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HS2 review, valve trains and turning waste into jet fuel: 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

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HS2: Review to examine costs and benefits of rail project

BBC

The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 - with a "go or no-go" decision by the end of the year, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

Ultrafast lasers let engineers weld ceramics at room temperature

Professional Engineering

A new ceramic welding technology could enable smartphones that don’t scratch, metal-free pacemakers and electronics for use in space.

A shock research finding could double the capacity of lithium batteries

Professional Engineering

It’s long been thought that the main reasons why the performance of lithium-ion batteries degrades over time is because of the growth of a layer of material called the solid electrolyte interphase between the lithium anode and the electrolyte.

But a research team led by the University of California San Diego believes they’ve found an alternative answer, and that failures are caused by lithium metal deposits breaking off the anode during discharging and becoming trapped in such a way that the battery can no longer access them.

Plans for waste-to-jet-fuel plant on Humber Estuary

The Engineer

A consortium including British Airways and Shell is hoping to build Europe’s first waste-to-jet-fuel plant at Immingham in North East Lincolnshire.

New valve train could make internal combustion engines more flexible

Professional Engineering

A new type of valve train could make internal combustion engines 20 per cent more efficient, and allow them to more easily use alternative fuels.

Intraneural electrode stimulates light sensation for the blind

The Engineer

Scientists have developed OpticSELINE, a technology that could one day restore sight to the blind via an intraneural electrode that stimulates the optic nerve.

Mass-produced wearable sensor can tell what's in your sweat

Professional Engineering

It’s hoped that monitoring perspiration could eventually reduce the need for invasive procedures such as taking blood, and provide real-time information about issues such as dehydration or fatigue. 

First UK training course for fast-growing industrial drones market

Process Engineering

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has launched the UK’s first training course in the use of industrial drones.

Commit to R&D funding boost immediately, engineers urge Johnson

E&T

Boris Johnson has been challenged to boost UK science and engineering by using his early months as Prime Minister to make a long-term commitment to research funding.

The recommendation to set a clear budget for increasing R&D spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 comes in a five-point plan issued by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE). Other recommendations for the first three months of Johnson’s premiership include extending visa periods for graduates and using diversity data to address skills shortages.

Peel deal creates £130 million plastic-waste-for-hydrogen solution

Process Engineering 

Eleven waste-plastic-to-hydrogen facilities are to be created across the UK in a new agreement between north west-based Peel Environmental, Waste2Tricity and Powerhouse Energy.
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