Environment

28 Oct Municipal Solid Waste: What to do with the biodegradables?

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2010
Based on the disciplines of biology, molecular biology, chemistry, biotechnology as well as information technology and engineering sciences, a new field of research is evolving, called synthetic biology. It has attracted special attention recently, also on an international basis. Synthetic biology can make an essential contribution to the gaining of knowledge in basic research. Beyond that, it opens up options for biotechnological applications in the medium term, i.e. in the area of new and improved diagnostic agents, vaccines and drugs as well as the development of new biosensors and biomaterials or even biofuels. Concurrently, the research area opens up new questions, e.g. about legal aspects in the context of biological safety or the protection from abuse; likewise, questions about the economic use and ethical aspects. Against this backdrop, the German Research Foundation (DFG), acatech, which is the German Academy for Science and Engineering, and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina have pooled their strengths and crafted a joint statement on possible opportunities and risks of synthetic biology.
Read More

21 Oct Strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Slovenia (50 pages)

Engineering Academy of Slovenia (IAS)
2012
Analysis of educational system in Slovenia and Research, development and innovative achievements of Slovenia has now become an annual task and receives and generates substantial interest from interested parties. In 2012 it has been upgraded to Strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Slovenia. It contains propositions that connect engineering, industry, innovation, research, economy, environment, sustainability for further development of Slovenia.
Read More

21 Oct Technology Highway – Consensus for an Innovative Slovenia (104 pages)

Engineering Academy of Slovenia (IAS)
2012
Knowledge is the only way out of the economic crisis, is the foreword of the collection of articles  of speakers at the conference “Technology Highway - Consensus for an Innovative Slovenia”, organised by the Slovenian Academy of Engineering. The conference has discussed on the Strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Slovenia, the Euro-CASE Innovation platform and Horizon 2020. The collection of articles presents contributions of five speakers at the conference.
Read More

18 Oct Drought, even in Flanders?

Belgium Academies (ARB)
2009
Industry, agriculture and households as well as nature lay claims to the fresh water supplies. Mainly because of the high population density in Flanders the mean water availability per capita is low, to the extent that during certain periods water scarcity occurs. The effects of climate change are expected to worsen the situation. Apart from promoting a water saving attitude, the re-use of water and the use of precipitation have to be encouraged. By establishing quotas for groundwater abstraction, introducing an adjusted concession granting policy and a steering water pricepolicy, groundwater bodies being at poor quantitative status may be improved, whilst those who are at good status may stay in equilibrium. Urban and space planning should support the groundwater recharge, among other things by aiming at increased infiltration.
Read More

18 Oct Global Water Security – an engineering perspective

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2010
This report addresses water security as a global issue as well as considering the situation of the UK in that context.  It makes the following six recommendations:  1. Inter-governmental bodies and key discussion fora must elevate the issues of water security in their strategies. 2. Water security should become a core component of UK policy making. 3. UK industry must show leadership on global water security. 4. The regulation of the water sector globally needs to have integrated water resource management and sustainability informed by a systems approach at its core. 5. The Government should bolster investment in the research and development of solutions to global water security.  6. The UK engineering institutions should ensure that their global memberships are appropriately equipped, through professional development, to apply a systems led approach to water engineering, incorporating the technical, geo-political, societal and ethical dimensions of the challenge.
Read More

18 Oct Rare Metals

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
Through their increasing use in innovative technical products our society is dependent upon rare metals as never before. It is unclear how the rising demand can be satisfied in the future. Workable deposits of rare metals are often restricted to just a few regions, resulting in political and economical critical dependencies. Generally, moreover, rare materials are not mined in isolation, but occur as by-products of the extraction of other elements. Thus the availability of rare materials is not just influenced by the direct demand for a specific element. An added complication is that rare metals are nowadays only recycled to a limited extent. The concrete examples in this paper show that the way we handle rare materials today could lead to critical situations in the future. We therefore need to find more sustainable ways of handling them. This will require a better understanding of the corresponding material cycles and specific, coordinated measures anchored in international institutions.
Read More

18 Oct Is nano sustainable?

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
If we are to achieve sustainability and meet the great challenges of our time, such as climate change or the increasing scarcity of resources, we have to have the will as well as the right instruments. These latter undoubtedly include technical innovations. And today the nanotechnologies are delivering these many times over. Thanks to synthetic nanoparticles, harmful substances can now be replaced with harmless ones; resource and energy-intensive processes are becoming more efficient. It is important, however, to recognize at an early stage the possible risks that could ensue from nanotechnologies, and to carefully evaluate these risks and discuss them openly. Switzerland is making every endeavour to ensure that nanotechnologies are used safely, thereby helping this discipline to find long-term success
Read More

18 Oct Delivering Ireland’s Water Services for the 21st Century

Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)
2011
A joint position paper and report prepared by the IAE and Engineers Ireland (EI) submitted to Government in the context of a proposed fundamental change to the control and management of the service and the introduction of universal water metering and charging. The report supports the establishment of a national water utility company and the charging for water services.  It recommends continuing Government subvention during the transition period, until the utility company becomes self-financing.
Read More

18 Oct Engineering the future of water: Review of 2011 discussion series

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2012
This report is a summary of proceedings of three meetings organised by Engineering the Future in the Autumn of 2011. The meeting was attended by members of the professional engineering institutions, Fellows of The Royal Academy of Engineering, representatives of industry, government and other relevant organisations.
Read More