Case Study: Enass Abo-Hamed
“One of the things I find fascinating about engineering is that the greatest inventions of our lifetime are engineering inventions and they all come to solve a problem.”
Raising awareness of climate change
Originally from Palestine, Enass grew up watching her father, who was a mechanical engineer, building things and putting things together.
“ That was something that always intrigue me: the thinking process and the action that comes after that, which engineering really revolves around.”
This really impacted on her and the way she tackles challenges no matter how small or large: from starting her own company or being a passionate advocate in raising awareness of climate change.
It about bring the problem to many people whilst we are working on the solution. That’s where my activism comes from. […] Climate change is a very interconnected problem with others such as air pollution or food waste […] it’s everyone’s problem … everyone should know about it!
Storing hydrogen to produce energy
When Enass was doing her PhD at Cambridge University she invented an imaginative way to capture and store hydrogen safety, as a clean source of energy.
“Hydrogen is unique: very small, it doesn’t have any carbon; when you burn it you’re not generating emissions (carbon footprint). It’s a very elegant molecule with a very elegant solution that doesn’t emit pollutants. That can solve many of our energy problems…”
It took Enass a lot of hard-work to start her own company, H2GO Power, which stores hydrogen as part of a chemical reaction. The gas can be converted into solid state or liquid state. When the hydrogen in needed, it is released in a clean form (zero emissions) and in a controlled manner. This is an efficient, low cost, highly safe way to store hydrogen!
“I think hydrogen is the past, the present and the future. It was there at the very beginning and I bet it will be there in the future […] it’s a very central player into contributing to solve climate change…”
Energy is still a luxury for some …
A trip to Africa made Enass realised that sometimes energy cannot be taken for granted:
“There are 1.2 billion people around the world who do not have control over the switch! Africa has 600 million people who don’t have regular access to power. It shouldn’t be a problem that we have today with the technologies and resources we have around the world. There is an injustice to that, that bothers me personally, and If I have an ability to contribute to the solution, I should!”
More funding needed
According to Enass more funding should be available for entrepreneurs just like her to develop their own ideas. She believes in the power of working collaboratively and would like to see companies and government working together more closely to tackle climate change.
If there would be one thing I could change I would use more engineering to accelerate progress towards tackling climate change (…) we are working at slower pace than we should be.
Enass has won several awards for her activist including the Top 100 BAME leaders in UK Tech and Top 100 influential Women in Engineering in the UK and Europe by the Financial Times. You can watch her talking about climate change and her company below.
Tag Archive for: energy
Worksheet: Energy Resources (Year 10)
The largest source of energy for electricity generation in the UK is natural gas, with much of the gas we use imported through pipes from Europe. One of the companies responsible for managing and maintaining pipelines is Penspen, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This worksheet examines students’ knowledge of energy resources and challenges them to interpret real-world energy source data.
The largest source of energy for electricity generation in the UK is natural gas, with much of the gas we use imported through pipes from Europe. One of the companies responsible for managing and maintaining pipelines is Penspen, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
This worksheet examines students’ knowledge of energy resources and challenges them to interpret real-world energy source data.
Click to download PDF worksheet (350 Kb)
This resource was produced as part of the FutureMe project.
Tag Archive for: energy
Electricity is a vital part of our everyday lives. The electricity is generated across the UK (and beyond) and then delivered to UK homes and businesses through the national grid network. EDF Energy is one of the largest electricity generators in the UK. They generate electricity from nuclear, gas and coal power stations across the UK, including a nuclear powerstation in Hartlepool. As well as electricity generation, EDF is researching ways to improve energy storage and efficiency, low-carbon technologies, and energy system design. They’re also looking at how to develop ideas to make smart homes and cities which will use less energy. EDF Energy is part of the EDF group which has sites worldwide. Among the jobs that people who work at EDF Energy have are: Topics that link to EDF and what the company does:
Electricity is a vital part of our everyday lives. The electricity is generated across the UK (and beyond) and then delivered to UK homes and businesses through the national grid network.
EDF Energy is one of the largest electricity generators in the UK. They generate electricity from nuclear, gas and coal power stations across the UK, including a nuclear powerstation in Hartlepool.
