• Winners of the 2022 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards revealed

    Winners of the 2022 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards revealed

    Every year, the IET celebrates the achievements of women working in modern engineering, with a view to changing the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes of hard hats and dirty overalls. At the moment, only 16 per cent of engineers are women, according to Engineering UK.  As well as highlighting the talent of women engineers, the awards seek to find role models who can help address the UK science and engineering skills crisis by promoting engineering careers to more girls and women. Let's meet the winners! IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year: Ama Frimpong Ama Frimpong (33) is head of product development at 52 North Health. Ama manages the company’s engineering teams in the development of NeutroCheck. This tool…

  • Arctic fibre-optic cable secures first investment

    Arctic fibre-optic cable secures first investment

    The first subsea cable to be laid on the Arctic seabed has secured its first investor, according to Far North Fiber, the joint venture between Cinia, US-based Far North Digital (FND) and Japan's Arteria Networks that is behind the project.  The Far North Fiber consortium said it plans a 14,000km open network with a 12-fibre-pair cable system and terminal stations in Japan, Ireland and Norway or Finland, as well as a regeneration station in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, for local add/drop. The cable, which will run from the Nordic countries to Japan via Greenland, Canada and Alaska, is expected to cut delays in data transmission between Frankfurt and Tokyo by around 30 per cent.  "The Far North Fiber project is an epoch-making project to build the last remaining submarine cable route connecting…

  • Nature-inspired tech to move transport towards to net-zero

    Nature-inspired tech to move transport towards to net-zero

    Since the first life began on Earth approximately 3.8 billion years ago, nature has created ecosystems capable of supporting billions of lifeforms over geological timescales to effectively populate every part of the planet. But our species – a comparative newcomer – is pushing these systems to breaking point after a few very short centuries of industrial development. To save our planet, we need to ditch fossil fuels and make a swift move to net zero – whereby the amount of greenhouse gas produced is matched by the amount removed from the atmosphere – and learn from nature instead of destroying it. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says transport has the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector, accounting for 15 per cent of total net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according…

  • What happens to traditional cars when EVs rule the road?

    What happens to traditional cars when EVs rule the road?

    I am sat in the passenger seat of a Land Rover Defender 90 as it pulls off the roundabout onto central London’s Lambeth Bridge. Rather than the gutsy roar you might expect from the engine of this 1980s classic, the manoeuvre is accompanied by the low-key hum of a battery. This is because I’m being driven in a car that’s been converted into an electric vehicle (EV) by London Electric Cars (see ‘Converting ICE cars to EV’). As we cruise over the Thames, Matthew Quitter, the firm’s founder, points out the improved performance this conversion provides: “We wouldn’t have been able to pull away from that roundabout anywhere near as fast [before an EV battery was fitted].” Switching out the petrol engine and replacing it with a Nissan Leaf battery involves some complex engineering, with quite a…

  • Energy efficiency moves up the global agenda amid high prices

    Energy efficiency moves up the global agenda amid high prices

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) noted that many major policies, spending commitments and public campaigns have been launched to improve energy efficiency, albeit not enough to meet climate change targets at the moment. Global investments in energy efficiency – such as building renovations, public transport and electric car infrastructure – reached $560bn in 2022, an increase of 16 per cent on 2021, according to the IEA’s latest market report, Energy Efficiency 2022. Preliminary data indicates that in 2022 the global economy used energy 2 per cent more efficiently than it did in 2021, a rate of improvement almost four times that of the past two years, and almost double the rate of the past five years. If the current rate of progress can be built upon further in the coming years,…

  • Interview: ‘Sustainability is a guiding principle for today’s buyers’ - Camilla Kaplin, Outokumpu

    Interview: ‘Sustainability is a guiding principle for today’s buyers’ - Camilla Kaplin, Outokumpu

    What the term ‘green steel’ means depends on who you talk to, says Camilla Kaplin. This is because the phrase can be taken to mean any product that is, “more sustainable than it used to be”. For the senior manager of Environment at Finnish steel manufacturer Outokumpu – the largest steel producer in Europe, second in the Americas – this approach to defining sustainability credentials for the metal is too vague. She prefers to talk in terms of the ISO14040 environmental management standard to “clarify the situation”, specifically with reference to assessing CO2 emissions associated with products and raw materials. “We have companies saying that from an environmental or climate perspective, their steel today is ‘better’ than what they had before. But because I work with these issues, I know…

