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The IEA reports record global electricity demand growth driven by economic expansion, heatwaves, and tech adoption, with renewables set to surpass coal by 2025. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Energy

According to a new report by the IEA, the world’s demand for electricity is rising at its fastest rate in years, driven by robust economic growth, intense heatwaves, and the increasing use of technologies that run on electricity such as EVs and heat pumps

The report, the IEA’s Electricity Mid-Year Update, forecasts global electricity demand to grow by around 4% in 2024, up from 2.5% in 2023. This would represent the highest annual growth rate since 2007, excluding the exceptional rebounds seen after the global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. The strong increase in global electricity consumption is set to continue into 2025, with growth around 4% again, according to the report.

Renewables surge ahead

Renewable sources of electricity are also set to expand rapidly this year and next, with their share of global electricity supply forecast to rise from 30% in 2023 to 35% in 2025. The amount of electricity generated by renewables worldwide in 2025 is forecast to surpass the amount generated by coal for the first time. Solar PV alone is expected to meet roughly half of the growth in global electricity demand between 2024 and 2025, with solar and wind combined meeting as much as three-quarters of the growth.

Despite the sharp increases in renewables, global power generation from coal is unlikely to decline this year due to the strong growth in demand, especially in China and India. As a result, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the global power sector are plateauing, with a slight increase in 2024 followed by a decline in 2025. However, considerable uncertainties remain: Chinese hydropower production recovered strongly in the first half of 2024 from its 2023 low. If this upward trend continues in the second half of the year, it could curb coal-fired power generation and result in a slight decline in global power sector emissions in 2024.

Some of the world’s major economies are registering particularly strong increases in electricity consumption. Demand in India is expected to surge by a massive 8% this year, driven by strong economic activity and powerful heat waves. China is also set to see significant demand growth of more than 6%, due to robust activity in the services industries and various industrial sectors, including the manufacturing of clean energy technologies.

“Growth in global electricity demand this year and next is set to be among the fastest in the past two decades, highlighting the growing role of electricity in our economies as well as the impacts of severe heatwaves,” said Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director of Energy Markets and Security. “It’s encouraging to see clean energy’s share of the electricity mix continuing to rise, but this needs to happen at a much faster rate to meet international energy and climate goals. At the same time, it’s crucial to expand and reinforce grids to provide citizens with secure and reliable electricity supply – and to implement higher energy efficiency standards to reduce the impacts of increased cooling demand on power systems.”

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the electricity demand of data centres is drawing increased attention, underscoring the need for more reliable data and better stocktaking measures. The report highlights the wide range of uncertainties concerning the electricity demand of data centres, including the pace of deployment, the diverse and expanding uses of AI, and the potential for energy efficiency improvements. Better collection of electricity consumption data from the data centre sector will be essential to correctly identify past developments and to better understand future trends.

Amagua C.E.M. designs solar-powered water treatment and distribution network for Ecuador’s Samborondón District. (Image source: Bentley Systems)

Water

Amagua's integrated water system in La Puntilla Parish, Ecuador, leverages solar power and Bentley’s 3D modeling to optimise operations, reduce costs, and cut carbon emissions, ensuring a sustainable water supply.

Neda Simeonova, senior product marketing manager, Water Infrastructure, at Bentley Systems, pens this piece for Technical Review Middle East. She has been involved in the water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure industry for over 18 years, and has focused extensively on industry trends, technology advancements, and water policies.

Neda Simeonova 5 1

Neda Simeonova, senior product marketing manager, Water Infrastructure, at Bentley Systems

Amagua C.E.M. provides drinking water and wastewater management for the La Puntilla Parish in the Samborondón district of Ecuador. Committed to offering a quality, efficient water supply and sewerage service, they also provide complementary preventive system management, as well as consulting for network design, construction, and maintenance of residential facilities. To streamline operations and ensure a reliable water supply, Amagua decided to build an integrated water capture, transportation, and treatment system.

“To have operational autonomy, we determined the need for an integrated collection, conduction, and treatment system that allows it to supply a complete flow of 880 litres per second (l/s),” said Leonidas Dávila, engineer and project director at Amagua.

The project was divided into two phases, providing a flow of 440 l/s in the first phase and an additional 440 l/s during the second phase. It involved designing a catchment, distribution line, and treatment plant. To make the project self-sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible, Amagua contemplated using solar panels to power the network and pump the water to the distribution tanks. The solar energy captured by the panels would power surface pumps that draw water from a river or well and pump it to the raw water tank and distribution system, reducing and potentially eliminating the network’s reliance on conventional energy sources, such as grid electricity or fossil fuels.

