Swansea University College of Engineering E-Magazine

Saving the world in times of crisis A Call for Engineers

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Making a positive impact by solving real-world problems

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Research at Engineering

Here in Engineering, our cross-cutting research themes bring together multidisciplinary teams, integrating a wide spectrum of engineering disciplines which help us to address global challenges.

DIGITAL AND COMPUTATIONAL ENGINEERING

WATER, ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY

MATERIALS AND MANUFACTURING

HEALTH,WELLBEING AND SPORTS

2020 will be remembered as the year when our world faced immense challenges, from the climate crisis and ever- growing concern for our planet’s future, to the devastating fires in Australia, and an unprecedented global health emergency with COVID-19. However, it will hopefully also be remembered as a time when the world came together, from scientists, to engineers, governing bodies and health workers using their knowledge and resources to develop solutions to help humanity.

Here in Engineering, our focus has always been to make a positive impact by solving real-world problems through meticulous research, innovative ideas, and by equipping its students and future engineers with the skills to take on opportunities and challenges. It is with great pride that we share how Engineering at Swansea University, from staff to students in the face of adversity have stepped up, remembering their purpose in this path that they have chosen, and their passion for making the world a better place.

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How Engineering at Swansea has worked together to help fight COVID-19

3D printing face visors for NHSWales

Headed up by Senior Lecturer, Dr Peter Dorrington, PhD Student, David O’Connor, and Dr Dimitris Pletsas, a team of staff and students quickly assembled to start designing and printing 3D protective face visors to be delivered to frontline staff in Wales. The team quickly got to work with 25 3D printers on Swansea University’s Bay Campus, with the goal of producing over 100 visors a day.

Anaesthetic Consultants at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital were some of the first NHS staff to trial the visors. Due to the incredible demand for the protective equipment, teams across Swansea University joined together to create the South Wales Additive and Rapid Manufacturing Consortium (SWARM) to support NHS Wales’ response to COVID-19 and ensure the 3D face visors were distributed as quickly as possible to hospitals in immediate need.

FAC E V I SOR S FOR NH S

The impact of the Coronavirus has been felt worldwide. The virus has resulted in unprecedented change across the globe, from rising death rates to the overhaul of daily life, the era of COVID-19 has been historic, and called on people to act in the best interest of those around them. From the incredible work of the NHS and care workers to support those in need, to the admirable commitment of key workers to keep our communities safe, millions of people have come together to fight COVID-19 and its impact on people globally. Here in Engineering, we have seen our staff, students, partners and university community join together to develop innovative ways of assisting frontline staff, creating safer ways of working and to boost morale.

5000L of hand sanitiser a week for frontline staff

Over 30 amazing volunteers teamed up to produce 5000 litres of hand sanitiser a week, to help keep NHS and frontline staff safe whilst they work.

Organisation (WHO) standard hand sanitiser. The group were able to refine the process and devised a multi-head bottling apparatus which can fill a 5L bottle in 20 seconds, rather than 60 seconds.

Turning a solar tech lab into a production base for the hand

Here are just some of the key ways that Engineering has been helping to fight COVID-19.

sanitiser, and with the support from local industry, the team were able to make and distribute World Health

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Innovative system to speed-clean ambulances

We’re incredibly proud of our students’ response to COVID-19. Students stepping up to support frontline staff and our community

3D Face visors by Dr Pete Dorrington

What next? Academics are now looking at expanding the use of this technology so that it can be used to clean schools and aeroplanes.

Cleaning ambulances by hand can take hours and is potentially dangerous to workers, so a team of researchers here in Engineering, supported by the Welsh Government, developed a new system to cut the time to less than 20 minutes and without the need to drive to a specialist disinfection facility.

The new system uses rapid release gases to penetrate all areas of the vehicle, which can destroy any viruses or bacteria present. This means an ambulance transporting a patient with coronavirus can be safely cleaned and back out on the road in half the time.

