Category Archives: In Focus

Power to Gas: The Energy Evolution

Avedøre power station

Europe’s reliance on oil imports, where supply is often dependent on external factors like geopolitical conflict and price rises, is risky.  Luckily the power grid is changing, and thanks to renewables, the future of energy is being redefined.

An increase in capacity of renewable energy sources alongside the need to reduce carbon emissions is timely, but the challenge with renewables is that their output changes with the weather – they either don’t produce enough power or they produce too much. This has driven researchers to consider new practices that could be used to exploit the production of RES to supply the energy system.

One valuable technique is to produce hydrogen using excess energy generated via wind or sun that is not required for the power grid during off peak periods. The hydrogen is then safely stored and distributed for future use. The notion of converting and storing electricity from renewable resources that can be later used in heating or as fuel may sound impossible, but it is technically feasible, and is known as ‘power-to-gas’.

Read more ...

Digital money 

euroWith some autocratic regimes now using digital money for economic control and surveillance, can the original promise of cryptocurrency endure?

Ten years ago, bitcoin was introduced as the first open-source, decentralised, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. The idea of money perpetrates every level of our lives. We trust that someone will accept our money in exchange for goods and services almost everywhere we go. Society relies on banks and governments for this, but since the 2008 financial crisis shook people’s faith in these institutions, the system is being questioned more and more. The architects of bitcoin designed it to solve challenges created by conventional currencies.

Digital currencies reconstruct the idea of money and place faith in technology instead of centralised institutions. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and is still the biggest, but since it was created, alternatives have come along. All of them have the same basic idea: they use a blockchain, a shared public record of transactions, to create and track digital tokens, and these can only be made and shared according to the agreed-upon rules of the network.

Read more ...

Swedish Data Centres – The Sustainable Solution

Every time you like a Facebook post, watch a YouTube video, stream a Netflix show or make a purchase on Amazon, you are expanding your carbon footprint. Every internet activity involves amounts of data that need to be stored somewhere. Anything that involves images, especially colour ones, generates major data traffic. And as it becomes ever easier to consume online, the more consumption rises. That wouldn’t be an issue if the data centres needed to manage the traffic didn’t consume so much energy.

Data centres have multiplied from almost nothing a decade ago to consuming about 3% of the global electricity supply and accounting for about 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a similar carbon footprint as the airline industry. The quantity of energy consumed by these centres is doubling every four years despite hardware innovations that increase capacity to store data. As a result, data centres are forecast to consume roughly treble the amount of electricity in the next decade.

Read more ...

Cross-party politicians demand Government backed European collaboration on electric cars

A cross-party group of politicians has called on Whitehall to back joint working among European cities to accelerate the uptake of new technology. Writing in an open letter published in the Sunday Telegraph today (23rd July), 15 politicians highlighted the environmental and economic benefits of new technologies such as electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles emit zero carbon dioxide and particulate emissions at source, and have been touted as an answer to London’s air pollution crisis. The letter was signed by a raft of politicians including Conservative MEP Julie Girling, Labour peer Lord Whitty, and SNP MP Alan Brown. Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder joined Green Party peer Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and Labour peer Baroness Blackstone in backing cross-border cooperation.

The letter highlights the work of Sharing Cities, a Europe-wide programme aiming to deliver pioneering new smart technologies in hundreds of municipalities including London, Milan, and Lisbon. The project draws on €24 million in EU funding. It aims to trigger €500 million in investment and to engage over 100 cities across Europe. The letter said: “Through municipalities working together, Sharing Cities is sharing the cost of testing new technologies and is using economies of scale to reduce the price paid by taxpayers and increasing the attractiveness to innovators.”

Sharing Cities Programme Director Nathan Pierce said: “Electric cars and bikes will help to transform our cities, helping to improve air quality and tackle climate change. “In order to achieve the Government’s ambitious aim of ‘almost every car and van to be zero emission by 2050’ it is clear that cities will need to work together.“We are pleased that such a broad group of politicians sitting in the European Parliament, Westminster and City Hall have come together to back the work we are already doing to achieve these aims.”

Sharing Cities has the ambitious goal of achieving a 10 percent switch from conventional vehicles to eMobility devices.

Business Reality

Digital transformations redesign every facet of modern business and have recently progressed from a fanciful trend to a fundamental element of successful business strategy. New technologies have allowed content creators to connect and communicate with customers in new and exciting ways. No matter how turbulent the year seemed when it came to political affairs or global conflicts, 2016 was an inspired year for Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), and to some extent, last year could be thought of as the year marking the tech’s ‘coming of age’.

Though closely linked, VR is centered on inventing an entirely digital world while AR is about enriching reality with digital content. VR is synonymous with hardcore gamers; the intense tech heads who are more than happy to wear a huge set of black goggles and network with people, places, and things that aren’t actually there. On the other hand, AR combines reality with virtual reality making it more accessible and user-friendly for the majority of people and businesses.

Read more ...

Most Read

  • 1
  • 2