first_imgSource: Ole & SteenOle & Steen will open its first new bakery of 2021 in Hampstead, north London, at the end of March.The latest store, located on Hampstead High Street, will be the company’s 13th in the capital but its first in north London.The outlet will feature seating for 45 people, as well as a lean bar and a space for outdoor eating. The bakery will be open from 7.30am on weekdays and from 8am at weekends for takeaway and delivery, as well as click and collect.“We’re delighted to be adding a Hampstead bakery to our growing collection as we know that our bakeries do very well in neighbourhood locations like Richmond, Kensington, Canary Wharf and, more recently, Notting Hill which we opened before Christmas,” said Lee Nixon, Ole & Steen’s UK managing director.“I know many people in Hampstead will already have visited our west end bakeries so I hope they will welcome us when we settle up the hill.”The Ole & Steen brand is an offshoot of the Danish baking company Lagkagehuset, named after founders Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebaek. Its first UK bakery was opened in the St James’ area of London in 2017. In addition to its 13 London bakeries the company has a branch in Oxford, as well as three stores in New York City.It is well known for its cinnamon socials – soft dough filled with vanilla custard and cinnamon paste, topped with icing. The shareable treats are part of a growing number of Nordic-inspired buns on the UK market.last_img read more

first_imgA team of researchers has developed a novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power-plant emissions. The approach could be an important advance in carbon capture and sequestration.The team, led by scientists from Harvard University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, employed a microfluidic assembly technique to produce microcapsules that contain liquid sorbents, or absorbing materials, encased in highly permeable polymer shells. They have significant performance advantages over the carbon-absorbing materials used in current capture and sequestration technology.The work is described in a paper published online today in the journal Nature Communications.“Microcapsules have been used in a variety of applications — for example, in pharmaceuticals, food flavoring, cosmetics, and agriculture — for controlled delivery and release, but this is one of the first demonstrations of this approach for controlled capture,” said Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a co-lead author. Lewis is also a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard.Power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that traps heat and makes the planet warmer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, coal- and natural gas–fired plants were responsible for a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012.That’s why the agency has proposed rules mandating dramatically reduced carbon emissions at all new fossil fuel–fired power plants. Satisfying the new standards will require operators to equip plants with carbon-trapping technology.Current carbon-capture technology uses caustic amine-based solvents to separate CO2 from the flue gas escaping a facility’s smokestacks. But state-of-the-art processes are expensive, result in a significant reduction in a power plant’s output, and yield toxic byproducts. The new technique employs an abundant and environmentally benign sorbent: sodium carbonate, which is kitchen-grade baking soda. The microencapsulated carbon sorbents (MECS) achieve an order-of-magnitude increase in CO2 absorption rates compared to sorbents currently used in carbon capture. Another advantage is that amines break down over time, while carbonates have a virtually limitless shelf life.This schematic illustration shows the encapsulated liquid carbon capture process in which carbon dioxide (CO2) gas diffuses through a highly permeable silicone shell and is absorbed by a liquid carbonate core. The polymer microcapsules are then heated to release absorbed CO2 for subsequent collection.“MECS provide a new way to capture carbon with fewer environmental issues,” said Roger D. Aines, leader of the fuel cycle innovations program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a co-lead author. “Capturing the world’s carbon emissions is a huge job. We need technology that can be applied to many kinds of carbon dioxide sources, with the public’s full confidence in the safety and sustainability.”Researchers at Lawrence Livermore and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Lab are now working on enhancements to the capture process to bring the technology to scale.Aines says that the MECS-based approach could also be tailored to industrial processes like steel and cement production, which are significant greenhouse gas sources.“These permeable silicone beads could be a ‘sliced-bread’ breakthrough for CO2 capture — efficient, easy-to-handle, minimal waste, and cheap to make,” said Stuart Haszeldine, a professor of carbon capture and storage at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the research. “Durable, safe, and secure capsules containing solvents tailored to diverse applications can place CO2 capture … firmly onto the cost-reduction pathway.”MECS are produced using a double-capillary device in which the flow rates of three fluids — a carbonate solution combined with a catalyst for enhanced CO2 absorption, a photo-curable silicone that forms the capsule shell, and an aqueous solution — can be independently controlled.