What inspired you to start creating the 3D face visors? It all started from messages with one of our EngD students, David O’Connor. We considered how we could use our expertise and resources at Swansea University to do something to help frontline workers. For me, it was particularly acute, as my wife – Dr Ceri Lynch – is a Consultant Intensive Care Doctor in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital. Ceri came home one day and said they were down to only a few visors. For me, this was the tipping point that made me want to push harder to do something. David and I both have close friends who work in the NHS, so it was of particular importance for us to help where we could. We considered other forms of PPE (such as masks) but decided to focus on something that would be realistic in the urgent timescales we had, and that would not require months and months of certification. What does your day look likewhen working onmass printing the face visors? David, along with our EngD students and a few research staff, has been instrumental in setting up the re-purposed 3D printer and visor assembly production line. I have two children, so have only been able to get into University a few times, which is why having

Alex Duffield Materials Science and Engineering student Alex Duffield joined together with 3D Crowd UK to print 3D face shields for frontline staff across the UK. The team quickly got to work producing over 80,0000 shields for the initial batch with over 6,000 volunteers. Supporting their urgent work, Alex set up a fundraising platform that raised over £115,000 to help buy necessary equipment. Mat Burnell Mechanical Engineering student Mat Burnell and his family’s business, Matter Value Ltd. teamed up with 3D face visors group to donate over 600m of straps and foam strips, enough for 1500 face visors. These crucial elastic straps hold the visors on and help to make the headbands more comfortable for the staff wearing the masks. Priyanka Jayakumar Medical Engineering student Priyanka Jayakumar had the fantastic idea to help students who were moving out by sorting their unwanted items into charity bags. Rather than throw items away, Priyanka organised the bags to reduce waste and keep reusable items to be donated to local charity shops and those in need across Swansea.

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such an amazing team of EngD students and research staff on-the-ground has been essential to the success of this project. The first 5 weeks were pretty intense balancing the needs of my students for a year two module and lining things up for this project. It’s fair to say ‘normal’ working hours went out the window!

for dispatch. Music and great company keeps spirits high as we continue to assemble, improve our process and prepare for higher production! What was it likeworking remotely with the project team to quickly respond to the pandemic? David O’Connor set up a communications tool called Discord (typically used for gaming) which brought all of the student side of the team together initially, and then myself and a few industry friends and contacts were added. Being a member of staff, I was able to contact senior colleagues and gatekeepers directly via emails and virtual meetings. Things happened very quickly. The advantage of this platform was that when information or support was required urgently, one of the team picked it up, at all times of the day. The responsiveness of the students involved has been highly professional and absolutely amazing! I think the team all know people who work in healthcare or are affected by this pandemic, so being able to channel this concern into ‘doing’ has been a big part of this for the team; it has also added some ‘normality’ for those going into the University to manufacture the visors, given a shared purpose, and a chance to see

other people – albeit from a safe distance. Through working with staff, students, researchers and industrial contacts, we have brought a great mixture of experience and ideas into the melting pot, which has really helped us innovate and solve problems as they arose. Do you think this response to the pandemic will inspire others to think differently about what engineering is and howengineers can impact theworld? I hope so! It certainly reflects how a team of staff, students and external contacts can work together dynamically to fulfil a societal need. Many of our students come from the ‘Maker Hub’ in Swansea University. This is a space where students can spend an afternoon a week using 3D printers, laser cutters, and more to ‘hack’ things up, make stuff, and learn-by-doing. Students are encouraged to work on non-assessment work, so they can explore new ideas and innovations. I would love to see the Maker Hub expand following this project, and gain a larger, and more regularly accessible space to be created for the group, and future students.

Tackling the climate crisis

CaitlinMcCall (EngD) To start each day, we follow a strict

process of applying PPE followed by a full clean down of our working environment. A quick socially distanced team brief and assessment of what needs to be done in the day gets everyone ready and up to speed. There are four main stations around the large manufacturing room that we rotate around. Firstly, we have 3D printers constantly printing the headbands. After eight hours, these are removed from the printing beds and moved to the next station for quality inspection and finishing. Then, we assemble pre-cut elastic and foam, with the PET visor and printed headbands. The face visors are labelled with their part numbers and CE mark. After a final inspection, they’re ready for bagging. Once bagged, face visors are placed into labelled boxes according to the requests that come in, and are ready

In May 2020, The Guardian announced it would use terms such as “climate crisis” or “climate emergency” to describe global climate change. Our research here at Swansea University has multiple focuses from computational engineering, to health and wellbeing, and in 2015, we opened the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) with a vision of “building the bridge to a sustainable, affordable and secure energy future.”

