Australia's first floating solar system which can produce 57 per cent more power than land-based solar panels
In regards to the rooftop solar panel system, do you know that once the sun makes them too hot, they lose power? According to The Australian Financial Review today, there is an interesting solar project going on in Australia to solve this issue.
The company behind Australia's first floating bank of solar panels, a $17.5 million project in the mid-north of South Australia, aims to list on the stock exchange in the next few years as it expands into the mining and agriculture sectors with a system that it says produces 57 per cent more power than land-based solar panels.
Infratech Industries, which has offices in Sydney, Singapore and San Diego, California, has developed new tracking and cooling technology that it says makes a large bank of solar panels on a buoyancy frame sitting in the water work at optimum level. That solves the problem experienced by many householders where rooftop solar panels become too hot under a searing sun and lose efficiency.
The company on Wednesday officially unveiled what it says is Australia's first floating solar system, which is being built on a large wastewater treatment plant at Jamestown, 200 kilometres north of Adelaide.
Chief executive Raj Nellore said the first structure of 110 panels sits in one of the three wastewater ponds and is already up and running, while a second bank of 4000 panels will be installed in the next phase, with construction starting in May. A further 800 panels will be built on a third pond.
He is the major shareholder of the privately owned company, and said a stock exchange listing was likely to be pursued as more capital was required to meet demand, with the SA project a showcase for how the technology could work on a large-scale site.
Infratech is building a similar system at Holtville in California.
Mr Nellore said the system was ideal for the mining industry to power production sites, and for use in the agricultural sector. The company also saw applications in the residential sector for householders with large rainwater tanks.
A team of 15 engineers and research scientists from the Nano Science and Technology Department at SA's Flinders University helped develop the technology for the Jamestown site. The new 3.5MW solar system at Jamestown is operated by Northern Areas Council, a local government body, which is using it to power the region's wastewater facility. The extra power created by the plant is used to supply electricity to nearby Jamestown.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the Wiggins Island coal export terminal (WICET) in Queensland, Australia is expected to make its first shipment of 73,000 tonnes of coal this week, putting the Queensland terminal open for business three years after construction started.
Export volumes from the terminal, which is owned by eight coal miners, are being closely watched to gauge whether the miners can meet their "take or pay" agreements as thermal coal prices remain near six-year lows.
Aurizon, a publicly listed rail freight company in Australia, has won a contract with miner Caledon Coal to rail coal to Queensland's new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal, signalling the terminal will meet at least half its current export forecast.
Aurizon has won an 11-year take-or-pay contract, starting in May, to haul up to 4 million tonnes of coal annually for Caledon from its Cook mine in central Queensland to WICET after a competitive tender.
WICET, which is currently loading its first ship with coal, plans to start shipping coal this week with the aim of exporting about 27 million tonnes annually.
Matthew Spence, analyst at Merrill Lynch, said confirmation that Caledon would use WICET brought "more certainty" to the terminal project.
"It seems that actual volumes, once ramped up, will be at least 17 million tonnes per annum," Mr Spence said.
Aurizon is also believed to have secured haulage contracts with some of WICET's other eight owners to move coal to WICET, including Glencore, Cockatoo, Wesfarmers and Yancoal.
One owner, Cockatoo Coal, was forced to undertake a $125 million equity raising in February after falling coal prices prevented it getting the necessary finance to expand its Baralaba coal mine, while another owner, Bandanna Energy, went into administration in September.
But Glencore, Wesfarmers, Yancoal and Caledon are all confirmed users of WICET, Mr Spence said.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance is expected to shake up the commercial insurance market as it seeks to lure large corporate clients after opening the doors of its Sydney office on Monday.
The new Australian boss of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Chris Colahan, says BHSI will be "playing in the large corporate segment" of Australia's insurance market, which is dominated by players such as Insurance Australia Group, Suncorp Group, and QBE Insurance Group.
"We're targeting across Australia and to start with, as of today, we're launching in property, casualty, financial lines and marine cargo insurance in Australia," he told Fairfax Media.
