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News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: phys.org

A human muscle cell is growing on a fleece made from micrometer-thin polymer fibers. In this way, the synthetic membrane can be biologically camouflaged, which means that it looks like a normal blood vessel to the immune system. Credit: Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology The textile and clothing industry has a long history in Switzerland. In order to remain competitive in the international market, the industry relies on innovations. The "SUBITEX – Sustainable Biomedicine Textiles" research initiative was set up by Empa and Swiss Textiles, the Swiss textile industry association, for this very purpose. Through innovative approaches and knowledge transfer, researchers and players in the industry are working tirelessly together to promote innovations in the field of biomedical textiles, and to bring them to the market more rapidly. Textiles are especially suitable for use on and in the human body. The body itself consists of many fibers too, including muscle, tendon and nerve fibers. Textiles can also be used to make copies of entire organs or parts of them. One current example of this is a major project involving Empa, called "Zurich Heart": under the aegis of the Zurich University Medicine initiative, in collaboration with the University Hospital, the University and ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Zurich, Empa researchers are developing an artificial heart pump. This will include a fleece textile with a layer of heart muscle cells, which will not be detected by the blood as a foreign body. "We need to say goodbye to the idea that the development of textiles revolves around cotton T-shirts," says René Rossi, Subitex project manager and head of Empa's Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles lab. Instead, according to Rossi, their research is focused on a very wide range of ceramic, metal, wood, and synthetic fibers. "A textile is not just a cloth either, but rather a two-dimensional entity derived from a one-dimensional material: a fiber," he adds. The entities derived from this are flexible, malleable, stretchable, and light knitted, woven, or crocheted fabrics. Rossi continues: "Theoretically, there are no limits to textile materials or their properties." Many Swiss textile companies have also recognized this, successfully transforming themselves into specialist manufacturers of highly technical and high-quality products. They have networked more and more intensively with researchers and have skilfully occupied economic niches. Empa offers its services as a research partner precisely because it draws a line from basic research, as in the case of the "Zurich Heart" project, all the way to products that are close to the market. For example, it has developed optical fibers that are used in hospitals to measure the vital functions of premature babies, or as biosensors with pH-sensitive fibers to monitor wounds. Other examples of applications include textile pressure sensors that can be installed in wheelchairs, for instance, in order to show incorrect pressure loads; textile plasters that release medication in a targeted way; and a wettable chest strap that can be reliably used for long-term monitoring of electrocardiograms for cardiovascular patients. In order to promote further innovations and make even better use of the vast all-round potential of textiles, Empa and the Swiss industrial association, Swiss Textiles, established the "SUBITEX" research initiative two years ago. The development and use of innovative materials, fibers, fabrics and processes should assure Swiss textile companies a long-term competitive advantage in the global market. As part of this initiative, ten projects co-financed by the Commission for Technology and Innovation (KTI) have already been launched. Fifteen textile companies have now joined the initiative, including Flawa AG, Cilander, E. Schellenberg Textildruck AG, Mammut Sports Group, Schoeller Textil AG, Serge Ferrari Tersuisse AG, and TISCA Tischhauser & Co. AG. So that it can pass on even more textile expertise to Subitex partners, Empa has invested part of the financial contributions from Subitex in the "Self-care materials" research program of the Competence Center for Materials Science and Technology (CCMX) of the ETH domain. This program investigates the substance emission and absorption properties of fiber structures. The CCMX program is a mix of basic and industrial research and is extremely lucrative, because the Swiss National Fund (SNF) contributes the same amount to the program as that contributed by the industry. For this purpose, Empa's electrospinning and microfluidics systems develop fiber systems from smart polymers. These systems respond to external influences such as temperature, pH value, humidity, or pressure. Today's systems use small, passive capsules that can only release substances by decomposing. What makes self-care materials special is that their innovative fiber systems release substances in a targeted way over a specific period of time when they are "activated." Very small fibers made from smart polymers can be used not only in biomedical textiles and fabrics, but also in packaging films for the food industry. The SUBITEX research initiative is scheduled to last five years and will continue to run until 2020. More information: For further information, see: subitex.empa.ch 


