• Question: How does your work benefit local people, and people around the world?

    Asked by holly13 to Becky, Carrie, Kelly, Robin, Usaid on 19 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Usaid Rauf

      Usaid Rauf answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      My company, EDF Energy, wants to build a new nuclear power station in Somerset. At peak construction there will be 5000 workers on site, boosting the local economy for a short time. Once built, the station will have 700 permanent jobs, bringing a long term boost to the local economy too. During the course of construction, a lot of Somerset’s infrastructure like roads and waterways will have to be improved to accommodate the new power station. The new power station is also capable of providing for 5 million homes.

      The supply chain will help to benefit people throughout the UK and the world. Although, this will be on a much smaller scale compared to Somerset alone, which will see massive changes.

    • Photo: Caroline Roberts Haritonov

      Caroline Roberts Haritonov answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      Until renewable power becomes more reliable and can be more efficiently transferred to meet the high volume energy requirements for heating, electricity and transport, there will still be high demands for oil and gas. My work aims to make the extraction of oil and gas in more challenging locations (deeper water and remote locations), more cost effective, by reducing the amount of costly maintentance required to keep the subsea oil & gas fields producing. By improving the efficiency of oil and gas production, the cost of energy (before tax) is kept as low as possible (even recognising that we have used the oil and gas in the easy places and now are having to go deeper and farther to find new reserves). Also by reducing the amount the equipment fails subsea, the safty of oil and gas operations improve and the impact on the environment is reduced. I work with oil and gas companies all over the world, so in effect there is apositive impact for everyone. On top of that, we are working to support the development of the new offshore and marine renewable echologies that are seeking to harness wave, tide and current energy. Many of these technologies are still in the early stages of development, but they will need to be designed to be reliable if they are going to generate energy efficiently and compete against other energy sources in the energy market.

    • Photo: Becky Selwyn

      Becky Selwyn answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      The technology I’m researching and developing doesn’t work well enough yet to give good results used locally, but eventually it will. It is already good enough to be used in sunny countries as close as the South of France or Italy to keep buildings cool in the summer though. And as it doesn’t have any running costs (like paying for electricity to run normal air conditioning or refrigeration systems), it can save people a lot of money and give them a more environmentally friendly way of keeping things cool. Ultimately it is the environmental friendliness of technologies that will probably have the biggest impact on people everywhere by minimising climate change and the problems associated with that.

    • Photo: Robin Stafford Allen

      Robin Stafford Allen answered on 20 Mar 2012:

      @Holly: The best non renewable resource we have for energy has been oil and gas, and nuclear fission has been fantastic. About 80% of all the electricity generated and used in France comes from nuclear fission, but they are the only country to go this far. These energy sources leave a legacy of problems. Oil and gas leave carbon in the atmosphere that can affect the climate, and fission leaves very long-lived waste which is a problem. Fusion holds the promise of a much cleaner energy in that it is almost unlimited in fuel, and does not appear to leave any waste lasting more than about 50 years to worry about. However fusion only works in very big machines, so we will not be seeing a Delorean powered by fusion as in Back to the Future for a while yet unless we make a startling new discovery. Hope this helps. regards Robin