Why Technical English

Project ITER in progress

December 16, 2012
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Composed by Galina Vitkova 

The ProjectITER is a large-scale international scientific project intended to prove the practicability of nuclear fusion as an energy source. ITER was originally an acronym for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, but at present it is not considered an official abbreviation, but is connected with the Latin word “Iter” that means “way”, “journey”, “direction”.

English: deuterium-tritium fusion diagram, poi...

The project is expected to collect the data necessary for the design and operation of the first electricity-producing fusion power plant. As known all nuclear power plants (NPPs) currently operating through over the world produce electricity from fission accompanied by high-level and  long-life radioactive waste, which causes great protests of common people against these NPPs.  

The project is based on the Soviet-Russian technology tokamak (toroidal chamber with magnetic coils), which is a device using a magnetic field to confine plasma in the shape of a torus.

ITER is the culmination of decades of fusion research: more than 200 tokamaks (see also Nuclear powertokamaks) built over the world have paved the way to the ITER experiment.

Some History

Just remind the ITER Agreement was officially signed at the Elysée Palace in Paris on 21 November 2006 by Ministers from the seven ITER Members (China, theEuropean Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and theUnited States) in the presence of French President Jacques Chirac and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. This Agreement established a legal international entity to be responsible for construction, operation, and decommissioning of ITER. The seven ITER Members have shared in the design of the installation, the creation of the international project structure, and in its funding.

Fusion Power Grid

On 24 October 2007, after ratification by all Members, the ITER Agreement entered into force and officially constituted the ITER Organization. ITER was originally expected to cost approximately €5 billion. However, the rising price of raw materials and changes to the initial design have augmented that the amount more than triple, i.e. to €16 billion. Necessary to add that ITER members make 90% of their contribution in kind, i.e. they contribute by equipment. It means the members produce appropriate devices and fund them into the project. The remaining 10% of the contribution are paid in cash by the members. Russia undertook obligations to manufacture 18 high technology systems for the project ITER.

The program is anticipated to last for 30 years – 10 for construction, and 20 years of operation. The reactor is expected to take 10 years to build with completion in 2018 (according to some sources in 2020). The ITER site in Cadarache, France stands ready: in 2010, construction began on the ITER Tokamak and scientific buildings.


At the end of October 2012 in the Saint Petersburg Research institute of electrophysical devices named after D.V.Efremov the first tests of the unique equipment within the project ITER were launched.

Tokamak - Creating the Sun on Earth


The components of the diverter target prototype of the ITER reactor faced to plasma are being tested (the details about the diverter target can be found in Вольфрамовая облицовка диверторной мишени для ). A proprietary test facility IDTF (ITER Divertor Test Facility) has been built up for testing. The facility enables to expose the ITER components to the same thermal burden as during operation and  maintenance of the experimental reactor. The plasma temperature is supposed to grow up to 100 – 150  mil. degrees and expected heat loading on the diverter surface will rise up to 20 MW/m2.  That is why the components under tests shall comply with the very strict requirements.  

The components to be tested on the Russian facility have been produced in Japan. The testing is held in the presence of the ITER Agencies of Russia and Japan representants as well as with participation of the ITER International Organisation specialists.  

The conclusions about the test results are expected to be made by the end of November 2012. It will be the first of numerous series of tests and trials the results of which will enable to master well-proven technology of manufacturing the ITER components.

Diagram illustrating, in a schematic way, the ...


PS: The technical terms on the topic can be found in
TrainTE Vocabulary (Power engineering: English–Russian-Czech vocabulary) and in
 Vocabulary – power engineering (Russian–English–Czech).
PPS: The Russian version of the article titled Проект ИТЭР в реализации is published at the blog Technical English Remarks.



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Nuclear energy future after Fukushima

March 23, 2011
Composed by Galina Vitkova

What the damage to the Fukushima plant (see picture below) forecasts for Japan—and the world? But first, let us introduce general description of nuclear power stations in order to sense problems caused by the breakdown. 


The Fukushima 1 NPP

Image via Wikipedia

 Nuclear fission. Nowadays nuclear power stations generate energy using nuclear fission (Fukushima belongs to this type of nuclear power plants). Atoms of uranium (235) rods in the reactor are split in the process of fission and cause a chain reaction with other nuclei. During this process a large amount of energy is released. The energy heats water to create steam, which rotates a turbine together with a generator, producing electricity.

Depending on the type of fission, presumptions for ensuring supply of the fuel at existing level varies from several decades for the Uranium-235 to thousands of years for uranium-238. At the present rate of use, uranium-235 reserves (as of 2007) will be exhausted in about 70 years. The nuclear industry persuades that the cost of fuel makes a minor cost component for fission power. In future, mining of uranium sources could be more expensive, more difficult. However, increasing the price of uranium would have little brought about the overall cost of nuclear power. For instance, a doubling in the cost of natural uranium would increase the total cost of nuclear power by 5 percent. On the other hand, double increasing of natural gas price results in 60 percent growth of the cost of gas-fired power.

The possibility of nuclear meltdowns and other reactor accidents, such as the Three Mile Island accident and the Chernobyl disaster, have caused much public concern. Nevertheless, coal and hydro- power stations have both accompanied by more deaths per energy unit produced than nuclear power generation.

