New facilities are being inaugurated today at the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI), managed by the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The upgraded laboratories allow ESTI to assess the performance of new and improved photovoltaic (PV) devices, to perform pre-normative research and to help develop international standards.
On Saturday, 15 June, The Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU) opened its doors and welcomed visitors, employees and their families to celebrate 50 Years of the Institute.
The European Commission and scientists and policy makers from the 14 Danube Region countries have today launched six scientific clusters to support economic development in the region. The six clusters will focus on: water; land & soil; bio-energy; air; data exchange & harmonisation; and smart specialisation. Presented at a high-level meeting in Bratislava today, the clusters will provide scientific evidence to support the Danube Strategy, and will also serve to foster scientific cooperation across the region. The launch event today was attended amongst others by the Slovak Prime Minister H.E. Robert Fico and the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šef ovi (MEMO/13/441).
Five new and five refurbished buildings in 6 European countries have been acknowledged for their energy-saving efforts with the GreenBuilding awards. Buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption. The winning buildings have saved on average 51% of energy, showing that building could make a key contribution to the EU 2020 energy saving target of 20% energy reduction.
The European Commission has today presented the first Soil Atlas of Africa, highlighting a vital natural resource which provides food, fodder, fuel wood, reduces flood risk and protects water supplies. With full colour maps and illustrations, the atlas explains in a simple and clear manner the diversity of soil across the African continent and emphasizes the importance of this non-renewable resource. Coordinated by the European Commission's in-house science service, the JRC, an internationally renowned group of soil scientists from Africa and Europe has contributed to this atlas. The aim is to raise awareness at all levels – from politicians to the general public - of the significance of soil to life in Africa.
The European Commission has today launched a new European nuclear security training centre (EUSECTRA) in Karlsruhe. The training centre will instruct front-line officers, trainers and experts on how to detect and respond to illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials. EUSECTRA offers hands-on training using a wide variety of radioactive and nuclear materials and a broad selection of equipment and measurement instruments. Indoors, one of the training areas simulates airport conditions, equipped with a pedestrian portal monitor and an x-ray conveyor. Outdoors, training is provided on a variety of scenarios, providing 4 different types of radiation portal monitors. Overall, more than 30 measurement and detection tools are used in training. The centre enhances the European Commission's Joint Research Centre's (JRC) training activities carried out in this field at the Karlsruhe and Ispra sites.
Nine EU-based companies have today been recognised for their energy-saving efforts, thanks to the installation of energy-efficient lighting technologies. The winners of the European Commission's 2013 GreenLight Awards have achieved yearly electricity savings equal to the total consumption of around 1200 households (3 568,5 MWh - on average, a household consumes 3MWh/year). The winners include the international brewer AB Inbev (Belgium), which, by renovating its production facilities, achieved average energy savings of 73% in its lighting. The French fast food chain Quick, which refurbished 52 of its restaurants in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, achieved energy savings of 991 MWh/year, a 69% drop in lighting energy consumption. Brussels Airlines upgraded a maintenance hangar, reducing consumption by 68%.
Digital spending - the acquisition of media products in digital format - tripled from 2006 to 2010 worldwide, with the recording music sector now achieving 30% of its global sales in the digital market. The digital success of the music sector contrasts other media and content industries, which are moving at a slower pace towards digital with distribution. Only 6% of film/video, newspapers, magazines and book sales were digital, according to the Joint Research Centre's (JRC) report on "The media and content industries. A quantitative overview", which represents an important contribution to the Commission's recent initiative to boost growth and jobs in the cultural and creative sectors. Sectoral studies on production, distribution, pricing and consumption in cinema, music, newspapers, videogames, book publishing and broadcasting have contributed to this overview, whose findings will be discussed at a conference today in Brussels.
Disaster resilience, and in particular prevention and preparedness measures, are increasingly high priority on the global political agenda. Science and technology offer key solutions to improve preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters, including those related to climatic change.
Europe accounted for two thirds of the world-wide newly installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, with 18.5 GW. Its overall PV capacity totalled 52 GW. The yearly electricity produced by PV could power a country with the electricity demand of Austria, which corresponds to 2% o the EU's electricity needs. These are some of the highlights of the 2012 Photovoltaics Status Report published today by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.