windpower

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2017/07/31/wind-energy-in-2017--a-mid-year-update-from-gwec.html

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Oman prepares to build the first large-scale wind farm in the GCC region


August 20, 2017

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, Masdar, signed an Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract with a global consortium comprising GE and Spain’s TSK to build the Dhofar Wind Power Project, the first large-scale wind farm in Oman and the GCC.


The Dhofar Wind Power Project is a result of the joint development agreement that was established in 2014 between Masdar and the Rural Areas Electricity Company of #Oman (RAECO). Funding for the wind farm is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), a leading national entity supporting global socio-economic development initiatives.


The 50 MW wind farm takes its name from the southern Omani governorate bordering Yemen, the largest of the Sultanate’s 11 governorates, and will electrify an estimated 16,000 homes and offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.




Commenting on today’s signing ceremony, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said: ‘Oman has immense untapped potential in renewable energy, particularly in solar and wind. Masdar is proud to be supporting the historically close ties between the #UAE and the Sultanate by providing our experience and expertise from delivering cutting-edge renewable energy solutions across the world. The Dhofar Wind Power Project will play an important role in supporting the diversification of Oman’s energy mix, while providing a reliable source of clean power to serve its growing population and economy.


His Excellency Saleh Bin Nasser Al Rumhi, Chief Executive Officer of RAECO, added: ‘We are pleased to be supporting this project and the construction of the Dhofar Wind Power Project, which will be launched after signing of the project development agreement with Masdar in 2014.


‘This project represents a fundamental shift in clean energy projects in the region and in the Sultanate in particular. It is the first project of its kind in the Gulf region and will offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, he added. ‘The signing of this agreement signifies a major step in the development of the Dhofar WindPower Project and is testimony to the strong relationship between the Sultanate of #Oman and the UAE. We look forward to the signing of other associated agreements related to the project this October.


His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD noted, ‘We are proud to fund the Dhofar Wind Power Project, the first of its kind in Oman with its innovative technology and which upon completion will contribute to the Sultanate’s position as a clean energy leader in the region and will represent seven per cent of the total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar governorate, including its capital city Salalah, a major port and free zone.


‘Over the past four and a half decades, the Fund has been an instrumental and integral global development aid entity committed to supporting sustainable economic growth around the world he added. ‘This 50 MW project will not only serve as a model of modern power generation but more importantly, demonstrate the commercial viability of wind technology in the Sultanate. In addition, it will help facilitate greater knowledge transfer in renewable energy between the #UAE and Oman. Today, this multi-partner initiative is another strategic clean energy endeavor ADFD is pleased to support.


GE will lead the EPC consortium, and will provide the project’s 13 wind turbines powered by the company’s latest 3.8MW wind turbine generator solution. Built upon the technology of its predecessors, the turbine represents the latest development in GE’s wind turbine platform, increasing both annual energy production and flexibility in operation. TSK will support the consortium partners with the construction of the balance of plant.


For Masdar, this is yet another milestone in the field of wind energy after having developed the 117MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan, the Middle East’s first utility-scale wind power project. Masdar is also leading new developments in the offshore wind industry through its investment in Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm and Masdar’s latest project in the United Kingdom, in addition to the London Array and Dudgeon offshore wind farms.


GCCGEMasdarOmanTSKwind energy

https://www.evwind.es/2017/08/20/oman-prepares-to-build-the-first-large-scale-wind-farm-in-the-gcc-region/60761

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Sultanate of Oman prepares to build the first large-scale wind farm in the GCC region



MUSCAT, 19th August, 2017 (WAM) -- Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, Masdar, has signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction, EPC, contract with a global consortium comprising GE and Spain’s TSK to build the Dhofar Wind Power Project, the first large-scale wind farm in Oman and the GCC.


The Dhofar Wind Power Project is a result of the joint development agreement that was established in 2014 between Masdar and the Rural Areas Electricity Company of Oman, RAECO. Funding for the wind farm is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, a leading national entity supporting global socio-economic development initiatives.


The 50 MW wind farm takes its name from the southern Omani governorate bordering Yemen, the largest of the Sultanate’s 11 governorates, and will electrify an estimated 16,000 homes and offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.


