The world’s first 3D printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
While the construction is a fantastic structural achievement in itself, it will also function as a living laboratory so researchers can study how other more complex architectural work can be achieved in the future.
Managed by Dutch company MX3D, the bridge is 12 meters long and weighs 4.9 tons.
It was built by four industrial robots and entailed six months of printing.
Though it only took six months to build, its construction also required more than four years of hard work by the researchers prior to it being built.
The robots used welding torches to deposit each printed layer of the bridge.
The structure was transported to its location over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District last week.After being unveiled by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, it is now open to pedestrians and cyclists, New Scientist reported.
It was inaugurated by a robot on July 15, 2021.
This is a huge milestone given that there has never been a 3D printed metal structure large and strong enough to handle pedestrian traffic, so far, the main developments have been in housing.
With a vast network of sensors installed on its structure, the bridge is a significant data hub.
Its sensors make it possible to measure changes to the bridge over its lifetime, to check its health in real time, and to pinpoint the public’s interaction with the 3D printed civil engineering infrastructure.
Data from the sensors will be placed on a digital twin of the bridge, a computerized version that will mimic the physical bridge with increasing accuracy in real time as sensor data is input.
The simultaneous information will allow the performance and long-term behavior of the 3D printed steel to be monitored.
To move from the conceptual stage to the installed walkway, Imperial College’s Steel Structures Research Group conducted related research, which included destructive force-testing on printed elements, advanced computer simulations for the digital twin, nondestructive real-world testing on the walkway, and the development of an advanced sensor network to monitor the behavior of the bridge throughout its life.
“Research into this new technology for the construction industry has huge potential for the future, in terms of aesthetics and highly optimized and efficient design, with reduced material usage,” said Craig Buchanan, of Imperial College’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and co-leader of the project.
“3D printing presents vast opportunities for the construction industry, providing much greater freedom in terms of material properties and shapes,” added Leroy Gardner, the project’s other co-director. “This freedom also brings a number of challenges and will require structural engineers to think in new ways.”
To find out how much capital they’d raised and what they planned on using the money for, Insider spoke with 16 of the hottest new tech startups to watch in Europe 2021.
Among the objectives that came up time and again were product development, consolidation of growth, and international expansion. One, in particular, stood out: growing their respective workforces.
This is interesting given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on companies, specifically where lay-offs and redundancy plans are concerned.
The economy is now waking up, gradually.
Activities that were stopped in their tracks due to lockdowns or mobility restrictions are resuming and it looks like emerging companies have decided it’s time to bolster their teams.
Of the 16 startups that Insider spoke with, only one MediQuo – a startup based on a platform that offers an online medical consultation service 24 hours a day – has said it has no plans to expand its workforce in the short or medium term.
The rest confirmed they’re hiring – they told Insider how many personnel they plan to add, over what period of time, and for which roles.
Johanna Gallo, co-founder of APlanet — a startup created with the aim of helping SMEs and corporations to frame everything relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR) — says the company is planning to make new hires.
Gallo says that since raising its seed round in August 2020, the company’s expanded their workforce by 80%, focusing on areas like customer success, product, and technology with the aim of “offering the best service” as they grow.
The founder says the team is constantly looking for new hires for other key areas like user experience (UX) or business development, both in markets where they already have a foothold and in those where they have only recently landed, like the United Kingdom.
Baluwo is a Spanish fintech startup with its business model focused on helping African migrants living in Europe make transfers to their home countries.
CEO Josep Arroyo says his intention is to recruit up to 15 new people by the end of 2023.
The startup’s CEO adds that these positions will be focused on expanding the commercial network in France, the UK, and the US.
Belvo is an open banking API platform in Latin America that was founded in May 2019.
It allows users to connect their bank accounts to a management application and is joining the list of companies that will be growing their team in coming months.
The company claims it has grown exponentially in the last year, going from 18 employees in May 2020 to 70 in May 2021.
According to sources at the startup, they currently have around 15 positions open on their website for areas such as engineering, the legal department, and business development.
In addition, the company is looking to continue making new hires in different segments and countries, mostly in Latin America.
Bipi is a car subscription platform known as the Spotify of rental cars.
