A biofuel pump

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Free 3D engineering design tool downloaded an impressive 50,000 times, while research finds there are 200 million more men than women online.


The European Parliament wants to cap the use of ‘first-generation’ biofuels in transport at 6 per cent by 2020, as opposed to the current target of 10 per cent, with the difference partly offset by a 2.5 per cent target for ‘advanced’ biofuels from sources such as seaweed, algae and certain types of waste. MEPs also voted to include the impacts of indirect land use change (ILUC) in accounting for greenhouse gas emissions. However, the vote on draft legislation fell short of the majority needed to start negotiations with member states, who must now seek a common position of their own ahead of a second reading next year.



The IET has awarded Diamond Jubilee Scholarships worth £1,000 a year to 540 students beginning engineering degree courses this year, marking a total investment of around £2m. Announced in 2012, the programme was open to all UK students who achieved the equivalent of three A grades at A Level and had been accepted on an IET-accredited degree course. The award will be annual, and it is hoped that 2013 beneficiaries will become mentors to the 2014 Diamond Scholars



Trains will start running through the world’s deepest immersed tube tunnel on 29 October, when Turkey’s ambitious Marmaray rail project is inaugurated. The 13.5km tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait links the Asian and European sides of Istanbul as part of a 76.3km line that will boost the city’s rail capacity by 20 per cent. The tunnel is designed to withstand earthquakes and is fitted with floodgates. Construction was delayed by discoveries including a Byzantine-era harbour and the remains of several ancient ships.



More than 50,000 people downloaded a free 3D engineering design tool within two weeks of its launch. DesignSpark Mechanical was co-developed by RS Components and 3D design specialist SpaceClaim and is available in multiple languages through the online engineering community designspark.com. RS head of technical marketing Mark Cundle described the initial uptake as “staggering”, saying the software’s simplicity and affordability “opens up 3D design to a much wider engineering base”.



A report from the UN Broadband Commission estimates that globally there are 200 million fewer women online than men, with the gap particularly wide in the developing world. Women are also 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone. The report presents its findings in terms of gender equality and social inclusion, but also suggests that female users represent a promising emerging market for device makers, network operators and software and app developers.



National Grid has warned that electricity capacity margins in the coming winter will be tighter than previous years. Its 2013/14 Winter Outlook Report gives an assumed generation availability of 60.5GW at the winter peak. Peak cold-weather demand in a typical year is put at 56.3GW, reaching 58GW in ‘once in 20 years’ conditions. If a shortfall is imminent there will be market signals to bring on additional generation or cut demand; if that isn’t enough, voltage reductions or power cuts will follow.

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