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Artsy in collaboration with UBS today released the first film in a multi-part 360° documentary series “Inside the Biennale” exploring the 57th Venice Biennale. In the spirit of increased access to the world’s premier art exhibition, these films will build on the success of Artsy and UBS’s first collaboration, an 11-part series on the 2015 Venice Biennale, providing a global audience an insider’s glimpse of the Biennale’s most engaging art, personalities, and performances. Featuring luminary artists and curators, including Cecilia Alemani, Carol Bove, Dawn Kasper, Massimiliano Gioni, Christian Marclay, Francis Upritchard, Erwin Wurm, and more, the films will transport viewers from studios, galleries, and institutions around the world to the iconic city, delving deep into the Biennale buzz as Venice prepares for the exhibition’s opening. Filmed “in the round,” the films will provide viewers a unique, immersive view of the city and exhibition. The first 360° film explores the story of the Venice Biennale through the perspectives of several artists and curators as they create artworks and prepare installations that will be on view at the Biennale’s national pavilions. Following today’s launch, additional films will be released on Artsy throughout the first months of the Biennale. This is the fifth iteration of Artsy and UBS’s partnership, following collaborations on a series of films focused on the 2015 Venice Biennale; Year in Art editorial features from 2015 and 2016; and a four-part film series lifting the curtain on the art market, which debuted last year. “We’re proud to be collaborating again with UBS, a partner that shares our dedication to providing greater access to the world’s most influential artists and exhibitions,” said Sebastian Cwilich, Artsy’s President and COO. “The Venice Biennale is a uniquely important cultural moment and we’re excited to share it with Artsy’s millions of monthly visitors in this cutting-edge new format.” “Our latest collaboration with Artsy—the ‘Inside the Biennale,’ VR documentary series—reflects our shared commitment to making the dynamic world of contemporary art more accessible to a broader public by using state-of-the-art technology,” stated Johan Jervøe, Group Chief Marketing Officer, UBS. “These films help advance a deeper understanding of the art world in much the same way as we help our clients navigate complex challenges and opportunities in the financial world.” Artsy commissioned virtual reality studio Scenic to direct the films, which will be viewable on both desktop and mobile, as well as through an enhanced viewing experience in virtual reality headsets. To accompany the films, Artsy tapped artists Erwin Wurm and Dawn Kasper to design limited-edition cardboard virtual reality viewers, which will be distributed in Venice. To view the films go to https://www.artsy.net/venice-biennale/toward-venice. Artsy is the leading destination for exploring and collecting art from the world’s top galleries, museums, art fairs, and auction houses. Artsy partners directly with the most influential players in the art world, providing collectors and enthusiasts a central resource to learn about and purchase artwork from anywhere in the world. Powered by The Art Genome Project, a personalization system that maps the connections between artists and artworks, visitors to Artsy can browse art from the world’s leading museums, collect artworks from thousands of top galleries, explore international art fairs before they open to the public, bid in auctions from leading auction houses, and read about the art world in the world’s most-read art publication. Our mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an internet connection. UBS’s long and substantial record of patronage in contemporary art enables clients and audiences to participate in the international conversation about art and the global art world through the firm’s global art platform. In addition to the UBS Art Collection, considered one of the world’s largest and most important corporate collections of contemporary art, UBS has an extensive roster of contemporary art programs that include the firm’s long-term support for the premier international Art Basel shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong, for which UBS serves as global Lead Partner; the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and a global exhibition tour of “WOMEN: New Portraits,” an exhibition of newly commissioned photographs by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. These activities are complemented by a number of regional partnerships with fine art institutions including the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. UBS also provides its clients with insight into the contemporary art world through the free art news app UBS Planet Art, collaborations with the Swiss Institute, and the online resource Artsy, as well as through the UBS Art Competence Center and UBS Arts Forum. For more information about UBS’s commitment to contemporary art, visit ubs.com/art. Scenic is a virtual reality content studio based in Brooklyn exploring new directions in non-fiction VR. Founded by filmmaker Gary Hustwit, the studio covers a wide range of topics in art, culture, design and music with cinematic VR and 360° video to push the boundaries of immersive storytelling. Scenic’s creative team includes acclaimed documentary filmmakers and visual artists, and the studio’s first batch of VR documentaries was recently released in collaboration with The Wall Street Journal and Google.


