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Monitoring data can underpin river quality improvements

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The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has requested written evidence from Meteor Communications, the specialist provider of remote water quality monitoring systems, as part of the committee’s ongoing inquiry into water quality in rivers. The submission was timely because it was made while sewage spills were the subject of intense media attention, and after the Environment Act 2021 placed a new responsibility on sewerage undertakers to progressively reduce the impact of discharges from storm overflows.


Carbon calculator aids environmental decision making

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Balfour Beatty, in collaboration with Innovate UK, Leeds Beckett University, Hertfordshire University and White Frog Publishing, has created a carbon calculation tool for the construction and infrastructure industry – offering a consistent, practical solution for the measurement of embodied carbon.

Currently in its beta testing phase, the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator automatically links BIM data to embodied carbon data from the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) database, an online source which provides energy and embodied carbon information for construction materials.

In addition, the platform allows users to input information from environmental product declarations sheets – verified and registered documents that provide transparent and comparable data about the environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of a product or material.

The innovative platform will support teams during the design phase of a project to compare products and materials, provide alternative solutions and ultimately help those involved make informed, low-carbon decisions.

Having launched its new sustainability strategy Building New Futures last year, the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator marks another step forward in Balfour Beatty’s journey to going beyond net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Rachel Sudlow, Balfour Beatty’s strategic improvement project manager, said: “The construction and infrastructure industry has previously struggled to offer a consistent approach when it comes to the measurement of embodied carbon. That is why we have collaborated with leading industry experts to create the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator, which will make a real and positive difference to how our industry operates. The introduction of such a tool is long overdue and with the impact of our work on the environment front of mind, it is a truly welcomed development.”

The AutoBIM Carbon Calculator is currently being trialled across four of Balfour Beatty’s projects, including the Institute of Regeneration and Repair at the University of Edinburgh, to which the company was appointed in 2019 through the SCAPE Civil Engineering framework. During trials on live projects, the use of this tool has evidenced a potential saving of up to 14% of embodied carbon through more informed design choices.

Following a phased roll-out across Balfour Beatty’s projects over the next six months, the AutoBIM Carbon Calculator will be available to the wider industry within the next 12 months, with plans to expand its remit to measure the energy performance of products and materials post completion.

Lifetime opportunity at the Etihad

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As a supplier of remote water quality monitoring systems, Meteor Communications was recently invited to speak at a Xylem event in Manchester City’s Etihad stadium. With an ‘Opportunity of a lifetime’ theme, the event invited participants to utilise the power of technology and expertise to achieve water security and sustainability.

Meteor’s Matt Dibbs provided delegates with an insight into the latest technologies for high-resolution monitoring, citing several large-scale, ongoing programmes in which Meteor’s portable and kiosk based modular ESNET (environmental sensor network) systems are delivering continuous data streams for a wide variety of environmental parameters. In the majority of water quality monitoring applications, Meteor employs the Xylem EXO2 multiparameter sonde; either in a chamber through which sample water is pumped, or as part of a battery powered portable system.


Students share tech solutions to reducing waste in Scotland

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The ‘Uber’ of the construction industry, an AI tool to analyse building materials, a peer-to-peer waste sharing app and a waste prevention web platform were among the innovative ideas presented by Edinburgh University students to help reduce waste from the construction industry - Scotland’s single largest waste producer.

The 24 students were responding to a brief set by leading infrastructure company Robertson, who has partnered with the university’s ‘Students as Change Agents’ programme for the second time after being impressed with the first iteration of students’ outputs.


Innovative sensor network monitors ‘vog’ in Hawaii

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In May 2018, the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea erupted with devastating consequences - destroying homes, displacing hundreds of people and emitting high levels of dust and harmful gases. Aside from the human tragedy that this created, the eruption provided a unique opportunity to monitor the air quality of a volcano during the eruptive phase, and researchers have employed innovative low-cost sensors to do so, as part of a dense monitoring network.

The Hawaiian Department of Health operates several air quality monitoring stations on the island, but at the time of the eruption scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, had already begun building a denser network of monitoring sites in response to air quality concerns relating to volcanic smog or ‘vog’.


FPT industrial natural gas engine powers new case methane powered wheel loader concept – project tetra

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FPT Industrial is sustainably powering the new Natural Gas (NG) MethanePowered Wheel Loader Concept – Project TETRA from CASE Construction Equipment, presented at Bauma 2019, in Munich, Germany. With this announcement, FPT Industrial reinforces its commitment to develop sustainable solutions specifically adapted to off-road applications.

The new wheel loader concept is the first Natural Gas construction machine from CASE Construction Equipment and is powered by a 6-cylinder NG engine from FPT Industrial’s NEF family. This power unit, delivering power up to 230 hp and torque up to 1,184 Nm, has diesel-like performance, but with a smoother and quieter drive. It also offers the same reliability and durability and fuelsavings up to 30%. The engine runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), ensuring 15% less CO2 and 99% less Particulate Matter than its diesel-based counterpart.


Chameleon: New File Import Application

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ALS Environmental are proud to announce the introduction of a new file import application that is now available. Chameleon is an in-house built application that generates Excel registration files, that when completed, can be directly imported into ALS' sample registration system.

This application is suitable for customers to log their sample and analytical requirements or the registration team to enter sample information for received samples. In both instances, if the file is completed correctly, it will make the registration process more efficient and accurate. There are however a few factors that would need to be considered to establish a customer's suitability. Also a customer that already has a specific file import set up would not be able to use Chameleon files.


New world record for mercury emissions monitor

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Quantitech, the UK subsidiary of Gasmet Technologies, is delighted to announce that the Gasmet Continuous Mercury Monitoring system (CMM) is the first instrument to be certified for monitoring at the low levels required by industry and regulators. “This is extremely important news,” says Ken Roberts, Quantitech’s Managing Director. “In the past the low concentration levels in industrial emissions have represented a challenge to monitoring technology, and instruments have been unable to monitor at the low levels that are required.

“This announcement means that, at last, monitoring technology is available that will enable effective regulations to be implemented in the fight against global mercury pollution.”


Technology ‘roadshow’ sparks new wave of waste shredder sales

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A European ‘roadshow’ of machine trials has prompted a new influx of sales at industrial shredder manufacturer UNTHA.

The XR mobil-e has visited 15 sites throughout Germany and Austria since the ‘tour’ began in late August. A second unit has also been on a long-term demonstration in Switzerland for the last month, proving it can tackle two steps of a complex wood shredding process that would usually require three different machines.

And the next few weeks look just as hectic with further trials requested from operators in these countries, as well as Italy, before the end of the year.