ZURICH, SEPTEMBER 11-12 2006
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Posts Tagged ‘Human Security: Food, Water, Poverty, Development’
ZURICH, SEPTEMBER 11-12 2006
By Audrey Hudson| Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Oct, 06, 2006
A company that developed technology capable of creating water out of thin air nearly anywhere in the world is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq.
The water-harvesting technology was originally the brainchild of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which sought ways to ensure sustainable water supplies for U.S. combat troops deployed in arid regions like Iraq.
“The program focused on creating water from the atmosphere using low-energy systems that could reduce the overall logistics burden for deployed forces and provide potable water within the reach of the war fighter any place, any time,” said Darpa spokeswoman Jan Walker.
To achieve this end, Darpa gave millions to research companies like LexCarb and Sciperio to create a contraption that could capture water in the Mesopotamian desert.
But it was another company, Aqua Sciences, that developed a product on its own and was first to put a product on the market that can operate in harsh climates.
“People have been trying to figure out how to do this for years, and we just came out of left field in response to Darpa,” said Abe Sher, chief executive officer of Aqua Sciences. “The atmosphere is a river full of water, even in the desert. It won’t work absolutely everywhere, but it works virtually everywhere.”
Sher said he is “not at liberty” to disclose details of the government contracts, except that Aqua Sciences won two highly competitive bids with “some very sophisticated companies.”
He also declined to comment on how the technology actually works.
“This is our secret sauce,” Sher said. “Like Kentucky Fried Chicken, it tastes good, but we won’t tell you what’s in it.”
He did, however, provide a hint: Think of rice used in saltshakers that acts as a magnet to extract water and keeps salt from clumping.
“We figured out how to tap it in a very unique and proprietary way,” Sher said. “We figured out how to mimic nature, using natural salt to extract water and act as a natural decontamination.
“Think of the Dead Sea, where nothing grows around it because the salt dehydrates everything. It’s kind of like that.”
The 20-foot machine can churn out 600 gallons of water a day without using or producing toxic materials and byproducts. The machine was displayed on Capitol Hill last week where a half-dozen lawmakers and some staffers stopped by for a drink.
“It was very interesting to see the technology in action and learn about its possible implementation in natural disasters,” said Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., a Republican from Florida whose hurricane-prone district includes Fort Lauderdale.
“It was delicious,” Shaw said.
Jason Rowe, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney, another Florida Republican, called the technology “pretty impressive.”
“I was pretty blown away by the things it’s able to do,” Rowe said. “The fact that this technology is not tied to humidity like others are makes it an attractive alternative for military bases in the Mideast where humidity is not really an option.
“It seems like it’s a cheaper alternative to trucking in bottled water, which has a shelf life,” said Rowe, who described himself as a fiscal hawk.
Once deployed, the machines could reduce the cost of logistical support for supplying water to the troops in Iraq by billions of dollars, said Stuart Roy, spokesman of the DCI Group, Aqua Sciences’ public affairs firm.
The cost to transport water by C-17 cargo planes, then truck it to the troops, runs $30 a gallon. The cost, including the machines from Aqua Sciences, will be reduced to 30 cents a gallon, Roy said.
Several systems on the market can create water through condensation, but the process requires a high level of humidity.
Aqua Sciences’ machines only require 14 percent humidity, Roy said. “That’s why this technology is superior and why they are getting the contracts.”
