Egypt train collision 'kills 20' in Alexandria

7 minutes ago


edited by kcontents

 At least 20 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a collision involving two passenger trains in northern Egypt, health officials say.

One train was travelling from Cairo and the other from Port Said when they hit head-on in the northern coastal city of Alexandria, local media report.


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Construction update of Dubai's $2bn One Central

via youtube

edited by kcontents

by Neha Bhatia on Aug 11, 2017 

Offices 2, a building being developed as part of Dubai World Trade Centre's (DWTC) $2.2bn (AED8bn) mixed-use master-project, One Central, is due to be completed in October 2017. 

Rami Alaileh, ‎project director for real estate development at DWTC, told ConstructionWeekOnline that project works are progressing as planned.

He continued: "We recently completed Offices 3, achieving a great health and safety record of seven million man-hours with zero loss-time injuries (LTIs)."

Al Futtaim Carillion is the project's main contractor.

Alaileh said that the Offices 1 building, developed as part of One Central's first phase, has registered 100% occupancy. 

Meanwhile, he continued, "the One Central Ibis hotel has also been operational since the beginning of 2016". 

These construction updates were delivered by Alaileh as part of an exclusive video interview with ConstructionWeekOnline.



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Saudi to allow 100% foreign ownership of engineering firms

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) source Life in Saudi Arabia - blogger

by Fatima De La Cerna on Aug 10, 2017 

Foreign companies can now apply for full ownership of engineering firms in Saudi Arabia, it has been revealed.

Interested entities need to be multinational, must show that they have been operating for at least a decade, and should have a presence in at least four countries to qualify, according to Reuters.

Foreign companies were previously required to partner with local engineering firms to open a business in the Kingdom.

The move to allow full foreign ownership was announced by the Saudi cabinet on 7 August and is part of the country’s efforts to attract more foreign investors, in line with the commitments outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) first made the announcement that it would be accepting proposals from foreign investors looking to fully own an engineering practice in the kingdom last year.

In 2016, it was reported that the Saudi government was considering scrapping its policy requiring foreign companies to have a local partner to boost FDI flows into the country.



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Death toll in China quake rises to 20, 431 people injured

AP Published Aug 10, 2017

More than 60,000 people have been evacuated from the area amid continuing aftershocks, state media said.

Six tourists and two local residents were known to be among the dead, and 18 people had serious injuries, local authorities said. (Photo: AP)

Beijing: Chinese monitors say they've detected multiple landslides but no major building collapses following a powerful earthquake in the country's mountainous southwest that killed at least 20 people and injured 431.

The Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth under the Chinese Academy of Sciences drew the conclusion from satellite imagery collected after the magnitude 6.5 quake struck Tuesday night, the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV said Thursday.

Authorities raised the death toll by one to 20 and injured by around 200 on Thursday. Six tourists and two local residents were known to be among the dead, and 18 people had serious injuries, local authorities said.

More than 60,000 people have been evacuated from the area amid continuing aftershocks, state media said.

A Canadian woman suffered a slight head injury and a French citizen was wounded in both legs and needed surgery to remove stone fragments, according to Xinhua.

Most of the deaths and injuries were recorded in Zhangzha township, near Jiuzhaigou national park in Sichuan province that is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The quake knocked out electricity and sent boulders tumbling down steep mountainsides onto blocked roads, while Xinhua said its photographers on the scene reported extensive damage to scenic sites which include lakes, spectacular waterfalls and karst formations.

The speed of the rescue effort appeared due in part to improvements to emergency response preparations enacted after the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture that includes Jiuzhaigou was struck by a massive 2008 earthquake that killed nearly 90,000 people.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude 6.5 and said it struck at a depth of just 9 kilometres (5.5 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

On Wednesday morning, another strong earthquake struck far northwestern China, some 2,200 kilometres (1,360 miles) from Jiuzhaigou, injuring 32 people, two of them seriously, and damaging more than 1,000 houses.

That quake was measured at 6.3 by the USGS and struck in a sparsely populated area of the Xinjiang region near the Kazakhstan border. CCTV said 10,500 people had been moved from damaged buildings to emergency shelters.


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Study reveals Earth to warm over 2 degrees by 2100

TECH & SCI By Fan Yixin


By the end of this century, world temperatures are likely to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a study revealed on Monday.

The temperatures will increase before 2100 by 2 to 4.9 degrees Celsius with a 90% chance. Only 5% chance indicates warming could be at or below 2 degrees Celsius, one of the many targets Paris Agreement is tackling, the study published in Nature Climate Change shows.