Areas of research within this building include inter-conversion of waste energy and resources, green hydrocarbon, sequestration of carbon dioxide, and the next generation of energy distribution. Read on to find out about some of the work that is going towards reducing the carbon footprint of humanity.

Acknowledgements: We must also acknowledge other colleagues and staff for their support at various stages of this project: In particular Professor Johann Sienz for his senior management team support, Dr Naomi Joyce and Professor Mary Gagen for their project management support (amongst other talents). Professor Davide Deganello for initial visor material contacts and supply.

Russ Huxtable for expediating funds for CE certification. Volunteer technicians for initial production runs. Kevin Thomas for facilitating access. FSG tooling – external company creating the injection moulding tool for mass production. Martijn Gommeren – engineering contact and friend

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Black plastics by Dr Alvin OrbaekWhite Black plastics are everywhere. They are on your shop market shelves, they can be found in the seas and oceans, and maybe even in your sea salt too. 60% of the 8.7million+ metric tonnes of plastic ever made is sat in landfill because it is not recyclable in our current system. And even those that are recyclable still go to landfill eventually.

A VALUABLE ENEMY by Dr Sandra Hernandez Aldave and Dr Enrico Andreoli

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous changes on an industrial level. The world has stopped traveling, factories are closed or on reduced throughputs and the hospitality sector has collapsed. A recent study published in Nature Climate Change, showed that from early April 2020, the daily global CO2 emissions have decreased by 17% compared to last year. Moreover, the study states that the annual global emissions of CO 2 will depend on the duration of the confinement; but a reduction of 4% is expected if the lockdown ends this summer, or a fall up to 7% if it continues until the end of the year. Although these numbers seem very positive news, they also reveal darker facts. First, these changes are temporary, and the previous estimations are dependent of governmental actions and economic incentives post-crisis. Taking into consideration previous examples, the CO 2 reductions achieved during recessions are easily offset by economic rebounds. In 2010, after the Great Recession, the CO 2 emissions rebounded by 5%. On the other hand, these numbers show us how hard it is to realise the desperately needed reduction of CO 2 emissions. Even

in the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic, the global CO 2 reduction for 2020 will not reach the goals stablished by the United Nations in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. An agreement where the European Union has committed to achieve an economy-wide domestic target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 and at least 80% reduction by 2050. By the same year, the UK has set an even more ambitious target of zero emissions. Targets that will help to keep global warming below 2°C but require an annual emission drop of 7.6%. In order to achieve such goals, CO 2 reductions of similar magnitude of those recorded during the lockdown will be necessary for several years; almost unthinkable in today’s society. But not all hope is lost! Those reduction targets can be achieved through developing new and efficient technologies that can mitigate CO 2 emissions. This group of technologies is known as Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU); able not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also to provide supplementary benefits. CCU technologies capture anthropogenic CO 2 , industrially emitted or airborne, then converted into added-value products, such as fuels like methane, propane or ethylene and chemicals as ethanol or formate. This conversion can be done using renewable

energy sources, achieving a sustainable circular process. This approach has the huge advantage to create value from CO 2 emissions. Our research is to make this amazing idea, a fascinating reality. At the Energy Safety Research Institute of Swansea University, we are designing and building a CCU system to help reduce carbon emissions of Welsh industries within our flagship research operation RICE (Reducing Industrial Carbon Emission). The project looks at the capture and the conversion of CO 2 . Our capture system is a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit tailored to the CO 2 separation needs of large scale industry including steelmaking, cement and glass production. The PSA unit will be available to the industry to separate CO 2 from multiple mixtures containing nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and possible contaminants. Afterwards, the CO 2 will be introduced into a customised electrolyser. Here, the CO 2 is converted electrochemically into valuable products. Although the concept is relatively easy to understand, the reality is more challenging, and it requires the consideration of thousands of factors; from multiple computational simulations to several lab scale testing. Challenges that do not intimidate our team, we believe in our vision and effort to mitigate global warming.