According to Hans Christ, CEO of the company, in the last year the number of employees has increased “significantly.”
Furthermore, there are now more than 100 people in the startup.
“We are in full growth and our team will increase even more in the coming months,” says Christ.
At present, the company has over 10 positions open across operations, sales, technology, marketing, product, logistics, and accounting.
“Our objective is that the internal growth policy should go hand in hand with the company’s own growth,” he says.
Capchase is a startup that helps software-as-a-service companies to finance the growth of their operations with cash tied up in future monthly payments.
One of the company’s founders Ignacio Moreno says his company is also in a “fairly accelerated” expansion phase.
In the last nine months, he says the team has grown from eight people to more than 40.
The company is now looking for new recruits for its product and technology teams in Europe, areas where they expect to double the team in the next six to nine months.
Moreno says they are looking to add open up one to two financial analyst positions to continue improving their SaaS risk model.
At the same time, Moreno says that, in the US, they are building a strong team in strategy, finance, and capital markets.
Cofounder Jorge Soriano says he intends to expand the workforce “in the next two to three months.”
Soriano also says the company is looking for technical, financial, and operations profiles, but with a particular focus on the technical team.
He also says that, as their intention is to expand their business focus to other countries such as Mexico, they plan to form small teams in each of the regions where they are located.
Although the technical part would be handled by the parent company, Soriano says the company would need to incorporate people for customer service, operations and marketing.
Devo is a startup that uses its software platform to analyze large amounts of datasets (logs) in real time.
Pedro Castillo, founder and CTO (chief technology officer) of the company, says the company’s intends to increase its workforce by more than 50% by the end of the year.
“We are currently looking for professionals to fill different positions in all areas of the company, especially in our engineering team in Madrid,” he says.
Devo has opened job offers for positions such as security engineer, cloud engineer, and DevOps engineer.
ECOncrete is a platform that develops infrastructures that promote the regeneration of marine biodiversity.
Paolo Tedone, regional sales manager of the platform, said the company’s intention is to grow “more than 200% in the next two years.”
The hope is to add between three and four people to sales, two to marketing, two to research and development, and one to design over the next year.
The company has already doubled to four employees recently.
Goin is a Spanish mobile app — it provides sensible saving and investment opportunities for people who aren’t financially literate.
The firm intends to hire more staff in the coming months.
According to CEO of the startup David Riudor,, they are looking for 30 people to fill various positions.
Some of the roles they want to fill cover developers, product managers, business developers, customer success and other profiles to lead the expansion.
People manager at Holded — a company whose software helps small businesses control all aspects of a business from a single platform — says the startup wants to focus on growth “both in Barcelona and Paris.”
Forment says it expects to add around 45 more people to its team by the end of the year — their job offers are available on their website.
It already has 80,000 users and more than $22 million in funding rounds.
Its objective in Barcelona is to strengthen the technical and product team — it’s looking for tech leads, senior backend and frontend developers, and senior mobile developers.
It also wants to hire a vice president of product to lead the department, designers, and various profiles related to data such as data analyst, data scientist, and data engineer.
In Paris, the company is aiming to create a customer success, marketing and product team for its French market. Consequently, it’s looking for a customer success specialist, amarketing manager, and product manager profiles.
After being acquired by leading European software company Visma, the company said it intended to hire more than 300 people, with the aim of improving its product and consolidating its position as the “fastest growing company in the ERP market.”
HumanITcare is a Spanish startup with an artificial intelligence-based remote medicine platform aimed at healthcare professionals, is also looking for new staff.
CEO Nuria Pastor says her company is growing exponentially and that she expects to double the workforce to more than 30 people by the end of 2021.
She says they’re looking for software developers, mobile developers, and data scientists.
5. Kokoro Kids
Kokoro Kids is a Spanish startup.
It consists of a mobile app to enhance the development of cognitive and emotional skills of children aged between two and six.
It does so through activities and games and offering tailor-made experiences. It is one of the companies that is not planning to hire in the short term.
However the company says it’s planning a round of funding for the beginning of next year — with the funding, the company intends to expand its team with technical and artistic profiles, as well as marketing and sales.
