Atkins is globally known for their robust engineering designs and services in renewable energy sectors, providing technical advices on emerging clean energy technologies.
They have worked with the UK government, for example, to help the former Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) understand and evolve the potential of emerging technologies such as energy storage, deep geothermal and Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS).
Internet of Business spoke to Ewan Murray, Mechanical Engineer at Atkins, to find out more about some of the areas the company he is working in, with its connected approach to enterprise.
Internet of Business: How can Atkins help to transform the potential of existing infrastructure to improve lives through safer, cleaner and smarter energy.
Ewan Murray: In respect to the energy sector, Atkins has the technical specialists, experience and genuine willingness to transform the existing infrastructure into new and exciting decarbonisation projects. For instance, the existing salt cavern gas storage assets could be re-purposed to allow large scale, safe hydrogen storage (then new or repurposed existing infrastructure can be built to feed this clean energy to cities).
What are the greatest challenges faced and how are they overcome?
The large scale adoption of hydrogen and CCS needed to reach 2050 net zero carbon goals, means rapid adoption and full chain systems are needed across Transport, heating and electrical sectors. This is where individual projects may struggle, as the infrastructure to support them needs built also.
“A holistic, full chain approach, with complete government support is needed. Think Big! And Long-term assets”
More generally, what technologies do you believe will have greatest impact on the industry?
Ultimately, I see battery and electrical storage more as short term reliance and we need large scale gas or mechanical systems to offer the grid stability & independence for the UK. I think there is likely to be a breakthrough technology (e.g. fuel cells, SMR or domestic smart battery systems) that offers either significantly lower cost per Kwh storage or user flexibility/independence. However, with new technologies, this will depend on the public perception and acceptance. The ‘smart’ grid infrastructure could also be critical to make best use of energy generated, and trade it easily across the UK.
Finally, what are your predictions for the next 12 months?
The next 12months I am optimistic for concrete decisions from government on a long-term strategy. This will require firm funding support for domestic and industrial users to decarbonize, and significant funding support to match challenging and time constrained projects.
“I am hoping the government will move from Brexit political focused discussions to the very real and imminent threat of climate change.”
What are you most look forward to most at BESS 2019?
I am always pleased to meet new, innovative companies thinking outside the box. Offering new products to the market or solving an age-old problem. I think the UK will need innovation and fresh thinking to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 and it is a shared responsibility.I am looking forward to learning about how they can change the energy landscape and how Atkins can support this change.