Plastics cannot be recycled infinitely, at least not using traditional techniques. Most are only given one new lease of life before they end up in the earth, the ocean or an incinerator. But there is hope in a different form of recycling known as chemical recycling. In my research group we develop new approaches to tackle this growing and urgent problem. We take black plastic, break it down into small molecular units, then build up new materials using a bottom- up approach. This is based on the latest techniques from the world of nanotechnology and nanoengineering. The materials I build are carbon nanotubes and we use them for electrical wiring to transmit electrical power or electrical signals. A demonstration model can be seen on YouTube (Bach through nanotubes) where we play Bach Cello through cables made of our carbon nanotubes. In order to survive comfortably into the next century and beyond, I believewe should find better ways to clean our environment, to remove rubbish from the planet as much as possible, and tomake electricity transport as efficient as possible. In our research group we are constantly thriving to find new and better ways to do this. I have also started a

company to take the science from the bench space to the marketplace too. In Swansea University I teach Heat Transfer (EG-103) to the first years who are studying Chemical Engineering. I always infuse the latest knowledge from the frontiers of research and development into my lectures. I believe it is important that students be equipped with the most up to date and relevant new information. I want them to both realise the importance of what they are learning and also be equipped with information that helps them make the best decisions when they head out into the marketplace after they graduate. Learning isn’t just about remembering, it is also about synthesising the best path forwards based on all the information you have in front of you. I make my students think and not just learn, then they can grow and create better solutions for the problems they see around them.

What areas? Dr Alvin Orbaek White’s research includes students with degrees in Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computational, Mechanical, and Materials Engineering, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

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Future Forest Fighters by Dr Emily Preedy Algae – The Lean Green Gas Guzzling Machines

A LGA E — EMP T Y F ENC E

Imagine if technology could build forests of carbon capturing trees that snake around industrial plants seeking out Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) like a hungry Pac-Man, autotrophically feeding on the element that is contributing to global damage to the environment. This fantasy is now a reality at the RICE Project at Swansea University, ESRI and Engineering. A multi-disciplined, enthusiastic, revolutionary team of researchers have been working tirelessly to design, build and employ fences of artificial trees, known as a Photobioreactor, to industrial sites in the UK and Europe. These trees stand proudly at 2.5m, housed in metal framework, and the system holds up to 5,000L of a microalgae species, moving through the interconnected giant straw like structures, allowing mother nature’s climate control clans to combat the capture of CO 2 . Microalgae, the soldiers in the climate control revolution, are a smaller version of seaweed, the big brother

AKA Macroalgae. It has been used for centuries as a rich food source, such as lava bread (often for sale in Swansea Market), and is an important guard to maintaining an equilibrium of gases in the environment. Like any plant, algae photosynthesise, meaning that industrial waste, rich in CO 2 is like bread and butter to the microorganism. Not only do the algae enjoy feasting on these emissions, it can also utilise domestic and agricultural waste that is rich in phosphates and nitrogen, all essential elements to promote the rapid growth of these specimens. As a further incentive to industry, not only do microalgae help towards a sustainable, cleaner, and greener industrial future using up around 1.8 kg of CO 2 per kg of algal biomass; the team will also be investigating the added value products that can be concentrated and purified in the downstream processes of the biomass once harvested. This biomass is rich in macro and micronutrients, with around 60% made up of protein,

highly attractive as a food supplement and protein alternative. Algae also contain high levels of Vitamin B Complexes, Calcium and Iron. However, pharmaceutical industries are interested in the pigments that are held within the cellular structures; these are dependent on the species grown, but are believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. With this knowledge, adaptability of the species, and employment of the microalgae, aids in this global battle for zero carbon emissions incentive by 2050, turning emissions into edible products. Waste that works! Listen to Emily’s Podcast www.swansea.ac.uk/research/ podcasts/algae/

What areas? Dr Emily Preedy works with academics and researchers whose backgrounds are in Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Process Engineering.

A LGA E — F I L L I NG F ENC E T R E E S

ESRI

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What areas? Our Coastal and Flood Management Solutions research involves staff and students with a background in Civil and Coastal Engineering.

