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What a bright future for concentrated solar plants – The World Reporter
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While many countries still back the wrong horse by supporting its growth with fossil fuels, some emerging countries bet on solar energy to build a sustainable economy just as well as a solution to energy deserts, especially in MENA and across the African continent.

Experts of alternative energy are calling Nigeria ‘the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy’. “Nigeria is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy sources and, if properly utilized, Nigeria can realize its place in the world as a great power,” says economist and activist Jeremy Rifkin.

The rising African country has set a target of meeting 40 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020.

And in this effort, the country is relying on renewable solar power. With an average of 320 to 350 sunny days a year and vast tracks of deserts and farm land, Nigeria could easily generate 5,000 trillion KWh of solar energy, says Dr. Patrick Owelle, a Solar Energy Scholar and Research Fellow.

Expert predict that the country could install around 1,000 GW of solar generation — equivalent to 40 times the current peak power demand (about 25 GW) — using just 0.5 percent of its land.

Nigeria is not a single case in a world that is looking to reduce carbon footprint and foster alternative and renewable sources of power. And in the race, solar seems to be way ahead compared to other renewables.

However, in parts of the world where there is a rising demand for alternative power, as in Nigeria, there is also a debate about which solar technology would best suit a country or region.

While it is undeniable that solar energy is far more dependable than other forms of renewable energy, there is a rising debate whether to use concentrated solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Dino Green, a Mechanical Engineer and a qualified accredited expert in certification of energy performance of buildings identifies the criteria that is generally debated while choosing the solar power technology to be used.

“Energy markets consider three main factors in deciding on power sources – cost of energy, ancillary services and power dispatch-ability on demand,” Greene says.

Experts say that a time is coming where there probably would be no competition between the two technologies and they may work together to increase solar energy penetration into the power industry.

The primary advantage of CSP technology is its ability to store solar energy. Silvio Marcacci Silvio, Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA, even defines CSP technology as “the technology that will save humanity”. “CSP could meet up to 7% of the world’s projected electricity needs in 2030, and 25% by 2050”, says Silvio.

Given all the strong arguments in favor CSP, the technology is criticized for taking up a large area to install it traditionally uses static parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar energy and then passing that down the line through a system of heated water. This heated water runs a turbine that produces electricity.

However with the advent of the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector or CLFR technology, CSP can shed off the criticism of taking up space. French firm Sun CNIM is the pioneer in LFR technology for solar power generation and has successfully set up and operated a pilot project in France. The company says that the technology has moved beyond the pilot stage and Sun CNIM is now ready to commercialize the technology for large solar power projects.

Moreover, “Sun CNIM’s Fresnel technology and direct steam generation avoid the use of hazardous fluid such as thermal oils, making them the ‘cleanest’ technologies currently available,” says Sun CNIM in a statement.

Linear Fresnel is a line-focusing technology consisting of reflectors that track the sun in one axis and focus the beam radiation onto fluid-carrying receiver tubes.

IRENA’s 2012 CSP report (*) draws out the advantages of LFR technology over trough technology. The report states that main advantages of Fresnel CSP systems compared to troughs are that Linear Fresnel Collectors (LFCs) can use cheaper flat glass mirrors, which are a standard mass-produced commodity, and that they require less steel and concrete – as the metal support structure is lighter – which simplifies the assembly process and leads to cost reductions.

“According to the status of development in 2012, the parabolic trough seems to be at the end of its evolution because of the temperature limitations, complicated manufacturing and toxicity of the HTF. Therefore, I would prefer the Fresnel technology and the solar tower technology. Both use nearly flat mirrors which enable a higher share of local production”, says Dr.-Eng. Hani El Nokraschy, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Desertec Foundation.

According to the French firm Sun CNIM, LFR is easily integrated into the grid and can be operated on isolated sites. “The technology is flexible where the component modules can be installed in accordance with capacity requirements and can be act as a hybrid to other alternative power sources like biomass, fossil fuel or methanization plants, etc,” says Sun CNIM communiqué.

Fresnel may give an additional advantage because of shadowing the ground. This enables planting under the mirror roof protecting the plants from the burning sunrays and thus saving irrigation water”, Dr. Nokraschy says.

Another advantage of the LFR technology is the reduced optical losses and less mirror-glass breakage since the wind loads on LFCs are smaller according to the French innovation technology firm Sun CNIM.

Moreover, the mirror surface per receiver is higher in the LFC than in parabolic trough collector, which is important given that the receiver is the most expensive component in both technologies.

“Until recently, linear Fresnel plants were mainly pilot projects. But with remarkable advancements, the technology is quickly gaining operational parity with the parabolic trough, and the world’s largest Fresnel power plant has already started operation in Spain,” says Heba Hashem, a technology expert based in UAE.