Cadenza Innovation Founder to Share Insights on the Battery Revolution and Concurrent Opportunities in Sustainable Urbanization WILTON, CT--(Marketwired - Nov 8, 2016) - Cadenza Innovation, a pioneering provider of energy storage solutions based on disruptive architectures for lithium-ion battery packs, today announced that Founder and CEO Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud will present a keynote address at the HUB2016 Energy Conference. Organized by the Energy Competence Center and taking place on Thursday, November 24 at the Aros Congress Center in Vasteras, Sweden, HUB2016 will focus on three key themes: community development and creating smart cities, sustainable transport and the future of Sweden as a leader in energy technology. With Sweden devoted to developing new energy tools, research and policies, HUB2016 serves as the ideal venue for businesses, government agencies, academia and international organizations to discuss opportunities for exposing new global breakthroughs for sustainable energy. Underscoring the country's commitment to sustainability, Reuters recently reported that "Sweden is on track to produce all its energy from renewable sources by 2040." "Sweden is a global leader in energy and innovation and I'm honored that HUB2016 has asked me to share my experiences with industry, academic and government leaders," said Dr. Lampe-Onnerud. "I'm only one among many who have dedicated their lives to improving battery and energy storage technology, and hope that through collaborative efforts we can establish a more sustainably sound living and economic environment for future generations." At HUB2016, Dr. Lampe-Onnerud's 10:45 a.m. CET keynote will address the current battery revolution and explore the future outlook for other smart technology industries. An innovator and business developer, Dr. Lampe-Onnerud will discuss the global potential that energy technologies can have in building a more sustainable future, and positively affect change in urbanization, poverty reduction, decreased levels of carbon emissions, and more. "It's truly a privilege that the Swedish energy industry will have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Lampe-Onnerud," said HUB2016 Project Manager Samuel Stromgren. "She is a leading innovator who has devoted her life to this industry, and has demonstrated that battery technology has the power to truly transform the conditions for human life." Among the world's foremost authorities on battery chemistry and design, Dr. Lampe-Onnerud is a 20-year battery industry expert. She is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer; has shared insights into energy storage and climate change at Davos and for various United Nations groups; is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame winner; and an MIT Technology Review Young Innovator award recipient. Her latest venture, Cadenza Innovation, is bringing to market a safe, low cost and high-performance technology platform for licensing to lithium-ion battery manufacturers worldwide. Exiting stealth mode supported by more than $5M in oversubscribed Series A funding from Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the U.S. Department of Energy (Award Number DE-AR0000392), NYSERDA (Agreement Number 70422) and others, the company's first target markets are transportation and residential/grid energy storage. Earlier in her career, Dr. Lampe-Onnerud founded Boston-Power, which today is based in China and is one of the world's fastest-growing lithium-ion battery manufacturers. About Cadenza Innovation Cadenza Innovation was founded in 2012 by Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud, one of the pre-eminent battery experts in the world. The company's mission is to deploy its intellectual property, field-proven operational and mass production expertise along with its key technology partners to build Cadenza Innovation into a global technology leader in energy density, lowest cost and safety. Driven by an unmatched team of industry experts, a number of whom held key leadership roles at lithium-ion battery cell, pack and system provider Boston-Power and Arthur D. Little, Cadenza Innovation is licensing its technology to allow immediate access to its highly simplified design for large lithium-ion energy storage systems. For more information, visit www.cadenzainnovation.com. All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In 2016 more than a hundred newspapers and others published revelations on tax avoidance and evasion. They were based on the Panama Papers, a collection of data that comprises 2.6 terabytes of information and 11.5 million documents. In 2015 this was leaked to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung; an international group of journalists evaluated it over the course of a year. Now, computer scientists at the Max Planck spin-off Ambiverse have analyzed the