Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Search results for: Despina Yiakoumi

7 Competitivity in Procurement Multi-Unit Discrete Clock Auctions: An Experimental Investigation

Authors: Despina Yiakoumi, Agathe Rouaix


Laboratory experiments were run to investigate the impact of different design characteristics of the auctions, which have been implemented to procure capacity in the UK’s reformed electricity markets. The experiment studies competition among bidders in procurement multi-unit discrete descending clock auctions under different feedback policies and pricing rules. Theory indicates that feedback policy in combination with the two common pricing rules; last-accepted bid (LAB) and first-rejected bid (FRB), could affect significantly the auction outcome. Two information feedback policies regarding the bidding prices of the participants are considered; with feedback and without feedback. With feedback, after each round participants are informed of the number of items still in the auction and without feedback, after each round participants have no information about the aggregate supply. Under LAB, winning bidders receive the amount of the highest successful bid and under the FRB the winning bidders receive the lowest unsuccessful bid. Based on the theoretical predictions of the alternative auction designs, it was decided to run three treatments. First treatment considers LAB with feedback; second treatment studies LAB without feedback; third treatment investigates FRB without feedback. Theoretical predictions of the game showed that under FRB, the alternative feedback policies are indifferent to the auction outcome. Preliminary results indicate that LAB with feedback and FRB without feedback achieve on average higher clearing prices in comparison to the LAB treatment without feedback. However, the clearing prices under LAB with feedback and FRB without feedback are on average lower compared to the theoretical predictions. Although under LAB without feedback theory predicts the clearing price will drop to the competitive equilibrium, experimental results indicate that participants could still engage in cooperative behavior and drive up the price of the auction. It is showed, both theoretically and experimentally, that the pricing rules and the feedback policy, affect the bidding competitiveness of the auction by providing opportunities to participants to engage in cooperative behavior and exercise market power. LAB without feedback seems to be less vulnerable to market power opportunities compared to the alternative auction designs. This could be an argument for the use of LAB pricing rule in combination with limited feedback in the UK capacity market in an attempt to improve affordability for consumers.

Keywords: descending clock auctions, experiments, feedback policy, market design, multi-unit auctions, pricing rules, procurement auctions

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6 Production of Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide Fuel Gas From Pine Needles

Authors: Despina Vamvuka, Despina Pentari


Forestry wastes are readily available in large quantities around the world. Based on European Green Deal for the deployment of renewable and decarbonized energy by 2050, as well as global energy crisis, energy recovery from such wastes reducing greenhouse gas emissions is very attractive. Gasification has superior environmental performance to combustion, producing a clean fuel gas utilized in internal combustion engines, gas turbines, solid oxide fuel cells, or for synthesis of liquid bio-fuels and value-added chemicals. In this work, pine needles, which are abundantly found in Mediterranean countries, were gasified by either steam or carbon dioxide via a two-step process to improve reactivity and eliminate tar, employing a fixed bed unit and a thermal analysis system. Solid, liquid and gaseous products from the whole process were characterized and their energy potential was determined. Thermal behaviour, reactivity, conversion and energy recovery were examined. The gasification process took place above 650°C. At 950°C conversion and energy recovery were 77% dry and 2 under a flow of steam and 85% dry and 2.9 under a flow of carbon dioxide, respectively. Organic matter was almost completely converted to syngas, the yield of which varied between 89% and 99%. The higher heating values of biochar, bio-oil and pyrolysis gas were 27.8 MJ/kg, 33.5 MJ/kg and 13.6 MJ/m3. Upon steam or carbon dioxide gasification, the higher heating value of syngas produced was 11.5 MJ/m3 and 12.7 MJ/m3, respectively.

Keywords: gasification, biomass, steam, carbon dioxide

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5 Atmospheric Circulation Drivers Of Nationally-Aggregated Wind Energy Production Over Greece

Authors: Kostas Philippopoulos, Chris G. Tzanis, Despina Deligiorgi


Climate change adaptation requires the exploitation of renewable energy sources such as wind. However, climate variability can affect the regional wind energy potential and consequently the available wind power production. The goal of the research project is to examine the impact of atmospheric circulation on wind energy production over Greece. In the context of synoptic climatology, the proposed novel methodology employs Self-Organizing Maps for grouping and classifying the atmospheric circulation and nationally-aggregated capacity factor time series for a 30-year period. The results indicate the critical effect of atmospheric circulation on the national aggregated wind energy production values and therefore address the issue of optimum distribution of wind farms for a specific region.

