What’s on : Lectures

Perspectives on a Sustainable Energy Future

28 Mar 2017
Start time
7:30 PM
Tempest Anderson Hall
Prof Andy Heyes

Event Information

Perspectives on a Sustainable Energy Future

by Professor Andy Heyes, Head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Professor Heyes will consider how important an abundant energy supply is to just about every facet of modern life and will discuss how economic development has gone hand in hand with developments in energy technology. He will then go on the discuss the challenges we face maintaining our current high standard of living in the face of finite and increasingly expensive resources and the adverse effect current energy technology has on the environment. The talk concludes with a call to action as Professor Heyes presents an upbeat vision of a sustainable and prosperous future in which we can simultaneously save the planet and keep our lights on.

Joint lecture with The Institution of Engineering and Technology, North Yorkshire Local Network

Working to engineer a better world

Member’s report

The “Energy trilemma” has three core dimensions: energy security, equity (accessibility and affordability) and sustainability. Questions of population growth, industrialisation and security of supply are also involved. Are we going to run out of fuel?  The development of the shale oil industry has revised M. King Hubbard’s theory of “peak oil” in the USA. Engineers are also researching and developing energy efficiencies across manufacturing. Industries such as modern car production have made substantial improvements – compared with Newcomen’s “Atmospheric Steam Engine” which was only 1% energy efficient,

Climate change is the elephant in the room. In March 2017, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii observed atmospheric CO2 at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere. Engineers and scientists are urgently exploring ways to mitigate these effects, such as increasing the use of renewables. By 2015, for example, 15% of the energy used in the USA was from renewable resources. By 2020 the cost of providing wind power will be cheaper than gas. New business models, investing in innovative technologies, and scientific research to decrease atmospheric CO2 levels are among other possibilities.

Catherine Brophy