Adrian Raftery, the lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Washington, said failing the target would have dramatic consequences on people's livelihoods.

"Countries need to change the economic incentives for producing carbon – for example by introducing a carbon tax – and encourage innovation that would improve energy efficiency."

Adrian Raftery,  lead author of 'Less than 2 °Celsius warming by 2100 unlikely' via Reuters

That is putting 350 million people in 31 countries and regions in danger of deadly heat waves and other health hazard. Weather-related disasters, such as drought, heat wave and rising sea levels, are expected to cause 152,000 deaths annually in Europe between 2071 and 2100, jumping from 3,000 a year between 1981 and 2010, CNN reported.

The number of expected death is 50 times larger than at present, the study in the Lancet Planetary Health journal said. It added that heatwaves would lead to 99 percent of all weather-related deaths.

According to the UN Environment Program, 12 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions should be cut from the current 54 billion annually, mainly from fossil fuels burning, to keep the rise below 2 Celsius.

Ramping up efforts to improve carbon efficiency are key to limit future warming, Raftery told Reuters.

"Countries need to change the economic incentives for producing carbon – for example by introducing a carbon tax – and encourage innovation that would improve energy efficiency," he said. "We should be learning more from countries that are particularly carbon-efficient, like France, which has a very low-carbon transport infrastructure."

Another study published on Nature Climate Change in June suggested outperforming Paris Agreement would not stop half of the world's population being exposed to fatal heat waves.

"Even if we outperform the Paris targets, the population exposed to deadly heat will be about 50% by 2100."

 Camilo Mora, lead author of 'Global risk of deadly heat'

"Many people around the world are already paying the ultimate price of heat waves, and while models suggest that this is likely to continue, it could be much worse if emissions are not considerably reduced,” said Camilo Mora, lead author of the study and a biogeography professer at University of Hawaii.



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UK needs more nuclear for low-carbon future, says National Grid

14 July 2017

source Business development thesis topics

edited by kcontents

The UK needs to build 14.5 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2035 or it will fail to meet the Two Degrees scenario, National Grid says in the annual update of its Future Energy Scenarios it published yesterday. The report also suggests that national electricity demand could peak at 85 GWe by 2050, compared with around 60 GWe today. National Grid is the private company which runs Britain's high-voltage electricity network.

Two Degrees is one of four scenarios presented in the report and refers to the aim set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement to keep global temperature increases this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement was adopted in December 2015 at the 21st conference of the parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Paris. The agreement, which entered into force on 4 November 2016, also aims to drive efforts to limit temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

As a scenario in the National Grid report, Two Degrees has the "highest level of prosperity". The first new nuclear plant comes on line in 2026, with a total of 14.5 GWe of new nuclear capacity built by 2035.

"Increased investment ensures the delivery of high levels of low-carbon energy. Consumers make conscious choices to be greener and can afford technology to support it. With highly effective policy interventions in place, this is the only scenario where all UK carbon reduction targets are achieved."

In this scenario, there is a "collective ambition to decarbonise the economy", it says. "High taxes are levied on those who continue to use carbon intensive options, such as conventional gas for heating. Policy and incentives are in place to reduce demand and increase renewable generation. This ensures progression towards the long-term green ambition. Society is very conscious of its carbon footprint and is actively trying to reduce carbon emissions. Consumer demand for new green technologies is high and they are happy to spend money on home energy management systems, low-carbon heating and insulation. There is also a drive to make transport greener."

Other scenarios

In the Two Degrees scenario nuclear supplies the largest share of electricity in 2050 - 31%, with offshore wind just behind, while in Steady State it falls to 12%, with gas dominant.

In the Steady State scenario, business as usual prevails and the focus is on ensuring security of supply at a low cost for consumers. "This is the least affluent of the scenarios and the least green. There is little money or appetite for investing in long-term low carbon technologies," the report says.

Under this scenario, only Hinkley Point C is built out of the current set of new build projects, and the closure of existing advanced gas-cooled reactors means that nuclear power's share of the electricity mix drops substantially. However, nuclear has a more favourable outlook in the report's other scenarios.

"In a Consumer Power world, there is high economic growth and more money available to spend. Consumers have little inclination to become environmentally friendly. Their behaviour and appetite for the latest gadgets is what drives innovation and technological advancements. Market-led investments mean spending is focused on sources of smaller generation that produce short- to medium-term financial returns," the report says.

