Monthly Archives: January 2014

Veolia to build and operate a water desalination plant in Iraq


The Iraqi Ministry for Municipalities and Public Works has chosen Veolia to build and operate for five years a desalination plant in Basra, Iraq. For Veolia, this contract represents cumulated sales of $115 million.

Limited water resources and conflict over its use have made water a crucial resource for Iraq’s development, especially in the country’s south. Water in this part of Iraq is mainly sourced from the Euphrates, which has a high salt content, and water from the Persian Gulf.

Under this new contract, won in partnership with Japanese conglomerate Hitachi and Egyptian engineering firm ArabCo, Veolia will build and operate a desalination plant with an ultrafiltration unit and reverse osmosis membranes. It will produce 200,000 cubic meters of drinking water a day. The technology used will reduce the salt content in the drinking water producedfor Basra’s population of 2.3 million people. Additionally, in a country with a chronic shortage of electricity, this desalination plant will be completely autonomous as it will have its own electricity generators to guarantee continuous service.

Construction work on the plant is due to commence in the first quarter of 2014 and should be completed within 30 months. This contract will also create 300 jobs for the construction of the desalination units, provided by ArabCo, and 50 jobs for the facility’s operation for five years.
“This new contract that we have won in Iraq is further proof of Veolia’s ability to deliver concrete and reliable solutions to the scarcity of water resources and the challenges facing large cities, especially in countries where water is crucial to economic development,” said Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia Environnement.“I am delighted that Veolia has been chosen by the Iraqi authorities to support the modernization of Basra, and that the company is able to provide a solution to the challenges confronted by this city, a leading center for the oil and gas industry.”

As part of its reconstruction, Iraq has launched several national plans aimed at modernizing basic services, such as water, wastewater, waste treatment and energy, in order to support its economic growth. With the country’s sole access to the sea, Basra is the subject of special attention from the Iraqi government, which is modernizing this port city to speed up its economic growth.

“This plant is part of a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate and extend the city’s water treatment plants. The innovative technology and solutions we are providing Basra will enable it to improve its citizens’ access to quality drinking water while protecting its resources,” explains Jean-Michel Herrewyn, Director, Global Enterprises, Veolia Environnement.

Written By admin 
January 31, 2014 10:02 am
Posted In ENERGY

Backers wanted for London’s subterranean urban farm

One hundred feet beneath London’s streets is a network of tunnels. Not the Underground tunnels that shuttle millions of commuters and tourists back and forth across the city but a series of passageways that were used to shelter people during the air raids of World War II.


Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, a pair of entrepreneurs from the west of England, have today initiated a crowdfunding project called ‘Growing Underground’ with the backing of Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr.

The duo has 58 days to raise the £300,000 necessary to fund their project which would see 2.5acres of these underground tunnels transformed into a subterranean farm, nurturing fresh produce for London restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers.

Located beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station, the designated tunnels are to house specially-designed structures to enable three layers of plant growth. This process has been tested in Yorkshire over the past 18 months.

Due to the site depth 100ft below street level, the tunnels enjoy a stable temperature of 16°C all year round, meaning that production can continue throughout the year and additional energy costs can be kept to a minimum. Any additional energy will be sourced from green suppliers.

Produce lists currently include Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. “When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy,” admits Michel Roux Jr, “but when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away.  The market for this produce is huge.”

Richard Ballard said: “Steve and I are thrilled to be close to getting Growing Underground underway.  We’ve been experimenting for months.  Now that we’ve secured the site we’re kicking off a crowd-funding campaign today.  We have a detailed business plan and we’ve already had lots of interest from private investors.

“We’re confident that investors of all sizes will see a significant return on their investment. Integrating farming into the urban environment makes a huge amount of sense and we’re delighted that we’re going to make it a reality.” Investment in the project starts at £10.

Click here for more information on backing the project. 

Source: World Architecture News

Written By admin 
January 30, 2014 17:25 pm

Transport for London awards key rail infrastructure project to Laing O’Rourke

Willesden CGI

Transport for London has awarded a key rail infrastructure contract to Laing O’Rourke for the capacity upgrades of operational railway facilities at Willesden, in North West London.

The major infrastructure project, part of the London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme (LOCIP), will see capacity upgrades associated with the rail maintenance and stabling facilities in the Willesden area, in addition to platform extensions and a major rail junction remodeling to Willesden low level to enable increased train lengths from four to five cars to be implemented.

The £22m contract represents the first multi-disciplinary rail infrastructure win for Laing O’Rourke in the UK, and will see the company self delivering a broad package of track, overhead line and third rail electrification, depot M&E and signaling upgrades.