At present, nuclear energy is in decline, according to a 2007 World Nuclear Industry Status Report presented in the European Parliament. The report outlines that the share of nuclear energy in power production decreased in 21 out of 31 countries, with five fewer functioning nuclear reactors than five years ago. Currently 32 nuclear power plants are under construction or in the pipeline, 20 fewer than at the end of the 1990s.

Fusion. Fusion power could solve many of fission power problems. Nevertheless, despite research started in the 1950s, no commercial fusion reactor is expected before 2050. Many technical problems remain unsolved. Proposed fusion reactors commonly use deuterium and lithium as fuel.  Under assumption that a fusion energy output will be kept in the future, then the known lithium reserves would endure 3000 years, lithium from sea water would endure 60 million years. A more complicated fusion process using only deuterium from sea water would have fuel for 150 billion years.

Due to a joint effort of the European Union (EU), America, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea a prototype reactor is being constructed on a site in Cadarache (in France). It is supposed to be put into operation by 2018.

Initial projections in 2006 put its price at €10 billion ($13 billion): €5 billion to build and another €5 billion to run and decommission the thing. Since then construction costs alone have tripled.

As the host, the EU is committed to covering 45% of these, with the other partners contributing about 9% each. In May 2010 the European Commission asked member states to conduce an additional €1.4 billion to cope with the project over to 2013. Member states rejected the request.

Sustainability: The environmental movement emphasizes sustainability of energy use and development. “Sustainability” also refers to the ability of the environment to cope with waste products, especially air pollution.

The long-term radioactive waste storage problems of nuclear power have not been fully solved till now. Several countries use underground repositories. Needless to add nuclear waste takes up little space compared to wastes from the chemical industry which remains toxic indefinitely.

Future of nuclear industry. Let us return to how the damage to the Fukushima plant affects future usage of nuclear power in the future in Japan – and in the world.

Share of nuclear electricity production in total domestic production

Nowadays nuclear plants provide about a third of Japan’s electricity (see chart), Fukushima is not the first to be paralysed by an earthquake. But it is the first to be stricken by the technology dependence on a supply of water for cooling.

The 40-year-old reactors in Fukushima run by the Tokyo Electric Power Company faced a disaster beyond anything their designers were required to imagine.

What of the rest of the world? Nuclear industry supporters had hopes of a nuclear renaissance as countries try to reduce carbon emissions. A boom like that of the 1970s is talked, when 25 or so plants started construction each year in rich countries. Public opinion will surely take a dive. At the least, it will be difficult to find the political will or the money to modernise the West ageing reactors, though without modernisation they will not become safer. The heartless images from Fukushima, and the sense of lurching misfortune, will not be forgotten even if final figures unveil little damage to health. France, which has 58 nuclear reactors, seems to see the disaster in Japan as an opportunity rather than an obstacle for its nuclear industry. On March 14th President Nicolas Sarkozy said that French-built reactors have lost international tenders because they are expensive: “but they are more expensive because they are safer.”

However, the region where nuclear power should grow fastest, and seems to be deterred, is the rest of Asia. Two-thirds of the 62 plants under construction in the world are in Asia. Russia plans another ten. By far the most important arising nuclear power is China, which has 13 working reactors and 27 more on the way. China has announced a pause in nuclear commissioning, and a review. But its leaders know that they must go away from coal: the damage to health from a year of Chinese coal-burning plants is bigger then from nuclear industry. And if anyone can build cheap nuclear plants, it is probably the Chinese.

In case the West turns its back on nuclear power and China holds on, the results could be unfortunate. Nuclear plants need trustworthy and transparent regulation.


  • The risks exposed: What the damage to the Fukushima plant portends for Japan—and the world; The Economist, March 19th 2011
  • Expensive Iteration: A huge international fusion-reactor project faces funding difficulties; The Economist, July 22nd 2010  



Hanlin e-Reader V5

July 14, 2010

By P.B. 


A week ago I bought my first e-book reader – Hanlin eReader V5. It cost  5.500 Czech crowns (about US$275 US Dollars) including VAT. The set includes a case of leather, e-Reader, USB-cable, power adapter, manual, screwdriver, headphones and 2 GB SD card with 250 e-books in Czech language (by Czech authors J.A. Komensky and K. Capek, then  J. London, etc.)

Here is my general impression after 4 days of owning this device.

Advantages appear to be as follows:

  • it is easy to understand how this product works;
  • the reading is comfortable (good quality of a display) and a user can set a size of letters (it depends on the format of a document –  PDF has 5 possibilities, TXT offers 3 possibilities);
  • usage of e-Ink technology (see a note at the end of this article) enables to read approximately 8000 pages without charging batteries;
  • supports many formats: PDF, DOC, HTML, JPEG, GIF, MP3, ZIP, RAR and some others;
  • the technology supports both reading and  listening modern English books, which  is very good for studying;
  • the 2 GB SD (Security Digital) card is included, but it is possible to use 16 GB SD card (internal memory 384 MB); notice: Secure Digital (SD) is a non-volatile memory card format developed by Panasonic, SanDisk, and Toshiba for portable devices.
  • provides a reasonable size of the e-Reader;
  • supports bookmarks (up to 7 bookmarks in one book, which may be deleted by a user);
  • gives a possibility to go directly to a specific page (for example, page 721);
  • the system remembers last 16 files;
  • besides reading and listening to the books it also provides listening to the music or showing     pictures.