data with software in a few hours, obtaining new results. The software is intended to help businesses analyze large amounts of text automatically. While the international group of journalists analyzed the Panama Papers in depth and focused on people like Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan, or Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine, the young entrepreneurs used their software to take a broader approach. For example, they found that athletes, rather than politicians, were the largest group involved. They accounted for more than 20% of the people identified by the software, followed closely by artists. Only then came the politicians. The capability of the software to create categories automatically delivered further insights. Among the athletes, it was soccer players who were most often involved in strategies for tax avoidance and evasion. Second place was taken by tennis and basketball players (around 10%); hockey and volleyball players were in third place (about 5%). Another insight regarding politicians was found: political ideology did not influence the decision to use an offshore account. Conservative and socialist politicians are equally represented in the Panama Papers. "It's unfortunate that we could only work with the data provided and already prepared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Our system isn't merely capable of handling raw data; it actually obtains even better results," explains Johannes Hoffart, whose PhD at the University of Saarland was based on the underlying technology. Together with four other Max Planck researchers, he founded Ambiverse just under a year ago to market the technology. Much as news services maintain armies of analysts to evaluate publicly available texts, businesses can do this with the Ambiverse software in a few minutes. The software is so powerful because, among other things, it doesn't search by just a term. Instead, for example, a search for "Angela Merkel" also finds texts in which the chancellor is referred to only as "Angie" or "CDU chief." At the same time, the program leaves out all the documents referring to the well-known soccer coach with the same surname. Thus, businesses can find people, places, and products in large amounts of text, even when this is made more difficult by ambiguous terms or abbreviations. The search for categories even makes it possible to search for "financial companies" or "soccer players" without having to specify these more precisely. In addition, the software can be used not only for texts in German and English, but also Spanish and Chinese. This is made possible by a knowledge base developed at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics; its content was developed partly with the help of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. With their business plan, the founders of Ambiverse won the trans-regional business plan competition "1,2,3, GO" a few weeks ago. Questions can be sent to: Johannes Hoffart Ambiverse GmbH Tel: +49 681 9325-5024 E-Mail: jhoffart@mpi-inf.mpg.de Editor: Gordon Bolduan Competence Center Computer Science Saarland Tel: +49 681 302 70741 E-Mail: gbolduan@mmci.uni-saarland.de


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Reduction of 63% in overall attack rate in HAE patients with severe disease (p=0.006) RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX) today announced results from an interim analysis of its Phase 2 APeX-1 trial in hereditary angioedema (HAE). APeX-1 is a dose ranging trial designed to evaluate the efficacy, safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of orally administered once daily (QD) BCX7353 for 28 days, as a preventative treatment to reduce the frequency of attacks in HAE patients. “The results of this interim analysis are extraordinarily encouraging,” said Dr. Emel Aygören-Pürsün, MD, principal investigator for the APeX-1 trial and Head of Interdisciplinary Competence Center for Hereditary Angioedema, and Specialist in Internal Medicine and Hemostaseology Department of Child and Adolescent Medicine, Goethe University Hospital Frankfurt.  “Confirmation of the results would lead to a huge step forward in the treatment of hereditary angioedema, towards an effective, safe and easy to administer prophylaxis for the debilitating attacks connected with this condition.” “We are extremely excited to have such a strong treatment effect in reducing HAE attacks with our once daily oral therapy,” said Jon Stonehouse, Chief Executive Officer & President of BioCryst.  "What is even more encouraging is the dramatic benefit seen in the reduction of peripheral attacks and mixed peripheral and abdominal attacks.  