Addressing undulating terrain and pipeline transients

While solar panels are advantageous to reducing environmental impact and supporting a more sustainable and economical water supply, Amagua needed to consider several factors to optimise pump and network operations. “It is important to consider the appropriate capacity and size of solar panels, as well as the efficiency and capacity of storing energy in batteries, for optimal operation of the pump system,” remarked Dávila. In addition to the panel specifications and energy considerations, Amagua also had to address semi-undulating terrain and irregular topography, as well as avoid problems with transients in the 4.2-km-long pipeline in the high elevation area.

To identify and mitigate potential problems that could affect the pressure and flow and compromise operations, as well as ensure that the solar panels could generate the necessary power to deliver a reliable water supply, Amagua had to perform various modeling scenarios. They needed an integrated 3D design and hydraulic modeling and analysis solution to optimise optioneering, determine the most effective network arrangement, and validate the use of solar energy.

Leveraging Bentley’s 3D design and hydraulic modeling and analysis applications

“It was proposed that MicroStation and OpenFlows Water be used to optimise the execution of the project,” stated Dávila. Amagua selected MicroStation to design the entire architecture of the system in 2D and 3D, as well as OpenFlows Water to model and analyse the pipeline arrangement of the network and estimate energy consumption costs, based on both electricity and renewable energy.

The advanced algorithms and 3D visualisation features of Bentley’s applications allowed Amagua to perform digital simulations of numerous scenarios, verifying the optimization of both the existing and future distribution networks, and validating the use of solar panels as the most efficient source of renewable energy. “Thanks to the usefulness of OpenFlows Water’s energy cost module, we were able to model energy costs when using fossil fuels and when using solar panels, as well as their contribution to the carbon footprint,” continued Dávila. The digital models will also be used throughout the construction and operations phases of the project.

Digital simulation reaps savings and supports sustainability

Using Bentley’s advanced 3D design and hydraulic modeling and analysis applications, Amagua reduced modeling time by 80%. Working in a connected digital platform improved efficiencies in data federation and data exchange processes by 75% and 80%, respectively. Through accurate modeling and simulation, Amagua shortened the planning stage by 15 days, identifying and eliminating 3,530 collisions during the design phase that was equivalent to a potential savings of US$50,000. The integrated technology solution shaved 97 days off the construction schedule to save US$1.2mn while achieving an optimal design that saved 40,000 tons of concrete.

In addition to time, cost, and material savings, the digital simulations supported the use of solar panels, delivering significant environmental and sustainability benefits by reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the project. The solar panels reduced dependency on fossil fuels, eliminating 6,905 metric tons of carbon emissions. “As a result, we were able to achieve a 95% reduction in fossil fuel energy used per year,” stated Dávila. Compared to conventional pumping systems, the solar-powered pumps are easier to maintain and are especially useful in rural or remote areas where electrical infrastructure may be limited, providing autonomous and reliable access to drinking water, improving the quality of life for communities. “The use of water pumping systems with solar panels offers significant environmental, economic, and social benefits,” concluded Dávila.

IFC supports MAN Enterprise Group to expand in MENA, enhance gender inclusion, and promote sustainable growth amid regional challenges. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Construction

IFC, part of the World Bank Group, granted a US$15mn loan to MAN Enterprise Group, an engineering, procurement, and construction Group to expand in MENA & Europe, fostering green growth and gender inclusion in Lebanon's challenging economy

The loan will help the group grow its operations across the Middle East and Africa, supporting private sector development and job creation.

It will also assist the group in initiating new projects to establish its presence in different countries, enhancing its internal capacity for climate-friendly technologies, and improving its gender inclusion practices.

The conflict in the Middle East has been impacting countries in the region, including Lebanon, a nation that has already faced several economic challenges in recent years. Unemployment, especially among Lebanese youth and women, is a significant issue. According to estimates by the International Labour Organization, nearly half of Lebanon's youth are unemployed (47.8%), with women facing even greater difficulty finding jobs.

"IFC's support is not only a vote of confidence in our Group but also in Lebanon's private sector potential as a growth engine," said Patrick Abi Nader, CEO of MAN Enterprise. "Apart from the financing, we will collaborate with IFC to integrate climate-friendly practices into our operations and address gender disparities in our workforce to unlock a more diverse talent pool critical to our success."

The construction industry is a major global driver of employment, contributing 13% of total employment in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2020. In addition to its investment, IFC will partner with MAN Holding in Lebanon to enhance gender inclusion by offering childcare solutions for working parents. This initiative aims to attract and retain women in the workforce, boosting their participation in economic recovery efforts. This effort is part of the Care Arabia program, a regional initiative led by the World Bank Group through IFC.

