Africa is becoming a renewable energies headquarters!

The West-African country of Senegal has recently begun the construction of a major solar farm in the sub-Saharan desert, it is a 20MW project located in Bokhol and is called ‘Senergy2’. The project is estimated to cost $28 million and is going to be developed by French renewable energy platform – Greenwish Partners, which dedicates much of its work to sub-Saharan projects. Senergy2 was also financially backed by the Senegalese state; with financial support from the UK and Norway through their joint investment vehicle Green Africa Power, according to local news
When completed and operating at full capacity, it’s predicted that 160’000 people will have access to clean power, a move that will drastically increase the countries chances of 20% renewables by 2017. “With no energy, there can be neither growth nor development. With the Bokhol facility, we are now able to take a new step and Senegal comes unreservedly into a new, clean energy period,” said President Macky Sall.

Senegal is eager to attain a position as one of the continent’s leading countries in renewable energy production, as well as positioning itself as the leader in West Africa; currently, South Africa and Morocco are the flagbearers for the continent.

 

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Iran to reduce dependence on fossil fuels

Iran, historically a nation highly dependent on crude-based fuels is looking to alter the countries regulations in a bid to attract foreign investment into renewable energies. Recent years have seen Iran really look to renewable energies as the path for a prosperous future but they have no intention of slowing down. According to Elham Aminzadeh, adviser to President Hassan Rouhani, the nation is looking to solar, wind and hydropower, so they can diversify their source of energy.
Currently, the country has stringent laws which are often seen as a repellent to potential investors from overseas. These laws are in the process of being reviewed so they can be altered accordingly and become as attractive to overseas investors as they are for those domestically.

According to Mohammad Reza Rezazadeh, managing director of state-owned Iran Water & Energy Resources Development Co, Iran has the potential to produce 30’000 megawatts of hydroelectric power, for the country to get another 15’000 megawatts, it’s estimated $12 billion of investment will be required. 11,700 megawatts of hydro-power is already operating, and the Ministry of Petroleum is working to add 5,000 megawatts in the next three years, he said in an interview at the conference.

Ta prochaine maison pourrait être un conteneur d’expédition

Les boîtes en acier sont en train de devenir les nouveaux blocs de construction urbaine avec une particulière attention à stimuler l’achat des maisons à bon marché.

Un connu architect american qui s’appelle Price et son éponyme entreprise de design ont utilisé des conteneurs d’expédition longs 12 mètres, comme des géants blocs de Lego, pour construire trois complexes d’appartements à Washington D.C., qui est une ville où habituellement le prix moyen pou un studio est de 2,250 $, selon apartmentlist.com, et dans le classement Washington se trouve seulement après Boston, San Francisco et New York.

Les conteneurs d’expédition ont 2 mètres de largeur et 12 mètres de longueur, et donc chacun peut former un espace habitable de 28 mètre carré. Ils sont liés ensemble et peuvent former un notable espace habitable horizontal ou vertical.

Price est fermement convaincu que c’est un’idée géniale parce qu’il s’agit des nouveaux blocs de construction du 21ème siècle.

Toutefois comme il s’agit d’une nouveauté, elles ont un inconvénient,c’est- à-dire qu’elles sont vu comme des maisons mobiles et donc on se pose la question s’il vaut la peine de financer cet projet. En effet les maisons mobiles ou bien les maisons préfabriquées, à cause de son nom, beaucoup de banques ne vont pas prêter une hypothèque pour la construction d’une maison mobile, à moins que les roues sont éliminées, la maison se situe sur un fondement et les installations et la plomberie sont liées. L’architect Day a dit: “S’on se attache pas à une fondation permanente, il est difficile d’obtenir une hypothèque”.

En outre, les maisons-conteneurs peuvent avoir un problème de financement, parce que comme Day a dit, ils avaient presenté leur projet en disant qu’on pouvait aussi le déconstruire après pour construire quelque chose plus grande. Mais comme il était facile de le démonter, le développeur ne l’a pas acheté.

