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Engineering Our Future Energy Requirements

A Special Interest Day on 8th March at Central Hall

Alan Browne Published: 01 February 2024

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COP28 in Dubai was a significant achievement with all participants agreeing to phase out the use of fossil fuels. Perhaps it was not the tougher agreement desired by many, but some progress if the signatories pursue the objective. Climate change fuelled by increasing release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was first identified over 100 years ago. Increased industrial and transport activity from the mid 20th century up to now has rapidly accelerated the rise in global temperature.

The effects are felt in extreme weather - extremes of heat, rain and storms and coastal erosion. The next 50 years will still see a reliance on oil and gas for energy supply but decreasingly so as time advances. There is an urgent need to develop energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide but at the same time are reliable. Regrettably, wind power is not reliable (in November there was a week when zero power was generated in the UK by wind power). Solar power may be viable in some areas but not damp and cloudy UK!

To provide some insight for future options this special interest day has been organised featuring four guest speakers. The opening talk will be given by George Freeman, our local MP and until recently Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation. Background on the local effects of climate change will be provided by Dr Sophie Day from the University of East Anglia who will discuss coastal erosion in Norfolk. The prospect for future carbon free energy production will have two inputs. Firstly, the proposed Sizewell C nuclear reactor outlined by Jack Raven and finally the future outlook for fusion energy from Chris Warrick of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.

Each talk will be about 45 mins in duration with opportunities to ask questions; the content will be pitched for non-specialist audience with speakers encouraged to inform but not baffle the audience. The outline timetable is 9:30am start (refreshments available from 9:00) with talks to 12:15 including a coffee break. The afternoon session begins at 1pm and ends at 3pm followed by tea.

The cost per person including lunch and tea / coffee breaks is £20. For further details and to purchase tickets please email courses@wymondhamu3a.org.uk. Tickets must be purchased by 28th February.

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