"Despite Lebanon's challenging environment, IFC has been selectively identifying opportunities to support the Lebanese private sector through South-South investments, preserving jobs and aiding the economy during a critical period," said Ashruf Megahed, regional industry head of manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services for the Middle East, Central Asia, and Türkiye. "Investing in a local market leader like MAN Enterprise will enable the company to access corporate capital complementary to traditional financing, enhance sustainable and inclusive practices, and strengthen resilience against economic downturns."

IFC's financing aligns with the World Bank Group's strategies for the Middle East and Africa, aiming to foster job creation through accelerated private sector growth, competitiveness, and sustainable green development.

For over five decades, IFC has been a steadfast partner in Lebanon, supporting the country's private sector with investments and guidance across various sectors including finance, manufacturing, construction, retail, and ICT. These efforts aim to enhance competitiveness and create more employment opportunities, particularly for women, youth, and vulnerable communities. Since 2005, IFC has invested over US$920mn in Lebanese firms, deploying US$603mn from its own funds and mobilising US$317mn from other partners, leading to the creation and preservation of more than 40,000 jobs, with over 7,000 held by women.

Discover the enhanced JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders, arriving this July with upgraded features for superior performance. (Image source: Bell Equipment)

Mining

The updated range of JCB 3CX Backhoe Loaders is set to arrive on South African shores this July, promising to build on the brand’s popularity with enhanced features aimed at delivering improved comfort, versatility, and productivity, thereby reducing costs and boosting efficiency

Bell Equipment sales product manager for JCB products, Massyn Jansen Van Vuuren, commented, “This new model range will replace the existing JCB 3CX Eco, 3DX and 3CX Global product lineup. The new cab makeover is the most noticeable change and is bound to impress. The striking new design uses high quality moulded plastics, and the pillars and roof are light grey in colour to give a lighter and more spacious feel.

“Most importantly the new cab places a huge focus on operator safety, comfort, and ease of operation. For example, the loader lever has been simplified to operate like a wheel loader. The 3CX range now has a single lever loader control incorporating an F-N-R directional switch so an operator can control the loader and transmission with one hand. In addition, there is a proportional switch on the side of the lever to operate the 6-in-1 bucket, which further reduces the effort needed to operate the machine.” 

Enhanced features

The new EasyShift transmission with 'kick down' comes standard across the range, simplifying gear changes via a rotation of the F-N-R directional lever next to the steering wheel. The kick down switch, located on the floor, allows operators to shift from second to first gear for added power during loading or site work."

“All cabs are ROPS/FOPS certified and the seat rotation area is larger to give the operator more room, which together with improved cab sealing to keep out water and dust, creates a cleaner and more pleasant workspace. There is also improved visibility to the working area behind the machine,” remarked Massyn.

In addition, the 3CX Plus model introduces a high-performance HVAC air conditioning system with 21 adjustable air vents strategically positioned around the front console, ‘B’ pillar, and rear of the machine, optimising comfort and demisting performance. The 3CX features a standard fan mounted on the B pillar."

Under the hood, the JCB 3CX range benefits from enhanced hydraulic efficiency due to new standard variable displacement piston pumps across all models. The larger pump provides 150lpm, a 39% increase over the previous model, allowing for reduced engine speed while maintaining productivity, effectively cutting fuel consumption. Moreover, the variable flow pump operates on demand, reducing engine load and further improving fuel efficiency.

The Plus and Pro models feature a standard Smooth Ride System for improved road handling and can be equipped with a versatile 6-in-1 shovel, optionally fitted with flip-over forks for increased functionality. “The 6-in-1 shovel can be used for dozing, loading, digging, grabbing, spreading, and grading while the optional flip over forks are ideal for machines that will double up as a forklift for pick and place activities around the work site and to unload vehicles,” he added.

Lighting has been upgraded with six LED work lights replacing halogen lights. Front-mounted adjustable LEDs and rear-mounted LEDs, two of which are adjustable, enhance nighttime visibility. A 'guide me home' light system keeps work lights illuminated for 30 seconds after the ignition is turned off, aiding safe exit from the machine and worksite during nighttime operations.

Other standard features include an in-cab boom lock, front and rear wash/wiper functions, Return To Dig function, electronic throttle control, Bluetooth radio and USB ports, front and side LCD display, adjustable steering column, and a battery isolator key for electrical isolation during maintenance.

"All in all, the new 3CX range has a machine to suit all requirements and we expect these new machines to add real value and strengthen JCB’s position as the world’s leading brand of Backhoe Loaders. We have a fleet of units that will be used across the country to familiarise customers with the new range and the improvements, so we encourage customers to contact their nearest Bell dealer and experience the machines for themselves,” concluded Massyn.