Keywords: wind energy, atmospheric circulation, capacity factor, self-organizing maps

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4 Liver Histopathological Findings after Treatment with Anastrazole and Letrozole in Ovariectomized Rats

Authors: Ioannis Boutas, Vasilios Pergialiotis, Nicolaos Salakos, George Agrogiannis, Panagiotis Konstantopoulos, Laskarina-Maria Korou, Theodoros Kalampokas, Odysseas Gregoriou, George Creatsas, Despina Perrea


Introduction: The effect of third generation aromatase inhibitors in the lipid profile among women with breast cancer, present diversities. It has been also shown that low levels of estrogens affect liver metabolism in mice in numerous ways, such as lipid accumulation and hepatic steatosis. Materials and Methods: Forty-five female Wistar rats underwent surgical ovariectomy. The animals were anesthetized with a combination of ketamine (75 mg/kg) and xylazine (10 mg/kg) which were administered intraperitoneally. After the ovariectomy, the operated animals were randomized in three groups. The first group did not receive any drug regimen (ovariectomized control group). The second group received Anastrazole and the third group received Letrozole. Four months after the initiation of the study, the animals were euthanized and livers were dissected immediately for further histopathological analysis. The histological features were grouped into 4 broad categories: steatosis, ballooning, portal inflammation and lobular activity. A score from 0 (absence) to 3 (severe) was assigned to each parameter. Results: The liver pathology analysis revealed significant differences among groups with favored mild steatosis and ballooning among animals that received Anastrazole or Letrozole. Conclusion: The effect of Anastrazole and Letrozole on liver function have not yet been clarified. In our study mild histological liver alterations seem also to occur and these alterations should be taken in mind in future clinical studies

Keywords: anastrazole, letrozole, liver, rats

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3 Exploring Salient Shifts and Transdiagnostic Factors in Eating Disordered Women

Authors: Francesca Favero, Despina Learmonth


Carbohydrate addiction is said to be the sustained dependence on hyperpalatable foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar. This addiction manifests in increased consumption of carbohydrates through binging: a behaviour typically associated with eating disorders. There is a lack of consensus amongst relevant experts as to whether carbohydrates are physiologically or psychologically addictive. With an increased focus on carbohydrate addiction, an outpatient treatment programme, HELP, has been established in Cape Town, South Africa, to specifically address this issue. This research aimed to explore, pre-and post-intervention, the possible presence of, and subsequent shifts in, the maintaining mechanisms identified in the transdiagnostic model for eating disorders. However, the potential for the emergence of other perpetuating factors was not discounted and the nature of the analysis allowed for this possibility. Eight women between the ages of twenty-two and fifty, who had completed the outpatient treatment programme in the last six months, were interviewed. They were asked to speak retrospectively about their personal difficulties, eating and food, and their experience of the treatment. Thematic analysis was employed to identify themes arising from the data. Five themes congruent with the transdiagnostic model’s factors emerged: over-evaluation of weight and shape, core low self-esteem, interpersonal difficulties, clinical perfectionism and mood intolerance. A variety of sub-themes, elaborating upon the various ways in which the disordered eating was maintained, also emerged from the data. Shifts in these maintaining mechanisms were identified. Although not necessarily indicative of recovery, the results suggest that the outpatient HELP programme had a positive overall influence on the participants; and that the transdiagnostic model may be useful in understanding and guiding the treatment of clients who engage in this type of treatment programme.