"In the US we have other lines as well – healthcare, surety, home owners insurance and travel. We'll get into that if it makes sense to do so in the future," Mr Colahan said.
The entry of the Warren Buffett-linked BHSI will worry some of Australia's biggest commercial insurers amid a tough market peppered with increasing competition. Ross Curran, insurance analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said the brand alone "will open every broker door in the country".
"They [the brokers] would want Berkshire on their panel, because it's such a respected name globally," he said.
"It poses a problem for the domestic [insurers]," he said.
Mr Colahan said the group would "progressively move" into the small-to-medium enterprise and mid-market segments for clients. "The plan globally is to expand into markets where we think there's an opportunity to bring a new offering – we take a very long-term view on our strategy," he said.
"We plan to build Berkshire here to be a significant player over the long term in Australia – we're not here for a short duration."
There are a lot of people who are diagnosed with leukemia all over the world. There are some advanced researches commenced in Japan to develop the medicine for leukemia.
According to The Asahi Shimbun today, researchers from Kyoto University (in Japan) have discovered that a drug used to treat AIDS also kills adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) cancer cells, a finding that offers hope to tens of thousands of sufferers in Japan.
It is estimated that 1.08 million people in Japan have a virus that causes ATL, of which about five percent develop the full-blown cancer.
The team of researchers will start clinical studies as early as this autumn to determine if the drug, Abacavir, can be employed as a treatment for ATL.
Current medicines and other treatments, such as the transplanting of bone marrow, have produced only limited results in the treatment of ATL.
The findings will be published in the U.S. magazine Science Advances on April 25.
ATL occurs when a T-cell, a type of white blood cell, is infected with the “human T-lymphotropic virus 1” (HTLV-1). The infection is conveyed from mother to child through breast milk. If ATL develops, the infected cells proliferate and spread throughout the body.
AIDS is caused by a similar type of virus. Using cultured ATL cells, the researchers tested various medicines used to treat AIDS to see whether some were effective against ATL. They found that Abacavir prevented the virus from making DNA.
Accoding to The Australian Financial Review today, over the decade to 2013, Australia racked up $US1 trillion in extra exports from the previous 10 years, thanks largely to China's once-insatiable demand.
"We spent the revenues from the boom as they came in from 2003," said Ross Garnaut, a professor of economics at the University of Melbourne. "That left us high and dry when the Chinese new model of economic growth ended our resources boom."
Future growth and job creation are now dependent on services such as tourism and education, and residential construction fuelled by record-low interest rates that are driving up property prices.
The Australian government's net debt-to-GDP ratio, although deteriorating, is the lowest among the world's 10 largest developed economies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That gives it capacity to fund infrastructure spending through bond issuance.
Much of Australia's household wealth is tied up in a $1.9 trillion private pension system, the world's fourth largest, and a national housing market now valued at $5.7 trillion.
Yet households also carry a debt burden of 153.8 per cent of income, the highest on record, and the government is struggling to restore the fiscal position as commodity prices slump and the tax system leaks.
In fiscal 2007, the conservative government in which Abbott was a senior minister had an $80 billion windfall in its budget bottom line, which was spent on measures such as a cash bonus for having a baby, increased payments to families and benefits for pensioners. The rest was distributed via tax cuts. In response, the central bank was forced to raise the cash rate to 7.25 per cent – 5 percentage points above the current level -- in 2008 to prevent an inflation breakout.
Meanwhile, growing urban centres – Australia added 2 million long-term migrants from 2003-2013, increasing the population by a tenth – received almost no new infrastructure. Long stretches of the nation's highways remain single-lane and the railway system has been little changed since the 1960s.
"Sydney needs a new rail connection under its harbour. Melbourne needs a new rail connection under its central business district," said Mark Birrell chairman of Infrastructure Australia. "These are very large projects that ideally would've been planned well before now – and the catch-up period is significant."
After 24 years of growth, the question is whether Australia has had it too good for too long?
The Economist magazine to summarise: "If you look at history, Australia is one of the best managers of adversity the world has seen – and the worst manager of prosperity."
According to The Australian today, Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals has upsized its high-yield bond offering to $US2.3 billion due to high demand, after earlier announcing a $US1.5bn debt issue.