 Disadvantages seem to be as follows:

  •   sometimes problems with special characters (č, š, ř, ž…) arise;
  •   slow functioning (it is better to create a tree of folders with books – it runs faster);
  •   cutting off letters in words at the end of the row varies (e.g. „udělat“ can be cut ud-ělat, uděl-at, etc.);
  •  doesn´t support searching  in your library;
  •  when a user applies functions for reading and listening together, the audio is not always of good quality (I have tried only one source – maybe it has happened by chance);
  • doesn´t support touchscreen;
  •  not all paper books (especially by Czech authors) are in a form of e-book.

 General conclusion

  • it is expensive (but it depends on your considerations);
  • e-Reader can comprise more e-books (depends on a memory card)
  • it is very good for holiday or for usage when traveling by city transport;
  • in the future, when more sophisticated functions are amended, it will bring great conveniences for common people.


NOTE: E-Ink is used with electronic paper (e-paper) or electronic ink display, which imitates the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. E-paper reflects ambient light like ordinary paper rather than emitting its own light. An e-paper display can be read in direct sunlight without the image appearing to fade. Moreover, in this case the contrast seems to be the best. On the contrary, in the places that are not well lit the problem with contrast could appear.

Through this new technology the display takes the energy from a battery only when it draws its content. It lasts just a fraction of a second. For the rest of displaying time no feed power is needed. This feature let the e-Reader offer hundreds hours of reading without charging, e.g. with standard Li-pol accumulator it makes about 8000 pages of text.

E-Reader can show videos or photos but the quality of showing them is not good.


Comparative costs of electricity from different sources

April 26, 2010
                                                                            Composed by Galina Vitkova 

Renewable sources have been gaining more and more sympathies of common people and governments too. Their shares have been growing, especially in Europe and Northern America. You can make sure of it looking through Fig. 1 below

Fig. 1 – Shares of renewables in 2005 and 2020

But first of all, renewables are very expensive. Relative costs of generating electricity from different sources, which are shown on the next graph, support it with evidence.

The costs are calculated taking into consideration several internal cost factors. These factors are as follows:

  • Capital costs (including waste disposal and decommissioning costs, especially for nuclear power plants – NPPs) – tend to be low for fossil fuel power stations; high for renewables and nuclear power plants; very high for waste to energy, wave and tidal, photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal power installations.
  • Operating and maintenance costs – tend to be high for nuclear, coal, and waste-to-energy power stations (fly and bottom ash disposal, emissions clean up, operating steam generators) and low for renewables and oil and gas fired peaking units.
  • Fuel costs – high for fossil fuel and biomass sources, very low for nuclear and renewables, possibly negative for waste to energy power plants.
  • Expected annual hours run – as low as 3% for diesel peakers, 30% for wind, and up to 90% for nuclear power stations.

Comparative costs of electricity produced by different source of primary energy and calculated, using the above mentioned factors, are depicted  in Fig.2. 

Fig. 2 – Comparative costs of electricity

USA Generating costs in May 2008 given in Fig. 3 also support this fact.

Fig. 3 – US Generating costs in 2008

Nonetheless, in long term context the costs should equal according to different forecasts – see, for example Fig. 4.


Fig. 4 – Long term cost trends

Besides high costs the other serious problem connected with renewables concerns their intermittence. It means that a wind power installation generate electricity when wind blows and similarly a solar plant produces electricity when the Sun shines. But consumers require and consume electricity when they need it, e.g. in the mornings, evenings i.e. mostly at the time quit different from the time when wind blows or the Sun shines. So, means for energy balancing, which is limited, in order to meet consumers´ demands (see a detailed analysis of the issue in Renewable energy – our downfall? by Ralph Ellis and in posts If we don´t interest in the energy future, we may see its collapse and Is the „green“ energy really free?). Nowadays, some gas power plants or hydro power plants are used to balance the variation … With more intermittent renewables in the electricity grid they will have to do this much more often and situation could become intricate, maybe unsolvable.

The problem is not lack of wind or solar (etc.) energy, it is a fact that at times there may be too much wind or sun. Different operational and economic conflicts will arise, especially at time of low electricity demands. Energy storage (e.g. pumped hydro) and export through new inter-connections could help (for teach-in how serious the situation is see Renewable energy – our downfall?).


The best Windows 7 edition for you

April 18, 2010
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I have just received e-mail with information you see below. I think it is worth being known. For this reason I am putting the information at this blog. Maybe it helps somebody to make right decision. Enjoy reading the information.

