A round-up of all the facts and figures that have been hitting the headlines this month.
Nearly half of the engineers currently working in the UK are over the age of 45, which means the country will face the challenge of filling more than 500,000 vacancies due to retirement over the next six years, according to EngineeringUK's annual review of the profession.
The report points out that the sector will be at the forefront of rebalancing the economy, tackling climate change and meeting renewable energy targets, but warns that success depends on a level of investment not seen since the aftermath of the Second World War.
The authors highlight significant discrepancies between the demand and supply of technicians. At least 10 per cent of those working in science, engineering and technology-related jobs are underqualified.
The attraction of being able to download games to a mobile device for nothing but pay for additional features like extra levels or items means the value of 'in-game' purchases will overtake that of downloads as the primary source of revenue in this sector by 2013, Juniper Research is predicting. With'Apple's in-app billing mechanism showing the way forward, Juniper's forecast of the sector says, total end-user payments from 'freemium' gaming will exceed $11bn annually by 2015, nearly double their level in 2009.
US firm P2i has drawn attention to its Aridion protective coating for smartphones with a survey that found 43 per cent of Americans would be put off buying an expensive mobile by the fear of damaging it. Four in ten of more than 1,000 people said they'd already damaged their phone by dropping it in water or spilling liquid in it. A'third reported 'scratching and staining', while 45 blamed a family pet for damage.
P2i's technique, based on research originally carried out by the UK Ministry of Defence, puts a phone or other electronic device in a vacuum chamber, where a thin layer of protective polymer is applied from a plasma. Any liquid spilled on it subsequently, the company claims, will simply roll off.
The EU looks likely to exceed its target of meeting 20 per cent of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, the European Wind Energy Association has claimed. National Energy Action Plans submitted to the European Commission by member states indicate that a third of electricity demand will be met by renewables. Some 14 per cent will come from wind, 10.5 per cent from hydro, 6.6 per cent from biomass, 2.7 per cent from solar photovoltaic and 0.9 per cent from concentrated solar power, geothermal and ocean sources.
Luxembourg and Italy have warned that they don't expect to meet the 2020 target but plan to use 'cooperation mechanisms' to reach 20 per cent. Ireland plans to be the country with the highest wind energy penetration ' 36.4'per cent of electricity demand.
High-speed trains consume less energy per passenger than other trains ' at least in Spain.
A study by the Spanish Railways Foundation, published in Transportation Research Record, found that the AVE train consumes less due to the intrinsic features of the high-speed system such as a more standardised speed profile and fewer curves on the line.
However, report author Alberto Garcia says the prime advantage of a high-speed line is in attracting travellers who would otherwise drive or fly.