Keywords: eating disorders, binge eating disorder, carbohydrate addiction, transdiagnostic model, maintaining mechanisms, thematic analysis, outpatient treatment

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2 Male Sex Workers’ Constructions of Selling Sex in South Africa

Authors: Tara Panday, Despina Learmonth


Sex work is often constructed as being an interaction between male clients and female sex workers. As a result, street-based male sex workers are continuously overlooked in the South African literature. This qualitative study explored male sex workers’ subjective experiences and constructions of their male clients’ identities and the client-sex worker relationship. This research was conducted from a social-constructionist perspective, which allowed for a deeper understanding of the reasons and context driving the choices and actions of male sex workers. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 South African men working as sex workers in Cape Town. Data was analysed through thematic analysis. The findings of the study construct the client-sex worker relationship in terms of a professional relationship, constrained choice, sexual identity and need, as well as companionship for pay, potentially highlighting underlying reasons for supply and demand. The data which emerged around the client-sex worker relationship and the clients’ identities also served to illuminate the power-dynamics in the client-sex worker relationship. This data increases insight into the exploitation and disempowerment experienced by male sex workers through verbal abuse, physical and sexual violence, and unfairly enforced laws and regulations. The findings of this study suggest that, in the context of South Africa, male sex workers' experiences of the client-sex worker relationship cannot be completely understood without considering the intersectionality of the triple stigmatisation of: the criminality of sex work, race, and the lack of economic power, which systematically maintains marginalization. Motivating for the Law Reform Commission to continue to review all emerging research may assist with guiding related policy and thereby, the provision of equal human rights and adequate health and social interventions for all sex workers in South Africa.

Keywords: human rights, prostitution, power relations, sex work

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1 Implementing the WHO Air Quality Guideline for PM2.5 Worldwide can Prevent Millions of Premature Deaths Per Year

Authors: Despina Giannadaki, Jos Lelieveld, Andrea Pozzer, John Evans


Outdoor air pollution by fine particles ranks among the top ten global health risk factors that can lead to premature mortality. Epidemiological cohort studies, mainly conducted in United States and Europe, have shown that the long-term exposure to PM2.5 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5μm) is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. Fine particulates can cause health impacts even at very low concentrations. Previously, no concentration level has been defined below which health damage can be fully prevented. The World Health Organization ambient air quality guidelines suggest an annual mean PM2.5 concentration limit of 10μg/m3. Populations in large parts of the world, especially in East and Southeast Asia, and in the Middle East, are exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution that by far exceeds the World Health Organization guidelines. The aim of this work is to evaluate the implementation of recent air quality standards for PM2.5 in the EU, the US and other countries worldwide and estimate what measures will be needed to substantially reduce premature mortality. We investigated premature mortality attributed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under adults ≥ 30yrs and children < 5yrs, applying a high-resolution global atmospheric chemistry model combined with epidemiological concentration-response functions. The latter are based on the methodology of the Global Burden of Disease for 2010, assuming a ‘safe’ annual mean PM2.5 threshold of 7.3μg/m3. We estimate the global premature mortality by PM2.5 at 3.15 million/year in 2010. China is the leading country with about 1.33 million, followed by India with 575 thousand and Pakistan with 105 thousand. For the European Union (EU) we estimate 173 thousand and the United States (US) 52 thousand in 2010. Based on sensitivity calculations we tested the gains from PM2.5 control by applying the air quality guidelines (AQG) and standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), the EU, the US and other countries. To estimate potential reductions in mortality rates we take into consideration the deaths that cannot be avoided after the implementation of PM2.5 upper limits, due to the contribution of natural sources to total PM2.5 and therefore to mortality (mainly airborne desert dust). The annual mean EU limit of 25μg/m3 would reduce global premature mortality by 18%, while within the EU the effect is negligible, indicating that the standard is largely met and that stricter limits are needed. The new US standard of 12μg/m3 would reduce premature mortality by 46% worldwide, 4% in the US and 20% in the EU. Implementing the AQG by the WHO of 10μg/m3 would reduce global premature mortality by 54%, 76% in China and 59% in India. In the EU and US, the mortality would be reduced by 36% and 14%, respectively. Hence, following the WHO guideline will prevent 1.7 million premature deaths per year. Sensitivity calculations indicate that even small changes at the lower PM2.5 standards can have major impacts on global mortality rates.

Keywords: air quality guidelines, outdoor air pollution, particulate matter, premature mortality

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