As well as electricity generation, EDF is researching ways to improve energy storage and efficiency, low-carbon technologies, and energy system design. They’re also looking at how to develop ideas to make smart homes and cities which will use less energy.
EDF Energy is part of the EDF group which has sites worldwide.
Among the jobs that people who work at EDF Energy have are:
Topics that link to EDF and what the company does:
You will have probably used Siemens technology; their well known products include mobile phones and televisions. Siemens is one of the worlds largest and most successful technology companies, and they are passionate about innovation and change.
Siemens was established over 170 years ago and today employ nearly 14,000 people in the UK alone, with manufacturing sites in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and another key site in Stockton, Teeside. The company is a large multinational company with bases in nearly 200 countries across the globe. Siemens specialise in a number of sectors:
- Power generation services including gas, wind power and renewables
- Energy management
- Building technologies
- Financial services
Siemens are one of the world’s biggest producers of energy-efficient resource-saving technologies, as well as constructing offshore wind turbines which you will see across the region.
Siemens are not just about renewables though. They also design, develop and manufacture for example MRI scanners which are used in hospitals all over the world. The Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, has Siemens Engineers working at the hospital on a daily basis to make sure the scanners are working. Siemens also develop IT software which is used within a range of industries and variety of organisations including NASA to simulate the Mars Curiosity Rover!
Check out this great interactive 360′ tour of a wind farm, which allows you to explore wind turbines in further detail.
Some of the roles that people who work at Siemens have are:
- Client solutions engineer
- Customer support engineer
- Controls engineer
- Software engineer
- Manufacturing engineer
- Technical software architect
- Commercial sales manager
- Project manager
- Offshore commisioning technician
- Civil engineer
Topics in science and maths that link to Siemen include:
- Energy resources
- Energy and power
- Electric circuits
- Medical Physics (MRI)
- Health and Disease
Tag Archive for: energy
Well, did your turbine work? Did you manage to get the mass up to the table, or were you left with a knotted bundle of string? Did your turbine purr like a renewable energy generating masterpiece, or did all the blades fall off?
It doesn’t matter either way as long as you didn’t give up: figure out what went wrong and keep trying to fix the problem. As a wise old person once said, “An effective wind turbine was never created by someone who gave up at the first sign of difficulty, like for example the axle being bent.” Isn’t amazing how there’s a wise old saying for almost every eventuality!
Check out more about wind turbines (including a a virtual tour of an offshore wind farm which is awesome) and about careers in the renewable energy sector on our wind turbines activity page.
Hello Excelsior! Wow, what a day we’ve just had. I don’t know about you, but it’s made me ready for the summer. I love a good festival: the music, the lights, the food. I’m a bit less keen on the massive expenditure of energy and resources that often goes along with a large music festival. This is why I’m particularly impressed with the Shambala festival which focuses on renewable energy and sustainable resources. They are now powered by 100% renewable energy and have reduced their Carbon footprint dramatically over the last six years. (Find out more information at the bottom of the page.
This music video by Imogen Heap was created using entirely renewable forms of energy. They used a combination of solar hybrid generators and PedGens (fancy exercise bikes – keeps you fit whilst you watch the music!) and were able to power all the music, the stage and the video production equipment. Check out those wired gloves she uses to interact with the music. A perfect example of Science and Art working in perfect harmony.
The activity that we did today is very similar to the sort of research that goes on in the development of wind turbines. You’ve probably seen the large wind turbines either off the coast or up on the hills, but the new breed of wind turbines are designed to work in an urban landscape. Engineers are developing turbines that produce less noise and less vibrations so that we can install them on the tops of buildings and in highly populated areas. Novel designs and structures allow the turbines to be efficient in different wind conditions and produce a consistent level of energy. Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) are able to be placed closer to the ground and can operate in less windy areas than traditional wind turbines. You’ll probably see them mostly in urban areas. Next time you’re out in town, take a look up to see if you can see any.
For more information about a regional company who are developing wind turbines check out our Siemens employer case study.
