Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Energy

Cycle downriver on the Thames Deckway

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 31 August 2017

Copyright 2010 River Cycleway Consortium Ltd. Early concept design Anna Hill & David Nixon 2010.

The Thames Deckway is an exciting green transport infrastructure project in London. We aim to tackle some of the big urban challenges facing our city and others like it.

With the support of Innovate UK, we are currently working towards realising our technology demonstrator in east London in 2018.

New figures from Transport for London (TfL) show that more people are cycling in the city than ever before. Despite this, currently one bicycle journey in every 515,000 ends in death or serious injury. At the same time, air pollution from vehicle emissions results in a wide range of health impacts, which significantly reduces life expectancy within the city.  Compounding on these issues, projections of future climate change paint a bleak picture. For example, with much of the transport network below ground, more than 57 tube stations would be at risk of climate induced flooding.

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Rethinking clean energy with ‘Caventou’

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 21 August 2017

In just one hour, our sun provides enough energy to supply the world’s electricity for an entire year. This, and many other arguments for solar energy, have made their way into people’s awareness since the 1960s. More recently, concerns over our changing climate have led to an increased interest. Yet solar power has still not been fully embraced. At the time of writing, solar power accounts for a meager 1% of total global energy production.

The technology to capture solar energy exists. Additionally, cheaper and more efficient solar cells are racing their way to industrialization., But ‘more efficient’ doesn’t always ensure adoption by consumers, homeowners and cityscapes. More importantly, adopting a green technology doesn’t always ensure green behavior by the those who use it!

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Loowatt: The waterless toilet generating energy from waste

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 30 March 2017

We’ve all been there, crossing our legs in the crowd as our favourite band tears up the stage, putting off the inevitable trip. Eventually, however, we all have to admit defeat and give in to the reveller’s worst nightmare: The Festival Portaloo.

Combining a minimalistic design with some innovative engineering, industrial design engineer Virginia Gardiner has found the answer to festivalgoer’s prayers. Loowatt is an environmentally friendly, waterless-flushing toilet, bringing high-tech hygiene to the campsite; the award-winning design captures waste and turns it into clean, green electricity.

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Greenpower: the electric car challenge

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 28 March 2017

Greenpower is an electric car challenge that requires students, guided by their teachers and industry mentors, to design, build and then race an electric car.

The project was first launched in 1999 with just a handful of schools taking part. Since then, Greenpower has expanded greatly and is now working with over 8000 students in 500 schools across the UK. Students taking part in the initiative race their hand built cars in heats to qualify for the final race and be in with a chance of winning the title. However, the project isn’t just about winning.  Greenpower is about gaining essential skills and knowledge in STEM subjects that could encourage students to consider a career in one of those areas.

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Six mega-trends that could shape the future of energy

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 27 March 2017

Ten years ago the energy industry was focused on ‘peak oil’, while the shale gas revolution in the US had yet to start. As 2017 begins, what are the mega-trends that will shape the upcoming decades? Here, BP’s head of long-term planning, Dominic Emery, identifies what lies ahead, from the rapid growth in renewables to changing demographics.

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“Paulo, you think like an engineer!”

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 19 December 2016

paulo-6

I was perhaps seventeen years old when a high school chemistry teacher told me “Paulo, you think like an engineer!” I wasn’t fully aware of what she meant by that and I didn’t expect it to shape my future and my life forever. She was referring to the way I would normally solve problems in class; I wouldn’t always follow the laid out path to the solution and I would often come up with inventive ways to get there.

Looking further back, I have always wanted to understand how things work. I grew up in a house that had a big garden at the back where my dad would grow vegetables as a hobby. As a child, I remember using pumpkin stems to move water from one bucket to another.

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Always curious: An interview with Rubby Wokocha

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 8 December 2016

rubby

I am a…

Graduate gas turbine engineer with Siemens, specialising in power generation.

I got into engineering…

As a little girl! Growing up, I was always curious about the complex systems around me. It started out at home, making our old Video Home System (VHS) work properly by dismantling and cleaning it. I rescued my favourite movies correcting tape alignment issues with the video head cleaner so I could keep watching the Sound of Music and the King & I!

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New material lights up high-performance solar cells

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 21 October 2016

solar

A brand new design could see cheap yet high-performance solar cells manufactured from everyday materials. Engineers at Stanford and Oxford universities have developed a new type of solar cell, which could even outperform traditional silicon cells.

Solar cells work by collecting light energy from the sun and converting it into an electrical current. In a conventional cell, a layer of silicon crystals absorbs light energy from the sun. This causes electrons to become excited to the point that they are ejected from the material. We can capture the resulting electric current for use as clean electricity.

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