A once daily oral therapy with an 88% reduction in these attacks has the potential to make a huge difference in HAE patients’ lives.” Twenty-eight subjects, randomized equally to receive BCX7353 350 mg QD or placebo for 28 days, were included in the interim analysis. The baseline attack rate was approximately 1/week, and average C1 inhibitor levels were less than 20% of the normal mean, indicating a severely affected patient population. Baseline characteristics were generally well balanced between the two groups with the exception of prior androgen use, which was more common in the BCX7353 group (11 of 14 compared with 6 of 14 on placebo). Compliance with study drug dosing was excellent (> 98%). The pre-specified per-protocol (PP) interim analysis included data on 24 subjects with confirmed Type 1 or Type 2 HAE completing 28 days of treatment (11 treated with BCX7353 and 13 with placebo). The mean rate of independently-adjudicated angioedema attacks for the pre-defined effective dosing period (weeks 2 through 4) in BCX7353-treated subjects was 0.34/week compared to 0.92/week for placebo, a reduction of 0.57/week (63%), p = 0.006. In the intent-to-treat (ITT) population of 28 subjects, the rates of attacks for the effective dosing period for BCX7353 and placebo groups were 0.44/week and 0.91/week, a reduction of 0.47/week (52%), p = 0.035. A pre-planned analysis of peripheral and abdominal attacks showed reductions of 88% and 24%, respectively, for BCX7353 compared with placebo (PP analysis, weeks 2 through 4). To understand this difference, patient diaries were reviewed and abdominal attacks (n = 9, BCX7353 and n = 14, placebo) were subdivided into two groups: attacks with abdominal symptoms only and attacks with a combination of abdominal and peripheral symptoms (mixed attacks). This post-hoc analysis showed that there were 2, 2 and 7 peripheral, mixed and abdominal-only attacks on BCX7353 compared with 22, 12 and 2 attacks, respectively, for placebo. Based on this distribution, it is likely that subjects recorded transient abdominal adverse events as HAE attack symptoms in their diary. Steady state BCX7353 plasma levels in HAE subjects were similar to those in healthy subjects administered the same dose in a previously completed Phase 1 trial. Steady state trough drug levels (24 hours after dosing) were 11 – 32 times the 50% effective concentration (EC ) for plasma kallikrein inhibition. Daily oral dosing with BCX7353 strongly inhibited plasma kallikrein throughout the 24 hour dosing interval; the degree of inhibition was similar to that seen with this dose in the healthy subject Phase 1 trial. Oral BCX7353 350 mg once-daily for 28 days was generally safe and well tolerated in subjects with HAE. There were no serious adverse events (AEs) and no related severe AEs. Two subjects in the BCX7353 treatment group discontinued study drug before day 28, one due to an unrelated pre-existing condition, and one due to an adverse event of gastroenteritis associated with elevated liver enzymes. Treatment-emergent adverse events occurring in at least 2 subjects overall, enumerated by treatment group (BCX7353 [n=14] and placebo [n=14]), were: common cold (3, 4); diarrhea (4, 2); flatulence (2, 0); and fatigue (2, 0). No clinically significant changes in hematology parameters, renal function tests, electrolytes, or urinalysis were observed. One subject treated with BCX7353, with pre-existing colitis, hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) and more than 20 years of prior androgen use, had an elevation of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) > 3 times the upper limit of normal at the end of treatment, which resolved. The efficacy, safety and tolerability profile of BCX7353 observed in this interim analysis strongly supports its continued investigation as a prophylactic treatment for HAE. The steady state drug levels observed far exceeded the proposed therapeutic target range of 4 – 8 times the EC , supporting evaluation of lower doses. Therefore, the APeX-1 trial has been amended to add a 62.5 mg QD dose level and to increase the number of subjects at the 125 mg QD and 250 mg QD dose levels, in order to more fully characterize dose response. BioCryst's leadership team will host a conference call and webcast with Dr. Emel Aygören-Pürsün, MD and Prof. Bruce Zuraw, MD, Division Chief, Professor of Medicine UC San Diego School of Medicine and Director of the U.S. HAEA Angioedema Center today, February 27, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, to discuss its APeX-1 interim analysis and to respond to questions on the APeX-1 interim results and the Company’s full year 2016 financial results.  To participate in the conference call, please dial 1-877-303-8027 (United States) or 1-760-536-5165 (International).  No passcode is needed for the call.  The webcast can be accessed by logging onto www.BioCryst.com.  Please connect to the website at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the conference call to ensure adequate time for any software download that may be necessary. