A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a regional focus on Spain.
Samsung announced plans to build a $14.7bn chip factory in Pyeongtaek – its biggest investment ever in a single plant – in a bid to boost its semiconductor business to make up for declining smartphone sales. The South Korean manufacturer has been struggling to maintain sales in the face of growing competition from arch-rival Apple and low-cost Chinese producers.
A report from Canada’s Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand revealed the country will seriously underachieve on its commitment to reduce emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 thanks to a booming oil and gas sector. The report found it will exceed the 2020 target by 20 per cent if it does not take further steps.
BP was accused of “cutting corners” when building a pipeline across land belonging to Colombian farmers at the opening of a case that sees the oil giant being sued for roughly £18m by 109 claimants. The case relates to the construction of the Ocensa oil pipeline in the mid-1990s after more crude oil was discovered in the Cusiana-Cupiagua oilfields.
Russia proposed building a natural gas pipeline between Sakhalin in its far east and the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The construction of a pipeline between the two countries has been mooted for decades, but a dispute over islands taken by Russian forces at the end of the Second World War could present a major obstacle.
A new tailor-made air purification and lighting system was installed in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel to protect the more than 500-year-old frescoes created by renaissance master Michelangelo. The paintings are exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide exhaled by the visitors, body sweat and dust brought from outside.
Egypt signed contracts with six international firms to carry out dredging of the new Suez Canal. Egypt hopes the new canal will more than double revenues from the waterway by 2023 to $13.5bn from $5bn. It also plans to develop 76,000 square kilometres in the area into an international industrial and logistics hub to attract more ships and generate income.
A project to assess the solar power potential of Pakistan was announced by the World Bank’s Renewable Energy Resource Mapping scheme. German engineers will use nine insolation monitoring stations to measure radiation levels for the next two years, as well as satellite remote sensing data from the past 15 years, to create a radiation map showing the best spots to build plants.
Two Chinese companies announced they would go head-to-head to supply high-speed trains for the proposed 800-mile rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation and domestic rival China Northern Railways have both expressed their interest in the contract.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban shelved plans to tax Internet use following a rally by about 100,000 Hungarians. The scheme would have seen Internet service providers made to pay just under 40p per gigabyte of Internet traffic, though this was later proposed to be capped at different monthly rates for individual and business users.
Co-founder of the Swedish file-sharing website The Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Warg, was sentenced to three and a half years in a Danish prison for breaking into the mainframe of IT provider CSC to access the Danish Civil Registration System and local police’s criminal register in 2012. Warg’s accomplice, a 21-year-old Dane, was sentenced to six months but walked free due to time already served.