Building a sustainable future

Coastal and Flood Management Solutions Professor Harshinie Karunarathna

Coastal flooding is a serious global hazard. With a rapidly changing global climate, the world frequently witnesses flood events which kill people, seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of coastal communities, and damaging billions of pounds worth coastal infrastructure and properties. The world’s first climate refugees have been reported in our home country in Wales after it has been decided that the seaside village of Fairbourne is to be decommissioned as a result of increased coastal flooding. Coastal flooding occurs when high tides combine with storm surges and highly energetic waves. Storm surges are a temporary rise of sea level as a result of low atmospheric pressure during a storm, hurricane or a typhoon. The risen seawater is then pushed

towards the coast by high wind. If this coincides with high tide and large waves generated by high wind, coastal defences can be overtopped and breached, and natural beaches can erode and over-wash, thus leading to coastal flooding. The global rise of sea levels exacerbates this process. The traditional approach to mitigate coastal flooding is to build larger and larger coastal defences. The downside of this approach is large concrete structures damage the natural environment, alter delicate coastal ecosystems, and restrict the access to the sea – on top of being eyesores to the general public. In our research group, we investigate new approaches to mitigate coastal flood and erosion by developing what is known as nature-based

coastal engineering. By combining experimental investigations in the large wave flume of our Coastal Engineering Laboratory with computational modelling, we investigate how natural coastal systems like salt marshes, seagrass beds and vegetated sand dunes can be integrated into coastal defence schemes. In our experiments, we measure storm wave and current attenuation by coastal vegetation. Those measurements and process understandings gathered from the experiments are used to develop computational models to simulate the dynamics of coastal systems. These models allow us to rise to the challenges of the 21st century coastal flood and erosion management by developing climate change-proof coastal defence solutions without harming the natural environment.

Our researchers are addressing the unprecedented global challenges of our time by collaborating with partners across the world to safe guard and preserve our planet for future generations. From the development of energy-resilient communities and electric vehicles, to encouraging a circular economy, our research and its implementation has established us as agenda setters in the sustainable arena.

Read about the renewable technologies and initiatives that are being developed here at Swansea University and the academics that are championing them here.

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Supporting the development of Greener, Cleaner, Smarter Steel industry in the UK by Dr BeckyWaldram, SUSTAIN

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SUSTAIN’s overriding ambitions ? To develop systems for carbon neutral iron and steelmaking by 2040, to double steel GVA by 2030, and to implement world- leading intelligent infrastructure by 2030. It is a real privilege to be involved in the project, and to be playing a part in creating a sustainable future for the UK.

SUSTAIN’s Grand Challenges and Themes are great examples of the diverse range of knowledge and expertise required for an engineering project to succeed: Emissions Management and Utilisation How can we capture, store and utilise carbon from large point sources ? How can we separate carbon dioxide from other waste gases ? ZeroWaste Steelmaking How can we re-use domestic and industrial waste within the steel industry ? The UK currently exports around 10 million tonnes of scrap steel per year, can we recycle this locally ? Data Driven Innovation How can we better embrace the wider end-to-end supply chain ? Can we incorporate process modelling and fast-algorithm techniques to allow real-time simulations and predictions ? Smart Low Energy Production Can we re-use some of the energy generated in the steelmaking process? How can we use hydrogen to power a steel plant ? New Processes for New Products Can we monitor material microstructure during processing to develop new products and improve the efficiency of existing steel grades ?

Steel is all around us. It is used within, or in the manufacture of, virtually all of the essential equipment and products we use daily, from the transport we take, schools, workplaces and shops we visit, to the cutlery we eat with. Due to the energy requirements of the process, steelmaking is very carbon intensive. It is also very efficient and can create products at a higher rate and lower financial and energy cost than any other material we currently use. With the ongoing climate emergency, and the UK’s commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, it is vital we act now to decarbonise this crucial industry , an industry that enables our modern standard of living and supports many thousands of highly skilled manufacturing and supply chain jobs in the UK. The SUSTAIN project aims to deliver the cutting-edge science and engineering research required to create carbon neutral, resource efficient UK steel supply chains. We will enable UK manufacturing sectors to deliver world-leading resilient solutions for tomorrow’s transport, energy and building needs, whilst overcoming societal waste and energy challenges. The project is just entering its second year of work, and we are already contributing directly to industrial practices.