  • Nanodiamonds could turn methanol into an industrial raw material

    Nanodiamonds could turn methanol into an industrial raw material

    R ather than being released into the atmosphere and exacerbating the problem of climate change, CO 2  can also be used as a raw material for substances required in industrial processes, such as formic acid or methanol. To do so, scientists have developed a process that relies on  using nanodiamonds as a catalyst and irradiating them with short-wave UV-C light in a liquid environment. The diamonds used in this research are not the jewellery-grade kind. Instead, the team used what is known as a "detonation diamond", which is produced on an industrial scale and is therefore relatively inexpensive as a catalyst. As diamonds are largely made of carbon, the material can be considered a "green" catalyst, the team said.  "Up to now, the experiments have been carried out in a batch reactor;…

  • Dear Evil Engineer: Could I arm my snipers with ice bullets?

    Dear Evil Engineer: Could I arm my snipers with ice bullets?

    Dear Evil Engineer, I manage a fast-growing agency which provides innovative sniping solutions to clients across a range of sectors. I like to work closely with mercenary snipers to ensure that they have access to the best tools and training available. Recently, I have been considering alternatives to conventional lead bullets. I’m fascinated by the idea of ice bullets which melt after use, leaving no trace behind them. Is such a thing possible? Yours, A stealthy villain Dear villain, Thank you for writing in. Despite an intriguing concept, I’m sorry to say that bullets made of ice may be some of the least effective tools imaginable. That is not to say that ice projectiles are entirely hopeless. Permit me to explain. A bullet made of ice is highly unlikely to reach a sniper’s target…

    E&T Magazine
  • The eccentric engineer: solving the Christmas wrapping conundrum

    The eccentric engineer: solving the Christmas wrapping conundrum

    Wrapping presents has a long history and is, so the social anthropologists tell us, a way of “disguising the commodity and adding a layer of authenticity and personal feeling missing from marketplace transactions”. Personally, I use it as a way of camouflaging a disappointing gift for long enough to give me a chance of getting away before the unhappy recipient realises what they’ve got. And we do love wrapping presents. Each Christmas, we in the UK use enough wrapping paper to cover the whole of the island of Guernsey, which would make a lovely gift. But present wrapping also brings round one of the greatest conundrums in modern engineering. How do you wrap that oddly shaped present? Hardest of all to wrap are spherical things, thanks to their Gaussian curvature. Flat planes of paper clearly…

  • Hands-on review: myFirst Camera Insta Wi

    Hands-on review: myFirst Camera Insta Wi

    This instant camera is aimed at anyone aged 7+ and includes enough bells and whistles that it could keep youngsters occupied and their fingers off your phone. Meanwhile, older ones - even teens - will put it to good use thanks to the built-in thermal printer for instant pictures. Thermal printing? Basically, it prints on till rolls. That means black-and-white prints on thin paper, but this also means very cheap consumables. There’s no ink and till rolls are as cheap as chips. When you compare it with the cost of Polaroid paper or even FujiFilm instax paper, it’s brilliant. Image credit: myFirst The camera is chunky and endearingly kawaii. The design when it’s sat in its cradle is like a cute mammal with two ears (the lugs for attaching the neck lanyard at the top…

  • US committee urges FCC to block Cuba undersea cable project

    US committee urges FCC to block Cuba undersea cable project

    The US government committee has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny an application to connect Cuba to the United States through a new undersea cable landing station to handle internet, voice and data traffic. The project would create the only direct, commercial undersea cable connection between the two nations, and it would be o wned and controlled by Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (ETECSA).  The proposal is part of the existing ARCOS-1 submarine cable system, which connects the United States with 14 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America and aimed to expand to a landing station in Cojimar, Cuba. However, the expansion would require regulatory approval from the FCC.  Team Telecom advised…

  • View from Washington: Twitter – a ‘Knives Out’ mystery

    View from Washington: Twitter – a ‘Knives Out’ mystery

    ‘Reign of terror’. ‘Space Karen’. And my personal but cryptic favourite – though NSFW if you search for it – ‘Succession s01e02’. Many reactions to Elon Musk’s chaotic early days at Twitter have been very much knives out. Given what is being learned from departing employees and the new owner’s latest tweets, that’s no surprise. What Musk’s critics often miss is that this is exactly what he wants, even if it isn’t what he needs. Public criticism of staff and wholesale sackings, crowdsourced strategy alternating with diktat, and snarking off huge slices of the customer base look – and probably will prove – destructive. Nevertheless, Musk has cultivated an image as a trash-talking, buccaneering CEO who wants to change the world. Added to that is an approach to branding and running companies…

