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Applications of copper help address the Middle East’s challenges in driving sustainable growth

United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, March 01 - 2011 @ 11:08

Ravinder Bhan, Principal Consultant of TPS Management Consultants and Local representatives for International Copper Association, said: “Sustainable developmental initiatives are the key focus of governments in the Middle East region, with an emphasis on managing the region’s environmental impact and reducing its carbon footprint.”

He added: “Copper has proven competencies in addressing several modern-day challenges, and has immense practical application in various sectors – from construction to aquaculture and healthcare. The advantages of copper applications are in increased resistance, durability, high electrical and thermal conductivity and ease of recycling.”

Copper and its alloys have been recycled for thousands of years, making copper one of the most environmentally friendly materials. Copper also has incomparable mechanical properties like malleability, ductility and corrosion resistance which make its position unique for electrical and thermal applications. Some of the emerging opportunities for the application of copper include: electrical propulsion, renewable energy, aquaculture, and hygienic surfaces for enhanced healthcare.

Heavy construction and automotive sectors are among the markets in the region employing electrical propulsion technology, of which Copper is an integral component. Automotive electrical propulsion systems are undergoing substantial development and moving away from relatively simple electric motor-based systems toward more highly engineered, compact, and efficient approaches. Copper components also have application in power electronics, and the infrastructure to support the recharging of electrical vehicles.

Copper plays an important role in clean energy systems, particularly in generators, power electronics, cabling, controls and protective devices used in wind, tidal, biofuel, wave, geothermal, and solar thermal plants. Solar photovoltaic systems need copper for power transport, grounding, switchgear, and control system components. Ocean-based systems can benefit from copper alloys’ resistance to biofouling and corrosion. Newer systems will need to be even more efficient and have a low environmental impact.

Fish farming is a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar global industry and has a growing footprint in the Middle East region. Copper alloy marine aquaculture cages are emerging as a powerful solution to significant problems facing the industry. Typical cages constructed from synthetic materials with anti-fouling coatings become encrusted with marine organisms after several months of use. This fouling diminishes the flow of clean oxygenated water to the fish and provides an environment where parasites and pathogens can thrive. The combination of copper alloys’ antifouling, antibacterial properties, and mechanical strength address these issues.

Copper-rich surfaces inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens and fungi. This nearly unique and extremely valuable property offers application potential for copper and/or copper alloys as touch surfaces, in air conditioning systems, and perhaps for other uses. In particular, frequently handled medical equipment, furnishings, and touch surfaces in health care facilities and public buildings can be made from copper to reduce transmission of pathogens, including dangerous multi-drug resistant organisms. Air quality inside buildings can be improved by the incorporation of copper antimicrobial surfaces in air handling equipment.

High-efficiency transformers are a mature technology with their economic and environmental benefits clearly demonstrated. While their higher initial cost can be more than recovered by reduced running costs, many distribution transformers are still chosen on the basis of the purchasing price.

Energy losses throughout the world’s electrical Transmission and Distribution (T&D) networks amount to approximately 21% of the all the electricity. While a certain amount of energy is unavoidable being consumed for passing the electricity to the end point, a significant reduction in the losses can be achieved by an informed choice of the material for conducting electricity. Copper is known to have about 30% less loss than competing materials in the T&D networks. In addition, it is also recommended to adopt copper as the preferred choice of winding material because of low creep, and easy and reliable jointing. Higher energy efficient transformers, motors, and T&D networks would not just reduce the electricity consumption but would assist in a cutback of carbon dioxide emissions reducing the overall carbon footprint of the region.

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Tuesday, March 1- 2011 @ 11:08 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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