With the debate over choice of technology for solar energy nearly over, researchers and businesses are now concentrating on ways and means to develop technologies that can better the storage of solar power. This is considered to be the next big step in solar power attaining maturity.

(*) http://www.irena.org/documentdownloads/publications/re_technologies_cost_analysis-csp.pdf

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Employee Training and Development Becomes One of the Most Disruptive Megatrends That Is Shaping the Future of Work

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Employee training

There is no question about the effectiveness of employee training and development. It’s incredibly important to help your staff advance their skills and knowledge to help grow a business, but the impact of employee learning has often been understated and even neglected. However, companies are now suggesting that employee training and development is one of the biggest megatrends that have completely transformed the future of work. It has overhauled how businesses should be developing and engaging with employees, and it’s leading to an incredibly diverse and talented workforce that is capable of wonderful new things.

Part of the problem of employee training and development is that it’s difficult to measure its impact on the workplace. Employee performance often isn’t a quantitative measurement that is easy to read and link to their output. This is one of the reasons why the effectiveness of employee training and development has been questioned by management experts.

Thankfully, new strategies have been developed to help measure workplace learning and its impact on companies. Below, we’ve included a helpful infographic that covers some of the most important measurements, such as return on investment and how it is calculated in the context of employee learning and development. It should put the effectiveness of employee training into perspective and will help you better understand when training is needed and how development actually improves your business and its productivity.


Infographic by: Ezra Coaching
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Top 10 Simple Health Changes To Boost Your Well-Being

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It does not matter how old you are, where you live, or what your occupation is, your health should always be a top priority. However, most of us are a little bit guilty of letting our well-being slide from time to time. With that being said, read on to discover some of the simple ways you can give your health a boost today.

  1. Get rid of at least one item in your life that contains toxic chemicals – You may be shocked by just how many items in your life contain toxic chemicals. This includes everything from air fresheners to bed sheets. Get rid of one of these items and replace it with something natural instead. This is something you should make a habit to do every few months or so. You will be surprised by just how much of a difference this can make. 
  2. Deep breathe for at least five minutes – Throughout the day, you should make sure you take the opportunity to deep breathe for at least five minutes. Why? Well, there have been numerous studies that have shown that deep breathing can help to lower stress hormone levels. This means that you will feel better, get an improved night’s sleep, and you will have less anxiety too.
  3. Drink more water – You probably expected this to be on the list, but the importance of drinking more water should never be ignored. Your body needs water for almost every function. If you are dehydrated, this could be the cause of headaches, pains, aches, and a number of other symptoms.
  4. Have one veggie night per week – A lot of people eat far too much meat, red meat especially. So, why not have a veggie night once a week? Not only is this good for your health, but it will be good for your bank balance too. There are so many great recipes online that can give you ideas regarding tasty and creative dishes that do not incorporate any sort of meat or fish. Once you start off with one night per week, you may then decide that you want to up it to two nights, and so on. However, it always helps to start off small so that it is easier and more manageable, and you can then get used to it.
  5. Sign up for an online pharmacy – Nowadays, you can easily order your prescriptions and medications over the Internet via an online pharmacy. This can help you to boost your health because it ensures you never experience delays with your medication. If you are someone who often doesn’t take their recommended course of tablets because you cannot get to the doctors in time for a repeat prescription, then this is definitely a good suggestion for you. Your medication will be delivered to your door with a click of a button.
  6. Make a dedicated effort to lower your stress levels – There is no denying that we live in a very stress-filled world at the moment! The world we live in is one that has heaps of pressure, and it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and keep those stress levels low. However, it is vital that you find a way to do so. After all, if you don’t adrenal fatigue and health can start to take a tumble, which is the last thing you want. For those who are unaware, adrenal fatigue relates to a group of different symptoms that impact people who are under a lot of physical, emotional, or mental stress. From being a single parent to having a stressful job, there are a lot of different reasons why you may be struggling. Therefore, we recommend that you look for different ways to reduce those stress levels so that you can enjoy a more calming and peaceful life. Whether it is doing some breathing techniques or taking more regular breaks so you can have moments for yourself, there are a lot of different ways that you can make sure you are keeping your stress levels to a minimum. The importance of this should not be overlooked, as stress can impact our mental and physical health in so many different ways. 
  7. Do something nice for someone every day – You will be surprised by how good this makes you feel, and by how much this has a positive impact on your health. It’s all about mental well being. When you do something nice for another person, you are benefitting their health, as well as your own. First and foremost, there is no denying that it feels good to hear some nice words for someone or to get a helping hand when you need it. You feel recognised and appreciated, and this is something we all need. At the same time, doing something nice for someone else and seeing their reaction can make you feel amazing too. After all, doing something good for someone is a gift for yourself at the same time. You will find that the deed continues throughout the day, making you feel great and happy within yourself. 
  8. Incorporate some movement into your commute – If you do not have an active job, this is particularly important. Sitting at a computer all day can be bad for your health. One way to combat this is by incorporating some movement into your commute. If you can walk or bike to work, you should give this a go. If not, start parking your car further away from your place of work so that you have to walk there and back. You should also start using the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
  9. Start meal planning – You will find it much easier to eat healthily if you plan your meals. At the start of every week, make a menu of what you are going to cook for dinner every evening, as well as what you are going to make for your lunches every day. Not only will this help you to eat better, but you will save money too. Make sure you incorporate some healthy snacks into your food prep for work. This will stop you from going to the vending machine whenever you are bored or your energy is zapped. The great thing about the times we live in at the moment is that you can easily get recipes and meal prep inspiration online. So, if you are struggling, simply do a little bit of digging online and we are sure that you will find a lot of different options when it comes to meal ideas and clever food prep suggestions for the week ahead. Not only is this going to help you to be more organized, but you will find that it actually saves you quite a bit of money in the process. After all, when we do not have a food plan for the week ahead, we tend to spend a lot of money on items we do not need. Food can end up going in the bin because we do not use it. This ends up in an awful lot of waste, and we should all be looking to reduce this, so meal prep is great in many ways.
  10. Keep a journal – Last but not least, keeping a journal is good for a person’s mental health. You should write down your thoughts. It doesn’t need to be a long entry; you can simply jot down a few bullet points every evening. This will help you to articulate your thoughts so that they do not wear you down. After all, it can be very difficult to sleep if you have lots on your mind. A lot of experts advise this approach for people who suffer from insomnia. One of the main reasons why a lot of people struggle to get the hours of sleep they need is because they cannot shut off when they go to sleep; their minds are still going at a million miles per hour. They are thinking about what they need to do the following day and any worries or concerns that they may have. Because of this, it very much makes sense to keep a journal so you can offload some of these thoughts and worries and you can have a much more restful night of sleep. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you will see that it actually does make a significant difference when it comes to drifting off and enjoying a good night of rest. 