Bárbara Buades, CEO and co-founder of Meetoptics — an artificial intelligence meta-search engine specializing in photonics — says it’s looking to hire eight new employees by the end of the year.
According to the startup’s CEO, there are now six people on the team and they want to add two to sales for customer acquisition, market analysis and risk analysis, a product owner, a UX/UI product designer, three software engineers, as well as a frontend and full stack developer.
Mox is a startup dedicated to last mile logistics — it covers everything from goods delivery and staff recruitment to the development of technology systems.
It plans on hiring in logistics and parcels (warehouse workers, forklift drivers and delivery drivers).
As for the timescales, company leaders say these will be linked to the growth in demand and the volume of merchandise, although it will be “an increase in the short and medium term.”
Poll Valls, co-founder and COO (Chief Operating Officer) at Submer says the start-up is seeking to reduce the cost of electricity for cooling computers.
Thanks to consistent growth they are experiencing, they are doubling their workforce “year after year.”
They currently have 70 employees and, over the next year, they plan to add 60 extra people.
Valls says the 60 new staff members will be mainly in front-office (B2B sales, solution architects and marketing) and technical profiles of different types (mechanical engineering, software, robotics, thermodynamics, chemistry, industrial).
Trucksters is a Spanish startup that’s looking to optimize the world of logistics and the long-distance freight transport industry with an innovative service based on a relay system.
One of its founders, Gabor Balogh, says they are in “full growth” and that they plan to incorporate more new profiles to the company, which they’ve already succeeded in doing this year.
Balogh explains that the company currently employs more than 30 people in its offices in Madrid and Valencia, as well as associates in Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary. And he anticipates that they will soon be opening a new international branch office.
“We are now very focused on our international expansion and we are mainly looking for different profiles for positions in operations, technology and sales,” he says.
The company’s co-founder says its work model, which combines on-site and remote work, has allowed them to recruit staff from different parts of the world: “We startups have to lead this transformation of the work system, which is more technological and efficient than ever.”
In his annual summer reads recommendation this year, Bill Gates mostly suggested books that strengthen the relationship between humans and nature.
One title in particular, however, stands out: “Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric.”
As explained in Inc, this book is a warning about how the leaders of General Electric, one of the world’s largest companies, were so blinded by their success for so long that it got too late to do anything about it.
“I was eager to read ‘Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric’ by the Wall Street Journal reporters Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann,” said Gates in his blog, Gates Notes. “I wanted to understand what really went wrong and what lessons this story holds for investors, regulators, business leaders, and business students.”
Adding this to his recommendations may not have been easy for Gates, however, as the book is a critique and analysis of decisions that should never be taken in a company – and General Electric was one of Microsoft’s first customers.
“At times, it was a bit hard … to read such harsh criticism of fellow leaders,” Gates added, “[b]ut I got a lot out of reading this book.”
Here are some of the main takeaways of the book, according to Gates.
Don’t be too ambitious in the short term
“One of GE’s greatest apparent strengths was actually one of its greatest weaknesses,” Gates said in his blog.
GE always met or exceeded Wall Street analysts’ predictions in its quarterly or annual results.
But what happens is that they were simply serving investors and stock market performance, which isn’t always an indicator that all is well.
A company can have a sizeable turnover but if it’s lower than analysts’ expectations, analysts will publish negative comments and share prices will plummet.
Conversely, a company can make huge losses, but if they’re lower than analysts’ expectations, its share price will soar.
Lights Out reveals some questionable methods GE used to arrive at the numbers it felt it should.
Seeking this short-term profit weakened the company.
Don’t focus exclusively on good news
“In many companies, bad news travels very slowly, while good news travels fast,” Gates said.
The leader said he tried to fight this at Microsoft – whenever an employee told him positive news, Gates would ask him what wasn’t going so well.
While some might find this off-putting for employee morale, the ultimate message is not to motivate people to focus only on the good news, as it may mean you don’t get to the bad news in time.
Don’t fool yourself and definitely don’t fool your team
Believing that they could have it all was one of General Electric’s biggest mistakes.
Investors had full confidence in the company, but that confidence should never transfer over to the leaders themselves.
Unfortunately, it did.