“Our various rail discipline teams worked together seamlessly during the Willesden bid to ensure the project challenges were thoroughly understood and most appropriate delivery solutions developed,” said Laing O’Rourke Project Leader Paul Taylor MBE. “This project, like many rail projects, has specific challenges associated with the limited access to the tracks, amplified further at Willesden with upgrades works being delivered in and around an operational maintenance depot. Our construction smarts and approach to staging that minimizes schedule risks were key attributes to securing this important project.”

“London Overground has seen great success in recent years with passenger numbers doubling since 2008 with a forecast to increase even more by 2021,” said Laing O’Rourke Rail Infrastructure Operations Leader Nick Sarai. “Willesden is a key project for TfL in providing additional services in response to this predicted growth and we are delighted to have been selected for delivering these works. This project has seen elements of our complete Unique Business Offering, through digital engineering, DfMA and direct delivery which were greatly received by the client and provided the competitive advantage to our bid. We’ll be working closely with the TfL team over the next few months to further develop this offering and ensure the benefits of direct delivery established across our other sectors have a huge impact in the rail sector.”

TfL’s Director of London Overground, Mike Stubbs, said: “This is a key contract in the development of the network as we work to provide 25 per cent more capacity as part of TfL’s continued investment in London Overground. It will ensure we remain able to meet the growing demand for London Overground services which – at 89 per cent – have one of the highest levels of passenger satisfaction in London and the South East.”

Laing O’Rourke recently began pre-construction development work with Network Rail as part of the £250m Staffordshire Alliance, which will deliver significant upgrades to the UK’s West Coast Mail Line between Stafford and Crewe. This was the first major rail infrastructure to be awarded under Network Rail’s revised procurement model, with the partners, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Network Rail, all working together in an integrated single-team structure.

“We have shown that we have the skills, passion, innovation and ability to deliver significant rail projects across the world, but naturally we’re delighted to secure our first multi-disciplinary win in the UK,” said Arith Liyanage, Laing O’Rourke Rail Sector Leader. “Laing O’Rourke’s approach integrates the latest digital engineering and off-site manufacturing capabilities with our direct delivery model, which will bring great efficiency and an improved safety culture to the industry.”


Written By admin 
January 30, 2014 13:46 pm
Posted In Rail, TRANSPORT

San Diego is the first U.S. City to Adopt GE’s LED Street Lighting Solution

San Diego is the first U.S. City to Adopt GE’s LED Street Lighting Solution with LightGrid™ Wireless Controls for Decorative Downtown Lighting which are expected to save the city upwards of $254,000 annually.


On 28 January, San Diego announced that it will illuminate its downtown district with GE Lighting’s intelligent lighting system, including LED street lighting, making it the first city in the United States to adopt GE’s LightGrid™ technology. The new system, set to be in place by spring of this year, will offer improved and energy-efficient lighting that will save the city more than a quarter-million dollars in energy costs each year.

Highlights of the project include:

-System installation began earlier this month; completed by spring 2014

-Energy savings to San Diego estimated at $254,000 annually

-Full implementation of project to replace 3,000 city lamps

-Innovative technology with GPS location features, allowing for an accurate measurement of energy usage by individual street light

-Custom engineered decorative street lights that embed the wireless controls technology to retain their historic appearance

The new system will not only enhance the city’s street lighting but will also revolutionize urban lighting systems with technology that self-commissions to the LightGrid network and provides accurate energy metering per light pole, allowing municipalities to pay for the energy they actually use.

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Bombardier keeps São Paulo moving for FIFA 2014 World Cup

INNOVIA Monorail 300

The Brazilian organisers of the 2014 World Cup, due to kick off in 5 months’ time, have come under increasing pressure from footballs governing body, FIFA, to give assurances after it was revealed that 12 stadiums are yet to be finished.

There also remains the question of how Brazilian cities transport infrastructure is going to cope with the millions of tourists and journalists flocking in from all over the world.

São Paulo is addressing the transport infrastructure problem with monorail. They’re testing trains on the 24 km Silver Line (also known as Line 15) to prepare for regular service. It has been designed to move 48,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) between two major suburbs (Vila Prudente and Oratorio). This journey currently takes two hours but will be reduced to 50 minutes and will benefit 500,000 users daily when it opens in March and the entire $6.4 billion system will be fully completed in 2015.

Bombardier Transportation have designed and supplied system-wide E&M elements for the 24 km, 17 station INNOVIA Monorail 300 system, including 54 seven-car trains (378 cars) with CITYFLO 650 automatic train control technology for driverless operation, as well as providing project management, systems engineering and integration, testing and commissioning for the new trains and signalling.