Fortescue (FMG) chief executive Nev Power said the latest offering had seen strong demand from the market.
“Once again the US capital markets have shown great support for Fortescue. The March 2015 quarterly results, reduction in operating costs and our track record of delivery have all been key factors in this great outcome for Fortescue,” Mr Power said
Executives at the besieged miner will have seen their spirits lifted by last night’s iron ore price move, however, with the near $US53 a tonne level higher than the firm’s break-even cost of production.
There is an article we also could find from The Australian Financial Review today.
According to their article, iron ore prices jumped on Wednesday (22 Apr 2015) after BHP Billiton curbed the pace of its expansion program, slowing the final stages of the $US120 billion race by the world's biggest producers to raise output.
Wednesday's decision will "lower the capital-expenditure profile a little over the next couple of years to preserve free cash flow to support the dividend and balance sheet", Andrew Driscoll, head of resources research at CLSA, said by phone from Perth, Australia.
"The side benefit of that is that it's supportive of the market and is a move against some of the negative public commentary about surplus supply," he said.
Fortescue's founder Andrew Forrest has called for a "fair game" on supply, while Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett last week urged suppliers to curb expansions.
There's little prospect of a long-term rebound with demand for seaborne supplies likely to peak in 2016, according to Goldman Sachs Group. The global surplus will rise to 108 million tons next year from 74 million tons in 2015, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.
There is an interesting concept launched in Japan. Everyone knows electricity can be generated by solar power, but the problem is that it can’t store a large amount of electricity efficiently. Can we solve this problem? We think that a major Japanese company shows us one of the best options to overcome this issue.
Furthermore, the system which the major Japanese company develops is very small and easy to transport by trucks.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s first independent energy supply system using solar power to create hydrogen, which can be utilized in emergencies to provide electricity and hot water, was launched April 20.
The H2One system, operated by Toshiba Corp., began with a demonstration test at a public facility in Kawasaki, Japan.
The new system produces hydrogen through electricity generated by solar batteries. The hydrogen is stored and when required used in fuel cells for power generation.
It can store a large amount of electricity more efficiently than rechargeable batteries and can supply electricity and hot water to about 300 people for one week in the event of a disaster, the Tokyo-based company said.
The system electrolyzes water during the day when solar batteries can be used. Hydrogen taken from the water through the electrolysis is then stored in tanks, explained Toshiba.
The system is also equipped with water tanks, so even if the conventional water supply has stopped, it can continue to produce hydrogen as long as the sun is shining.
When the hydrogen is used in fuel cells to generate power, heat is produced that results in hot water.
The H2One system consists of four containers. Three of them are about six meters long while the remaining one is two meters long. When disasters occur, the four containers can be transported to impacted areas on trucks.
Toshiba plans to start selling the system to local governments and companies before September this year. It is also considering exporting it. The company is aiming to receive 50 orders for the system per year.
We are very interested in the business expansion strategy in Australia which UNIQLO, a leading Japanese retailer, has.
According to The Australian Financial Review today, Japanese retailer Fast Retailing may have to inject new capital into UNIQLO Australia to fund the next phase of growth as the casual clothing chain expands into new states and suburban markets.
UNIQLO, which opened its first store in Australia a year ago, wants to become the market leader in casual wear by 2020 to become the world's leading clothing company.
UNIQLO's founder, Fast Retailing president Tadashi Yanai, plans to open 200 new stores worldwide this year and Australia figures prominently in his growth ambitions.
"Mr Yanai really believes in the Australian market – his expansion plans internationally have been very aggressive and Australia will be no different to that," UNIQLO Australia's chief development officer, Matt Parker, told Fairfax Media.
"We want to reach out to as many consumers as we can – that means opening [stores] in different states sooner rather than later," Mr Parker said.
UNIQLO Australia generated sales of $33 million in the five months after opening its first store in Melbourne's Emporium last April, according to ASIC filings.
UNIQLO has since opened another three stores in Sydney and in Melbourne, and two more stores are due to open in Sydney next month.