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Active buildings that can generate, store and release their own solar energy

What areas? The SUSTAINHub includes staff, students and industrial partners with backgrounds in Materials and Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science and Management, as well as those with a expertise in Foundation Industries and Sustainable Steelmaking Technologies.

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What areas? Our Active Buildings includes technology and expertise in all engineering disciplines including Chemical, Civil, Electronic and Electrical, Materials and Mechanical Engineering.

Buildings account for about 40% of the UK’s energy consumption

The Active Office is an office building accommodating around 30 members of staff. By generating and storing both heat and electricity, it has been calculated that the building will emit less than a third of the carbon that an equivalent traditional building would during a 60-year lifetime, saving an estimated 76 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The energy consumed by each building is less than half the industry benchmark

How will this work by our engineers help make a difference in the wider world ? SPECIFIC is now supporting Pobl Group, Wales’ largest social housing provider, on a housing development of 16 homes in Neath, South Wales to apply the concept in housing. The team is also working with Transport for Wales to see how it could work on railway station shelters. Meanwhile, the SUNRISE project with our partners at IISc Bangalore are exploring how our knowledge can help to address global energy poverty, through partnerships in India and other countries. They have already installed some solar micro- grids in schools around Bengaluru where the distribution of power is very sporadic and power is not available in some of the schools during the day. The objective is to provide

In a world where we are urged to be socially responsible and to actively fight climate change, how can we do this when the global demand for energy is growing rapidly ? Buildings account for about 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which should be an alert to engineers across the world that radical change is needed in the way buildings are designed and used. Sustainability is embedded into what we do here in Engineering and we are continuously developing new ideas and introducing new initiatives to work towards becoming a smarter, cleaner and greener organisation. The concept of Active Buildings was developed by Swansea University’s SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre. The roofs and walls of buildings are ‘activated’ by adding a

coating or cladding that can generate heat and electricity from the sun; these are combined with technologies in the building that can store the energy until it is needed. In 2016, Swansea University’s Active Classroom was constructed to demonstrate this idea using some experimental technologies. Later in 2018, the Active Office was constructed to show how the idea can be applied now, using technology that is already available on the market. By combining an integrated solar roof and battery storage with solar heat collection and storage, the buildings were both designed to generate more heat and electrical energy than they consume over an annual cycle. In its first year of operation the Active Classroom generated 1.5 times the energy it used. In its second year, when one of the rooms became an office space, it met its own energy needs.

for standard classroom or office buildings of the same size, even before the energy generated is taken into account.

The building will emit less than a third of the carbon that an equivalent traditional building would.

All of this work is underpinned by fundamental science in the labs at the Bay Campus, where researchers are developing the next generation of materials and renewable energy technologies that are low cost, easy to manufacture in volume and can be recycled or reused at the end of their life.

uninterrupted power supply and adequate lighting in the schools’ classrooms.

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What made you interested in engineeringand renewable energy? When I was a small boy, I went on trips with my father to see a slate quarry that had been converted to a hydro-electric power plant and that was the turning point when I started to wonder where all our energy comes from. Both my parents were fanatically interested in renewable energy and I became interested in solar power. When you realise that every day more energy falls on our planet’s surface than we use in 27 years, you begin to wonder, why do we need to keep digging things out of the ground and burning it ? My PhDwas in solar energy but there was a period when there wasn’t much funding for that kind of work. I went into the steel industry and realised the value end is not simply making the steel but making something useful out of it. Linking this to solar power, here in Swansea, we’ve utilised materials that can generate energy on the outside of buildings. Why did you specialise inMaterials Science? It fascinated me when I realised that Materials Science is involved in everything. There isn’t an object that hasn’t had some influence fromMaterials Science and the application of engineering also allows me to use my creative flair, so I think it’s important to help people understand all the ingredients involved in this amazing area. What is special aboutMaterials Science and Engineeringat Swansea? The reason whyMaterials Science and Engineering at Swansea exists is because we were needed by the local industries 100 years ago, so it’s in the basic DNA

of our University. And because we’ve always done it, the degree to which this subject has influenced the whole area of SouthWales and beyond in terms of how Materials Science has touched people is really significant. We’ve maintained our partnerships with traditional industries that are in our heritage, but we’re also unique in that we are adventurous in looking to new innovative ideas and applications (such as solar energy) to support new industries.