Commenting on today’s signing ceremony, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said, "Oman has immense untapped potential in renewable energy, particularly in solar and wind. Masdar is proud to be supporting the historically close ties between the UAE and the Sultanate by providing our experience and expertise from delivering cutting-edge renewable energy solutions across the world. The Dhofar Wind Power Project will play an important role in supporting the diversification of Oman’s energy mix, while providing a reliable source of clean power to serve its growing population and economy."




Saleh Bin Nasser Al Rumhi, Chief Executive Officer of RAECO, said, "We are pleased to be supporting this project and the construction of the Dhofar Wind Power Project, which will be launched after signing of the project development agreement with Masdar in 2014."


"This project represents a fundamental shift in clean energy projects in the region and in the Sultanate in particular. It is the first project of its kind in the Gulf region and will offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions," he added. "The signing of this agreement signifies a major step in the development of the Dhofar Wind Power Project and is testimony to the strong relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and the UAE. We look forward to the signing of other associated agreements related to the project this October."


Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD said, "We are proud to fund the Dhofar Wind Power Project, the first of its kind in Oman with its innovative technology and which upon completion will contribute to the Sultanate’s position as a clean energy leader in the region and will represent seven per cent of the total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar governorate, including its capital city Salalah, a major port and free zone".


"Over the past four and a half decades, the Fund has been an instrumental and integral global development aid entity committed to supporting sustainable economic growth around the world" he added.


Al Suwaidi continued, "This 50 MW project will not only serve as a model of modern power generation but more importantly, demonstrate the commercial viability of wind technology in the Sultanate. In addition, it will help facilitate greater knowledge transfer in renewable energy between the UAE and Oman. Today, this multi-partner initiative is another strategic clean energy endeavor ADFD is pleased to support."


GE will lead the EPC consortium, and will provide the project’s 13 wind turbines powered by the company’s latest 3.8MW wind turbine generator solution. Built upon the technology of its predecessors, the turbine represents the latest development in GE’s wind turbine platform, increasing both annual energy production and flexibility in operation. TSK will support the consortium partners with the construction of the balance of plant.


For Masdar, this is yet another milestone in the field of wind energy after having developed the 117MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan, the Middle East’s first utility-scale wind power project. Masdar is also leading new developments in the offshore wind industry through its investment in Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm and Masdar’s latest project in the United Kingdom, in addition to the London Array and Dudgeon offshore wind farms.

http://wam.ae/ru/details/1395302628160

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Latest 4K drone video shows landscaping progress at Apple Park, closer look at Steve Jobs Theater atrium

Ben Lovejoy - Aug. 17th 2017



Matthew Roberts is back with his latest 4K drone footage of Apple Park – including a closer look at the atrium of the Steve Jobs Theater.


Visible construction progress tends to be rather uneven in nature. There’s a lot of largely invisible foundational work in the early stages, and then right at the end we see a lot of rapid changes as the finishing touches are applied and construction equipment removed …


Right now, though, we’re at a point where visible progress is rather slow, most of the site not looking too different to the previous update.


There are still some finishing touches being applied to the roof, but the solar panels appear complete. Once these are all operational, they will generate 17 megawatts of power during peak daylight. This will provide around 75% of the campus power needs, the remainder being generated by on-site fuel cells.


Energy usage is reduced by a ventilation system that allows natural airflow, with the shades above the windows helping keep the building cool. Apple believes that no artificial heating or cooling will be needed for nine months of the year.


The Steve Jobs Theater has the auditorium area we can see in the video, whose carbon fiber roof is entirely supported by glass panels. Stairs lead down to the stage area, where there is seating for 1,000 people. There will also be parking for 350 vehicles.


Two large R&D buildings can also be seen on the southern edge of the campus, which will house the industrial design and human interface team headed by Jony Ive.


We’ve recently had some sneak peeks inside the building thanks to Snapchat videos and photos posted by construction workers. Jony Ive shared some of the design details in a recent interview, and his comments implied that all employees will have moved to the new campus by the end of the year.

https://9to5mac.com/2017/08/17/apple-park-drone-video-august-2017


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MESMERIZING TIMELAPSE REVEALS HOW WORKERS BUILD ESCALATORS



런던 크로스레일 역사의 속성 에스컬레이터 설치 동영상


VIDEO

https://www.wired.com/story/london-crossrail-escalators-construction-video-timelapse

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THE TUNNELS HAVE been dug, the dirt hauled away, the skeletons unearthed and catalogued, and the tracks laid. With Crossrail poised to begin service, workers are turning their attention to preparing for the 200 million people who will ride the new rail line in and out of London each year.


