more top stories »

European Union

— Electronics

Steeper project hopes to make electronic devices more energy efficient

It has been estimated that in the European Union, about ten percent of the electricity used in homes and offices goes to power computers and other electronic devices that are in standby mode. By 2020, that amount could constitute 49 terawatt hours per year, which is almost equivalent to the combined annual electrical consumption of Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal. The European Union’s just-announced Steeper research initiative squarely addresses such concerns. Its aim is to develop electronics that operate on less than half a volt when in standby, and that are up to ten times more energy-efficient when active. Read More
— Around The Home

New yeasts could mean better-tasting light beers

Light beers are often promoted as being “light-tasting,” but light-tasting beer certainly isn’t to everyone’s liking. Many people go for light beers only because they’re watching their weight, but would still prefer a beverage that was dark and full of flavor. Those people will doubtless be glad to hear that the European Union is investing 3.4 million Euros (about US$4,183,835) in a yeast research program, aimed at producing new products for the food industry. One of the possible outcomes of the research - tastier light beers. Hurray for science! Read More
— Automotive Feature

Are EVs risking or saving the planet?

“Electric cars should be rewarded for their energy efficiency, not for moving emissions from exhaust pipes to powerstation chimneys” says the UK's Environmental Transport Association (ETA). In a report titled "How to avoid an electric shock - Electric cars: from hype to reality", the ETA has taken a close look at electric-powered vehicles (EVs) and their associated technologies. In what could be a shock to some commuters – and governments - the report states that EVs could potentially speed climate change, rather than reduce it, and might not be as good for the planet as some of the spin suggests. Simply put, it’s not necessarily the cars themselves that will cause the damage, but the way the electricity is generated to power them and how often we drive them. For instance, EVs powered by “green energy” - wind or solar - are obviously superior, but if the electricity comes from coal, hybrids perform better. Read More
— Telecommunications

EU launches free EGNOS satnav system

The European Commission has announced the official start of operations of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), a satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) that improves the accuracy of the current US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian GLONASS system signals from about ten meters to two meters. Like the U.S. GPS, the EGNOS Open Service is accessible free of charge to any user equipped with a GPS/SBAS compatible receiver within the EGNOS coverage area, which includes most European states and has the built-in capability to be extended to other regions, such as North Africa and EU neighboring countries. Most receivers sold today in Europe meet that requirement. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Mobile makers agree on standard micro-USB charger for Europe

Are your cupboards full of old phone chargers? They seem to accumulate with every new mobile, and are rarely useful again. Hoping to change this wasteful scenario, the European Union have proposed – and ten leading manufacturers agreed to – a new standard that will see micro-USB charging devices used for all data-enabled mobile phones. The hope is that, within three to four years, mobiles and chargers will be sold separately in Europe, and they’ll all be compatible. Read More