European business news in short

In this week’s European business news in short, an Italian supermarket chain is to start using plastic made from corn, Shell increases its solar empire, and new software modelling for the Danube.


IPER, a supermarket chain based in northern Italy is launching a natural-based packaging alternative – NatureWorks PLA – for their thermoform containers and heat-sealable film overlays. Made from annually-renewable materials, such as corn, the plastic is the first commercially viable, renewable resource-based polymer to be used in large-scale commercial applications, say developers Cargill Dow LLC. IPER states that the containers will be available in mid-summer 2002 to distribute fresh food.

Shell Renewables has announced the conclusion of the acquisition of all the shares held by Siemens AG and E.ON Energie AG in the former solar photovoltaic (PV) joint venture, Siemens und Shell Solar GmBH. According to Philippe de Renzy-Martin, Executive Vice President of Shell Solar, the company now combines state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe and North America with sales organisations on all continents.

Finally, WL/Delft Hydraulics has stated that as part of its participation in the Centre of Excellence project for the Danube Delta National Institute in Romania, the company will be carrying out three main tasks. These are: the improvement of the present SOBEK-CF software model in order to obtain reliable estimates of water flow between reedbeds and lakes in the Danube Delta; improvement of the present SOBEK-WQ model by implementing the new hydrological information; and provision of a maintenance contract for SOBEK for 2002.

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