"In Slow Progression, low economic growth and affordability compete with the desire to become greener and decrease carbon emissions. With limited money available, the focus is on cost efficient longer-term environmental policies. Effective policy intervention leads to a mixture of renewable and low-carbon technologies and high levels of distributed generation," it says.

In all four scenarios, the majority of the existing nuclear fleet is decommissioned by 2030, which leads to a dip in nuclear capacity from the early 2020s onwards, due to a gap between old plants decommissioning and new nuclear plants beginning to generate, the report says.

"There are many challenges in building nuclear plants at such pace and scale," the report says. "Financing for these large projects and political support can be assumed in a high prosperity, green world such as Two Degrees. However, issues such as supply chain problems and legal challenges can all derail intended project progress. While this trajectory is plausible, a number of factors need to align for this amount of new nuclear build to progress."

In Slow Progression and Consumer Power, a "smoother build profile" post-2040 can be seen due to the assumption that small modular reactors will have developed sufficiently to begin being built, the report suggests. The size and standardisation of these reactors make them quicker and easier to build than bigger nuclear plants, it adds.


The report refers to technological developments that could make the nuclear fission process "considerably safer and more efficient, as well as reducing the environmental impact". Some of these technologies are already in small-scale use around the world, others are still at the research stage, it notes.

These developments include fast reactors, which "deliver much more energy from the same amount of fuel and can use the waste from older reactors as fuel and produce much shorter-lived waste products", the report notes. Very high temperature reactors are "more efficient, offer additional safety features and allow the direct production of hydrogen instead of electricity", it adds. And thorium reactors "produce less waste and use a more abundant source of fuel".

Research into using fusion to create energy has been in development for a long time, it adds, "due to difficulties in starting and sustaining the required conditions for fusion, and the cost of research".

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News


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UK Government invests in new vehicle-to-grid technology

Friday, 14 July 2017

The UK Government has provided an investment of £20 million to help develop electric vehicles (EVs) that are capable of returning power to the national grid.

UK Government invests in new vehicle-to-grid technology

The new investment, announced earlier this month on 8th July, will support vehicle-to-grid projects in order to help establish a smarter energy system while also increasing the numbers of electric cars on UK roads. The projects will investigate technology that enables plug-in electric vehicles to not only draw power from the grid when charging but also return it to people’s homes or back to the grid.

There are currently 100,000 electric cars in the UK supported by 11,000 charge points and the numbers are growing. As the growth continues they will become a resource for a smart electricity grid. This in turn will bring benefits for drivers while also creating a more flexible and efficient energy system.

“The government is a world leader in tackling climate change and we are committed to investing in clean energy innovation to support the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy” said Claire Perry, UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry. “Vehicle to grid technology provides another opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world our leading expertise in research and development which is at the heart of our ambitious Industrial Strategy. This competition could unlock significant economic benefits for the UK - helping to create jobs in this burgeoning sector while helping to reduce our emissions”.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman added that electric vehicles are already helping thousands of motorists cut their fuel costs, and now there is an extra financial incentive for motorists to go green. The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on UK roads is at record levels, with the latest figures showing that there are over 100,000 plug-in cars and vans registered. The Government wants to see nearly all cars and vans on the roads becoming zero emission by 2050.

The new funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) underlines the Government’s interest in supporting innovative technology development. The Government has already invested £600 million in financial support for the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles and expects that to double by 2021.

The latest £20 million investment is intended to support feasibility studies, industrial research or experimental development and demonstrator trials. The competition process will start in the next few weeks with the aim of winners being notified in December and projects starting in early 2018.


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How 360° Images Take Construction Documentation to the Next Level

August 9, 2017 Shane Hedmond

via HoloBuilder

The following is a guest post by Harry Handorf, Marketing Manager at HoloBuilder, Inc. HoloBuilder, Inc. is a San Francisco-based construction technology company that designs, develops, and sells enterprise SaaS software. HoloBuilder offers reality capturing solutions for progress documentation and construction project management. Making use of 360° imagery, computer vision, and AI, HoloBuilder is the fastest and most insightful solution to document construction projects. HoloBuilder’s customers include 40% of the Top 100 General Contractors in the United States. Its investors include Brick and Mortar Ventures and Tandem Capital. If you would like to get connected or if you have any questions, just visit them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

How are construction sites usually documented?

The progress of construction sites is usually captured by taking still photos of different areas that have been subject to change. Documenting a full construction site requires a lot of pictures (usually more than ten per room), and even then not every corner of a room can be captured.