Galina Vitkova

 Choose the Windows 7 edition that is best for you

  Windows 7
Home Premium
Windows 7
Windows 7
Make the things you do every day easier with improved desktop navigation.           *           *           *
Start programs faster and more easily, and quickly find the documents you use most often.           *           *           *
Make your web experience faster, easier and safer than ever with Internet Explorer 8.           *           *           *
Watch, pause, rewind, and record TV on your PC.           *           *           *
Easily create a home network and connect your PCs to a printer with HomeGroup.           *           *           *
Run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode.             *           *
Connect to company networks easily and more securely with Domain Join.             *           *
In addition to full-system Backup and Restore found in all editions, you can back up to a home or business network.             *           *
Help protect data on your PC and portable storage devices against loss or theft with BitLocker.               *
Work in the language of your choice and switch between any of 35 languages.               *


System requirements
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– 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
– DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or later driver.
– 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
– 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)

To review full list of the offers, visit World Software

Hilda Numbers

Biofuels Reduce Emissions (part 1)

March 6, 2010
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 Special Interview Reveals How Czech Biofuels Are

Ing. Jiří Souček, CSc. (SoJ), who participated on biofuel research in the Czech Republic, answered questions posed by Galina Vitkova (ViG)

ViG:  According to REN21 the Czech Republic produced 18kTOE (thousand Metric Tons of Oil Equivalent) of bioethanol in 2007, in 2008 it counts 38kTOE (i.e. 0.1 % of total world production). Is this amount of practical importance? ViG: Podle údajů REN21 vyrobila ČR v r. 2007 bioetanolu v počtu 16 tis. tun ropného ekvivalentu, v 2008 – 38 tis. tun (0,1 % od celkové světové produkce biopaliva). Má to praktický význam?
SoJ:  In 2007 the law about obligation of biofuel usage in propellants didn´t exist. In 2008 60kTOE of bioethanol were produced whereas 20kTOE were exported and 30kTOE were imported. Consumption of bioethanol amounted to 50kTOE. As for biodiesel 75kTOE of it were produced while its consumption made 85kTOE.Minimal amount of biofuel additive to propellants is set by the Czech Republic law coming out from the Directive EU 203/30/ES. Since 2010 the minimal additive of bioethanol to gasoline will make 4.5 %, while biodiesel additive to diesel will amount to 6.3 %. It corresponds to consumption of about 100 kTOE of bioethanol and 200 kTOE of biodiesel. SoJ:  V roce 2007 nebyla zákonná povinnost použití biopaliv v pohonných hmotách. V roce 2008 bylo v ČR vyrobeno 60 tis. tun bioetanolu  a vyvezeno 20 tis. tun. Bylo dovezeno 30 tis. tun bioetanolu. Spotřebováno bylo 50 tis. tun. Dále bylo vyrobeno 75 tis. tun bionafty a spotřebováno 85 tis. tun.

Minimální množství přídavku biopaliv do pohonných hmot je stanoveno zákonem ČR, který vychází ze směrnice EU 203/30/ES. Od roku 2010 bude minimální přídavek bioetanolu do benzinu činit 4,5 % obj. a bionafty do motorové nafty 6,3 % obj. To odpovídá spotřebě cca 100 tis. tun bioetanolu a 200 tis. tun bionafty.

ViG:  What is, in your opinion, the main importance of biofuels for the Czech Republic? ViG: V čem je podle Vás největší přínos nebo největší význam biopaliv pro ČR? 
SoJ:  The importance of biofuels for production of heat, electricity and usage in propellants for the Czech Republic and other countries lies chiefly in:

  • substitute of fossil fuels which will be exhausted
  • decreasing emission of exhausted and greenhouse gases, which. improves environment
  • decreasing carbon dioxide emission, which declines our planet warming
  • diminution of dependence on oil and gas import
  • supporting  uncultivated farmlands usage.
SoJ:  Význam biopaliv používaných pro výrobu tepla, elektrické energie a jako motorová paliva je pro ČR a jiné země zvláště v tom, že:

  • nahrazují fosilní paliva, která jsou vyčerpatelná
  • snižuji exhalací výfukových plynů, tj. zlepšují životní prostředí
  • snižuji emisí oxidu uhličitého, snižuji riziko oteplování planety,
  • snižuji závislost na dovozu ropy a zemního plynu
  • napomáhají k využití neobdělávané zemědělské půdy.
ViG: Could you cite kinds of biofuels produced in the Czech Republic (bioethanol, biodiesel)?  ViG: Můžete uvést druhy biopaliva vyráběné v ČR (etanol, biodiesel)? 
SoJ:  In the Czech Republic bioethanol (alcohol) and biodiesel (MEŘO) are produced. SoJ:  V ČR se vyrábí  bioetanol (líh) a bionafta (biodiesel, MEŘO).
ViG:  Which plants are biofuels produced from in the Czech Republic?   ViG:  Z jakých rostlin se vyrábí biopalivo v ČR? 
SoJ:  In the Czech Republic bioethanol is produced from sugar beet and corn while is produced from oil rape. SoJ:  V ČR se vyrábí  bioetanol z cukrové řepy a z obilí a bionafty (biodiesel, MEŘO) z řepky olejné.
ViG:  Is it possible to import biofuels to the Czech Republic?  ViG:  Je možné dovážet biopaliva do ČR? 
SoJ:  Despite biofuel production capacities in the Czech Republic are bigger than their consumption bioethanol and biediesel are imported, too. On the other hand, Czech producers export these products. It is a free market.  SoJ:  Přestože výrobní kapacity na výrobu biopaliv v ČR jsou vyšší než spotřeba, bioetanol i bionafta se částečně dovážejí. Z druhé strany čeští výrobci biopaliv tyto produkty vyvážejí. Jde o volný trh.
ViG:  How can we prevent deforestation or pluvial woods or palm groves cutting (which already occurs)?  ViG:  Jak zabránit tomu, aby se nekácely deštné lesy, palmové háje (což už se stává?) 
SoJ:  Palm groves are not cut. Contrariwise, pluvial woods are cut for planting crops including foundation of palm plantations. This process, the goal of which is gain soil for planting, has been lasting for decades or hundreds of years. Nowadays this process is said to be activated  by palm oil usage for production of biodiesel. But this is not a crucial reason.According to the EU Directive on biofuels for road transport 2009/28/ES biofuel producers will be certified by set criteria of sustainability. One of the criterions is that feedstocks for biofuel production must not be grown up on soils with a large amount of carbon, which is typical for soils after cutting woods. SoJ:  Palmové háje se nekácejí. Naopak deštné lesy se kácejí pro výsadbu zemědělských plodin včetně zakládání palmových plantáží. Tento proces, jehož smyslem je získání zemědělské půdy, trvá několik desetiletí ba století. V současné době se uvádí, že proces je ovlivněn využitím palmového oleje na výrobu bionafty. Nejde však o rozhodující vliv.Podle nové směrnice EÚ o biopalivech pro silniční dopravu č. 2009/28/ES, budou výrobci biopaliv certifikování podle stanovených kriterií udržitelnost. Jedno z kritérií je, že suroviny pro výrobu biopaliv nesmí být pěstovány na půdách s velkou zásobou uhlíku, což je i půda po vykácených lesech. 
ViG:  What about soil erosion, side-dressing soils for cultivation of plants for biofuel production?  ViG:  Co erose půdy, hnojení půdy při pěstování rostlin pro výrobu biopaliva? 
SoJ:  In my opinion, the soils should be used not only for food production, but yet for other needs of our society including energy demands. Formerly thermal energy was mostly got from woods. Today large pieces of land are used for cultivating plants for technical purposes like textile fibers (cotton, linen, hemp), paper (cellulose), biochemical products (sugars), etc. It concerns priorities, which are different in individual countries. Priority number 1 is food. In the Czech Republic agriculture covers all food needs, alongside 600 th. hectares of arable soil lie fallow, rape is cultivated on 350 th. hectares.Either we let the soils lie fallow without composting, weedy and scrubby or we use them for cultivation of required technical plants, which need the same composting as cultivating plants for food. SoJ:  Jsem toho názoru, že půda má být využívaná nejen pro produkci potravin, ale i pro další potřeby společnosti, včetně zabezpečení energie. Dříve většina tepelné energie byla získávána ze dřeva. Dnes jsou značné plochy využívány pro výrobu technických produktů, jako jsou textilní vlákna (bavlna, len, konopí) papír (celulóza) biochemické produkty (cukry) aj. Jde o otázku priorit, které jsou v různých zemích jiné. Prioritní je zabezpečení výživy. V ČR zemědělství plně pokrývá potřeby potravin, při čemž je 600 tis. ha orné půdy ponecháno ladem a řepka se pěstuje na cca 350 tis. ha.   Buď ponecháme další půdu ladem bez hnojení, na které budou růst plevele, nebo ji využijeme pro pěstování potřebných technických plodin, které vyžadují stejné hnojení, jako pěstování plodin pro výživu.
ViG:  What about enlarged consumption of water during cultivation of plants and biofuel production?  ViG:  Co se zvýšenou spotřebou vody při pěstování rostlin a výrobě biopaliva? 
SoJ:  Cultivating plants for energy production does not require enlarged consumption of water. The process of biodiesel production is not water-consuming, bioethanol production requires enlarged amount of water, but not extremely large. It is mainly about cooling water that circulates during the process. SoJ:  Při pěstování rostlin pro energetické účely není zvýšena spotřeba vody. Proces výroby bionafty není náročný na spotřebu vody, výroba bioetanolu má vyšší spotřebu ne však mimořádnou. Jde hlavně o vody chladící, které se ve výrobě cirkulují
ViG:  What is energy effectivity of Czech biofuels (the ratio of depleted energy to energy which is produced from biofuels)?  ViG:  Jaká je energetická efektivita českého biopaliva (poměr energie spotřebované na výrobu biopaliva k energii vyráběné z biopaliva)? 
SoJ:  Energy demandingness of biofuel production depends on row materials used and technological level of their cultivation, then on the technology of fuel production itself, on transporting row materials and biofuels, on usage of secondary products and energy calorific capacity of mass-produced biofuels. Main installations producing biodiesel expend for producing one TOE of biodiesel (MEŘO) 21 GJ energy (incl. rape cultivation), while produced biodiesel has 61 GJ energy capacity. It means the input energy is about triply valued.Energy demandingness of bioethanol production is larger, especially when it is made from corn.

Energy demandingness of conventional oil fuels is lesser than biofuel production.

SoJ:  Energetická náročnost výroby biopaliv závisí na použitých surovinách a úrovni technologie jejich pěstování, dále na technologii výroby vlastního biopaliva, na dopravě surovin a výrobků, na využití pobočných produktů a na energetickém obsahu vyráběného biopaliva. Hlavní výrobní jednotky bionafty v ČR spotřebují na výrobu jedné tuny paliva (MEŘO) 21 GJ energie (včetně pěstování řepky) a produkují se výrobky s energetickým obsahem 61 GJ. To znamená, že vložená energie se zhodnotí téměř trojnásobně.Energetická náročnost výroby bioetanolu je vyšší zvláště při výrobě z obilí. 

