Setting the standard high

RINGING ENDORSEMENT: Beep targeted their end users, potential marketing partners and media outlets incredibly effectively.

Excellence In Product Design SAFETY FIRST: Molycop is utilising behavioural considerations by making the employees aware that their actions at work can have a long-lasting effect on their families.

WINNER: Ampcontrol Group – Voice Com PhoneWhat the judges said:Whatseparates great product design from good product design is simplicity.

Ampcontrol and Tiller Design have stripped down the new voicecom phone to its key elements and as a result it’s certainly more than a sum of its parts; achieving this level of simplicity is no easy task.

Ampcontrol have shown an in-depth understanding of the user’s broader requirements.

The unit is intuitive to use, includes a host of well-designed features, such as safety overrides, and does not lose sight of the considerations for use in the harsh environment of underground mining.

Ampcontrol have packaged their capable electronic technology with careful consideration to the human interface, and achieved this whilst simultaneously reducing manufacturing cost.

The new voicecom phone is now 80% lighter than its predecessor and other equivalent phones on the market, and interfaces easily to the current network infrastructure.

Highly Commended:Valley Longwall International for their star roll.

Excellence In MarketingWINNER: Beep Bicycle BellsWhat the judges said:Often small companies and start-ups need to be extremely innovative and clear in their marketing in order to succeed given their lack of resources and budgets.

That is certainly the case for Beep who targeted their end users, potential marketing partners and media outlets incredibly effectively.

Their use of PR and social media has been masterful for such a small team.

The resulting exposure, growth and return on marketing investment has been outstanding, launching a small local company onto the world stage.

Highly Commended:Design Anthology

Excellence In Manufacturing Process WINNER:Varley GroupWhat the judges said:When Varley were invited to take over a much larger proportion of the NSW ambulance upgrade project, they took up the challenge knowing the expanded workscope represented a very large change in output and complexity.

Varley had to put their profit on the line to deliver but they did not hesitate to make the required investment. It is Varley this year that has proudly demonstrated that the “can do” spirit of the region’s manufacturing is alive and well .

Backed by an excellent submission it was very easy to see that the accolades they have received locally and nationally were well deserved.

Highly Commended:BAE Systems and DSI Underground

Excellence In SafetyWINNER: Moly-Cop – Crane Safety Video And Open DaysWhat the judges said:A great initiative that has involved not only the workforce but also their families.

Molycop is utilising behavioural considerations by making the employees aware that their actions at work can have a long lasting effect on their families.

It also allows the families to experience what their loved-ones actually do in the workplace. They can then also influence their partners or parents to “be safe” whilst working. Everyone wins.

Highly Commended:Bridon Bekaert for their laser lighting warning system for forklift

Labor leads campaign against mega-apartment project

Property giant Mirvac is facing a Labor-led campaign opposing its plans to build a string of high-rise apartment towers in Sydney’s inner west, as ALP politicians from each level of government rallied the community groups against the proposal at a meeting in Marrickville.

More than 350 people crowded into Marrickville Town Hall on Thursday night to hear details about the mammoth development.

Under Mirvac’s proposal, a large section of Carrington Road in Marrickville would be rezoned to accommodate 20 towers up to 105 metres tall and comprising more than 2600 units, and existing business premises would be demolished to make way for the redevelopment.

Federal opposition infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese condemned Mirvac’s proposal on Thursday night. Photo: Jessica Hromas

The hall erupted in applause as Labor politicians – federal MP Anthony Albanese, state MP Jo Haylen, and Inner West Council mayor Darcy Byrne – appealed to the crowd’s anti-overdevelopment sentiment as they delivered their damning opinions.

Atrocious. Absurd. Completely and utterly miscalculated.

Mr Albanese, whose seat of Grayndler takes in the Marrickville area and who had flown from Canberra to attend the event, told the crowd: “It is an absolutely disastrous proposal and we won’t cop it.”

Ms Haylen described the proposal as “classic overreach from developers”.

