Environment

07 Avr Significant Gas Fired Generation Required During Transition To Zero Carbon

Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE)
2021
National Energy and Climate Plan, Download file The Irish Government has adopted a challenging target of having 70% of the country’s electricity produced from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar) by 2030. In its newly published report, ‘The Challenge of High Levels of Renewable Electricity in Ireland’s Electricity System’ The Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE), seeks to identify the risks in the transition to renewable electricity and recommend prudent actions by policy makers. There is broad agreement that long term decarbonisation of the planet’s energy systems requires a major shift to electricity as an energy vector. Ireland is planning to have nine hundred thousand electric vehicles on the road by 2030 as well as six hundred thousand heat pumps. Don Moore says “In this context, a failure of the power system would have a catastrophic effect on normal economic life. In order to maintain necessary reliability standards while replacing coal, oil and peat generation, Ireland will require significant gas fired generation for the next two decades.” Gas consumption will reduce as generating units will operate with lower load factors, but peak gas demand for power generation will be significantly more than today. Don Moore states that “Power system reliability is therefore critically dependent on secure primary energy supplies (natural gas) to the Island of Ireland”. By 2030, the island of Ireland will be almost totally dependent on Great Britain (GB) for its gas supply. GB in turn will import up to 75% of its gas due to declining North Sea production. In the Academy’s view, developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Ireland is highly advisable to ensure secure, diverse and cost-effective gas supplies. There are several major LNG exporting counties, such as Qatar, Algeria, Nigeria, and Russia which have enormous gas reserves, and Don Moore says “ Ireland is one of the very few maritime countries in Europe which does not have an LNG import facility”. The global LNG market is now extremely competitive with over 20 exporting countries and more than 40 importing countries. Alternatives to gas fired generation to support 70% renewable electricity have been proposed, these include: • Pumped Hydro Storage • Compressed Air Storage • Battery Storage • Carbon Capture and Storage • Increased Interconnection • Hydrogen Fuel Options • Biofuels • Marine Energy (Wave/Tidal) • Nuclear Power The Academy’s considered conclusion is that none of these options can be implemented on a scale that would significantly reduce Ireland’s gas fired generation by 2030.
Read More

28 Mai Engineering a low carbon built environment: The discipline of Building Engineering Physics

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2010
This report presents an overview of the field of building engineering physics and identifies opportunities for developments that will benefit society as a whole, as well as employers, universities, professional engineering institutions and in particular professionals who are following careers with building engineering physics as the basis. The report makes key recommendations for Government policy, academic and industry research directions and professional development in the field to achieve the skill levels necessary to deliver mass market low carbon buildings.
Read More

28 Oct Municipal Solid Waste: What to do with the biodegradables?

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2010
Based on the disciplines of biology, molecular biology, chemistry, biotechnology as well as information technology and engineering sciences, a new field of research is evolving, called synthetic biology. It has attracted special attention recently, also on an international basis. Synthetic biology can make an essential contribution to the gaining of knowledge in basic research. Beyond that, it opens up options for biotechnological applications in the medium term, i.e. in the area of new and improved diagnostic agents, vaccines and drugs as well as the development of new biosensors and biomaterials or even biofuels. Concurrently, the research area opens up new questions, e.g. about legal aspects in the context of biological safety or the protection from abuse; likewise, questions about the economic use and ethical aspects. Against this backdrop, the German Research Foundation (DFG), acatech, which is the German Academy for Science and Engineering, and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina have pooled their strengths and crafted a joint statement on possible opportunities and risks of synthetic biology.
Read More

21 Oct Strategy of Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Slovenia (50 pages)

Engineering Academy of Slovenia (IAS)
2012
Analysis of educational system in Slovenia and Research, development and innovative achievements of Slovenia has now become an annual task and receives and generates substantial interest from interested parties. In 2012 it has been upgraded to Strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Slovenia. It contains propositions that connect engineering, industry, innovation, research, economy, environment, sustainability for further development of Slovenia.
Read More

21 Oct Technology Highway – Consensus for an Innovative Slovenia (104 pages)

Engineering Academy of Slovenia (IAS)
2012
Knowledge is the only way out of the economic crisis, is the foreword of the collection of articles  of speakers at the conference “Technology Highway - Consensus for an Innovative Slovenia”, organised by the Slovenian Academy of Engineering. The conference has discussed on the Strategy of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Slovenia, the Euro-CASE Innovation platform and Horizon 2020. The collection of articles presents contributions of five speakers at the conference.
Read More

18 Oct Drought, even in Flanders?

Belgium Academies (ARB)
2009
Industry, agriculture and households as well as nature lay claims to the fresh water supplies. Mainly because of the high population density in Flanders the mean water availability per capita is low, to the extent that during certain periods water scarcity occurs. The effects of climate change are expected to worsen the situation. Apart from promoting a water saving attitude, the re-use of water and the use of precipitation have to be encouraged. By establishing quotas for groundwater abstraction, introducing an adjusted concession granting policy and a steering water pricepolicy, groundwater bodies being at poor quantitative status may be improved, whilst those who are at good status may stay in equilibrium. Urban and space planning should support the groundwater recharge, among other things by aiming at increased infiltration.
Read More

18 Oct Global Water Security – an engineering perspective

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2010
This report addresses water security as a global issue as well as considering the situation of the UK in that context.  It makes the following six recommendations:  1. Inter-governmental bodies and key discussion fora must elevate the issues of water security in their strategies. 2. Water security should become a core component of UK policy making. 3. UK industry must show leadership on global water security. 4. The regulation of the water sector globally needs to have integrated water resource management and sustainability informed by a systems approach at its core. 5. The Government should bolster investment in the research and development of solutions to global water security.  6. The UK engineering institutions should ensure that their global memberships are appropriately equipped, through professional development, to apply a systems led approach to water engineering, incorporating the technical, geo-political, societal and ethical dimensions of the challenge.
Read More

18 Oct Rare Metals

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
Through their increasing use in innovative technical products our society is dependent upon rare metals as never before. It is unclear how the rising demand can be satisfied in the future. Workable deposits of rare metals are often restricted to just a few regions, resulting in political and economical critical dependencies. Generally, moreover, rare materials are not mined in isolation, but occur as by-products of the extraction of other elements. Thus the availability of rare materials is not just influenced by the direct demand for a specific element. An added complication is that rare metals are nowadays only recycled to a limited extent. The concrete examples in this paper show that the way we handle rare materials today could lead to critical situations in the future. We therefore need to find more sustainable ways of handling them. This will require a better understanding of the corresponding material cycles and specific, coordinated measures anchored in international institutions.
Read More

18 Oct Is nano sustainable?

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
If we are to achieve sustainability and meet the great challenges of our time, such as climate change or the increasing scarcity of resources, we have to have the will as well as the right instruments. These latter undoubtedly include technical innovations. And today the nanotechnologies are delivering these many times over. Thanks to synthetic nanoparticles, harmful substances can now be replaced with harmless ones; resource and energy-intensive processes are becoming more efficient. It is important, however, to recognize at an early stage the possible risks that could ensue from nanotechnologies, and to carefully evaluate these risks and discuss them openly. Switzerland is making every endeavour to ensure that nanotechnologies are used safely, thereby helping this discipline to find long-term success
Read More