So they tried to dip their hands into almost every jar they could, including filmmaking, insurance, finance, and nuclear power plants – as well as making light bulbs and household appliances.
“GE didn’t have the right talent and systems to bundle together a dizzying array of unrelated businesses and manage them well,” said Gates. “GE successfully persuaded people that its generalists could avoid the pitfalls that had tripped up big conglomerates in the past.”
“In reality,” he explained, “those generalists often didn’t understand the specifics of the industries they had to manage and couldn’t navigate trends in their industries.”
If customers and partners believe your company is the best or the most cutting-edge, they will trust it – but if a leader assumes it to be true and has no concerns nor any capacity for self-criticism or improvement, he or she is lost.
We all know children don’t come into the world with a “how-to” guide.
During the first months of a newborn’s life, it’s often a struggle for parents not just to meet their baby’s needs but simply to know what they are.
However much a new parent may want to soothe their baby’s endless desperate crying, it can be challenging without knowing what they want.
Many resign themselves to one of their first lessons as parents: they won’t always understand their children.
In the age of the Internet of Things, smartphones, and tablets, however, some are using tech to explore modern ways of working around age-old problems.
Ana Laguna, a 33-year-old scientist and expert in data management, gave birth to her first child in 2016.
After a few hours of crying, she had a thought – there had to be a way of translating a newborn’s cries.
The idea seemed such an obvious one that she assumed there must already have been a company that had successfully developed some kind of device or app, but the only thing she could find was a Korean application that was just about functioning.
Taken aback by what seemed somewhat of a technological oversight, her intuition soon turned into a project: she would record her own baby’s cry to look for patterns.
“Many projects come about by mistake or by necessity. Mine is one of the latter,” Laguna told Insider.
Over the years, Laguna’s project transformed into a fully-fledged company, Zoundream.
The company specializes in developing software to translate newborn babies’ cries, particularly those up to the age of six months.
After raising just under $1 million in its first round of funding in October 2020, Zoundream now wants its studies to help detect atypical developments in newborns at an early stage.
There have been several stages in Zoundream’s development to get it to where it is now.
Laguna’s first major concern was to find out whether babies from different countries cry differently.
If, for instance, the cry of a German baby were different from that of a Spanish baby, that would have significantly reduced the software’s potential audience – as well as the viability of the whole project.
After many hours of gathering information through scientific publications on the subject and analysis of sound samples, Zoundream came to a conclusion – although there were notable differences in the prosody of the cry, the content is always the same across languages.
In other words, though German and Spanish babies may sound different, they’re essentially trying to say the same thing.
The only thing left to do was to get the business going – that’s where Roberto Iannone, the company’s current CEO, comes in.
Hundreds of kilometers away from Laguna, almost at the same time as her, Iannone, an entrepreneur, had already had a similar idea. So, when a colleague told him about Laguna and her studies on crying patterns in newborns, which were already beginning to gain some traction in the press, Iannone knew what he needed to do.
Zoundream was born out of a single idea – while there are more than 7,000 languages in the world, the way newborn babies express their needs is universal.
Now the company translates babies’ cries into five types: hunger, sleep, pain, gas, and attachment or the desire to be held.
This classification method works best on infants up to the age of three months, when crying is more genuine. From this point on, according to Laguna, the baby’s brain synapses become more complex – they start to be able to learn at full speed.
As a result, babies start using certain strategies to get what they want.
In other words, human beings learn to lie before they learn to speak.
After the birth of her second child, Laguna decided she didn’t just want to record her own child’s cries; she wanted for other parents to be able to contribute to the project.
A newborn cries an average of two to three hours a day. Over time, Zoundream managed to collect thousands and thousands of hours of cries analyzed using spectrograms, from Europe, Asia, and the entire American continent.
This means tZoundream is already working on refining translations through devices that are still just prototypes.
Zoundream is building partnerships with companies that, in the coming years, will make it possible to integrate this technology in prams, bracelets, or even in surveillance cameras.
The one condition is that the system has to be automatic.
“When a child cries, their parents will go to attend to them and entirely forget about the mobile phone and everything,” says Laguna.
In addition to the audio, the company started to receive feedback.