“It is over-development pure and simple,” she said.

The development proposal, which was lodged with the Inner West Council in May, is a joint project between Mirvac and the NVT Group, the landowner of the Carrington Road precinct.

The plans are in the first stage of the planning process, known as a “planning proposal”, by which a developer submits an application to the council to change the zoning or building restrictions on a parcel of land.

As part of the redevelopment, 7.8 hectares of industrial land would be rezoned to accommodate towers up to 35 storeys tall and comprising 2616 residential units.

A further 17,300 square metres of new retail and commercial space would also be built. About 20 per cent of the site would be green open space.

John Warburton, deputy general manager of the Inner West Council, said the council had “expressed serious concerns” to Mirvac, including the fact the proposal did not conform to the state government’s planning strategy for the Carrington Road precinct.

In the latest plans for the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor, government planners identified the precinct as suitable for medium high-rise housing up to a maximum of 12 to 15 storeys. This rezoning would allow Marrickville station precinct to provide 6000 additional dwellings by 2036.

Ms Haylen, member for Summer Hill, told the crowd a Labor government would “immediately tear up” the Berejiklian government’s Sydenham to Bankstown Rezoning plan if elected in 2019.

It follows a major policy pronouncement by shadow planning minister Michael Daley to a planning forum on Wednesday night, during which he committed to scrapping the government’s key planning process of “priority precincts”, which identifies an area as a priority for more density, and accelerates the rezoning process.

Mr Warburton said the Marrickville redevelopment could lead to a net loss of 544 jobs, as the demolition of the existing industrial site could cause148 businesses, many of which are from the creative industries, and up to 1440 full-time jobs to be lost from the area.

The proposal did not include any provision of affordable housing, he said, and gave no detail as to how it would achieve the Inner West Council’s target of 15 per cent affordable dwellings.

“For this particular development, that would mean offering 392 dwellings [as affordable housing],” Mr Warburton said.

A development of the scale proposed would also add an extra 3400 vehicles to the surrounding traffic network, he said.

It is understood Mirvac did not accept an invitation to address the Town Hall meeting.

A Mirvac spokeswoman previously told Fairfax Media that the company was working on a revised proposal, which would address some of the concerns raised by the council.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

In world first, Iceland turns emissions into stone

Photos accompanying Icelandic geothermal carbon negative power plant Photos accompanying Icelandic geothermal carbon negative power plant

Photos accompanying Icelandic geothermal carbon negative power plant

While Australia rejects a clean energy target, Iceland is aiming to go beyond zero, creating a carbon-negative power industry.

On October 11, one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants, located in Iceland, began capturing carbon dioxide and removing it completely from the atmosphere by turning captured carbon emissions into stone.

The operation, a joint venture between Climeworks and Reykjavik Energy, is an evolution of the world’s first commercial carbon capture facility – the Direct Air Capture plant which opened in Switzerland in June this year and is also run by Climeworks.

Iceland’s Hellisheidi geothermal power plant draws carbon dioxide into the plant where it is chemically bound to a filter. Once this filter is saturated with CO2, it is heated to boiling point using heat from the geothermal plant itself before the CO2 is released from the filter and collected as a concentrated gas, releasing the now carbon dioxide-free air back into the atmosphere.

The plant dissolves this gas in water before piping it more than 700 metres underground, where it reacts with basaltic rock, forming a solid mineral or stone, such as calcite.

This method imitates natural processes, and shortens the petrification timeframe from centuries to less than two years.

The air collectors’ capacities range in size from 135 kilograms per day to 4.9 tonnes per day, with each filter able to last for approximately several thousand gas collection cycles.

While it is still at the pilot level, and only able to capture 50 tonnes of CO2 annually, it is the first plant to go beyond simply storing carbon dioxide.

Initial estimates put capture and calcification prices at around US$100 per tonne of carbon, with aims to halve this figure once the project is scaled up. Australian carbon emissions were priced at around $24 per tonne prior to being scrapped.