“Encapsulation allows you to combine the advantages of solid-capture media and liquid-capture media in the same platform,” said Lewis. “It is also quite flexible, in that both the core and shell chemistries can be independently modified and optimized.”“This innovative gas separation platform provides large surface areas while eliminating a number of operational issues, including corrosion, evaporative losses, and fouling,” said Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park, the chair in applied climate science and associate professor of Earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University, who was not involved in the research.Lewis has previously conducted groundbreaking research in the 3-D printing of functional materials, including tissue constructs with embedded vasculature, lithium-ion microbatteries, and ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber epoxy materials.Funding for the encapsulated liquid carbonates work was provided by the Innovative Materials and Processes for Advanced Carbon Capture Technology program of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.Other authors who contributed to the “Nature Communications” article include: James O. Hardin IV of Harvard; John Vericella, Sarah Baker, Joshuah Beeler-Stolaroff, Eric Duoss, James Lewicki, William Floyd, Carlos Valdez, William Smith, Joe Satcher Jr., William Bourcier and Christopher Spadaccini, all of Lawrence Livermore; and Elizabeth Glogowski of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.last_img read more

first_imgBy Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo January 04, 2019 Venezuelans live times of turmoil due to their country’s serious crisis, and thousands of citizens flee to access minimal health and food needs. Meanwhile, the government of Nicolás Maduro focuses its efforts on asserting its partnership with Russia, a situation the Eurasian country uses to project its military power in Latin America. The latest display of indifference for the needs of the Venezuelan people, both from Venezuelan and Russian authorities, came with the deployment of two Russian Tu-160 supersonic bombers to Venezuela on December 10, 2018. According to Carlos Murillo, an international relations analyst at the National University of Costa Rica, Maduro seeks to flaunt his prominent military partner, disregarding the problems that the population experiences. “With Iván Duque [Colombian president] and Jair Bolsonaro [Brazilian president] now in power, Maduro fears that there will be more pressure against his government,” Murillo told Diálogo. “He has to find the support of an important partner to deter the neighbors. In addition, it sends the message to the Venezuelan opposition that he has powerful friends that back him up.” Alejandro Barahona, a member of the School of Social Sciences at the National University of Costa Rica, made a similar analysis and said that the arrival of the military aircraft will increase dissatisfaction with the regime. “There are other countries that cater to the needs of Venezuelans, especially those who have migrated elsewhere in Latin America,” Barahona added. In contrast The U.S. humanitarian mission Enduring Promise 2018, which recently came to an end, is an example of the U.S. commitment to its partner nations and friends in the region. U.S. Southern Command hosted U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort’s 11-week mission, with stops in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras between October and December 2018. The mission provided humanitarian assistance to partner nations and populations in need while relieving pressure on national medical systems, which the increase in Venezuelan migrants in their territories partly caused. Due to the proximity with Venezuela, the hospital ship made two stops in the Caribbean coast of Colombia in Turbo, Antioquia, and Riohacha, La Guajira. Hundreds of military, civil technicians, and medical specialists from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the United Kingdom, and the United States assisted Colombian patients in need, as well as Venezuelan migrants who needed surgery, general medical care, preventive medicine, dental exams, and dermatology and optometry services, among others. “The United States’ focus toward the region is different from Russia’s. Amidst the tragedy, Russia sends bombers to Venezuela, while we send a hospital ship. Most importantly, we are on the side of the Venezuelan people in their time of need, and that’s what the USNS Comfort stands for,” said U.S. Army Colonel Robert Manning, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense, about the impact of this mission to Venezuelans living in Colombia. In addition to the two Tu-160 bombers, Russia sent to Venezuela an An-14 military transport aircraft and an IL-62. Russian troops arrived after Maduro visited Moscow in early December 2018 and announced Russian investments of $6 billion in Venezuela’s oil and mining sectors. After the bombers arrived, Russian mass and social media reported that the Eurasian