The project is going to leave a legacy long after the invasion of football fans has receded. São Paulo is a rapidly growing city and the world’s sixth-largest city by population. Despite having the second-largest public transit system in South America it is also known to be one of the world’s most congested cities.

Monorail would appear to be a good fit for São Paulo; the city streets are too clogged to upgrade bus services and the expense of digging tunnels would be too prohibitive. It also suits São Paulo in terms of project delivery; the trains will start running just three years after the city first agreed the contract to build the monorail, and just in time for more than 3.6 million tourists to descend on the city.

Jim Davis

New images released as Forth Bridge Experience takes shape

Forth Visitors Centre

The public are being invited to give their views on new artist’s impressions of The Forth Bridge Experience, released today by Network Rail.

The Forth Bridge Experience is a proposed multi-million pound development which will enable the Forth Bridge to become one of Scotland’s major landmark tourist attractions and encourage visits to a short-listed World Heritage site.

The Forth Bridge Experience envisages visitors being able to access the Bridge via:

A bridge walk and climb to the top of the southern Queensferry tower accessed from a visitor reception centre at South Queensferry

A panoramic lift and viewing platform located at the North Queensferry side and accessed via a visitor centre situated directly beneath the northern Fife Cantilever.

David Dickson, Network Rail acting route managing director for Scotland, said: “We’re currently assessing the early feasibility study and developing a detailed business plan for delivery of these proposals. The market research study, launched today, will give us more detailed understanding of the potential market for these visitor plans and we’re keen to hear from as many people as possible, whether you’re excited about visiting the bridge or completely petrified by the prospect.

“The images we’ve released provide a bit more of an insight into how we’d like to package visits to the bridge. They will be used over the coming weeks to help facilitate discussions with local communities and relevant organisations and interest groups.

“We look forward to developing these plans further in the coming months at which point we’ll have a better idea of the delivery timescales.”

The new images, which show how the visitor reception centre at South Queensferry and the North Queensferry Visitor Centre could look, have been released to support the launch of detailed market research into the plans.

Forth Visitors Centre

The images reveal more detailed concepts of Network Rail’s vision for the Forth Bridge. The North Queensferry proposals would see visitors arriving via a landscaped shore side walk at a unique visitor centre building created under the northern Fife Tower. The visitor centre would also offer education and exhibition facilities alongside catering, Forth Bridge themed retail and a special function venue. The centre would be connected by a step-free ramp to two panoramic elevators on the eastern side of the bridge. The elevators would provide access to a viewing platform located dramatically at the top of the bridge, 110m above sea level.

The South Queensferry proposals envisage a visitor reception centre from which guided bridge walks for groups of up to 15 people begin. The walk would route would pass along the south approach viaduct on a pre-existing walkway underneath the track, followed by a climb to the top of the southern Queensferry Tower using a walkway within the top cantilever.

The reception centre would be developed on Network Rail owned land underneath the southern approach span, just a short walk from Dalmeny Station.

To find out more information about the proposals and to complete the market research survey, please visit

Written By admin 
January 28, 2014 13:44 pm
Posted In Bridges

Mott MacDonald appointed owner’s engineer on Turkish power plant

Mott MacDonald has been appointed owner’s engineer by Icanadolu Doğalgaz Elektrik Üretim ve Ticaret  A. Ş. – a subsidiary of Gama Enerji A. Ş. – for a new 840MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Kirikkale, Central Anatolia, Turkey. The approximately US$900 million facility is being developed to meet the region’s growing electricity demand and has the capacity to provide over 50% of the electricity in Ankara.

The project represents one of the largest investments in Turkey in recent years. The state-of-the art power plant will use a highly-efficient and economical General Electric combined cycle system, comprising gas and steam turbines, generators and heat recovery steam generators and controls. Mott MacDonald will review and verify the power plant’s design, carry out factory inspections and monitor construction on site.

Cetin Atmaca, Mott MacDonald’s power manager for Turkey, said: “We are delighted to be working on such a prestigious project with Gama Enerji. It has been extremely satisfying as we have been involved in the project throughout its development, supporting Gama Enerji’s project team.”

“Mott MacDonald has been established in Turkey for a number of years. This new project at Kirikkale will feature substantial involvement from our office in Istanbul, which is also working on a number of other power projects in the country,” Cetin added.

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2016.


Written By admin 
January 28, 2014 10:21 am
Posted In ENERGY

Why Europe’s cities are getting turned on by LED lighting

As more and more cities and towns across Europe make the switch from conventional to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting in the public realm, we take a look at what’s driving this quiet revolution…

Keeping an average municipality lit accounts for about 50% of its overall energy consumption, yet LED lighting can save up to 70% on energy used, thus significantly reducing both costs and CO2 emissions. LED and compact fluorescent bulbs also last considerably longer than sodium or mercury vapour bulbs, making them easier and cheaper to maintain once installed.