“The potential of scaling-up our technology in combination with CO2 storage is enormous,” Climeworks founder Christoph Gebald said.

“Not only here in Iceland but also in numerous other regions which have similar rock formations,” Mr Gebald said.

Climeworks will use the technology to sell carbon credits for businesses with non-avoidable emissions.

The partnership aims to capture one per cent of all global emissions by 2025.

In Australia, Chevron’s Gorgon LNG operation in Western Australia is forecast to become the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project, aiming to sequester up to four million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide once operational.

In Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the CarbonNet project aims to capture carbon dioxide from electricity generation in a similar fashion to the Icelandic project, however, it has no plans to turn captured emissions to stone.

Speaking to an expert in Australian geology, he said application of the technology to turn captured CO2 into stone in Australia is fairly unlikely due to differing geological strata.

“Iceland’s a fairly young country, compared to Australia, and has formations that are thousands of years old compared to billions, like in Australia,” he said.

“It might be possible, but as our rocks are so much older here it’d have to use different technology and modify for the type of rocks. It would depend on the chemical reactions, but it wouldn’t be analogous.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Finals push may cost Naitanui in the long run

Star West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has had more surgery to his reconstructed knee.

He had exploratory arthroscopic surgery after suffering soreness on the back of an extensive training escalation in a bid to possibly make an earlier than expected playing return during the Eagles’ finals campaign in 2017.

There was slight cartilage damage that needed trimming and cleaning up from surgeons.

A major revelation from the exploration, though, is that the 2012 All-Australian had bone damage in the head of his femur bone on the outside of his left knee.

New All-Australian and first-time West Coast club champion Elliot Yeo also needed an operation to repair a hip injury he carried late into this year’s home-and-away season and finals.

Yeo, 24, is now likely to have a delayed start to summer training next month.

Naitanui’s immediate future is not threatened but the problem for the hulking big enforcer is likely to be continued degeneration in the knee as his career extends, especially for such a heavy body and his explosive high leap in ruck contests.

The 27-year-old is on course for a playing return early next year after missing the entire 2017 season in his recovery from a dreaded ruptured cruciate ligament suffered in last year’s stirring home win over Hawthorn just ahead of the finals.

He had scans in July ahead of escalating his rehabilitation into full training and starting a determined push to make it back to playing ahead of the end of the season.

Naitanui was cleared for the heavy training loads and even headed to an exclusive clinic in Philadelphia in the US to complete a gruelling two-week extensive training program on the way back to full drills and match simulation.

Much of his August and September training was generally behind closed doors at West Coast headquarters in the club’s run into finals clashes with Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney.

Naitanui ended that three-month phase with some soreness, with more scans in late September revealing the bone damage and unexpected deterioration.

His plans for a return trip to the US for more heavy training with world renowned fitness guru Bill Knowles is understood to have been abandoned this month as Naitanui recovers from his operation.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Time ticks down but no Brexit divorce agreement in sight

London: Europe’s leaders are expected to deliver a polite but firm “must try harder” rebuff to British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, after she made a personal plea over dinner on Thursday for Brexit talks to move to the next stage.

More than six months after Brexit was officially triggered – a quarter of the way to the final deadline – there is still no agreement on the “divorce bill” that Europe has demanded Britain must settle before discussions about their future relationship can begin.

Fears of a no-deal scenario, where the UK leaves the EU without any trade, customs or regulatory framework to take its place – a scenario most economists view with horror – are growing.

On Thursday evening MrsMay was due to stand up in front of Europe’s leaders in Brussels and plead the UK case, after a week in which – depending on whom you ask – talks ground to a halt or continued to move at “lightning speed”.

According to Whitehall insiders, Mrs May’s message (to be delivered in about 10 minutes, over dinner), was that it was time to cut the UK some slack.

She believes she took a huge political risk with her speech in Florence in late September, and went as far as she could, defying damn-the-torpedoes Brexiteeers in her own party by promising to pay Britain’s debts to the EU and anticipating a two-year transition period in which nothing much would change after Brexit technically took place in March 2019.