So there you have it: some of the best ways to give your health a boost. The suggestions that have been provided are really simple and easy, so there is no excuse not to give yourself a bit of TLC. we are sure that you will start to notice a difference as time goes on. However, as is the case with anything, it requires patience and persistence. You cannot expect to turn your health around in one night.

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Why Buy A Business, Rather Than Start One

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There are good and bad sides to buying a business and starting your own business from scratch. For lots of people, the positives of buying an established business outweigh the positives of starting a business. Here are the reasons why buying an existing business could be the right choice.

Easier To Secure Finance

All businesses will need finance. Unless you can fund your business yourself, you’ll need to secure financing from investors. Most lenders will be more willing to lend money to an established business that they can already see is doing well, rather than risk an unknown factor. 

Income From Day One

One of the downsides of starting a business is that most start-ups will go through an early stage where they don’t make much, if any, money. For some entrepreneurs, this stage can last for several years. 

During this stage, you will need to pay out for things like your premises, as well as equipment, installation of equipment, stock, materials, fixtures and fittings, legal and professional fees, a license, uniforms, and more. 

If you don’t have finance in place or another form of income, this stage can be very tough for a new business owner. If you buy a business, you can start earning from day one, and avoid this tricky period where you might be out of pocket.  

Established Brand

When you buy a business that already exists, you are also buying into a brand that is already known, recognizable, and has a track record. You get the business complete with all the trademarks, copyrights, and websites associated with it, as well as the business locations

This means that your business will already have customers, lenders, suppliers, and other contacts that are confident in the business already. 

Instant Customer Access

An existing business also has customers already, which can help you succeed straight away. You can use a range of strategies and marketing to build on the existing customer base, but won’t have to struggle to build a customer base from scratch. 

Established Network Of Contacts

When you start a business from scratch, a lot of your time and energy has to be put into building up a network of contacts. 

All businesses need to have supplier and marketing contacts, so buying an existing business that already has those contacts in place allows you to hit the ground running.

Like money lenders, suppliers and marketing companies are more likely to offer you more favourable terms if your business has been around for a while and they know it.  

Focus On Growing The Business

When an entrepreneur starts a new business, they will have to put a lot of their energy into getting their business off the ground. This takes a lot of time and can be very tiring. 

On the other hand, when you take over a business that is already established, you’ll be freer to focus on the areas of the business that most need your attention, aiding the growth of the business as a whole. 

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