In addition, many opinion polls about local pilot schemes – such as a recent one in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh – have shown decisively that citizens prefer the white light of LED to the orange glow of sodium, saying they can see better and feel safer.

And in some environments, the potential benefits of LED can go even further when combined with a ‘dynamic control system’ allowing subtle shifts in colour temperature and light intensity. The results of a year-long scientific experiment using indoor dynamic lighting in schools across Hamburg, Germany showed that attention span, concentration and the behaviour of pupils all improved significantly. Not only did their performance improve, they read faster and made fewer mistakes.

Northern Lights

Back on the streets of Scotland, in an attempt to show just what can be achieved using advancing technologies, Glasgow is set to become one of the world’s leading ‘smart’ cities. By the time it hosts the Commonwealth Games this summer, some 10,000 sodium streetlights will have been replaced. The new LED lamps will be equipped with digital sensors allowing them to be controlled remotely, responding to changes in local environment such as increases in traffic. Such controls can push energy savings even higher.

Also leading the way in the lighting revolution are cities such as Manchester and Birmingham (UK), Albertslund (Denmark), Eindhoven and Tilburg (The Netherlands), Mechelen (Belgium), Lyon (France), and Hódmezövásárhely (Hungary).

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Written By admin 
January 27, 2014 16:18 pm

Aéroports de Paris welcomes the revival of CDG Express project by the Minister of Transport

Frédéric Cuvillier, French Minister for Transport and the Maritime Economy, said in the
presence of Augustin de Romanet, Chairman and CEO of Aéroports of Paris, during his
visit at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, that the CDG Express project had been revived
through the creation of a research company that will bring together the French state, RFF
(owner and manager of the French railway infrastructure network) and Aéroports de Paris.

The CDG Express project involves the construction of a dedicated non-stop rail link
between the centre of Paris and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, which should strengthen
the attractiveness of the airport and, thus, France.

The research firm will aim at ensuring the feasibility and the technical, legal and financial
viability of the CDG Express link.

Augustin de Romanet, Chairman and CEO of Aéroports de Paris said:
“I welcome the commitment of the government and the personal commitment of Frédéric
Cuvillier which will today allow the CDG Express project to enter a new study phase, giving
this non-stop link every chance of seeing the light of day. This is a priority project in terms
of quality of service for passengers and competitiveness for Paris-Charles de Gaulle

That is why as soon as I took up my duties at the head of Aéroports de Paris, I ensured
Aéroports de Paris’ commitment to the success of this project.”

CERT and Thales sign MoU to set up UAE Rail Academy

The Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) and Thales have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which aims at establishing a Rail Academy in the United Arab Emirates.

This cooperation between CERT and Thales is in line with the UAE Government strategy to develop and sustain national assets and human capital in the UAE’s high-tech industry fields.

The Rail Academy will be dedicated to the creation and deployment of high-level professional and academic training programmes to support the UAE’s main line rail and urban transport developments.

This MoU adds to an already long-term partnership initiated in 1999 between Thales and HCT/CERT when both companies set up the Joint Venture CERT Thales Institute, providing technical training solutions in the UAE in the domain of defence. Now that the UAE is significantly expanding its railway networks, the need for providing talented Emirati experts, with both professional and academic training in various railways fields, has arisen.

Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Group Chief Executive of CERT Group of companies, said: “Whilst contributing to the UAE Railway initiative, this cooperation will greatly help to develop a new generation of highly skilled UAE nationals ready to serve the long-term development and strategic goals of the UAE and the Gulf region. Our significant partnership with Thales enables CERT to extend its provision of world-class professional and academic programmes to future managers, technicians and engineers, while benefiting from Thales’s unique experience in delivering turnkey solutions.”

Thibaut Trancart, Thales country director for UAE, added: “Our partnership with CERT is a key milestone for genuine local empowerment in the railway field. We offer recognised turnkey training solutions from design, development, implementation, up to leadership coaching and support to operations for large-scale technical academies and institutes. This new partnership with CERT will definitely support the development of the railway industry in the UAE and add value in the Emirati training & education market”.

Thales has a wealth of experience in knowledge transfer across all its areas of expertise, with a strong presence in the Middle East. Over the past 35 years, in the UAE Thales has provided training for over 5,000 professionals. With this latest MoU, Thales, through its in-house university training organisation, is further extending its involvement in human capital development.

Written By admin 
January 24, 2014 13:24 pm
Posted In Business, Rail