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  • Transcending Incrementalism

    Tue 23rd Apr, 2019

    In 1900, the estimated world population was a bit over a billion and half, by 2000 had reached 6 billion, and a scant 10 years later had reached 7 billion. Current projections foresee passing the 10 billion mark somewhere around the middle of this century. This geometric growth in population is overlain by a non-linear per capita demand growth for food, shelter, water, and energy as Lesser Developed Countries have driven towards economic parity with Western nations. And, both literally and figuratively superimposed over all of this is the attendant impact on the world climate. The resultant combinatorial exponential change is the suite of challenges that loom over this century.
    Technology innovations that marginally extend the means and methods of today simply won’t keep pace. That’s the very definition of incrementalism. Needed are step function gains that aren’t mutually exclusive—gigawatts more power with megatons less carbon dioxide, millions of acre-feet more fresh water without draining the aquifers, billions more homes while replenishing the forests, gigatons more protein without sacrificing rivers, streams, and estuaries.
    That requires transcending incrementalism. Technology is part of the answer, but more than that is needed. The will to implement and the incentives to rationalize risk, the money, and the sense of urgency that the situation demand are all imperative. This is the ninth workshop in this series, most of which have yielded concrete (in some cases, quite literally) initiatives that can yield exponential effects in increasing resource availability, improving tools, and increasing productivity while simultaneously mitigating and even reversing traditional adverse consequences. These workshops aren’t topical exercises; they are intentionally diversified elements from complementary disciplines—researchers, scientists, and engineers; corporate decision-makers, academics, and artisans; financiers, insurance underwriters, and project developers. Like the game of “Clue”, at the outset it may not be obvious where the intersections and collaborative opportunities lie, but as the sessions progress, the realizations of connections for missing links dawn upon the participants.
    A “grand challenge” is a focus on a single monumental problem. A “grand aspiration” is to address intertwined monumental challenges that must be dealt with collectively. We aspire to do that.
    As with prior Transcending meetings this will be a relatively small meeting limited to those specifically invited but with the provision for remote observers to participate through video link. The conference is hosted by ESRI in partnership with the Reducing Industrial Carbon Emissions (RICE) project funded by WEFO/ERDF and in partnership with University of South Wales.Project RICE involves creating industry pilots for a number of technologies for utilization of CO2. Part of the aim of the RICE project is to bring together a diverse range of academic and industry leaders to discuss how technology innovation can be used to fundamentally change industry as it is today to ensure a cleaner, greener future.

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  • Heating and Hot Water Industry - Low Carbon Forum

    Tue 4th Dec, 2018

    On 4th December Charlie Dunnill and Katherine Glover travelled to Stoke-On-Trent to attend the Heating and Hot Water Industry Low Carbon Forum. The event provided a great opportunity to talk to a targeted audience of people involved in gas networks and with an interest in the use of hydrogen primarily for heat. The Hydrogen Bike gave many attendees their first opportunity to see hydrogen in real life rather than just in presentations.

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  • Swansea Science Festival - Recycling Carbon

    Sat 3rd Nov - Sun 4th Nov, 2018

    The Recycling Carbon outreach group will be participating in the Swansea Science Festival, with the aim of engaging adults and children of all ages.
    “We are an Outreach activity born out of the collaborative research environment in the Energy Safety Research Institute at Swansea University. Our aim is to show everyone how carbon can be recycled and reused in the same fashion as other household waste can be recycled.
    We demonstrate carbon capture and conversion using “Bunchems” as a method of molecular modelling. The idea is that the participants break apart a “molecular model” of carbon dioxide then reform it to generate a combustible fuel, methane. Carbon capture is demonstrated as a “lucky dip” where participants dip into a box for carbon dioxide molecules. We believe that this is an interactive and interesting way of thinking about a cyclic carbon economy and it gives us the chance to talk about our stories of how we came to work in the positions we currently hold at Swansea University.”
    Twitter: @RecyclingCarbon

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  • Swansea Science Festival - The Hydrogen Bike

    Sat 3rd Nov - Sun 4th Nov, 2018

    The Hydrogen Bike will be participating in Swansea Science Festival in the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.
    The Hydrogen Bike project is an outreach kit designed to Engage, Entertain and above all, Educate the public as to some of the trials and tribulations surrounding the renewable energy concept. This is a really “Hot” topic at the moment with a desire to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy solutions. It is safe, interesting and fully hands on.
    An energy input method such as an exercise bike will be connected to a uniquely built water splitting device. The display will allow a participant to put energy ”In” and observe in real time the formation of their hydrogen and oxygen from the electrolysis process. Once a sufficient quantity of hydrogen has been created and stored in the central part of the storage system, the members of the public have the unique opportunity to actually light their own hydrogen flame using my custom built micro burner. This will give them a stable and safe flame about the size of a normal candle. Under the right conditions, hydrogen will actually burn with a clean carbon neutral, stable flame in a very safe way.
    Twitter: @TheHydrogenBike

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  • International Conference 'EcoBalt 2018' Vilnius, Lithuania

    Thu 25th Oct - Sat 27th Oct, 2018

    Prof. Andrew Barron, Director of ESRI, will be participating in the EcoBalt 2018 conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. Prof. Andrew Barron will give a talk on ‘Flexible Approaches to Water Treatment and Metal Remediation: From a Village to the Oil Patch’.
    The conference will bring forward most recent scientific and technological developments in the field of environmental science, environmental analysis, analytical, green and sustainable chemistry. The conference will be aimed towards environmental problems – air, water, soil contamination assessment and options for its reduction, new, environmentally friendly products, recycling and environmental education.

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