    E&T Magazine
  • Discarded batteries causing hundreds of fires at waste centres

    Discarded batteries causing hundreds of fires at waste centres

    Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are responsible for around 48 per cent of all waste fires occurring in the UK each year, costing waste operators, fire services and the environment approximately £158m annually, according to research published by Eunomia. Hidden "zombie batteries" can be found in a wide range of household devices, from phones and laptops, to power tools, children's toys, e-bikes and scooters, and even vape devices.  When thrown away with the general rubbish, or mixed with other recycling, these batteries can easily become damaged and ignite, setting fire to dry, flammable waste and recycling around them. Although the Eunomia research estimated that just over 200 fires at UK recycling and waste management facilities are caused by batteries each year, the Environmental Services…

  • Smart motorway potential ‘wasted’ by drivers concerned over safety

    Smart motorway potential ‘wasted’ by drivers concerned over safety

    The survey was commissioned by the RAC, which said it “completely undermines” the reason that smart motorways were introduced in the first place – to increase capacity on congested roads. The research was conducted with 1,904 drivers who have driven on ‘all lane running’ smart motorways. It found that a fifth (21 per cent) claimed to have frequently steered clear of the left-hand, inside lane, while 28 per cent admitted to doing so occasionally. A majority of drivers (68 per cent) also said they regularly see motorists using other lanes when the inside lane is free. Asked why they deliberately avoid driving in lane one, an overwhelming three-quarters (77 per cent) of drivers say they are worried they might encounter a stationary, broken-down vehicle as there is no hard shoulder while…

    E&T Magazine
  • Starlink to provide broadband in the UK’s remotest areas despite slowdowns

    Starlink to provide broadband in the UK’s remotest areas despite slowdowns

    The Starlink service works by beaming down supposedly broadband-speed internet signal using a constellation of satellites orbiting the Earth. A trial using the service launched today to test the speed of the service in more than a dozen ‘very hard to reach’ locations. These are amongst the one per cent of the hardest sites in the UK to upgrade via expensive physical cables in more extreme locations such as mountainous areas or small islands. A 12th-century abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, a scout camping site in Snowdonia, a Lake District mountain rescue base and other remote premises will have equipment installed that allows them receive the service, potentially giving them broadband up to ten times faster than is currently available to them. Following the trials,…

    E&T Magazine
  • Onshore wind farm ban could have added £800m to household bills

    Onshore wind farm ban could have added £800m to household bills

    Government policies over the last decade which hampered the roll-out of onshore wind power in Britain might be adding close to a billion pounds to energy bills this winter, according to research from the Energy and Climate Change Intelligence Unit (ECIU), a UK-based non-profit body funded by a range of climate-focused philanthropic foundations. The effective ban on this energy source ban was first brought in by former prime minister David Cameron in 2016 after pressure from Conservative MPs who worried about the impact of wind turbines damage on rural communities.  Without this decision, developers could have built enough turbines to generate around 2.5 terawatt-hours of energy – enough to power 1.5 million homes through the winter – and reduced the need to use gas power plants, saving…

  • Over 95 per cent of 2022’s new malware threats aimed at Windows

    Over 95 per cent of 2022’s new malware threats aimed at Windows

    Windows is the most popular operating system among desktop and laptop users, with around 30 per cent of the OS market share worldwide. This is one of the reasons why it is also the most targeted by malware. According to data analysed by the Atlas VPN team, based on AV-TEST GmbH statistics, 59.58 million new Windows malware samples were detected in the first three quarters of 2022. They make up a whopping 95.6 per cent of all new malware discovered in that period. Linux malware takes the second spot on the list with 1.76 million new malware samples — 2.8 per cent of the total new malware threats in Q1-Q3 2022. Android malware takes the bronze medal, with 938,379 newly discovered malware threats detected in the same period. This constitutes 1.5 per cent of all new malware in Q1-Q3 2022. Finally…

  • View from India: G20, an opportunity to be grasped

    View from India: G20, an opportunity to be grasped

    The G20 or Group of 20 consists of 19 of the world’s largest advanced and developing economies, as well as the European Union (EU). Every year they meet to discuss the most pressing global issues. G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the worldwide trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. During the 2023 Presidency, India will hold about 200 meetings in 32 different sectors in multiple locations across the country. The Presidency’s goal is based on an inclusive and action-oriented agenda. It aims to bridge the digital divide and tackle the challenges of food and energy security. India has constituted 13 working groups under the Sherpa track to provide recommendations related to employment…

    E&T Magazine
  • How can agility help business tackle the ongoing energy crisis?