“I remember, for example, a mother who said that her son wouldn’t stop crying. The recordings told us that he was hungry,” says Laguna. “It didn’t make sense to her, because she kept breastfeeding him. Eventually, she told us that we were right, that the doctor had detected a problem with his lingual frenulum and that he wasn’t feeding well.”
Cases like these have inspired Zoundream’s team to try to take the next leap and detect atypical developments through the way babies cry.
Some cases, she says, are obvious: “The cry of a child on the autistic spectrum is very characteristic, very hoarse. You can see it quite clearly on the spectrogram.”
By doing this, Laguna explains, the company hopes to help improve the early diagnosis possibilities, which can greatly improve quality of life.
“In cases of early diagnosis,” she says, “autism is detected at around the age of two. Imagine the improvement if it could be done before the age of six months.”
A blood test that can track the success or failure of cancer treatment in real-time has been launched, scientists at the University of Singapore (NUS) have announced. The study has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
The test is the first of its kind in the world. The way the blood is analyzed can reveal in as little as 24 hours whether targeted therapy against specific molecules is having an effect on tumor growth.
This means cancer treatment can be modified or adapted to a patient’s response, thereby increasing its effectiveness.
The test is called ExoSCOPE and will enable healthcare professionals to accurately classify disease status and determine the outcome of treatment within 24 hours of starting treatment.
It is a giant leap forward for medical professionals and cancer patients: the pioneering blood test will make adjustments easier, significantly speed up cancer treatment assessment and improve chances of recovery.
The test is intended to measure how targeted therapies work, which, unlike conventional chemotherapy, attack specific molecules responsible for enabling cancer cells to grow and spread.
These drugs also block abnormal cancer growth at the same time.
In other words, these therapies attack cancer cells without harming normal cells, according to Cancer.org.
Currently, volumetric tumor imaging – which is insensitive and delayed – or tissue biopsies – which are much more invasive – are used to clinically evaluate therapies targeting solid tumors.
This new technology works like a liquid biopsy, is precise, and is much faster and more comfortable for the patient.
Assistant professor Shao Huilin and her research team from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute of Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthtech) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are the minds behind this development.
This is their project, which has finally seen the light of day after two years of platform development.
Success rate available within 24 hours of starting cancer treatment
The technique behind this blood test is extracellular vesicle monitoring of small molecule chemical occupancy and protein expression (ExoSCOPE).
It harnesses extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by cancer cells circulating in the blood as reflective indicators that reveal whether the drug is being effective in targeting solid tumors.
“With ExoSCOPE, we can directly measure the results of therapy effectiveness within 24 hours of starting treatment,” says Shao Huilin. “It significantly reduces the time and cost for monitoring cancer treatment,” Conventional procedures are more expensive, time-consuming and difficult.
They explain that only a tiny amount of blood sample is needed for the method, which takes less than an hour to complete.
ExoSCOPE functions as an integrated nano-technology platform, measuring these membrane vesicles in the blood, which are at least 100 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and invisible to a conventional light microscope.
If the targeted cancer treatment works, as the drug interferes with tumor growth, the treated cell releases the electrical vehicles containing the drug into the bloodstream.
And this innovative technology combines chemical biology and sensor development to measure these delicate changes in the blood.
“The ExoSCOPE sensor contains millions of gold nano-rings to capture the electric vehicles and amplify their drug-labeling signals to induce strong light signals. These light signals are then processed into a readout which indicates the effectiveness of the drug,” says Zhang Yan, a PhD student in the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering and iHealthtech and co-author of the study.
So far, the clinical study has yielded encouraging results.
After including 163 blood samples from 106 lung cancer patients, ExoSCOPE achieved an accuracy rate of 95% but within 24 hours of treatment initiation, compared to volumetric tumor imaging.
The team’s next steps are to expand its platform to explore the efficacy of different therapies, as well as to apply the technology to diseases beyond cancer, such as cardiovascular and neurological problems.
This is not the first technology to harness the potential of blood to detect cancer: other studies have used this form of analysis to detect tumors, used machine learning to diagnose up to 50 types of cancer, and discovered lung cancer several years earlier than would be possible with current means.