"The stores we've opened since [April] have been very positive," said Mr Parker. "At the moment we're looking in all different states and territories – we don't have a set timetable but it shouldn't be too long."
Fast Retailing injected $15 million into its local subsidiary a year ago to fund the store rollout, lifting paid-up capital to $21 million, but may need to provide more capital to fund the next stage of growth until UNIQLO Australia starts generating free cash.
"Obviously, we had to spend quite a lot of money setting up the stores and we'll continue to do that as we expand," Mr Parker said.
UNIQLO's sales per square metre are higher in Australia than UNIQLO's global average but rent and labour costs are also higher, forcing the company to adjust its operating model. Prices in Australia are slightly higher than global prices and apparel sizes are larger than those in Asia.
"We've worked very hard to make sure the product range is appropriate for the market," said Mr Parker.
1. Japan’s biggest solar power plant
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s biggest solar power plant is scheduled to start a trial run in July in this village where the opening of a planned nuclear fuel reprocessing plant has been repeatedly delayed.
Construction of the Eurus Rokkasho Solar Park is almost complete. It is capable of generating 115 megawatts, which is enough to supply 38,000 households and makes it the largest solar-powered producer of electricity in the nation.
The facility uses 513,600 solar panels, most of which were produced by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. After the trial period, the power plant is expected to enter full operation in November.
In contrast, the Rokkasho plant to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, a key element of Japan’s nuclear recycling program, has been postponed a number of times due to technical difficulties.
2. Japanese companies introduce storage battery to ensure stable supply of renewable energy
According to The Nikkei Asian Review, Toshiba and Sumitomo Corp. will use storage batteries to ensure stable supplies of renewable energy in the U.S., hoping to debut similar services back home in Japan down the line.
Output from wind and solar power varies greatly with the weather. The new business will aim to smooth out such fluctuations by storing excess electricity in batteries. Toshiba and Sumitomo will be the first Japanese companies to enter the field in the U.S.
They will partner with U.K.-based renewable-energy company RES to service PJM Interconnection, the largest regional transmission organization in the U.S. PJM operates a wholesale electricity market in 13 northeastern states, including Pennsylvania.
Toshiba will install a 6,000kW power storage system, while RES will run it and provide transformers. Sumitomo will be responsible for building a power plant and managing the business as a whole. Construction could begin this month, with the plant possibly online by December.
PJM will draw on the stored electricity when output and power demand stray from forecasts. Sumitomo will store and release electricity in the batteries at PJM's request.
Toshiba and Sumitomo aim to book several million dollars a year from the business at first. They hope to eventually expand to other regions, raking in tens of millions of dollars of revenue.
There is a new form of transportation that could revolutionize transportation of the 21st century the way airplanes did in the 20th century.
According to The Nikkei Asian Review today, JR Tokai, the main railway operator in central Japan, set a new speed record Thursday when the magnetic-levitation train it is testing in Yamanashi Prefecture clocked in at 590kph, breaking its old record of 581kph set 12 years ago.
This new record could be short-lived, however, because JR Tokai intends to gun for 600kph next Tuesday. If it accomplishes that feat, it will submit the event for a Guinness world record.
An L0-series maglev train running Thursday morning on the rail operator's Yamanashi Maglev test line cruised to the new speed standard.
Normal bullet trains on the company's Tokaido Shinkansen line travel at 285kph. When maglev trains come into operation in 2027 they will travel at a top speed of 505kph. The point of the high-speed tests is to collect data necessary for designing equipment.
JR Tokai also set a new distance record two days earlier when the L0-series train traveled 4,064km in a single day. That is more than twice the distance covered in a day by a Tokaido Shinkansen train.
The maglev trains are even faster than Japan's famous bullet trains, which currently travel at about 320km/h (200mph). They use magnetic levitation, hence the name, to "float" above the train tracks. This minimises the friction encountered by ordinary trains, and allows them to travel faster. Maglev trains are due to be up and running by 2027. The ones being tested in Yamanashi will eventually run from Tokyo to Nagoya, carrying passengers between the two cities in about 40 minutes. Currently the journey takes an hour longer than that by bullet train.
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