Facilitating the net zero transition in the power industry

power industry plantEarlier this year, the University hosted award ceremonies to celebrate the positive impact created from across our University community.

After two years of online celebrations, the Making a Difference Awards returned on 10 May with in-person and a livestreamed event from our Whitworth Hall. The Awards highlighted the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives of our staff, students, alumni and external partners, and covered categories such as benefit to research; widening participation; environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion. Nearly 160 entries were submitted this year, with judges recognising 16 winners and 23 highly commended. Winners included a project addressing period poverty; an engagement initiative translating biodiversity into new music in Colombia and a model for teaching LGBT+ History to secondary school students.

The Better World Awards, the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s (FSE) social responsibility awards, took place on 22 June 2022. They celebrated staff and students who are ‘making a difference’ through projects which benefit society or the environment. The event was hosted by Dean of the Faculty, Professor Martin Schröder, and the Vice Dean for Social Responsibility, Paul Mativenga. They praised the number and variety of projects and the commitment of those involved to social responsibility. Many of the judges commented on the significant number of strong and varied entries, which made the judging process a challenge! In total 27 outstanding projects were recognised, with 13 winners, 12 highly commended and 2 special awards.

Dr Tony Chen’s project ‘Facilitating the net zero transition in the power industry’ was an initiative that received awards in both ceremonies.

FSE’s Dr Chen is an expert in SF6 and its replacements. SF6 is a greenhouse gas, with effects lasting in the atmosphere longer than CO2. SF6 is currently widely used in high voltage equipment across the world.

With the electrical grid being pushed to do more, to attain net zero, it is imperative that environment friendly replacements for SF6 are found and de-risked for the future grid. Tony’s work has helped utilities to understand the long term performance of environment friendly replacements for SF6.

Tony’s efforts in finding and evaluating environment friendly alternatives for SF6, allowing for the transition to net zero, are of special importance as the University works towards the UK Net Zero 2050 goal.

Tony spoke of gaining recognition in both awards:

“It is an honour to receive both the Making a Difference Award and the Better World Showcase for the category of outstanding benefit to society through research. Our research team will continue tackling the various challenges of SF6 replacement in the power industry, catalysing the development of real-world solutions that can deliver environmental and economical saving to society.   “

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