Toutefois, même si le design a rapporté beaucoup des reconnaissances, les frais pour utiliser métallurgistes et soudeurs pour joindre les conteneurs et fabriquer portes et fenêtres et aussi la méconnaissance du design comparé aux coûts de charpenterie traditionnelle (115$ pour mètre carré), rendent une vente difficile au développeur.

Les maisons-conteneurs assourent une vie accessible, et ils sont construits assez rapidement. Un projet de maisons-conteneurs a été fait à Washington, dans le quartier d’Edgewood, et il a fallu seulement sept mois pour l’élaborer et pour le construire.

Main on a été soulevé quelques préoccupations sur la sécurité des maisons-conteneurs, parce que étant donné que les casiers maritimes ont des sols en bois qui sont souvent traités avec des pesticides pour prévenir l’infestation ainsi que des substances chimiques qui préviennent la corrosion de l’air salé.

L’architect Day a dit que pour cette raison le recyclage de conteneurs d’expédition doit être fait trè minutieusement.

Le ralentissement économique globale peut aussi aider à rendre plus disponibles les containeurs d’expédition. Price a noté que chaque année il y a environ 2 millions de conteneurs laissés ”au repos” dans les ports.

Enfin, les maisons-conteneurs ne sont pas toujours économiques. Tandis que un conteneur peut être acheté avec 3,000$, une maison entièrement équipée, de luxe peut coûter 75,000$ ou bien 100,000$, dépendant de ferrures, matériaux isolants, revêtements et équipements du paroi et du sol. La seule chose qu’on économise c’est du temps. En effet la structure d’un appartement à plusieurs étages peut être assemblé en quelques heures et construit seulement en quelques jours plutôt qu’en quelques mois.

L’architect Day c’est très optimiste à propos de ce projet, il affirme: “Il y a beaucoup de personnes qui sont interessées sur ce projet. Le public c’est très excité et je pense que la nouvelle génération a envie d’un projet comme ça”.

Man regains ‘sense of touch’ courtesy of robotic arm

Nathan Copeland, a 28-year-old man from Pennsylvania, has managed to regain his sense of touch after being left paralyzed in 2004 from the chest down.  Ten years later, Nathan was asked to participate in a trial for the brain-computer interface (BCI) – a device consisting of electrodes connected to a robotic arm that stimulate nerve cells, or neurons, to enable the sensation of touch.
In the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers reveal how the technology successfully restored sensation to Nathan’s fingers, allowing him to “feel” for the first time in 10 years. This test is not the first in history to record a success of mind-controlled robotic limbs, however, it is believed to be the first in history to allow a ‘natural sense of touch’, with a brain implant and prosthetic limb. The authors of the journal express the importance of ‘touch’ saying it is often overlooked, we use our sense of touch to distinguish between objects and gauge how to move them or pick them up.

These electrodes are connected to a robotic arm, and with the help of electrical stimulation, the user is able to control the arm with their mind. In Nathan’s case, the device enabled him to feel pressure and warmth on four fingers of the robotic arm, and he described 93 percent of the stimuli as feeling “possibly natural.” Additionally, when blindfolded, Nathan was able to correctly identify which finger was being touched with 84 percent accuracy, and all sensations persisted over the 6-month study period.

These tests have proved to be a great success and will no doubt provide unrivaled assistance in future research into the use of prosthetic limbs, however, the authors of the journal state that this is just the beginning and an abundance of research is still needed.
Source: MedicalNewsToday

