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Wave technology could provide thousands of households with energy

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Engineers have developed wave energy technology that could help to produce low-cost electricity for thousands of households.

In an announcement Wednesday, the University of Edinburgh said that the device could convert wave power into electricity and had been designed “to be incorporated into existing ocean energy systems.”

Experiments in an ocean simulator have shown that one full-size device was able to produce the equivalent of 500 kilowatts, the university added. This represents enough electricity for roughly 100 houses.

The device, called a Dielectric Elastomer Generator, uses flexible rubber membranes and can fit on the top of vertical tubes.

According to the university, when these tubes are put in the sea, they partially fill with water that “rises and falls with wave motion.”

The university adds that when waves pass the tube, the water inside it pushes trapped air which in turn inflates and deflates a generator at the top of the device. While the membrane inflates, a voltage is produced, which increases when the membrane deflates, producing electricity.

“Wave energy is a potentially valuable resource around Scotland’s coastline, and developing systems that harness this could play a valuable role in producing clean energy for future generations,” David Ingram, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, said in a statement Wednesday.

The study was undertaken in collaboration with researchers at the University of Trento, University of Bologna and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa in Italy. It was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A and supported by Wave Energy Scotland and the European Union Horizon 2020 program.

The European Commission has described “ocean energy” as being both abundant and renewable. Ocean energy could potentially contribute around 10 percent of the European Union’s power demand by 2050, according to the Commission.

In addition to the work being carried out at Edinburgh, the U.K. is home to a number of interesting marine based renewable energy projects.

In August 2018, for example, Scotrenewables Tidal Power, which is now known as Orbital Marine Power, announced that a tidal turbine had generated record levels of power production in its first year of testing at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, Scotland.

The 2 megawatt SR2000 turbine produced more than 3 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity in less than 12 months, according to the firm.

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Ant Financial agrees to buy UK-based currency exchange WorldFirst

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Chinese consumer finance giant Ant Financial has agreed to acquire UK-based currency exchange WorldFirst, an Ant Financial spokeswoman said on Thursday.

WorldFirst CEO Jonathan Quin said in a letter sent out to clients that was seen by Reuters that the company “will continue to operate as a UK-headquartered and regulated business with global operations” while becoming a wholly-owned division of Ant Financial.

Ant Financial declined to disclose the terms of the purchase.

Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company.

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UK growth won’t hit the Bank of England’s target: Economist

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The United Kingdom’s growth rate will likely fall below the central bank’s forecast this year, according to one economist, who believes that interest rates could also be cut if Brexit talks continue to head south.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Monday, ING’s chief economist and head of research for Asia-Pacific based these predictions on the state of the current negotiations between Britain and the EU, and how the U.K. economy is “looking quite bad on all fronts.”

“(Growth of less than 1.2 percent) looks pretty likely, judging just by the way that the economy seems to finally be waking up to what’s about to happen to it. Consumers are sort of retrenching, the housing market is looking dismal, business investment isn’t really happening,” said Rob Carnell.

The Bank of England sharply downgraded its 2019 economic outlook to 1.2 percent last week. As recently as November, the Bank had projected growth of 1.7 percent this year.

“I think there’s a case for a (rate) cut later this year were things to really seriously deteriorate in the face of a bad Brexit deal … (a) bad Brexit deal basically being any deal that took us out of the EU, in my personal view,” Carnell added.

The Brexit impasse continues to drag as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to negotiate a deal with both the U.K. Parliament and her European counterparts.

Later Thursday, the U.K. leader and lawmakers will be in Parliament to debate the next steps for the Brexit process, as the March 29 deadline for the country to leave the European Union draws closer.

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