A patent has already been filed for ExoSCOPE and the NUS team hopes to get this technology on the market within the next three years, contributing to personalized treatments, improved clinical decision-making, and optimized cancer outcomes.
Despite its fictional origin, the quote is, in fact, referring to ideas about predestination, in which the life of every human is already predetermined either by divine design or by genetics.
Quoting this on Twitter led to a surprising revelation – a fellow Twitter user, Toby Li, responded to him: “Speaking about destiny, did you know that Von Braun’s 1953 book “Mars Project,” referenced a person named Elon that would bring humans to Mars? Pretty nuts.”
The book he’s referring to is “Mars Project: A Technical Tale,” written by Wernher Von Braun, a German-American astronautical engineer and space architect, according to Gizmodo.
His non-fiction book is not a standard essay; it uses a narrative to explain to the average reader how a trip to Mars might look in the Cold War.
The problem is that user Toby Li’s explanation is not entirely accurate. In his book, Von Braun doesn’t say a person named Elon would lead humanity to Mars but that the name of the leader’s position would be “Elon.”
This was clarified by another Twitter user, Pranay Pathole, who provided the English version of the book.
The paragraph in question reads: “The Martian government was directed by ten men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and entitled ‘Elon.’ Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet.”
In a temporary Twitter profile update, Musk proclaimed himself imperator of Mars.
Ford has become the first automobile company to shift towards remote working on a permanent basis, according to CNBC, with around 86,000 employees being allowed to work at least partially from home.
The policy is aimed at office workers rather than factory workers, who number around 100,000 and have largely returned to work.
Hybrid work plans and remote working will depend on individual and managerial responsibilities.
“The nature of the work we do really is going to be a guiding element,” chief people and employee experiences officer Kiersten Robinson told CNBC. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 12 months, it is that a lot of our assumptions around work and what employees need has shifted.”
Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July when most employees are expected to make at least a partial return to the office after more than a year.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent – you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, David Dubensky, told The Washington Post.
“Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful,” Dubensky added. “It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
According to a survey conducted at Ford in June 2020, 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and a number of them felt more productive at home.
The move from Ford comes after major companies including Google, Spotify, and Salesforce all announced that they were offering their employees the option to work from home permanently.
“These companies are all looking at each other,” associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Angela Hall, told The Detroit News. “And especially someone like Ford, who is a large, respected employer – people are going to model that behavior.”
The Washington Post also reported that General Motors and Toyota were looking at flexible options for a return to the office, although they are both yet to announce new policies.
Although most of the world’s food waste currently gives rise to methane gas and contributes to climate change, researchers in the US have found a way to use food waste to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
By turning “wet waste” into a kind of paraffin that powers jet engines, researchers claim their method reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 165% compared to fossil fuels, according to the BBC.
Their figure combines both the reductions in greenhouse gases emitted by airplanes and the emissions avoided by not sending food waste to landfills where it gives rise to methane gas.
From a market in India that turns 10 tons of food waste into energy to a factory in Indiana turning plastic waste into eco-friendly fuel, innovative solutions are on the rise as both the food and tech industries change rapidly.
A breakthrough moment
The scientists are from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the University of Dayton, Yale University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and airlines including Southwest have already started collaborating with them.
With global passenger numbers expected to double by 2040, airlines are having to think seriously about how to cut their emissions. Delta Air Lines committed $1 billion last year to become carbon neutral by 2030.
According to NREL, airlines currently contribute 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
“If our refining pathway is scaled up, it could take as little as a year or two for airlines like Southwest to get the fuel regulatory approvals they need to start using wet waste SAF in commercial flights,” NREL scientist Derek Vardon and corresponding author of the paper said in a press release. “That means net-zero-carbon flights are on the horizon earlier than some might have thought.”
The scientists use catalytic conversion to produce paraffin
The researchers’ method interrupts the conversion of food waste into methane and produces volatile fatty acids.
Using catalytic conversion, they produced two types of sustainable paraffin.
Combining these two types and then mixing 70% of the result with jet fuel produced a suitable mixture that still meets airline fuel criteria.
“Since the SAF blend would have a carbon footprint 165% lower than fossil jet, that blend is high enough to decarbonize flight,” Vardon said.