Energetická náročnost klasických ropných paliv je nižší než výroba biopaliv

ViG:  How much does biofuel transporting cost in the Czech Republic?  ViG:  Kolik činí náklady na dopravu biopaliva v ČR?
SoJ:  In view of using only own feedstocks for biofuel production and due to the fact that factories producing biofuels (refineries) are situated close to users transporting expenses are minimal. In comparison with the most of EU states they are very reasonable.   SoJ:  Vzhledem k tomu, že se k výrobě biopaliv využívají zemědělské produkty vlastní produkce a výrobní jednotky biopaliv jsou instalovány v blízkosti uživatelů (rafinerie) jsou dopravní náklady minimální a proti většině států EU jsou velmi příznivé.

Abbreviations used in the Interview

k, th. = thousand

TOE = Metric Tons of Oil Equivalent

kTOE = thousand of Metric Tons of Oil Equivalent                                               

 REN21 = Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century  

(http://www.ren21.net )


Renewables are becoming more and more popular

January 23, 2010
Composed by Galina Vitkova

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) has just issued the newest information about the current renewable policy and its realisation in the form of Renewables Interactive Map (beta-version). The Map can be found on the REN21 website, at http://www.ren21.net/mapThe map contains a great deal of information on renewable energy, including support policies, expansion targets, current shares, installed capacity, current production, future scenarios, policy pledges, etc. It enables you to immediately gain by simple clicking on the country of your interest, depicted on the world geographic map, the current information about:

  • Renewables in General:
  • ♦ Policies (feed-in tariff, investment tax credits, net metering, etc)
  • ♦ Targets (final energy, primary energy, electricity, heating/cooling, etc)
  • ♦ Scenarios (before 2020, after 2020 up to 2050)
  • ♦ Others
  • Statistics (global and for individual participating countries) on geothermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, biofules (mainly ethanol)
  • Information about all kind of renewable which the country concerns (energy of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass), again for the world and for world regions
  • Technologies in use
  • And others

So the map serves as a central access-point to current renewable energy information, which is very comfortable. Moreover, you will find unknown for you concepts in the glossary accessed from the map.

REN21 has already ensured authentic information for several years, in particular through its Renewables Global Status Report. A new tool, the Renewables Interactive Map is intended to trail more closely the dynamic development of renewable energy production and market development. Furthermore, it provides disaggregated information for particular countries and technologies (see aggregated information on the topic at this blog too, About renewables position just now ).

Studying renewable energy information you improve your technical English, enjoying competent technical texts. Moreover, at the same time you gain very advantageous and comprehensive information about things which we all depend on.

Find below aggregated statistics which denote:

  • Geothermal  energy  (cumulative installed geothermal power capacity in MW)
  • Solar  energy  (cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power in MW)
  • Wind energy (cumulative  installed capacity  of wind turbines in MW)
  • Fuel ethanol (production in thousand tonnes oil equivalent).

Study the statistics of worldwide renewables adopted from http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/2009_downloads/renewables_section_2009.pdf.

Notice the column „Change 08 over 07“.  It demonstrates that in 2008 capacity of renewables installations is increase in comparison with 2007.   For example, production of ethanol in the USA increased by 42.0 % and makes 52.2 % world production of ethanol. In Europe the production increased by 50.8, but makes only 3.8 % world production of this biofuel. Statistics about usage of solar energy usage in Europe are of particular interest. For example, total increase of cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power counts up to 69.1 %, where Germany increased its solar  installed  PV power by 37.5 %(40,9 % of world total) and Spain had the growth of its solar  installed  PV power by 422.2 % (24.5 % of world total).

Geothermal  energy (MW)


Change 08 over 07
Share of total

1 042.5

6.1 %

10.0 %




7.7 %



5.1 %



0.5 %

9.2 %

New Zealand


24.4 %

5.6 %


1 780.0

18.9 %


2 998

2.1 %

28.6 %


10 469.0

4.2 %

100 %


Solar energy (MW)




Change 08 over 07
Share of total

North America

1 226.7

39.9 %

9.1 %

incl.:  USA

1 172.5

41.2 %

8.7 %

Europe (without Russian Federation)

9 614.9

92.3 %

71.5 %

 incl.: Germany

5 498.0

37.5 %

40.9 %

 incl.:  Spain

3 291.2

422.2 %

24.5 %


2 603.3

25.1 %

19.4 % 

incl.:  Japan

2 148.9

12.0 %

16.0 %


13 444.9

69.1 %

100 %


Wind  energy (MW)


Change 08 over 07
Share of total
North America  

27 940

48.6 %

22.9 %

incl.:  USA

25 237

49.5 %

20.7 %


65 998

68.2 %

54.0 %

incl.:    Germany

23 933

7.4 %

19.6 %

incl.:   Spain

16 543

12.4 %

13.5 %

Asia Pacific

26 446

59.8 %

21.6 %

incl.:  China

12 121


9.9 %

incl.:  India

9 655

23.1 %

7.9 %


122 158

29.9 %

100 %

Fuel  ethanol (thousand tonnes)


Change 08 over 07
Share of total

North America

18 154

42.0 %

52.2 %

incl.:  USA

17 460

41.3 %

50.2 %

South America

13 723

19.7 %

39.4 %

incl.:  Brasilia

13 549

20.0 %

38.2 %



50.8 %

3.8 %

Asia Pacific

1 586

10.4 %

4.6 %

incl.:  China

1 021

– 2.4 %

2.9 %


34 800

30.9 %

100 %


Note: About REN21

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century)  is a global policy network that provides a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. Its goal is to encourage the policy of development and the rapid expansion of renewable energies in developing and industrialised economies.



