Make like a tree, make the most of the UK, and make your pitch

Jason Ford

News Editor

Today marks the start of the IMechE’s Air Capture Week, where Columbia University’s Prof Klaus Lackner is set to demonstrate his own air capture device.

Lackner’s so-called ‘artificial tree’ is said to do the same work as a real tree in that it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. But according to IMechE, artificial tree technology works up to a thousand times more efficiently than its counterpart in nature.

In use, artificial tree technology removes CO2 from the air and then stores it underground. IMechE goes on to say that captured CO2 could be used for carbon recycling where it is utilised by industries that use the gas as a chemical feedstock. These industries would source their CO2 from the artificial trees and create a closed loop for the carbon.

IMechE appears convinced by the technology and is calling on government to support more detailed work to establish the cost of air capture technology and demonstrate its feasibility; develop policy frameworks that enable the adoption of negative emissions and carbon recycling approaches to mitigation; and provide international leadership on negative emissions and carbon recycling.

The sentiments of IMechE are echoed by the organisers of SciTech: Innovation UK who believe investment in science and engineering is crucial for economic growth.

Taking place at London’s Barbican Centre, the event will, according to its organisers’ publicity material, discuss how a dynamic UK science and technology base can lead the world in meeting global and societal challenges.

It will also ask what Britain’s best strategy is for developing new technologies, nurturing creativity and encouraging world-beating products.

The event, which takes place on Wednesday, comes against a backdrop of what is claimed to be flagging public investment in UK science, which is said to be approximately half that of Germany, France and the USA.

Confirmed speakers include Imran Khan and Catherine Coates.

Khan, director of Campaign for Science and Engineering in the UK, will argue that despite the UK’s rich research heritage and resources, the country is squandering its potential.

Coates, business innovation director at EPSRC, will discuss the direction UK science and engineering should be taking and how to capitalise on research more effectively.

Over at the Business Design Centre, PitchLive London is hosting two day’s worth of sessions that will see entrepreneurs from around the world try to secure funding to develop solutions in energy storage, health, global security, and cyber security.

Developed by OmniCompete, pitching sessions are claimed to present an effective way for investors to preview innovations from start-ups and SMEs around the world.

This year’s finalists include Eureka Aerospace, whose microwave energy beam can reportedly induce disabling currents into vehicle ignition and control systems, stopping fleeing criminals or preventing attempts to crash into buildings.

In five years, OmniCompete has awarded over £1.85m in prizes and helped finalists and winners generate nearly £75m in funding and acquisitions.

Finally, IMechE hosts BP’s Steve Haden this Thursday who will deliver ‘Advancing global deepwater safety and response capabilities’.

The event’s blurb states: ‘BP is committed to advancing and deploying the capabilities and practices needed to enhance safety wherever the company operates and to share what has been learned to help prevent and respond to future accidents.’

Haden, vice president, Wells Engineering – Global Wells Organisation, will share information on key capability areas and what BP has done, and continues to do, to advance and embed what it has learnt.