How drones are revolutionizing the construction industry

Drones have been one of the fastest growing phenomenon’s in the last few years, both in terms of private and commercial use. To be the expansion into context, back in 2012 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimated that by 2012, 30’000 drones will be operating in US airspace; at this current time (2016) around 2.5 million drones are operational in the United States, of which 500’000 are being used commercially. Unsurprisingly, the FAA has since revised their forecast and now predicts the country will have 7 million drones in the air by 2020.
Many believe drones are the next step in the process of the ‘industrial revolution’. Before the availability of the modern cranes and industrial equipment, we rely so heavily upon today, laborers would be forced to complete every single job on the construction site by hand. Jobs that today take months to complete would have in years gone by taken years, and in maybe 20 years time, the jobs we see today taking months could take weeks, thanks to the use of drones.
Assessing the earth for the foundations of construction is also something that a drone can be considerably more efficient for. Traditional land survey equipment gets the job done and provides accurate results, however, when the apt software is installed into a drone, it will also attain accurate result but it will complete the job in a time 85-percent quicker at a cost of 10 times cheaper than traditional methods.
Furthermore, the job a project manager is also made fundamentally easier through the assistance of drones. In years gone by builders manually assessed project dimensions, which would predominantly be unreliable, timely and costly.  By using drone data tools, the drone can automatically measure essential projects components, such as stockpile volumetric, whilst also sending instant feedback to the project manager who can begin analysis.
Drones are becoming increasingly common in day-to-day life but this is just for leisure, more importantly, drones are becoming more and more prevalent in a variety of industries but none more crucially than construction. Construction is an industry very much built on efficiency, in the sense of cost and time; hence the reason drones potentially have such a pivotal role to play, when the above reasons are taken into consideration.

You would be a brave person to bet against drones being a key player in the next industrial revolution.

Hotel developments to lead the way for growth in African tourism

A number of the world’s largest hotel chains are betting on Africa being their next big investment opportunity. Africa’s tourism sector is already on a momentous upwards slope and this is the obvious trend that has caught the attention of some of the world’s most renowned hotel names, such as, The Hilton, Fairmont and the Jumeirah group. Starwood, Marriot and the Four Seasons have also publically stated they intend on investing heavily across North, South and Central Africa in the five-years between now and 2021 that experts predict will be one of the largest periods of hotel growth in the continent’s history.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa is currently rising at an astronomical rate; last year, the global growth rate of FDI was 1%, whereas in Africa they experienced a 7% growth. Paul Frimpong, Investor Analyst at international business facilitation experts Naseba, said: “The enormous potential of the African continent cannot be emphasized enough. Africa is the fastest growing region for FDIs in the world. Aggregate household consumption will reach $1.4 trillion with collective GDP hitting $2.6 trillion in 2020 alone. These facts show that with the understanding of the growth momentum, combined with the right strategies, presents handsome rewards for current and prospective investors in the region.”

Not only does the hotel boom in Africa provide more opportunity for the tourism industry but it also presents an abundance of opportunity for the continents architects, interior designers, real estate developers, buyers and engineers working on not only hospitality, but retail, commercial and residential developments.

 

Controversy over Jerusalem construction work

Jerusalem, one of the most sacred and religious cities in the world is about to get a slightly modern makeover. Due to a surge in housing demand and the quickly increasing housing prices within the city, a private developer has been granted permission to build 100 new homes. Construction within the city has long been a controversial issue with construction work only ever taking place if it factored renovation works or was a reconstruction of traditional builds.
Washington, a close friend of Israel, has always been against governmental decisions to complete any modern construction work within the city, due to its religious standing. Nevertheless, the country believes the time has come where their capital city now needs to begin moving with the times. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “The US is a big friend but in the end, Israel needs to do what is beneficial for itself as a country.” The newly constructed buildings are expected to accommodate growing populations, imcorporate new technologies and provide a better economic future for the city.
A number of construction companies will be bought in to embed the essential skills and technology expertise required within the region and reduces the time ofconstruction. Portuguese company Mota-Engenharia e Construcao, SA and Turkish company Yilmazlar Construction Group will undertake vital works, alongside a multitude of Chinese construction firms: Beijing Construction Engineering Group International, Jiangsu First Construction Corporation, Everbright International Construction Engineering Corporation, and China Huashi Enterprises Company.
It must be a difficult position when you are home to one of the most religious, and sentimental places on earth to find methods of enhancing your countries future without damaging the past.