21 October 2015

IChemE president looks at New Zealand's energy challenges

IChemE president at NZ's Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station site visit

IChemE president, Andrew Jamieson’s, recent visit to New Zealand gave an opportunity for local members to hear the latest developments on IChemE’s Energy Centre. In return, the visit also gave Jamieson a firsthand update on the countries current energy situation.

Jamieson reported on how the Energy Centre will provide a forum for the chemical and process engineering community to provide decision makes around the world with expert advice on energy issues. In doing so, this will also highlight the role of chemical engineers in meeting the energy challenges that face society.

Highlighted was the five priority areas the Centre will be focusing on, such as: energy efficiency; energy storage and grid management; nuclear, carbon capture, storage and utilisation; and sustainable bioenergy.

Jamieson also encouraged members to join the Leadership Forum as an ideal way of becoming involved. He explained that the Leadership Forum is kept ‘in-the-loop’ with the Centre’s activities and will act as a critical sounding board for its outputs.

In addition to this, Jamieson took part in site tours involving the Te Mihi and the Nga Awa Purua power stations. This experience gave him a close-up view of the process and daily challenges of large scale geothermal energy generation.

Other highlights from the visit included an evening seminar. This included presentations from New Zealand’s leading provider of earth geosciences and isotope research and consultancy service, GNS Science, and the countries’ second largest energy generator, Contact Energy and Waikato University.

IChemE director Australasia, Peter Slane said the presentations provided insight into the upcoming challenges for resolving the competitive conflicts in energy.

“I particularly found Waikato University's Martin Atkins’ presentation very insightful. 

“Atkins used the pinch point technique to graphically illustrate fugitive emissions in the wider context of the New Zealand energy mix and then compared this internationally.”

Slane added that GNS also gave an interesting presentation about the geology of the geothermal fields and where the hot spots are, while Contact Energy’s presentation focused on how to manage the resource sustainably.

The president’s visit and site tours were hosted by the Waikato - Bay of Plenty IChemE Member Group.

For more information on IChemE’s Energy Centre, or if you would like to join the Leadership Forum, visit www.icheme.org.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).