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals designs, optimizes and develops novel small molecule drugs that block key enzymes involved in rare diseases.  BioCryst currently has several ongoing development programs: BCX7353 and second generation oral inhibitors of plasma kallikrein for hereditary angioedema, and galidesivir, a broad spectrum viral RNA polymerase inhibitor that is a potential treatment for filoviruses. Peramivir, a viral neuraminidase inhibitor, is approved for the treatment of influenza, in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Post-marketing commitment development activities are ongoing, as well as other activities to support additional peramivir regulatory approvals. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.BioCryst.com. This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding future results, performance or achievements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause BioCryst’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Some of the factors that could affect the forward-looking statements contained herein include: developing any HAE drug candidate may take longer or may be more expensive than planned; ongoing and future preclinical and clinical development of HAE second generation drug candidates (including APeX-1) may not have positive results; that BioCryst may not be able to enroll the required number of subjects in planned clinical trials of product candidates; that the Company may not advance human clinical trials with product candidates as expected; that the FDA may require additional studies beyond the studies planned for product candidates, or may not provide regulatory clearances which may result in delay of planned clinical trials, or may impose a clinical hold with respect to such product candidate, or withhold market approval for product candidates; that BioCryst may not receive additional government funding to further support the development of galidesivir; that galidesivir development may not be successful; that BARDA and/or NIAID may further condition, reduce or eliminate future funding; that revenue from peramivir is unpredictable and commercialization of peramivir may never result in significant revenue for the Company; that the Company may not be able to continue development of ongoing and future development programs; that such development programs may never result in future products; that actual financial results may not be consistent with expectations, including that 2017 operating expenses and cash usage may not be within management’s expected ranges.  Please refer to the documents BioCryst files periodically with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically BioCryst’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K, all of which identify important factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those contained in BioCryst’s projections and forward-looking statements.


News Article | December 7, 2016
Site: www.businesswire.com

TAINAN, Taiwan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Office of International Affairs (OIA) sets up Global Competence Center (GCC) to provide more opportunities for local students and international students to get to know one another and broaden their global views. GCC offers international students the opportunities to take part in the activities at NCKU. The process of participating in those activities enables them to make new friends with the local students, and thus making the international students more familiar to the Taiwanese culture and custom. GCC also integrates the existing services of OIA, including Global Forum, Student-centered International Forum, Service Learning, Language Exchange, In-campus Volunteer, Host Family Network, Global Internship and many others, hoping to make the resources more effective to the local students and to lead them to recognize and respect different cultures from countries to countries. Global Forum guides the participants to discuss international issues in English. The forums can be either lectures or experience sharing. There are approximately 4 forums per semester, and they aim to motivate the students at NCKU to engage in global issues. Student-centered Forum gives the local students the information of participating in international contests and overseas training programs. OIA hopes students can cultivate leadership skills and develop self-recognition by experiencing various cultures. Global Internship Program is highly promoted. NCKU has been collaborating with numerous prestigious universities abroad, aiming to offer the local students short-term exchanges and internships. NCKU has also been promoting the international student exchange program and inviting a number of foreign scholars to NCKU recently. As a result, the number of foreigners at NCKU has been soaring. OIA hopes that the foreigners and the natives can have better connections through GCC’s efforts.