The insiders say she has gone as far as she can, publicly, given the resistance within her own party and the fact she leads a minority government – and that the EU must recognise this reality.

The view from Downing St, and the government’s Department for Exiting the EU, is that many of the deadlocks in Brussels over the so-called divorce bill that is the first stage of Brexit are due to EU inflexibility, because they could only be pinned down once they could move on to discuss Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Privately, officials claim to be smashing through negotiations with a hidebound Brussels bureaucracy. But working groups on many of the issues are now coming back with the message that they have hit a roadblock.

But the consensus from Europe’s leaders, in a meeting on Friday morning after Mrs May has left Brussels, is almost certainly to be that not enough progress has been made to move on to talk about the future.

At the start of Brexit talks, the EU asserted that before any talk about a future relationship could begin, Britain must agree on how much it will pay to settle its obligations to the EU, what it will do to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and whether the Irish border will stay open enough to avoid a return to the Troubles.

They are not willing to bargain these away against a future trade deal, but want them locked down as the baseline for the next step.

But behind the scenes, EU negotiators concede that they can’t quarantine all these issues, and some of them can only be signed off and settled once it’s clear what will follow Brexit.

On the record, the UK government is relentlessly positive on Brexit. Brexit secretary David Davis said on Wednesday that talks were moving at “lightning speed”.

But observers are worried.

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think we are all doomed,” says Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College, London, when asked his prognostication. “I think, surely this is so f***ing stupid, we can’t possibly let our politics push us into a [no-deal scenario].

“I try to be rational, the forces of economics and rationality are strong enough for us not to do something so obviously against our interests and the interests of the [other] EU 27. But the politics are pretty unpleasant.”

Professor Portes says he still believes the most likely scenario is that the UK and EU will reach a deal – first a “mini-Brexit” deal for March 2019, which will continue the status quo as much as possible, then a “maxi-Brexit” some years later once there is a trade deal to take its place.

However he says the major problem with reaching that point is Mrs May’s lack of political capital – squandered in this year’s ill-fought election.

At some point, before she has a trade deal, she has to go to the British public and her own party and say how much Brexit is going to cost.

“It may be that May is not strong enough politically to make an offer [to the EU] that she can deliver to London,” Professor Portes says. “Then you have a problem. If someone says ‘I’d like ideally to give you 10 pounds but I can’t put that in writing because my wife will kill me’ then what am I supposed to do? I’m not going to start bargaining about whether it should be 10 or 15 pounds, I’m going to say ‘come back when you and your wife have sorted out a negotiating position’.”

“If I’m the EU, why on Earth would I make concessions when you’ve just told me you will not be able to make an offer even in the right ballpark because you’re not strong enough at home?”

This week the OECD issued a new report, essentially renewing its analysis that Brexit has already put the brakes on the UK economy, now one of the slower movers in Europe. The OECD pointed out that real wages in the UK are still below those of a decade ago, and Brexit is not likely to fix this – indeed it’s likely to make it worse.

On migration, the OECD pointed out that immigration in to Britain – for many, a problem that spurred the referendum result – had in fact helped lift living standards, productivity and GDP in the UK.

Anti-Brexit forces are talking about a parliamentary vote or even a second referendum to halt the process, if it becomes clear it has jumped the rails.

But Mrs May – who opposed Brexit – will now not countenance a U-turn. As far as the government is concerned, insiders insist, Britain will leave the EU no matter what.

Meanwhile, Australia is patiently waiting in the wings, doing what it can to lay the groundwork for a trade deal with the UK once the exit happens.

The reality is, both sides privately concede, that such a deal would be more symbolic than game-changing. Australia’s economy is already pretty open, and much more focused on Asia than the UK. Existing barriers to UK trade would more likely be finessed than eliminated in any deal.

But the limited scope may mean a deal can be quick and simple, providing a much-needed political win for both sides, and fringe benefits for business.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.