Aside from a huge reduction in fossil fuel usage and putting food waste to good use, flights using SAF would produce 34% less soot than the flights of today.
“That’s where we see the most potential for this technology is that you’re preventing methane emissions, and dramatically lowering the carbon footprint of jet fuel,” Vardon told the BBC. “And you just can’t do that with fossil fuels without getting into things like offsets.”
While SAF wouldn’t completely solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, it would provide a lifeline for an industry that is undergoing a reevaluation amidst the coronavirus health crisis.
“It is undeniable that SAF’s role in reducing emissions across the industry and at Southwest will be significant,” said Michael AuBuchon, Southwest’s senior director of fuel supply chain management. “NREL’s research could provide a game-changing opportunity to make SAF cost-effective, leading to its larger-scale deployment.”
The research team plans to begin test flights with Southwest Airlines in 2023.
Europe is struggling to gather evidence against Amazon for the antitrust case it has opened against the e-commerce giant for its market dominance and anti-competition practices, the Financial Times reported.
Brussels announced the case in the summer of 2019 on allegations that Amazon was manipulating its algorithm to favor its own products over third-party sellers on its websites.
They have reportedly been unable to access the algorithm and the list of detailed questions they sent to Amazon has not yet received a response.
Antitrust lawsuits have become commonplace as big tech companies come under increasing levels of scrutiny, including in the US.
Parler has also filed lawsuits against Amazon while the gaming giant behind Fortnite, Epic Games, has taken on Google and Apple.
“Cases involving algorithms are complex,” a Brussels-based legal expert told the Financial Times. “But the EU doesn’t have to dictate how a computer code works. It is for the company that uses the algorithm to deliver a fair result.”
If Amazon is found to have breached European law, the company could be fined up to 10% of its annual revenue. The figure stood at $233 billion for 2018, meaning a fine of up to $23 billion, but has since increased.
The lawsuit was followed by a second one in November 2020 over the way Amazon uses data from third-party sellers on its websites.
The Financial Times said the EU had been given evidence that Amazon may not gain anything from disadvantaging third-party sellers as they generate large amounts of profit for the company.
“Why would Amazon want to worsen the customer experience if customers will realize they can get better quality products for cheaper elsewhere?” an insider with knowledge of the defense told the Financial Times.
Those familiar with the case said an investigation could still take years and may still result in a successful outcome for the EU.
Amazon did not respond to the FT’s request for comment and the EU said it was still investigating.
In a Clubhouse interview with New York Times reporter and CNBC co-anchor Andrew Ross in February, Gates spoke out against bitcoin citing environmental damages caused by the cryptocurrency.
“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind,” Gates said. “It’s not a great climate thing.”However, he added that bitcoin’s energy use may be acceptable if green energy is used and it is not “crowding out other users.”
Gates clarified that he does not see climate change and bitcoin as being “closely related,” and labeled himself a “bitcoin skeptic,” citing a preference to invest in “products” like malaria and measles vaccines rather than cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies have become a major culprit for energy consumption, with the world’s bitcoin network using as much power as the whole of Ireland in 2018.
Analysis by the University of Cambridge released earlier this year suggested that bitcoin was now consuming more electricity than Argentina, according to the BBC.
Gates is not the only one to speak out against bitcoin’s environmental impact, with CIO of Société Générale’s Kleinwort Hambros bank, Fahad Kamal, saying bitcoin’s energy use was “staggering” and a major worry for investors.
Economist Nouriel Roubini also criticized bitcoin and the growing trend in bitcoin investment, spiked by endorsements from Tesla chief Elon Musk.
“Since the fundamental value of bitcoin is zero and would be negative if a proper carbon tax was applied to its massive polluting energy-hogging production, I predict that the current bubble will eventually end in another bust,” Roubini said.
However, others have stood behind bitcoin and the cryptocurrency soared to record highs on February 21, reaching $58,640. “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer previously told Sorkin on CNBC that it was “almost irresponsible” for companies not to own bitcoin.
Meanwhile, Ark Invest founder Cathie Woods said she expected the price of bitcoin to rise between $40,000 and $400,000 and that digital wallets would gut traditional banks.