News Article | April 20, 2016
Site: phys.org

All dams on earth, from the Mauvoisin Dam in Valais Canton to the Xiaowan Dam in China, have the same problem: sediment accumulating in the reservoir. This situation is commonly addressed by 'dead storage' capacity at the bottom of the reservoir, where alluvium is able to settle. But if these silt deposits are never cleared out, the reservoir will become blocked in as little as a few decades and turn into a sandy beach. A team from EPFL has developed a clever way to address this problem: submerged water jets create turbulence that keeps tiny sediment particles in suspension so that they can be carried away through the dam's water turbines. This process, which is designed to prevent some sediment from settling to the bottom and may even stir up silt already on the bottom, is set to prolong the useful life of reservoirs. The team's work was described in Chemical Engineering Science and the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. Sediment building up against the dam One of the standard approaches to clearing out sediment is through the rapid release of water through the dam every 10 to 20 years. This is a radical maneuver, however, that effectively clears out the reservoir but frequently devastates everything downstream, including fauna and flora. It is still one of the most common methods used today, yet it is subject to severe restrictions in terms of the volume of water and amount of silt let through. Another possibility is to clean the alluvium from the dam. This is a very expensive undertaking, though, since the sediment can build up over dozens of meters or even a hundred meters along the dam. In that case the money can be spent on increasing the height of the dam in order to create more capacity. But this is simply a stop-gap measure that is not even always possible; when it does work, it is obviously a temporary solution since silt continues to be deposited. The approach based on submerged water jets was tested in various configurations in EPFL's Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions. In a 12m3 tank, four water jets were installed and 3kg of walnut shell powder were poured in. "Ground walnut shell is the same size as the sediment but slightly lighter, and so we can use it to effectively extrapolate what would happen in the dam reservoir," said Giovanni De Cesare. The water jets are positioned to create rotational flow. The researchers found that four jets in a horizontal plane worked best. They also discovered something remarkable: depending on the height of the jets, the direction of rotation changes and increases the zone in which the turbulence has an effect. And the turbulence sends the particles off in all directions rather than confining them to just one zone. The engineers then transposed their results to a real-world situation: the Mauvoisin Dam in Valais Canton. Preliminary calculations of the effectiveness of the water-jet technique show that 20% of sediments could be prevented from settling at the bottom of the reservoir each year. The water jets at Mauvoisin could also work non-stop as they would be powered by a natural spring that feeds into the reservoir from over 100 meters up, which would provide sufficient pressure. A prototype is in the works and will be tested on several dams in Switzerland as part of the Swiss Competence Center in Energy Research – Supply of Electricity (SCCER-SoE). More information: Jolanda M. I. Jenzer Althaus et al. Sediment Evacuation from Reservoirs through Intakes by Jet-Induced Flow, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering (2015). DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0000970


« Ford offers Apple Siri Eyes-Free to millions of vehicles globally through SYNC update | Main | Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell exceeds 94 mph in desert test » Kalmar, part of Cargotec, will introduce the first fast charging solution for electric powered shuttle and straddle carriers. The Kalmar FastCharge solution is locally emission free and can be applied to both automated and manual operation. The Kalmar FastCharge solution is based on the same opportunity charging technology that is used in electric buses. The charging station with a pantograph direct current charging system is located flexibly on the working route of the machines in the terminal. The machine has Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries which enable fast charging to be used. Charging occurs during the idle time in the machine working cycle when it has stopped to wait for the container. Typical charging time in operation is 30 to 180 seconds, and with the maximum charging power of 600 kW, full charge can be achieved in a few minutes. Customers have been asking for electric powered shuttle operation for a while already. This technology makes the charging process smooth, as there is no need to take the machine out of operation for battery swapping. Neither is there a need to invest in battery swapping stations and extra batteries. Our hybrid technology has been extremely well received by the market. We have long experience in Lithium-Ion technology in hybrid machines, and this development is a natural next step in reducing emissions. This latest complement to our portfolio will provide excellent value to terminals which are facing even tighter environmental requirements. The Kalmar FastCharge solution consists of electric powered shuttle or straddle carriers and fast charging stations. Kalmar continues to test and verify the solution at the Tampere Technology and Competence Center in Finland, with plans to bring the solution to the market during 2016.