The thousands of point and shoot photos are often stored in a series of folders and subfolders. Unfortunately, it is hard to navigate in this traditional folder structure, which makes it difficult to understand where each photo was taken or to locate a photo from a specific time and location.

Before 360 degree technology was available, standard still photos of construction sites have been stored in a hard drive folder

Why is regular photo documentation a concept with many drawbacks?

Regular photo documentation with standard still photos is a comparatively slow and inefficient process. Every time you want to capture new progress, one of your employees has to spend hours taking photos and sorting them afterwards. Now that mainstream 360º cameras have hit the market, it is easier than ever to capture your entire surroundings with the tap of just one button. Where you had to take at least 11 regular photos, now you only need to take one 360º image to capture every detail around you. By capturing conditions in 360 degrees as fast as foremen can walk the site, construction companies can save a lot of time. And time always equals money.

State of the art construction progress documentation

How does 360° technology for construction work?

The term 360-degree technology refers to the concept of working with 360-degree images, which are often called photo spheres (or photospheres). Even though many manufacturers are building 360-degree cameras, the basic idea always remains the same: When such a camera is triggered, it takes one photo through each of its two (or more) lenses at the same time. Then the camera ‘stitches’ the photos together to one 360° photo. This way everything around you is captured thoroughly. Thus, 360º technology fills in the gaps that are often left by taking regular photos, providing a complete documentation for your site.

With affordable 360° cameras, such as the Ricoh Theta SC, which are small, portable, and easy to use, the technology can be easily deployed to construction sites. Because the cameras do not require much equipment or complicated set-up, it is possible to capture a virtual job walk of a construction site on a regular basis . This makes them great for progress documentation.

To view the recorded 360° photo in full 360 degrees, it can to be uploaded to a web platform like HoloBuilder. One way to do it is by uploading it via the web interface in your browser. Because it is a cloud-based platform, all images will be immediately accessible to project superintendents, engineers, and architects around the globe.

A 360-degree job walk, captured in the field and shown in the web browser

The process becomes even easier and faster with dedicated mobile solutions like HoloBuilder’s JobWalk App for Android and iOS smartphones. The intuitive mobile solution simplifies the capturing process and makes it quicker by automatically linking the 360° images to their real world counterpart locations on a sheet and uploading the completed tour from your mobile device.

Why is 360° technology great for construction progress documentation?

A main advantage of virtual job walks is that you can easily orient yourself on the virtual job site: understand both where you are and what you are going to see next. The documentation no longer consists of detached pictures — it is a virtual construction site.

Thanks to an unlimited number of sheets that can be uploaded, progress on all levels of the site can be captured and progress tracking over time becomes a reality with features like HoloBuilder’s TimeTravel. Instead of saving photos from different days in different folders, photos captured over time are stored in their corresponding location on a virtual sheet. The result is a very clear structure of one virtual HoloBuilder project for each real construction project.

Besides, 360° technology is so easy to use that even untrained interns can do the documentation. This is another aspect that saves a lot of money, because no expert photographer needs to be hired on a weekly basis. The ability to quickly capture, view, and annotate progress increases efficiency because mistakes during the building process can be found easier and faster . Through annotations in the 360° images it is easy to communicate needed changes. You can use annotations to create virtual punch lists from the office, and update the images when the tasks have been completed.

Furthermore, the 360º images can be used when dealing with trade damage and creating change order requests. A 360° view of each room in different stages makes it easy to communicate requests clearly and helps you to be on the safe side should legal questions arise.

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Government report contradicts Trump on climate change


Aug 8, 2017,

via video


edited by kcontents

The effects of climate change are already having an impact on the U.S., after average temperatures have risen dramatically over the last four decades, according to a draft of a government report that was obtained and published by The New York Times on Monday.

The "U.S. Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report," compiled by a group of scientists from 13 federal agencies, found with high confidence that it was "extremely likely that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 was caused by human influence on climate."

"Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for observed climate changes in the industrial era," the report stated. "There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.”

The report is part of the National Climate Assessment, which has been congressionally mandated to be conducted at least every four years since 1990. A National Academies of Science committee reviewed the study and said it was "timely, accurate and well-written." The report contradicts claims by President Donald Trump and some members of his administration, who have disputed the connection between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

The report's authors also described a link between climate change and severe weather events.

"A change in the frequency, duration and/or magnitude of extreme weather events is one of the most important consequences of a warming climate," the authors wrote, pointing to an increase in heavy precipitation, extreme heat events and tropical storms.