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New York, Sep 5 2006 2:00PM A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) led project that uses hybrid varieties of rice to increase production has resulted in unprecedented yields of the staple crop in Egypt, the agency said today. “The world’s highest national average rice yield in 2005 was 9.5 tonnes per hectare from Egypt,” said Mr. Nguu Nguyen, Executive Secretary of the International Rice Commission, at an international scientific conference on sustainable rice production in Krasnodar, Russia. Hybrid rice varieties developed locally, such as SK 2034 and SK 2046, outperformed the best Egyptian varieties by 20 to 30 per cent, according to the FAO. The project, aimed at growing more rice with less water and less land, also involved training seed breeders, production personnel, extension workers and farmers. Despite the project’s success, the FAO warns that hybrid rice seed production is not a global cure-all since many countries lack the technical skills and infrastructure to carry out such programmes. Those countries could benefit more from improved crop management techniques, such as setting planting dates to expose crops to higher solar radiation, optimizing seeding density, balanced plant nutrition and careful water management, the FAO says. Rice is the world’s most widely-consumed food – some 618 million tonnes were produced in 2005. With the world’s population growing by more than 70 million a year, the FAO estimates that an extra 153 million tonnes of rice will be needed by 2030. 2006-09-05 00:00:00.000 For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
Like many other Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese), Nguyen Chanh Khe missed home just too much to accept the job offers being thrown his way by large US companies.
And now Vietnam is reaping the benefits of the prodigy’s return after years working in Japan and America.
His recent invention, the first carbon nanotube material in Vietnam, is a breakthrough for the hi-tech industry throughout developing nations – a success that promises to pave the way for Vietnam in the computer microchips and semiconductor world market.
R&D pays off
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been deemed “the material of the century” by scientists because of its extraordinary strength and unique electrical properties that conduct heat efficiently and can be useful in material sciences like nanotechnology, electronics and optics.
Since carbon nanotubes have such universal applications, they are costly to produce; therefore, the world market asks for about US$1,000 per gram.
Before Khe revamped the production process, plants were using a plasma chemical vapour deposition for a costly $200,000 to synthesise CNTs. But Khe’s method required just a special chemical reaction and facilities which cost only $600-700.
“I can say for sure that our CNTs have the same molecule structure to the products in the world market and are very pure but they will be much cheaper,” Khe said.
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Where the Poor Are: An Atlas of Poverty brings together a diverse collection of maps from different continents and countries, depicting small area estimates of vital development indicators at unprecedented levels of spatial detail.
The atlas is a product of the CIESIN Global Poverty Mapping Project, begun in 2004, which was made possible by support from the Japan Policy and Human Resource Development Fund, in collaboration with The World Bank. The atlas of 21 full-page poverty maps reveals possible causal patterns and provides practical examples of how the data and tools have been used, and may be used, in applied decisions and poverty interventions.
- 13:00 21 August 2006
- NewScientist.com news service
- Andy Coghlan
- One-third of the world’s population is short of water – a situation we were not predicted to arrive at until 2025 – according to a disturbing new report on the state of the world’s water supplies. Squeezing more out of every raindrop that falls on poverty-stricken regions of Africa and Asia is key to the survival of the world’s poorest and most malnourished people, researchers say. The report by the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, was released on Monday in Stockholm at the start of World Water Week. It paints a bleak picture of global access to fresh water and warns that the world cannot carry on complacently using water as if it will never run out. “Business as usual is not an option,” says David Molden of the institute, and coordinator of the report, called Insights from the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. It concludes that one-third of the world’s population now suffers water scarcity, a situation that has materialised 20 years sooner than predicted by an assessment five years ago.
Friday, September 01, 2006
A new road map to decarbonization says we already have all the technology we need, we just need to spend more money to implement it. By Kevin Bullis
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Application-Specific Development and Strategic Partnerships Drive … – Business Wire India (press release)In nano on September 2, 2006 at 10:12 pm
|Application-Specific Development and Strategic Partnerships Drive …
Business Wire India (press release), India – Aug 30, 2006
Advancements in the nanotechnology industry promise to offer improvements in capabilities across a spectrum of applications. This …
[via Nanotechnology – Google News ]
The Washington Post is reporting that US commercial supplies of long-grain rice have been contaminated with a genetically engineered variety not approved for human consumption.
This could lead to backlash from consumers and even nations that are often quick to tie nanotechnology in with biotechnology setbacks.
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