go on to invent all these new devices, it could be the Electrical Engineers or the Mechanical Engineers who go on to use these materials for their inventions and that drives economic growth, improves people’s welfare and lifestyles. Do you think thework Swansea is doingwill inspire youngpeople to do engineering? Traditionally, engineering has been viewed as heavy machinery and turning cogs, but where we are now, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are seeing how engineers have the ability to respond to a crisis by coming forward with solutions to help people’s lives. Also remembering that before this crisis, we were talking about the climate crisis. On the one hand, we could look at the situation with doom and gloom and the limited windowwe have to address the issue. Alternatively, we could get people excited about studying science and engineering to solve other current and future problems for our next leap forward, whether that be the Net Zero Age or the Solar Age. I think it’s a brilliant time to inspire young people into STEMand showing them that the things we are doing is really making a difference.

Professor Dave Worsley Research Lead on the Active Buildings

What is your role here in Engineeringat Swansea?

As a Senior Research Professor, one of my important roles is writing, applying for, and successfully obtaining grants from UKGovernment to fund our research; but another one of my key roles is supporting people. I think it’s important to support people who have good ideas and help them to get funding to grow their ideas and develop a career of their own. There are so many examples of people here in Swansea who started off as undergraduates, have grown with us and are now at a professorial level or successfully working in other areas, and I hope I was part of helping them shape their career. I myself value very greatly that I’ve managed to craft out an entire career in Swansea – a place I love. What rolewould you sayMaterials Science has in shapingour future? Materials Science has underpinned every move forward that humans have made. We’ve been through the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Silicon Age and all the new things that we do are driven by the discovery of newmaterials which enables us as humans to create new things. But it’s not theMaterials Scientists that necessarily

Dave Worsley is a Tata Steel sponsored Professor, leading a number of National and International consortium projects supporting the transformation of industry to a lower carbon future. He has been recognised and awarded for his distinguished work in the field of Materials Science and Engineering , particularly his achievements connected with the iron and steel industries. Most recently, he was awarded a Welsh Government St David Award in the Innovation, Science and Technology category . The national St David Awards scheme recognises and celebrates the exceptional achievements of people from all walks of life in Wales.

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Circular Economy and Photovoltaics By 2050, there will be over 60million tonnes of waste Si-PV that must be dealt with

Did you know the UK produces 200million tonnes of waste each year?

Circular Economy

Discouraging the Throwaway Culture Dr Gavin Bunting

Listen to their podcast www.swansea.ac.uk/ research/podcasts/ circular-economy/

Dr MatthewDavies

Are you guilty of buying something new instead of getting it repaired ? Or upgrading your phone and leaving your old one in the drawer ? Did you know the UK produces 200million tonnes of waste each year and that one quarter of that goes to landfill ? Dr Gavin Bunting, Associate Professor and Deputy Director for Innovation and Engagement here in Engineering explains what the Circular Economy is, how organisations can implement the principles, and how we can all start changing our habits to discourage the current throwaway culture and start becoming users – not consumers. Resources that we need for critical applications such as power generation, medical devices, cars, batteries are becoming more scarce, so should we be using these resources as if they are infinite ? Or should we be thinking about the future ? It certainly is a tough one, as

we have all been in that situation when our phone, printer, washing machine has broken, we weigh up the pros and cons, and it’s just cheaper to buy a new one than to repair or upgrade it. In fact, we’re often encouraged to buy new – and frequently too – as it seems like products are not robust or made to last longer than a few short years. But why should this be the case ? What is the solution ? One way to tackle this excess waste would be to move to a Circular Economy where products are designed to be durable, straight- forward to repair or upgrade, and easy to recover and recycle raw materials at the end of the product’s life, instead of having them go to landfill. Another mentality we could change is not owning things and choosing to rent or lease instead, becoming users as opposed to consumers. This change of business model really gives companies the incentive to ensure their products are robust or easy to repair so that they last longer, as they still

