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MacRobert Award event: Powering net zero Britain – the current ideas

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  • Live-streamed panel discussion on the engineering innovations that will underpin Britain’s climate change pledges

  • TV presenter and physicist Helen Czerski chairs a panel of leading UK engineers, including this year’s MacRobert Award winner, JCB

To mark the 51st year of the MacRobert Award, the most prestigious prize for UK engineering innovation, the Royal Academy of Engineering is assembling an expert panel to discuss how British engineers can apply their creativity to decarbonise our homes, travel and workplaces while creating jobs and a better environment – in less than 30 years.

Powering net zero Britain – the current ideas

Chaired by Helen Czerski, physicist and presenter, the panel will include:

  • Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judges
  • Dervilla Mitchell CBE FREng, Chair of the National Engineering Policy Centre’s Net Zero emissions working group
  • Tim Burnhope FREng, Chief Innovation and Growth Officer at JCB
  • Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, co-founder and CEO of energy storage firm H2GO Power

The panel will discuss how COVID-19 has highlighted the adaptability and strength of British engineering, science and manufacturing in tackling novel challenges, from making ventilators to building field hospitals. As we now look ahead to a Britain of net zero emissions by 2050, what will life be like, and what will engineers need to do to help achieve this goal?

The discussion will explore the role engineering will play over the next 30 years and how net zero can be achieved following the Prime Minister’s commitment to putting building and construction at the centre of the government’s plan for the UK’s economic recovery.

This year’s MacRobert Award winning team from JCB pioneered an electric digger that has zero exhaust emissions and very low noise levels. The judges hope that this entry could do for the construction sector what the double MacRobert Award winner Johnson Matthey did for the motor industry with the catalytic converter, which has stopped hundreds of millions of tonnes of pollution from entering the atmosphere.

The debate will be streamed live on Tuesday 21 July at 19.00 at www.raeng.org.uk/macrobert-live-2020. Register here early for the chance to pose your questions to the panel.


Notes to editors

MacRobert Award for engineering innovation

First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in engineering, honouring the winning organisation with a gold medal and the team members with a cash prize of £50,000. Founded by the MacRobert Trust, the award is presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

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