Engineering the world’s sustainable future is one of the most important challenges of our time, and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham is taking this challenge head-on.
In honour of World Engineering Day 2023, they are showcasing their groundbreaking research in sustainable energy, sustainable cities and environment, sustainable transport and mobility, advanced healthcare technologies and wellbeing, advanced manufacturing and materials, and quantum technology for medical research.
Engineering the world’s sustainable future in Nottingham: World Engineering Day 2023
On World Engineering Day 2023, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham highlighted its research projects that are helping to unlock a net zero world.
The uni will be taking on the theme “Engineering innovation for a more resilient world,” the day celebrated the contributions of engineers and architects in creating a better, sustainable world.
Advanced healthcare technologies and wellbeing
Chronic diseases are on the rise, and research led by Professor Melissa Mather is seeking to make breakthroughs in medical research using quantum sensing technology. By improving the detection of free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause cell damage if they accumulate, medical professionals will better understand the effect on patients’ health and develop new treatments. Mather’s team created sensors made from diamonds, which are a million times better than traditional sensors and can detect tiny signals in the body. This research is offering hope to people suffering from serious medical conditions, and Mather encourages everyone to be curious about quantum technology.
Addressing fuel poverty by harnessing heat waste
Residential buildings in the UK contribute to 22% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the London Energy Transformation Initiative. The university’s ongoing project is looking to identify the most effective material to store heat for later use and develop a low-carbon energy storage system to supply cheap, on-demand heat for people living and working across the country. The project aims to address issues of fuel poverty, pollution, and decarbonisation.
Professor Jo Darkwa, Professor of Energy Storage Technologies, believes green urban design is a collective effort involving local authorities, industry sectors, and society. Thermochemical energy storage technology can help cities become greener and cleaner by storing and reusing waste heat.
Reducing carbon emissions for a sustainable transport system
The university’s research is focused on enhancing active and sustainable mobility and reducing carbon emissions in the nexus of the built environment, energy, people, and transport. The EV-elocity project investigated how bidirectional charge points can improve battery life in electric vehicles and cut carbon and charging costs. Results found that electric vehicle charging optimisation can cut carbon emissions by nearly half a tonne and save up to £400 per vehicle each year.
Professor Lucelia Rodrigues, Professor of Sustainable and Resilient Cities, believes that sustainability targets will only be achieved through collective effort, and everyone can make a difference by understanding their own carbon footprint and taking ownership of the problem.
Transforming the capabilities of 3D printing, from manufacture to medical and beyond
The university is looking to usher in the next generation of 3D printing, with ongoing projects including a toolkit that will allow 3D-printed medicines to be manufactured, bringing innovations like biological personalised pills or ‘living plasters’ closer to reality. Currently, 3D printing is limited to single-material structures, but its potential to make complex, multi-material products that can be more efficient and reduce waste is almost unlimited.
Professor Richard Hague, Professor of Additive Manufacturing, believes people should be aware that 3D printing is on the rise, and there are going to be many exciting advancements to come as the research continues.
Revolutionizing Medical Research through Quantum Technology
The rise in chronic diseases like COPD and asthma has been staggering, with hospital admissions increasing by 59.1% in England and Wales between 1999 and 2020. In response, Professor Melissa Mather at the University of Nottingham is researching the latest in quantum sensing technology to improve medical research.
By using special sensors made from diamonds, which are often a million times better than traditional sensors, the research can detect tiny signals in the body and improve the detection of free radicals. The technology could significantly impact medical treatment, giving patients hope for a better future.
Addressing Fuel Poverty with Thermochemical Energy Storage
Residential buildings account for 22% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels and minimize carbon emissions in UK communities, an ongoing project at the University of Nottingham aims to develop transformational energy storage that stores heat for later use.
The project seeks to identify the most effective material for energy storage and create a low-carbon energy storage system to provide cheap, on-demand heat for people living and working across the country. The project aims to address the issues of fuel poverty, pollution, and decarbonization.
Transforming the Capabilities of 3D Printing
Although 3D printing has the potential to make complex, multi-material products more efficiently and reduce waste, it is currently limited to single-material structures.
To usher in the next generation of 3D printing, the University of Nottingham is working on several projects, including a recent funding injection of over six million pounds to develop a toolkit that will allow 3D printed medicines to be manufactured. The innovations brought forth by 3D printing, like biological personalized pills or “living plasters,” can bring new possibilities to medicine, manufacturing, and beyond.
Removing Carbon from the Atmosphere with Biochar
To achieve net-zero carbon, strategies that remove greenhouse gases are essential, and engineering research into biochar is critical to this agenda. The University of Nottingham is leading the world’s largest trial to evaluate the viability of biochar to store carbon from the atmosphere and counter the impact of climate change.
Biochar, a carbon-rich and chemically stable charcoal-like substance, has historically been sold as mulch for horticulture. The research aims to understand the stability of biochar, develop tools to measure it for carbon accounting and explore how waste materials can be used for biochar production, supporting the carbon-neutral agenda.
It’s going to be a great way to celebrate World Engineering Day and highlights the importance of British universities and their expertise in engineering and architecture in achieving a better, more resilient world.
- The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham is dedicated to engineering a sustainable future and is showcasing its groundbreaking research in honor of World Engineering Day 2023.
- Research led by Professor Melissa Mather is focused on improving medical research through quantum sensing technology, detecting free radicals, and better understanding the effect on patients’ health.
- The university’s ongoing project aims to identify the most effective material to store heat for later use, developing a low-carbon energy storage system, and addressing issues of fuel poverty, pollution, and decarbonization.
- The university’s research focuses on enhancing active and sustainable mobility, reducing carbon emissions, and making electric vehicle charging more efficient.
- The university is working on several projects, including a toolkit that will allow 3D-printed medicines to be manufactured, ushering in the next generation of 3D printing.
- The university’s research into biochar is essential in achieving a net-zero carbon world, evaluating its viability to store carbon from the atmosphere and counter the impact of climate change.