Not one of those people will want to trudge up and down stairs to catch a train, so Crossrail crews are installing 54 escalators in six stations—a process that's surprisingly mesmerizing when compressed into a two-minute timelapse video.


Crossrail, a decade in the making, will make it far easier for people in London's growing suburbs get into a city that's grown far too expensive for most mortals. The $19.7 billion project includes 10 new stations (and another 30 that have been improved) and 26 miles of new tunnels measuring 20 feet wide. The Elizabeth line, set to start running late next year, will run east-west, connecting commuter trains with current transit infrastructure.


Crews are hard at work installing those 54 escalators, and another 27 will come online before the trains roll through. Each escalator will climb a 30-degree angle, most of the at a stately 1.1 mph. That will allow you plenty of time to take in the view as you ascend from the the station. Just make sure you stand on the left.

https://www.wired.com/story/london-crossrail-escalators-construction-video-timelapse

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World's Biggest Solar Thermal Power Plant Just Got Approved in Australia

It's so beautiful!


Crescent Dunes near Las Vegas, the blueprint for the new plant. Credit: Solar Reserve


DAVID NIELD 16 AUG 2017

The onward march of renewables continues: an Australian state government has greenlit the biggest solar thermal power plant of its kind in the world, a 150-megawatt structure set to be built in Port Augusta in South Australia.


As well as providing around 650 construction jobs for local workers, the plant will provide all the electricity needs for the state government, with some to spare – and it should help to make solar energy even more affordable in the future.




Work on the AU$650 million (US$510 million) plant is getting underway next year and is slated to be completed in 2020, adding to Australia's growing list of impressive renewable energy projects that already cover solar and tidal.


"The significance of solar thermal generation lies in its ability to provide energy virtually on demand through the use of thermal energy storage to store heat for running the power turbines," says sustainable energy engineering professor Wasim Saman, from the University of South Australia.


"This is a substantially more economical way of storing energy than using batteries."


Solar photovoltaic plants convert sunlight directly into electricity, so they need batteries to store excess power for when the Sun isn't shining; solar thermal plants, meanwhile, use mirrors to concentrate the sunlight into a heating system.


A variety of heating systems are in use, but In this case, molten salt will be heated up – a more economical storage option than batteries – which is then used to boil water, spin a steam turbine, and generate electricity when required.


The developers of the Port Augusta plant say it can continue to generate power at full load for up to 8 hours after the Sun's gone down.


The Crescent Dunes plant in Nevada will act as the blueprint for the one in Port Augusta, as it was built by the same contractor, Solar Reserve. That site has a 110-megawatt capacity.


Renewable energy sources now account for more than 40 percent of the electricity generated in South Australia, and as solar becomes a more stable and reliable provider of energy, that in turn pushes prices lower.


Importantly, the cost of the new plant is well below the estimated cost of a new coal-fired power station, giving the government another reason to back renewables. The cost-per-megawatt of the new plant works out about the same as wind power and solar photovoltaic plants.


But engineering researcher Fellow Matthew Stocks, from the Australian National University, says we still have "lots to learn" about how solar thermal technologies can fit into an electric grid system.


"One of the big challenges for solar thermal as a storage tool is that it can only store heat," says Stocks. "If there is an excess of electricity in the system because the wind is blowing strong, it cannot efficiently use it to store electrical power to shift the energy to times of shortage, unlike batteries and pumped hydro."


Authorities say 50 full-time workers will be required to operate the plant, using similar skills to those needed to run a coal or gas station. That will encourage workers laid off after the region's coal-fired power station was closed down last year.


Solar thermal has been backed to the tune of AU$110m ($86m) of equity provided by the federal government.


And as renewables become more and more important to our power grids, expect to see this huge solar thermal plant eventually get eclipsed by a bigger one.