Duan Z.,Technical University of Delft | Bastiaanssen W.G.M.,Technical University of Delft | Bastiaanssen W.G.M.,Competence Center
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2013

Water levels in lakes and reservoirs can currently be obtained from four different satellite altimetry databases: (i) Global Reservoir and Lake Monitoring (GRLM), (ii) River Lake Hydrology (RLH), (iii) Hydroweb and (iv) ICESat-GLAS level 2 Global Land Surface Altimetry data (ICESat-GLAS). This paper proposes a new method for estimating water volume changes in lakes and reservoirs from these four databases in combination with satellite imagery data, without any in-situ measurements and bathymetry maps. Three lakes/reservoirs with different characteristics were studied, i.e. Lake Mead (U.S.A.), Lake Tana (Ethiopia) and Lake IJssel (The Netherlands). Compared to in-situ water levels, satellite altimetry products provided accurate water level variations for Lake Mead and Lake Tana but not for Lake IJssel. The long-term lowest water level in each satellite altimetry database was used as the reference level for water volume estimation. All water levels were converted to the Water Level Above the Lowest Level (WLALL), and the series of Landsat TM/ETM+imagery data were selected to extract corresponding surface areas for establishing area-WLALL relationships. Subsequently, the relationships of the Water Volume Above the Lowest water Level (WVALL) and WLALL were obtained through the analytical integration of area-WLALL relationships. The WVALL-WLALL relationships are site-specific and database-specific and can be used to convert water levels from the four databases directly into water volumes above the identified minimum levels for the same lake. Validation showed that estimated water volumes agreed well with in-situ measurements (R2 from 0.95 to 0.99) and the root mean square error (RMSE) was within 4.6 to 13.1% of the mean volumes of in-situ measurements. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Duan Z.,Technical University of Delft | Bastiaanssen W.G.M.,Technical University of Delft | Bastiaanssen W.G.M.,Competence Center
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2013

Accurate precipitation data at high spatial and temporal resolution is deemed necessary for many hydrological and water management applications, and especially in data scarce river basins and regions where strong competition for water resources prevails. In this study we used a new downscaling-calibration procedure of the freely accessible Version 7 of TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) 3B43 product, in conjunction with limited rain gauge data sets, to generate improved monthly pixel-based precipitation data at higher spatial resolution (1km). The spatial downscaling from 0.25° to 1km grids was achieved by using site-specific non-linear relationships between annual precipitation and annually averaged NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). The calibration was based on Geograhical Difference Analysis (GDA) and Geographical Ratio Analysis (GRA). The new integrated procedure was tested for Lake Tana Basin (LTB) in Ethiopia with a humid climate (rainfall 1395 mm/yr during 1998-2004) and for the Caspian Sea Region (CSR) in Iran with a semi-arid climate (rainfall 442 mm/yr during 1999-2003). The best 1km annual precipitation data were achieved through downscaling followed by GDA calibration for most cases. The monthly fractions derived from the un-calibrated TRMM 3B43 product can be used to disaggregate 1km annual precipitation to 1km monthly precipitation. The disaggregated 1km monthly precipitation has not only significant improvement in the spatial resolution, but also good agreements with rain gauge data were achieved for both LTB (R2=0.87, RMSE=56mm, MAE=32mm and Bias=0.01) and the CSR (R2=0.79, RMSE=23mm, MAE=16mm and Bias=0.14). A similar calibration procedure using rain gauges at monthly time scale did not improve the level of performance. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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