own it and will get it back at the end of the product’s life. Whereas currently, we are sold products and companies hope they never see it again. As engineers, we can be at the forefront of designing products and infrastructure for the circular economy, allowing for refurbishment and re-use, developing new materials, extracting useful resources from natural materials and understanding where opportunities are in a product’s lifecycle to reduce waste or emissions. So next time you go to buy something, ask yourself, can it be repaired ? Can the materials be recycled ? How long is it designed to last for ? Do you need to buy it ? Can you rent the product ? As consumers, we can help drive this area forward by purchasing or renting products that are durable, easy to repair and made of materials that are easy to recycle.

The development and deployment of sustainable renewable energy technologies is vital to our transition away from fossil fuel energy sources towards a clean-energy future. However, although viewed as ‘green’, there are significant environmental impacts associated with renewable energy technologies. In our effort to tackle climate change quickly, it is important to ensure that renewable energy itself is also sustainable. The cost of photovoltaic (PV) technology has plummeted with silicon PV (Si-PV) now cost-competitive, and in some locations cheaper than fossil fuels, resulting in dramatic growth in their use. The average lifespan of a Si-PV module is around 25 years, but when solar panels no longer work, they are not currently easy to recycle. By 2050, there will be over 60million tonnes of waste Si-PV that must be dealt with. We could decouple the economic growth

of the sector from the consumption of primary raw materials so we can deploy increasing volumes of PV technology without the need to dig materials out of the Earth. Currently, PV supplies roughly 3% of global electricity, but this is already dependent on high quantities of critical materials (such as indium and tellurium). These materials are also used in other important renewable and/ or energy efficient technologies – we need to avoid renewable technologies competing for materials as this will limit our ability to respond to climate change. Widespread deployment of PV technologies must come with transition to a ‘circular economy’, in which materials are kept in service for as long as possible at the highest value possible. For Si-PV, this obviously needs to be done retrospectively but for emerging technologies, like the ones we work on here at Swansea University, we believe this is an opportunity to develop

and design the next generation of photovoltaic technology with circular economy and end-of-life in mind from the start. Our SPECIFIC project aims to hasten the commercialisation of the next generation of sustainable renewable energy technology. We are working on alternatives to traditional Si-PV; investigating the use of low-cost, printable, earth-abundant materials. One challenge that we are trying to address is the eco-design of devices so that they can be remanufactured into new devices at the end of life using as much of the original device as possible. This will minimise the use of critical materials and ensure the economic growth is not intrinsically linked to carbon emissions. We aim to deliver maximum benefit to society and develop truly ‘sustainable’ renewable energy technology.

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Study with us! If you have been inspired by our Engineers, why not take a look at some of the courses we offer ?

l Aerospace Engineering l Chemical Engineering l Civil Engineering

l Mechanical Engineering l Nanoscience to Nanotechnology l Power Engineering & Sustainable Energy l Structural Engineering l Sustainable Engineering Management for International Development l Virtual Reality

l Communications Engineering l Computational Engineering l Electronic & Electrical Engineering l Engineering Leadership Management l Materials Science & Engineering

All of our Engineering degrees are accredited, and our Engineering department is ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Times Good University Guide 2020).

More about our research To learn more about our research and the work we do here in Engineering, please visit: www.swansea.ac.uk/engineering/research

Want to make a positive difference in the world?

“Working sustainably ismore critical than ever and engineersmust understand how their decisions impact other people and the planet. At Swanseawe have built sustainability and ethics into our courses, equipping our graduateswith the essential skills needed to address future global challenges.”

Follow us!

engineering@swansea.ac.uk SwanseaUniEngineering twitter.com/suengineering www.instagram.com/suengineering

Dr Patricia Xavier, Academic Programme Enhancement and Development Lead.

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Contact us Engineering Swansea University Bay Campus Fabian Way

Swansea SA1 8EN Tel: +44 (0)1792 295514

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