"This is first large scale application of solar thermal generation in Australia which has been operating successfully in Europe, USA and Africa," says Saman.




"While this technology is perhaps a decade behind solar PV generation, many future world energy forecasts include a considerable proportion of this technology in tomorrow's energy mix."

http://www.sciencealert.com/the-world-s-biggest-solar-thermal-power-plant-is-being-built-in-south-australia

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HS2 unveils £3.2bn phase 2a construction prize

11 AUGUST, 2017


S2 route source Daily Mail

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Exclusive: Construction firms are set to compete for more than £3bn of work when construction begins on HS2’s phase 2a line from Birmingham to Crewe, Construction News can reveal.


Documents filed by the Department for Transport reveal that an estimated £3.2bn will be needed to cover the construction of phase 2a, including enabling works, civils and associated utilities.


The document, signed off by chief executive Mark Thurston last month, showed that a combined total of £1.62bn is expected to be spent on enabling works, tunnelling and the construction of bridges, viaducts and other structures.


The phase 2a part of the line, which will stretch from Birmingham Curzon Street to Crewe, was initially expected to be completed in 2033 along with the branches of the line to Manchester and Leeds.


But this was brought forward to 2027 by the then chancellor George Osborne in 2015.


HS2 phase 2a construction work


Prime minister Theresa May put forward the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill as one of 21 bills put before parliament in June’s Queen’s Speech, giving HS2 the powers to build and operate this section of the line.


On 17 July transport secretary Chris Grayling submitted the phase 2a bill to parliament, with royal assent expected by 2019.


Phase 2a’s Estimate of Expense document revealed that £770m is expected to be spent on earthworks, including site clearance, spoil disposal and landscaping, while more than £850m would be set aside for bridges, tunnels and viaducts along the 60 km route.




Just under £200m is forecast to be spent on associated utility works, including £112m on gas works and £56m on water works.


The document also revealed that £185m was earmarked for station improvements, as well as £95m towards electrification and £146m for signal and telecommunication works (see full table of works).


In 2015 the government gave HS2 a funding envelope of £3.7bn for phase 2a’s construction as part of an overall £55.7bn funding for the line.


Design work for phase 2a is expected to begin in 2019, with construction scheduled to commence in 2021.


Work is likely to be split up into a number of packages similar to the phase one route from London to Birmingham, which was divided into three enabling batches worth £900m in total and seven civils packages valued at £6.6bn.


As part of Mr Osborne’s announcement in 2015, HS2 said firms that pre-qualify for phase one civils packages could automatically be shortlisted for phase 2a deals.


HS2 told Construction News in June this year that it still had the option to do this and could potentially run mini-bids for this part of the line.


The phase 2a route is based on proposals put forward in 2013, but these were refined following a consultation concluded last September.


New plans include building a temporary construction facility between the HS2 line and M6, a 2.5 km extension of the planned tunnel south of Crewe, and extend the length of the spurs that will connect HS2 with the West Coast Main Line.


The client revealed in the DfT document that it had set aside £288m to be spent on the purchase of land, mineral and permanent rights along the route.

https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/companies/clients/hs2/hs2-unveils-32bn-phase-2a-construction-prize/10022425.article


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Construction Workers Catch, Tie Up Alleged Thief to Scaffold



August 15, 2017 Shane Hedmond

If this video of construction worker’s chasing down an alleged tool thief and hanging onto the hood of his car wasn’t enough to convince you to not mess with construction worker’s things, then maybe this new video will be.  Construction worker’s tools and trucks are their livelihoods, and they don’t take too kindly to people who don’t understand that.

Last week, construction workers in Charlotte, NC allegedly saw a man breaking into one of their trucks.  The workers were able to catch the man and then proceeded to tie him and tape him to some scaffold cross-bracing until the police arrived to arrest him. 

If you plan on making a citizen’s arrest, it’s important to know your state’s laws and requirements to do so.  If the arrest goes wrong, you can set yourself up for lawsuits and even jail time. As much as you might want to, using excessive force to detain someone can lead to assault and battery charges. If you apprehend the wrong person or violate their civil rights, you could set yourself up for a false imprisonment charge, so it’s important that you actually see the person committing the crime.

The video below (WANRING: strong language) was shared to Youtube by El Chamuco:


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