New M410 and M510 Label Printers from Brady. (Image source: Brady Corporation)

Innovations

Brady Corporation’s new mid-range portable label printers are equipped with all the latest features for professional label printing

With 110 different label cartridges for the new M410, and 250+ for the new M510, electricians, data centre installers, telecom contractors, laboratory researchers, warehouse and manufacturing professionals will be able to wrap, sleeve, tag and flag their way through any cable identification challenge with great ease, accuracy and speed.

M410 Label Printer

Specifically engineered for premium 25.40 mm printing, the M410 Label Printer is an everyday workhorse for DataCom, electrical and lab professionals. Create and print labels faster with its intuitive QWERTY keypad and programmed pre-set label options for wire marking, flagging and patch panel ID.

Characteristics and benefits:

• Print pre-sized or continuous labels up to 25.40 mm wide with edge-to-edge printing
• 110+ hassle-free drop-in cartridges with 12+ purpose-built materials to take on whatever your work demands
• Get seamless cartridge changes with an easy-swap locking mechanism while a window in the door allows you to easily remember what's installed
• Create and print two ways — the intuitive QWERTY keypad or a PC
• Designed to withstand 1.2 m drops and challenging work environments
• Enhanced exterior colouring for jobsite visibility
• Ships with the free Brady Workstation Basic Design suite that includes fundamental apps and features to create labels.
• Backlit LCD graphics display for easier labelling in low-lit areas

Find out more about the M410 Label Printer >>

M510 Label Printer

The perfect companion for your project workspace, the M510 Label Printer works fast to deliver high-quality labels day in and day out. Whether you’re in a lab, field or facility, this printer works as hard as you do. Design and print up to 38.10 mm labels on demand with a QWERTY keypad or create labels in batches at the office with Brady Workstation software.

Characteristics and benefits:

• Create large 38.10 mm labels with edge-to-edge printing and a wide range of text sizes
• Print up to 38.10 mm per second to get work done faster
• Use the M510 for more applications with 250+ hassle-free drop-in cartridges and 26+ high-performance materials
• Enter data with more accuracy as you work between an intuitive QWERTY keypad, a separate numeric keypad or a PC
• Backlit full-colour LCD graphics display for easier labelling in low-lit areas
• Durably designed to withstand 1.2 m drops
• Ships with the free Brady Workstation Basic Design suite that includes fundamental apps and features to create labels.
• The rechargeable NiMH battery prints up to 1700 labels on a single charge

Find out more about the M510 Label Printer >>

Interested in how to quickly create reliable labels anywhere? Discover portable labelling solutions from Brady Corporation!

Aldar Properties partners with DP World to develop a 1.55 million sq ft Grade A logistics park at National Industries Park, boosting UAE's logistics sector. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Logistics

Aldar Properties, a prominent real estate developer, investor, and manager in the UAE, and DP World have entered into an agreement whereby Aldar will finance and develop a 1.55 million sq ft (144,000 sq m) Grade A logistics park at National Industries Park (NIP) in Jebel Ali, Dubai

This significant project marks a new partnership granting Aldar the opportunity to develop and lease assets within NIP, strategically located near Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport, with excellent connectivity to major road networks like the E11 and E311.

Targeting high demand for warehousing facilities, the project will cater to third-party logistics (3PL), eCommerce, and retail tenants seeking expansion or relocation. The Grade A and LEED certified logistics park will occupy a 2.36 million sq ft (220,000 sq m) plot and consist of three modular buildings adaptable for single or multi-tenant occupancy, offering flexible unit sizes.

Aldar will manage the entire development cycle of the logistics park, encompassing concept design, execution, and management. This initiative forms part of Aldar’s recently announced AED 1 billion investment to expand its logistics real estate portfolio in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with further investment plans as the business grows.

Talal Al Dhiyebi, group CEO, Aldar Properties, commented, “This strategic agreement with DP World further bolsters our presence within the logistics real estate sector and aligns with our broader expansion plans in Dubai. The location of the site within National Industries Park is significant, strategically positioning us in a logistics hotspot with excellent access to the port and the main highway to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Leveraging our expertise in both development and asset management, this unique project will play an integral role in the continued growth and diversification of our logistics offering.”

Abdulla Bin Damithan, CEO & managing director, DP World GCC, said, “Our collaboration with Aldar will expand the logistics capabilities at NIP, strengthening our position as a critical distribution hub for some of the biggest manufacturers and businesses in the FMCG segment. With more than 330 businesses operating their facilities out of NIP, the development of this logistics park will ensure that the right infrastructure and services are in place to meet the growing demands of our customers. This partnership underscores our dedication to delivering cutting-edge facilities and supply-chain solutions with our partners.”

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