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Number News

A million 3D mice, 10,000 homes set to be demolished - here's our round-up of numbers in the news this month.

30 million

KBR has produced 30 million bottles of water in Afghanistan for British armed forces. In hot conditions, soldiers can need to drink up to 10 litres a day. KBR set up a bottling plant at Camp Bastion in 2008, drawing water from a borehole and processing it for troops at the camp and forward-operating bases. Providing clean water on-site reduces the need for vulnerable supply convoys.


Renewable energy accounted for 18.2 per cent of total electricity consumption in the 27 EU member states in 2009, and 11.6 per cent of gross final energy consumption. The figures come from the EurObserv’ER publication ‘The state of renewable energies in Europe’ – a synthesis report of Technology Barometers published during 2010. Although the share of renewables rose from the previous year, this is partly explained by a plunge in total gross final energy consumption.


The US Air Force has chosen Boeing to build 179 aerial refuelling tanker aircraft, disappointing rival bidder EADS. An initial engineering and manufacturing development contract valued at more than $3.5bn requires Boeing to deliver 18 combat-ready KC-46A tankers by 2017. Replacing the USAF’s entire fleet of ageing KC-135 tankers could eventually be worth over $30bn.


New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said 10,000 homes may have to be demolished in Christchurch following the earthquake that devastated the city on 22 February. Entire areas may also be abandoned because liquefaction has made the ground unstable. Official estimates put the cost of earthquake recovery at NZ$15bn (£7bn), and the death toll is expected to reach 200 as more bodies are recovered. Engineering teams have been working to restore vital services.


Stannah Group’s 500,000th stairlift rolled off the manufacturing line at the company’s Andover factory in February. The UK stairlift market has been growing at an average of 6 per cent a year for the last five years, and is now worth over £150m as the elderly population increases and people look for ways to keep their independence.

1 million

Logitech subsidiary 3Dconnexion says it has shipped more than one million 3D mice for use with applications in 3D computer-aided design, digital content creation, architecture and construction, and geographic information systems.


Analysis by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows that 98 countries now have national broadband action plans in place. The ITU says robust plans that promote greater spectrum availability and faster roll-out of the fibre networks used for mobile backhaul will be essential to support mobile broadband growth and avoid network bottlenecks.
Smartphone users already consume five times more data capacity than users of ordinary mobile phones. The number of smartphones is set to quadruple to almost two billion by 2015.


Developers of the Bloodhound SSC supersonic car will carry out a full test firing of their prototype hybrid rocket this summer. They are evaluating sites for what will be the largest rocket test in the UK for 20 years.The Falcon rocket is 4m long, 45.7cm in diameter and weighs 400kg. Burning a mixture of solid fuel and liquid oxidiser, it will produce 122kN peak thrust, equivalent to the combined capability of 645 family saloon cars. Read more about Bloodhound on p10.

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