This morning, I was back at Kenton for some more K’nex rollercoaster building. There’s a lot that goes into building a rollercoaster, and we only just scratched the surface. For more details, head over to our workshop notes page where you’ll find videos, games, and more information than you can shake a (K’nex) stick at. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have six rollercoasters to dismantle and put back into the correct boxes. Sigh.
Tag Archive for: energy
Wind Turbine Engineering
Notes and extensions from our workshop
How many people does it take to build a wind turbine?
I don’t know the answer, but I imagine it’s quite a lot. If I’ve learnt anything from our wind turbines workshop, it’s that these renewable rotators are considerably more complicated than they look.
In this workshop we design and build a turbine powerful enough to lift a small mass up to bench height. We are able to calculate the work done and the power output of our turbines using some simple physics equations. We then discuss the many different variables that need to be taken into account when designing a wind turbine and the types of people who contribute to that process.
Even with these smaller versions we have to think about materials, mass, stability, vibrations, torque, aerodynamics, safety, power output, efficiency, strength, balance, design, testing, and who knows what else. And we do all of that in just an hour! The aim of our workshop is to get into the mind of an engineer, especially the iterative process of “design – prototype – test – evaluate – repeat”.
The upshot is that to create a wind turbine from scratch takes hundreds of people, each with a different skill or specialism. The video below shows an offshore wind turbine being put up – just imagine how many people would be involved with such a huge effort, and’t that’s not including all the people who design, test and construct the separate parts. Or the team manager, the IT specialists, the business managers, the customer services staff, the human resources departments, the environmental impact assessors, the health and safety officers, the accountants, the marketers, the research teams, the public relations people, and no doubt countless other people.
Engineering is big business.
Siemens employ over 14,000 people in the UK, with several sites in the North East. There are many different routes into working for them, from apprenticeships to degree level positions. Have a look at our employers page to find out more about Siemens and have a go with this 360 degree tour of one of their offshore wind farms.
Roller Coaster Design
Notes and extensions from our secondary workshop
They may be great fun, but there is some serious physics involved in designing a roller coaster. This workshop looks at some of the different specialists who are required to bring a ride from the drawing board to the theme park. Scientists and engineers need to be experts at team work so that they can bring complex projects to realisation; in this workshop we focus on how scientists have to work together in order to solve problems.
Using K’nex, we look at how structural engineers use clever design to create strong, safe and economical structures. We discuss how different shapes can confer different properties on a structure and the concepts of tension, compression, shear and torsion forces. We then construct a model roller coaster and look at the design elements that have been used to create a loop structure.
Once our roller coaster loop is constructed we need to make sure that our carriage will make it all the way around. This involves being able to calculate gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy and centripetal force. A great example of how important these calculations can be is shown here by Greg Foot’s larger version.
In our workshop, we compare our experimental results to the calculated results, and discuss the disparity.
Our next expert lets us take a look at the different types of materials that are needed. How can we match up the correct material to the specific role? Materials scientists have to consider strength, durability, flexibility, cost, density, how changes in weather will effect it, and its environmental impact – basically they need to think of every possible detail from the paint on the supports to the padding on the chairs. They will have to work closely with the designers and safety regulators to ensure that the materials they choose will do the job they want.
We also need to think carefully about how to make our roller coaster safe for the riders. Part of this is working out the g forces that will be experienced. We look at ways of measuring these experimentally and through calculations. You can see how important g forces are by watching this video about the forces experienced by astronauts and fighter pilots.
Roller Coaster Games
There are loads of great games dedicated to roller coaster design; this is one of my favourites. It shows the relationship between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy and lets you experiment with different designs. Be warned though, it’s not as easy as it appears at first.
For a more in depth look at some of the different variables involved, try out this game.
An easy make & do with household scrap and elastic bands, from the Royal Institution’s excellent ExpeRimental series. These are all straightforward activities using household materials, perfect for families to collaborate or compete over on a rainy day.
This film shows you how to turn crisp tubes and a small pop bottle into a surprisingly powerful (and entertainingly inaccurate) foil-firing cannon. Along the way there’s plenty of opportunity to discuss energy transfer and projectile dynamics… or simply to knock things over and cause widespread mayhem.
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