Save the planet, make a packet?

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Growth review framework for advanced manufacturing - .PDF file.

Jason Ford

News Editor

With payday a week away and The Engineer’s lottery syndicate failing to hit the jackpot, Briefing asks: is there money to be made in saving the planet?

This open-ended question is being raised by the IET Devon and Cornwall Network today and tomorrow, who helpfully narrow the scope of the debate to microgeneration.

According to the organisers, incentive schemes like the feed-in tariff will help the government achieve its plans for 2GW of microgeneration over the next few years.

The lecture, to be delivered by Bernard Quigg, will try to outline some of the challenges a developer faces when trying to tap into this income stream. It will address typical costs and technical challenges for a base case in which a 1MVA generator is to be connected to the distribution network.

Organised by the IET and hosted at Exeter University, the event is free to attend and registration is not required.

The same IET network has organized another evening of discussion entitled ‘Electric vehicles as the future of personal transportation: fact or fiction?’

This contentious issue starts from the premise that two contrasting views on the electric car exist – that there is an immediate reduction of CO2 due to zero vehicle emissions, but what about the long-term holistic CO2 footprint of the life cycle of the car?

In this presentation, Ben Boycott of Detroit Electric will look at the arguments on both sides, providing a perspective for the potential of the electric vehicle as the next step in personal transportation.

Once more, the event, which takes place tomorrow at North Devon College, is free to attend and registration is unnecessary.

Green, pollution-free transportation is laudable but the internal combustion engine is going to be with us for many years yet, which is why a certain Prof Rui Chen is delivering a talk on the latest IC engine technology tomorrow in Peterborough.

Prof Chen is scheduled to talk about new developments that are occurring in the world of internal combustion engines with specific reference to the mechanism of controlled auto-ignition.

This free event has been organised by Peterborough Young Engineers and takes  place at the Perkins Auditorium.

The Royal Academy of Engineering/Chinese Academy of Sciences are hosting workshops over the 27 and 28 this week that will address the future of energy storage technology and policy.

The event’s publicity material says the workshops will explore the science, technology and policy needs for the development and implementation of electrical energy storage.

Specifically, the two day event will ‘consider the broad landscape and national energy policy in China and the UK, before focussing in more detail on the emerging portfolio of solutions around electrical energy storage to address issues such as power intermittency and electric vehicles.’

Further debates on the subjects raised will take place in Beijing in May 2011.

Briefing ends with news that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are to attend the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Summit tomorrow.

They are expected to discuss ways of boosting growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector with leading figures from industry.

In December 2010 the government published a paper entitled ‘Growth review framework for advanced manufacturing’, which sought to address barriers to the UK taking a dominant position as an exporter of high-value goods. Pertinently, it also asked what was stopping people following a career in engineering.

Discussions at the summit and feedback from the framework are expected to feed into the government’s Growth Review expected by the Budget on 23 March.