• Question: what do you feel is the most important engineering project going on today?

    Asked by elizabeth64 to Dan, Matt, Mike on 15 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Matt Maddock

      Matt Maddock answered on 15 Mar 2012:

      What a brilliant question!

      I’m not sure I can point at any one specific project and call that the most important, but there’s a whole load of work being done on making the world a cleaner place – generating power without causing pollution, making cars that don’t belch out CO2 and other nasty things. I think the combined effort to get the world working in a sustainable way is probably the most pressing and important work there is at the moment!

    • Photo: Mike Salter

      Mike Salter answered on 16 Mar 2012:

      Hmmm, tough to choose!
      I believe solving the energy crisis is one of the most important issues facing the world. Engineers are playing a big role in developing renewable energy – there are lots of problems. What happens when the wind stops? Or the sun goes behind a cloud? What happens when everyone suddenly wants lots of electricity at the same time?

      If I had to pick one project, I’d say the work on something called “fusion power” is probably one of the most important. I don’t know much about fusion power, but from what I hear if engineers and scientists can manage to produce energy on a commercial scale then it could solve a lot of our energy problems!

    • Photo: Dan Veal

      Dan Veal answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Just for fun i asked another engineer at work, James, and this is what he said….

      “The problem with trying to pick “the most important engineering project going on today” is that there are so many, happening at so many scales. I shall cheat and pick 2! I think that the most important megaproject taking place at the moment is ITER – The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – being built in the south of France by the international community (Europe, USA, Russia, China, and India). This project is one of many experiments that will help verifying the possibility of producing limitless energy for our planet by using fusion energy. Like the famous LHC, this project is so enormous that no one country could complete the research (or even afford to complete the research), and so as an engineering project with possibly global impact, this is incredibly important. My second choice is any one of the hundreds of small scale project that are directly and immediately affecting the lives of many third world people. These include water filtration devices, biomass cooking stoves, mosquito nets made from recycled material, indoor lighting tubes made from recycled drinks bottles, cheap road surface materials, solar lamps, open-source farming equipment, single use syringes… the list is almost endless! These projects are a tiny fraction of the cost of the megaproject I mentioned, but are by no means less of an engineering triumph; in fact because of their immediate effect, I think they are far more impressive, and a testament to the ingenuity of the current generation of engineers.”