The report states with "medium confidence" that human activities "have contributed to the observed increasing trend in North Atlantic hurricane activity since the 1970s."

On Tuesday, The New York Times released a newer draft of the report, one that uses different language to describe the strength of evidence connecting human activity to climate change.

A draft of the report from February describes the difference between weather and climate and describes warming trends over the last 150 years, saying that "many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes."

But a draft from June marked as the final draft uses stronger language, saying that new evidence shows it is "extremely likely" that human influence has been the main cause of warming since the mid-20th century. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

The newer draft's introduction gives more detail about extreme weather events related to climate. It says that the total cost of those events in the U.S. from 1980 to 2016 exceeded $1.1 trillion — a figure not included in the earlier report.

Trump has called climate change "a hoax" and rejected evidence that human activity has contributed to rising temperatures. During an interview with ABC News' "This Week" in June, his EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declined to confirm whether Trump still believes climate change is a hoax.

The study must be approved by the Trump administration before it may be officially released, according to the Times, which reported that some scientists were fearful that the report will be changed or suppressed by the administration.

On Tuesday the White House commented on the report.

"It's very disappointing yet entirely predictable to learn The New York Times would write off a draft report without first verifying its contents with the White House or any of the federal agencies directly involved with climate and environmental policy," a White House official told ABC News. "As others have pointed out — and The New York Times should have noticed — drafts of this report have been published and made widely available online months ago during the public comment period. The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date."

Separately, Liz Bowman, an EPA spokesperson, told ABC News, "This is a draft report that has been in the public domain since January. We continue to discuss the best path forward for an honest, open dialogue in regard to climate science."

Representatives for the Global Change Research Program and the National Academy of Sciences did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.


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Duqm Refinery awards three major EPC contracts

August 5, 2017

An artist's impression of the main processing unit of Duqm Refinery. - Supplied picture

edited by kcontents

Muscat: Duqm Refinery has awarded three main Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts to multinational companies for building the company's proposed 230,000 barrels per day-capacity refinery in the Al Wusta region.

The first EPC contract for building the refinery’s main processing plants was awarded to a joint venture of Tecnicas Reunidas SA and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.

The second EPC package for building utilities and offset facilities for supporting the operation was awarded to a joint venture of Petrofac International Limited and Samsung Engineering Co. Ltd., Duqm Refinery said in a press statement. A Reuters report said the value of the contract awarded to the Petrofac consortium is estimated at $2 billion and it will take 47 months for the consortium to complete the work.

Also, the third EPC package for building a product export terminal at the Duqm port, dedicated crude storage tanks in Ras Markaz and an 80 kilometre-long pipeline connecting crude tanks with the refinery was awarded to Saipem SpA.

The first EPC contract is crucial since it is where the technology behind the refinery will be deployed.

The refinery project, which is expected to start commercial operations in 2021, is coming up in the Duqm Special Economic Zone of the Al Wusta region. Duqm Refinery, a 50:50 joint venture between the Sultanate’s investment arm Oman Oil Company and Kuwait Petroleum International Ltd., is seeking a $5 billion syndicated term loan from the overseas markets to fund its $7 billion refinery project, the company had said earlier. Both companies have signed a joint venture agreement for establishing the refinery in April.

Also, Duqm Refinery said Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW) will be appointed as the Project Management Consultant for the EPC phase of the Duqm Refinery. AFW will provide management personnel, who together with the staff at Duqm Refinery will form an Integrated Project Management Team for the project.

Tenders inviting bids for the first two contracts (the main processing plants and for building utilities) were floated in November 2015, while the third package was floated in December 2016. The technical and commercial submissions from all bidders were subjected to a detailed, stringent and structured evaluation procedure.

In parallel to the tender process, Duqm Refinery has completed preparations at the refinery site in order to allow the EPC contractors to optimise the construction schedule. This scope of work includes the excavation and compaction of over 12 million cubic meters of soil required to level the site for the construction of the refinery. A workforce of over 1,300 individuals was engaged with 850 pieces of equipment deployed for the completion. The project has achieved 3 million safe man hours.

As much as 65 per cent of the crude feedstock for the refinery will be from Kuwait, while the remaining 35 per cent will be supplied by the Sultanate.

Once operational, the refinery will produce a number of key refined products: diesel, jet fuel, naphtha and liquefied petroleum gas.

The refinery will ultimately transform the Duqm area into one of the most important hubs for energy-related industries, regionally as well as internationally.


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