Archive for the ‘Clean technologies’ category

Spanish Government approves a sustainable economy fund of 20 billion euros

May 16, 2009

Spain announced on Tuesday a 20 billion euros (27 billion dollars) fund to finance sustainable development projects plus a new local investment fund with €5 billion  ($6.7 billion) of credit for local environmental works, and technological and social projects.

The state credit agency Instituto Credito Oficial would manage the fund, which would be operational from 2010, the government said in a statement.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told the lower house of Parliament it would finance “renewable energy, restoration of buildings, non-polluting transport  and recycling”.

Green busAn example included in the package of measures is a subsidy for the renewal of non-contaminating and low consumption buses. Buses more than 10 years old will be replaced by new ones.

The government will therefore support the purchase of up to 2000 new buses. Companies will also be encouraged to provide their workers with bus passes which will result in a reduction of 24% in the cost of transportation.

Zapatero announced plans to help improve technology in schools with the purchase of 420,000 laptop computers for classrooms, wi-fi internet connection in schools, the installation of digital blackboards and training for teachers in the best use of technology for educational purposes.

Another measure announced in this package is the cut in taxes for small businesses that forgo layoffs. The tax cut would be applicable to companies with fewer than 25 employees and an annual turnover of less than 5 million euros ($6.8 million).

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Gold nanoparticles help make industrial dyes

January 15, 2009

8650lngroupA new environmentally friendly way to produce certain industrial dyes using gold nanoparticle catalysts has been developed by researchers in Spain.  Normally,  making dyes known as azobenzenes requires toxic transition metals or nitrates.

Avelino Corma and colleagues of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia have shown that gold nanoparticles on titanium dioxide or cerium dioxide can catalyse the reactions necessary to produce azobenzenes. And this is with above 98% efficiency under mild reaction conditions. The technique could be used to make cheaper, safer dyes for use in pigments, food additives and drugs, say the researchers.

Corma says that the work could provide an environmentally friendly route to make industrial amounts of azo-compounds for dye manufacture. “We now need to do more work to better understand the mechanism and the exact nature of the catalyst active sites and improve yields for these asymmetric azo-materials.”

The work was published in Science.