Department of Engineering / News / Engineering for a low carbon future seminar series - Michaelmas term 2009

Department of Engineering

Engineering for a low carbon future seminar series - Michaelmas term 2009

Engineering for a low carbon future seminar series - Michaelmas term 2009

Pilgrim Beart, Entrepreneur and co-founder of AlertMe

This series aims to share ideas between engineering disciplines about potential technological responses to climate change. The series will run generally on Wednesdays from 5.00-6.00 in Lecture Room 4, and includes speakers from the Department as well as external speakers.

ELCF forthcoming seminars - Michaelmas term 2009


Nick Collings

T2: How adding intelligence can dramatically reduce energy consumption – cheaply

Pilgrim Beart

Entrepreneur and Co-founder – AlertMe

Wednesday 14 October, 5-6 PM (Lecture Room 4)

Pilgrim Beart is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of AlertMe.com. AlertMe aims to be the “conductor” of Smart Energy within the home – it provides a home area network which co-ordinates microgen, appliances, conventional boilers, controls, displays, sensors and smart meters and puts all of this online where it can easily be managed and controlled by consumers. AlertMe is looking to collaborate with academia, sponsoring trials and rapidly moving the state of the art forward.


PAS 2050: The BSI/Defra/Carbon Trust Specification for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Products and Services

Professor Roland Clift CBE FREng

Centre for Environmental Strategy-University of Surrey

President of the International Society for Industrial Ecology

Wednesday 28 October, 5-6 PM (Lecture Room 4)

In October 2008, the British Standards Institute (BSI) together with the UK Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Carbon Trust published a specification, known as “PAS 2050”, for calculating the emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) associated with consumer products and services. The PAS 2050 approach is already being taken up in many countries around the world. This talk, presented by a member of the technical steering committee for drafting PAS 2050, will explain the background and objectives of the approach, the methodological basis for the specification, and the ways in which “carbon labels” are likely to affect the management of supply chains.

Roland Clift is an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technology and founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey; previously Head of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey. He is Visiting Professor in Environmental System Analysis at Chalmers University, Göteborg , Sweden, Adjunct Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, President of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, and a Vice President of Environmental Protection UK. He is a non-executive Director of the Blackrock New Energy Investment Trust, a member of Rolls-Royce’ Environmental Advisory Board and of the International Expert Group on application of Life Cycle Assessment to waste management. From 1996 to 2005 he was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP). In 2004-5, he acted as Expert Adviser to a House of Lords enquiry into energy efficiency. He is a past member of the UK Eco-labelling Board and of the Royal Society/Royal Academy Working Group set up at the instigation of DTI to examine the risk and regulatory issues raised by nanotechnology. His research is concerned with system approaches to environmental management and industrial ecology, including life cycle assessment and energy systems.


photo of Jon Cullen

Engineering Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency

Jon Cullen

Research Associate – University of Cambridge

Wednesday 11 November, 5-6 PM (Lecture Room 4)

Using energy more efficiently is essential if carbon emissions are to be reduced. Yet, which efficiency options should be prioritised? Should efforts be focused on raising the efficiency of light bulbs or diesel engines, insulating houses or improving coal-fired power stations? This research presents a rational basis for assessing the potential of all future developments in energy efficiency. This is achieved by tracing the flow of energy through the global energy network and finding the theoretical and practical efficiency limits for the technical devices which transform energy. The results show a significant opportunity to improve global energy efficiency and enables research and policy decisions to be directed towards the actions that will in the long-term make the most difference.

Jonathan is a Research Associate in the Low Carbon and Material Processing group at Cambridge University Engineering Department, and a Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College. He has a BEng in chemical and process engineering (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development (University of Cambridge) and has recently completed his doctoral thesis entitled Engineering Fundamentals of Energy Efficiency (University of Cambridge). Jonathan previously worked for five years in industry as Process Engineer and a further four years in Lima, Peru as a consultant in development engineering. He is currently working as part of a five year project, WellMet2050, which aims to identify and validate all means to halve global carbon emissions from the production of steel and aluminium goods, against a projected doubling in demand.


photo of Martin McBrien

Cambridge University Eco-Racing: Solar Cars

Martin McBrien

Cambridge University Eco Racing Founder – Sagentia Technology Consulting Firm

Wednesday 25 November, 5-6 PM (Lecture Room 4)

Martin McBrien founded Cambridge University Eco Racing in Jan 2007, and led the team through the development of their first vehicle, Affinity. He studied at MIT in 2006-2007 as part of the Cambridge-MIT Exchange Programme and graduated from Cambridge with an MEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering in June 2008. Martin now works at Cambridge technology consulting firm Sagentia.

Martin discusses the progress CUER has made from the team’s formation in 2007 through to its first major competition, the World Solar Challenge in Australia. He will also discuss the applications of solar car technology and whether we will all be driving around using the power of the sun in the future.


David Faiman

Concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV) for Europe: Economics, Technical and Social Issues

David Faiman

Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) – Ben Gurion National Solar Energy Centre

Monday 7 December, 5-6 PM (Lecture Room 4)

Professor David Faiman was born and educated in the UK. He has a BSc in Physics from Queen Mary College, London, and a PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He has had various post doctoral appointments at Oxford University, CERN (Geneva) and the Weizmann Institute (Israel), and joined Ben-Gurion University in 1976. He helped establish its Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Sede Boqer. There, David set up a solar energy research group that gradually grew into the Department of Solar Energy & Environmental Physics. In 1986 the government of Israel established the National Solar Energy Center at Sede Boqer, and in 1991 David was appointed its director. He presently heads both the Department and the Centre.

The talk will be about the projected magnitude of Europe’s electricity requirements and the size of a Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) network, located in the Sahara , necessary for meeting these needs. The costs involved that may reasonably be expected and sources of financing will be discussed. Brief attention will be given to technical issues, which are less complicated than might seem to be the case. By far the biggest problem is a multi-faceted social issue that will not be easy to overcome.

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