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Achieving Net Zero is the most ambitious engineering project ever


Cutting global greenhouse gas emissions to meet Net Zero targets is arguably the most ambitious engineering project ever undertaken, according to a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 

The report “Engineering A Net Zero Energy System” looks at the engineering challenges in achieving the Net Zero goal – which many countries have set for 2050 – which will require a switch from fossil fuel to low-carbon energy in less than 30 years. 

Many of the technologies needed to make this transformation already exist, and some existing energy technologies will still have a place. However, there are many challenges in making these technologies robust, reliable and cost-effective. 

Peter Flinn, past president CEng FIMechE, author of the report said: “The Net Zero Project could be viewed as the most ambitious engineering project ever undertaken. To be achieved, we need to accelerate our efforts, create market demand, release cash, and engage in a massive scale-up programme. The economics of Net Zero solutions are just as important as the technologies used.” 

To support this goal, the Institution commits to providing a balanced and objective view of technologies, with particular reference to their development status and market opportunities. It will work to develop the skills needed to underpin Net Zero and work with relevant agencies in the energy and innovation sectors to encourage pilot projects of new technologies

Peter Flinn added: “New skills are needed to support technologies that achieve the Net Zero goal and the UK’s professional engineering institutions will play a key role in embedding Net Zero principles and skills into degree courses, accreditation programmes and training courses.” 

The report launch coincides with a Prestige Lecture given at IMechE’s Birdcage Walk headquarters by Professor Emily Shuckburgh OBE, a world-leading climate scientist and Director of Cambridge Zero. 

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 120,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.

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