nation would build a military base in the Venezuelan island of La Orchila. Diosdado Cabello, second-in-command in the Venezuelan regime, denied the information during a session at the Venezuelan National Constitutional Assembly. Cabello also said, “I wish it were true. Not one, but two, three, four, 10 [Russian military bases].” The Venezuelan constitution forbids the installation of foreign military bases on its national territory. Russia takes advantage of crisis Murillo and Barahona believe that Russia isn’t very interested in the difficulties Venezuelans experience. Rather, the country seeks to bolster its international position and gain military areas in Latin America, a region where it has few strategic partners. “As the superpowers confront each other, Moscow needs to have a stronger presence in Latin America, a region where Chinese presence is also increasing rapidly. Therefore, Russia finds in its relationship with Caracas the chance to show its global projection and tell its Latin American partners that it also has interests in the region, not only in Europe and neighboring countries,” Murillo said. “From a strategic viewpoint, it’s important to keep in mind that Russia, like China, delves into the military projection phase of its hegemonic aspirations.” Barahona thinks that Russia’s way of presenting itself in the region is more threatening than cooperative. It isn’t a friendly presence for Venezuela’s neighbors that already face difficulties due to the human exodus the Maduro government caused. “Russia and Venezuela’s partnership is not only an unfriendly gesture, but also threatening toward the rest of the region, which could generate a new arms race or even military polarization in Latin America. These are situations that can even explain partnerships in multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations’ system,” he said. It’s clear that Maduro’s regime lacks empathy for the circumstances Venezuelans face, both within and out of the country. While the people cry out for help, the Venezuelan government and Russia respond with a military display that provokes the region and reminds Venezuelans that Chavism stopped caring for the people long ago.last_img read more

first_imgStrong investment performance and increased deficit contributions by employers were behind the reduction in the aggregate deficit, according to Barnett Waddingham.“This is the third year in a row that deficit contributions have increased, suggesting that the FTSE350 companies are stepping up their commitment to paying down DB pension scheme deficits,” it said.However, the report also found that the average deficit contribution paid by FTSE350 companies as a proportion of dividends remained at 10% in 2017.The firm speculated that the Pensions Regulator may be concerned that around 43 companies boosted dividend payments while at the same time reducing deficit contributions. “However, within this group there will be some companies who agreed to pay higher levels of contributions in the short term, which have now done their job in reducing the DB deficit,” it commented.“It is only right that they can now return to more normal contribution levels,” the firm added.Nick Griggs, partner at Barnett Waddingham, said that while the deficit shrinkage was positive news, it would not take much to tip the balance the other way.“Our analysis suggests that a 0.5% fall in bond yields in 2017 would have pushed the aggregate deficit of the FTSE350 DB schemes up to £85bn,” he said.“With the health of the UK and global economy threatened by a lack of progress with Brexit and the threat of a trade war from Trump’s America First assault, there could a major impact on the size of pension deficits and the ability of FTSE350 companies to pay the contributions needed to clear these,” Griggs warned.Separately, consultancy Mercer earlier this month released figures quantifying the likely size of UK DB deficits for FTSE350 companies, saying the aggregate pension deficit had more than halved in 2018 so far, improving by a total of £40bn from £72bn at the start of the year to £32bn.With its figures compiled on a different basis to those from Barnett Waddingham, Mercer included data for July as well as the first half.In July, both asset values and liabilities had risen and the deficit had increased by £3bn compared to £29bn at the end of June, the firm said. Pension deficits at major UK companies have fallen sharply in the first half of this year, but are still susceptible to bond yield shifts, according to a new report.Consultancy Barnett Waddingham estimated the aggregate defined benefit (DB) pension scheme deficit for companies in the FTSE350 index was around £35bn (€38.9bn) on an accounting basis at the end of June 2018, down from £55bn at the end of last year. At the beginning of last year the aggregate deficit stood at £62bn.The £35bn deficit compares to FTSE350 companies’ total pre-tax profits of £210bn, putting the collective deficit at 17% of total corporate profits compared with 70% 18 months ago, according to the firm’s latest report analysing the impact of DB pensions on UK business.This bucks the trend seen since 2011, where deficits steadily increased as a proportion of pre-tax profits from a low of 25% and hitting a peak of 70% in 2016, the firm said.last_img read more