Short communication on multi-touch

December 27, 2009
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

It is just to attract your attention, dear colleagues and friend of Technical English, to an extremely interesting and incentive contemplation in Multi touch computing change the next generation of computer  on the blog http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/ . The post was written more than a year ago, but its challenges remains tremendous till now. It is rather long and the main points turn on the following ideas:

  • multi-touch computing technology enables to communicate with a computer using all 10 fingers, not only touching the screen by one finger.
  • Moreover, more people can touch the wall size screen simultaneously; or it could be several screens connected to one green
  • Perceptive Pixels beginning and achievements and their role in development of modern multi-touch
  • Perhaps most fundamental was exploiting an optical effect known as frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR), which is also used in fingerprint-recognition equipment.
  • Attempts and efforts made by Microsoft, Mitsubishi Wired In and other large, well-known companies are routed to find out the best solution and results of their work are astounding.

My advice – read the post and enjoy it!

            Reference:   http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/

Handwriting recognition and Windows 7

December 25, 2009
1 Comment
Compiled by Galina Vitkova

Handwriting recognition concerns the ability of a computer to get and interpret comprehensible handwritten input from paper documents, photographs, touch-screens and other devices. Two varieties of hhandwriting recognition are principally distinguished: off-line and on-line. The image of the written text may be estimated “off line” from a piece of paper by optical scanning through OCR (optical character recognition) or by IWR (intelligent word recognition). As contrasted to “off-line handwriting recognition”, under “on line handwriting recognitiona real-time digitizing tablet is used for input, for example, by a pen-based computer screen surface.

 Off-line recognition

Off-line handwriting recognition involves the automatic conversion of text into letter codes, which are usable within computer and text-processing applications. The data obtained by this form is regarded as a static representation of handwriting.

The technology is successfully used by businesses which process lots of handwritten documents, like insurance companies. The quality of recognition can be substantially increased by structuring the document, for example, by using forms.

The off-line handwriting recognition is relatively difficult because people have different handwriting styles. Nevertheless, limiting the range of input can allow recognition to be improved. For example, the ZIP code digits are generally read by computer to sort the incoming mail.

In optical character recognition (OCR) typewritten or printed text (usually captured by a scanner) is mechanically or electronically conversed into machine-editable text. When one scans a paper page into a computer, the process results in just an image file a photo of the page. Then OCR software converts it into a text or word processor file.

Intelligent Word Recognition, or IWR, is the recognition of unconstrained handwritten words. IWR recognizes entire handwritten words or phrases instead of character-by-character, like OCR. IWR technology matches handwritten or printed words to a user-defined dictionary, It leads to significantly reducing character errors encountered in typical character-based recognition engines. IWR also eliminates a large percentage of the manual data entry of handwritten documents that, in the past, could be detected only by a human.

New technology on the market utilizes IWR, OCR, and ICR (intelligent character recognition, i.e. an advanced optical character recognition) together. For example, most ICR software has a self-learning system referred to as a neural network, which automatically updates the recognition database for new handwriting patterns. All these achievements open many possibilities for the processing of documents, either constrained (hand printed or machine printed) or unconstrained (freeform cursive). Moreover, a complete handwriting recognition system, as a rule, also handles formatting, performs correct segmentation into characters and finds the most plausible words.

 On-line recognition

On-line handwriting recognition involves the automatic conversion of text as it is written on a special digitizer or a personal digital assistant (PDA), which is a mobile device, also known as a palmtop computer. PDA sensor picks up the pen-tip movements as well as pen-up/pen-down switching. The obtained signal is converted into letter codes which are usable within computer and text-processing applications.

The elements of an on-line handwriting recognition interface typically include:

  • A pen or stylus for the user to write with.
  • A touch sensitive surface, which may be integrated with, or adjacent to, an output display.
  • A software application which interprets the movements of the stylus across the writing surface, translating the resulting strokes into digital text.

Commercial products incorporating handwriting recognition as a replacement for keyboard input were introduced in the early 1980s. Since then advancements in electronics have allowed the computing power necessary for handwriting recognition to fit into a smaller form factor than tablet computers, and handwriting recognition is often used as an input method for hand-held PDAs. Modern handwriting recognition systems are often based on Time Delayed Neural Network (TDNN) classifier, nicknamed “Inferno”, built at Microsoft.

In recent years, several attempts were made to produce ink pens that include digital elements, such that a person could write on paper, and have the resulting text stored digitally. The best known of these use technology developed by Anoto (see also Discussion – The Digital Pen), which has had some success in the education market. The general success of these products is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, a number of companies develop software for digital pens based on Anoto technology.







Handwriting in Windows 7

According to Mountain View, CA, December 1, 2009 – PhatWare Corporation announces the launch of the latest version of PenOffice (PenOffice 3.3), which works with Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. PhatWare Corporation is a leading provider of software products and professional services for mobile and desktop computers. Its new product offers customers enhanced security and innovative user interface features. PenOffice 3.3 is an advanced pen-enabled collaboration and handwriting recognition software for Microsoft Windows-based computers. It can be used with any pointing input device, such as graphic tablet, interactive while board, touch screen monitor, Tablet PC, online digital pen, and even standard computer mouse.

