2015: the year of the 'Energy Centre' (Day 224)

2015: the year of the 'Energy Centre' (Day 224)

6th January 2015

As you know, chemical engineers are working across the energy sector. Just within this blog, I’ve highlighted research on microbial fuel cells to extract energy from toilet water, efforts to turn waste into fuels and cross-disciplinary thinking to store solar energy.

What’s more, we bring a systems-thinking approach to a problem that demands it. We deal with flows of material and energy in pipes and cables; the global energy system as a whole involves the flow of material and energy through the global economy.

This means we are well-placed to contribute to energy policy discussions in countries around the world. Too often, debates on energy issues lose their grounding in facts or fail to keep sight of the whole picture. The rational voice of engineering is easily lost amid the clamour.

The Energy Centre will establish IChemE as a thought leader in this space, and will ensure that the voice of the chemical engineering community is clearly heard.

Each country has its own unique circumstances, but they all face common challenges. They must provide a sure supply of energy to their populations at as low a cost as possible, while reducing energy-related emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Energy Centre will be grappling with all of these challenges, but it is the final one that lends a real urgency to our efforts.

2015 could be a watershed year: the global agreement on tackling climate change that many have long-regarded as impossible now seems tantalisingly within reach.

Later this year, in Paris, UN negotiators will sit down to thrash out a deal that should chart a clear course to a future safe from the threat of climate change. So the launch of the IChemE Energy Centre is timely. It will allow chemical engineers to play their part in this effort.

In order for it to succeed, the Energy Centre will need your engagement. We recently put out a call for expressions of interest in being on the steering group of the Centre. Also, please let us know where you think the Centre’s priorities should lie by filling out my monthly poll.

The Centre will be launched by the end of March, and I’m looking forward to keeping you updated as we progress.

Chemical engineers are at the heart of the solutions to the energy challenge. The IChemE Energy Centre will make sure our contribution is recognised and maximised.

If you’ve got any thoughts about the Centre, or would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at energycentre@icheme.org