    How can agility help business tackle the ongoing energy crisis?

    With Europe currently experiencing one of the worst energy crises of all time, the UK has been badly impacted – with soaring gas prices driving up energy bills across the country. Energy suppliers are scrambling to counter the effects of shifted energy demands as well as cost-management challenges brought on by economic difficulties and political instability. As we enter the winter months and the cost-of-living crisis begins to take hold, addressing this problem has never been more important. In a market fraught with uncertainty, firms within the energy and utilities sector need to reconsider their business strategy to become more agile and responsive to the rapidly changing economic and business landscape. This can help them to channel their existing resources strategically to make them…

    E&T Magazine
  • Hands-on review: Suri sustainable electric toothbrush

    Hands-on review: Suri sustainable electric toothbrush

    Too many gadgets claim to be revolutionary but Suri (it stands for sustainable rituals) has a good go at reinventing the electric toothbrush. The focus is sustainability, but it also feels as though every element of its design has been thought through anew. One aspect of sustainability is the materials: Suri features an aluminium handle and plant-based heads (sustainably sourced cornflour with castor oil bristles). Another is minimising: it’s about one-third the size of standard electric toothbrushes, so it uses far less materials. Another is repairability: the body is designed to be easily opened, without the need for specialist tools. This allows for repair and also makes it easier to recycle at the end of its life. That’s a refreshing change when other brands make it almost impossible…

    E&T Magazine
  • Value is a Network: Apollo Protocol - The Value Hack

    Value is a Network: Apollo Protocol - The Value Hack

    Here’s a summary of some of the outcomes of our first Apollo Protocol Hack and information about how you can join the next one. Why are we talking about Value? Aligning the Value Chain is the first theme that The Apollo Forum discussed. All our activities as professionals are linked to the value we place in them, and to create any change in our activities we must address value as a core factor. Companies provide value that is seen in discrete parts and locked-up between processes. However, reducing the scope of value into these small segments inhibits our ability to articulate value generated across organisations and supply chains. In The Apollo Protocol White Paper, we set out the challenge of identifying a single value chain of data and information management. Both manufacturing…

  • Airbus and Renault announce electric vehicle battery partnership

    Airbus and Renault announce electric vehicle battery partnership

    The research and development agreement is aimed at accelerating both companies’ electrification roadmaps and will see their engineering teams joining forces to mature technologies related to energy storage, which remains one of the main roadblocks for the development of long-range electric vehicles. The agreement will also cover technologies that are key to energy management optimisation and battery weight improvements. In its announcement, Airbus said it wanted to move from current cell chemistries such as widely used lithium-ion batteries to all-solid-state designs which could double the energy density of batteries by 2030. The joint work will also study the full lifecycle of future batteries, from production to recyclability, in order to prepare the industrialisation of these future…

  • View from Brussels: Shipping charts a new green course

    View from Brussels: Shipping charts a new green course

    A couple of years ago, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) featured in a top 10 polluters ranking put together by environmental NGOs. Other entrants on the list were exclusively coal power plants. But the biggest difference between big shipping companies like MSC and mega-polluting plants in Germany and Poland was the carbon market rules that apply to them. That is now going to change. Currently, big industrial sites and energy producers have to buy emission permits for every tonne of carbon emitted. They get a big chunk of free allowances to help keep European industry productive but still have to pay substantial sums every year. Earlier this year, permits topped €100 for the first time and although the price has since dropped, it is a far cry from the sub-€20 pricetag that was…

  • UK government ‘failing to keep promises’ on environmental protection

    UK government ‘failing to keep promises’ on environmental protection

    The Wildlife Trusts said the government has “a pattern of missing legislative deadlines” that undermines the UK’s ability to restore nature. The body, which is formed from 46 UK wildlife conservation charities, identified a raft of missing policies that have still not been implemented by the government despite being promised. They include a failure to institute targets in the Environment Act, and the still-missing Environmental Principles which help with interpretation of environmental laws and prevent damage to nature. The 30x30 target – designed to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030 – is also only at 3.22 per cent this year with no clear plan of how to reach 30 per cent in the next seven years, the Wildlife Trusts said. The group highlighted a lack of new protections for…