In compliance with Stan Miasnikov, president of PhatWare Corp. “Making application compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 helps us offer our customers compelling benefits, including intuitive user interfaces such as pen-based collaboration, improved security and reliability features, full support for multi-core processing, and sophisticated configuration and management features to improve mobile working.”

Although handwriting recognition is an input form that the public has become accustomed to, it has not achieved widespread use in either desktop computers or laptops. It is still generally accepted that keyboard input is both faster and more reliable. As of 2006many PDAs offer handwriting input, sometimes even accepting natural cursive handwriting, but accuracy is still a problem, and some people still find even a simple on-screen keyboard more efficient.


Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/


Multi-touch functions of Windows 7

December 18, 2009
                                                                                                 Compiled by Galina Vitkova

Already in 2007 Windows 7 were said to have new touch features. An overview of the multi-touch capabilities, including a virtual piano program, a mapping and directions program and a touch-aware version of Paint, was demonstrated at the All Things Digital Conference on May 27, 2008. A video demonstrating the multi-touch capabilities was later made available on the web.

Let us specify some necessary term. A touchscreen is a display that can detect the presence and location of a touch by a finger or hand within the display area. The touchscreen has two main properties. First, it enables one to interact with what is displayed directly on the screen. Second, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device, again, like a stylus, for instance. Such displays can be attached to computers or, as terminals, to networks. They also play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices, mobile phones, and video games.

Multi-Touch, which is a trademark of Apple, Inc., concerns the same technology that allows the user to interact with the device by placing two or more fingers directly onto the surface of the screen. The movement of the fingers across the screen creates gestures, which send commands to the device.

Gesture recognition is topically used in computer science and language technology for goal interpreting human gestures via mathematical algorithms. Gestures can originate from any bodily motion or state but commonly originate from the face or hand. Current focuses in the field include emotion recognition from the face and hand gesture recognition. The gesture recognition can be seen as a way for computers to begin to understand human body language. Thus it may build a more sophisticated connection between machines and humans than primitive text user interfaces or even GUIs (graphical user interfaces), which still embraces the majority of input to keyboard and mouse.

However, the gesture recognition enables humans to interface with the machine (HMI) and interact naturally without any mechanical devices. Using the concept of gesture recognition, it is possible to point a finger at the computer screen so that the cursor will move accordingly. This could potentially make conventional input devices such as mouse, keyboards and even touch-screens redundant. Finally, gesture recognition can be conducted with techniques from computer vision and image processing.

In general, multi-touch requires a touch screen (screen, overlay, table, wall, etc.) or touchpad, as well as software that recognizes multiple simultaneous touch points, as opposed to the single touch screen, which recognizes only one touch point. This effect is achieved through a variety of means, including heat, finger pressure, high capture rate cameras, infrared light, optic capture, tuned electromagnetic induction, ultrasonic receivers, transducer microphones, laser rangefinders, and shadow capture.

Although the first hints and discussions of multi-touch technology appeared already at the end of 20th century, mainstream exposure to this technology occurred in 2007, when Apple unveiled the iPhone and Microsoft debuted surface computing. The iPhone in particular has spawned a wave of interest in multi-touch computing because it permits greatly increased user interaction on a small scale. Gradually more robust and user-friendly multi-touch and gesture-based solutions have been becoming available.

Windows 7 is the first version of Windows that supports multi-touch without the addition of third party add-ons.(See for more details Multi-Touch Systems that I Have Known and Loved by Bill Buxton). The operating system is known to have a multi-touch mapping application, photo viewing program, and incorporation in Internet Explorer 8. In January 2009, Microsoft joined with other investors who invested twenty-four million dollars in N-Trig Ltd., which plans to make computer hardware that takes advantage of Windows 7’s multi-touch support.

In the end let´s put some notes on a touch-aware version of Paint (formerly Paintbrush for Windows). It is a simple graphics painting program that has been included with all versions of Microsoft Windows. It is often referred to as MS Paint or Microsoft Paint. The program opens and saves files as Windows bitmap with the .bmp extension, JPEG, GIF (without animation), PNG (without alpha channel), and TIFF (without the multiple pages). The program can be in colour mode or two-colour black-and-white, but there is no grayscale mode. For its simplicity, it rapidly became one of the most used applications in the early versions of Windows and still has strong associations with the immediate usability of the old Windows workspace.

The Windows 7 version of paint makes use of the Ribbon UI (User Inteface).   In GUI-based application software, a ribbon is an interface where a set of toolbars are placed on tabs in a tab bar. Recent releases of some Microsoft applications have comprised this form with an tricky modular ribbon as their main interface. The Ribbon can also contain tabs to expose different sets of control elements eliminating the need for a lot of different icon based toolbars.

It similarly provides “artistic” brushes composed of varying shades of gray and some transparency that give a more realistic result. In order to increase feeling of the realism, the oil and water colour brushes can only paint for a small distance before the user must re-click. This gives the illusion that the paint brush has run out of paint. It l has anti-aliased shapes as well, which can be resized freely until they are rasterised when another tool is selected. This version supports viewing (but not saving) transparent PNG and ICO file formats and saves in the PNG file format by default.


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –  http://en.wikipedia.org

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