Traditionally, incandescent electric light bulbs needed a huge amount of energy to make a small amount of light – because much of their energy is lost as heat. But scientists have found ways to produce useful amounts of light in a totally different way.
LEDs (light-emitting diodes) need tiny amounts of energy to light up. To prove the point, you can even get one lit with just a few potatoes, as this picture of a potato-powered ‘fuel cell’ proves.
This fuel cell was part of the recent Christmas Lecture at the Royal Institution by Prof. Danielle George (38) which largely focused on the potential for light-emitting diodes to reduce C02 emissions while continuing to provide illumination in the home and workplace.
Prof. George is Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and a Professor in the Microwave and Communications Systems research group at the University of Manchester. She completed her BSc in Astrophysics, MSc in Radio Astronomy at The Victoria University of Manchester based at Jodrell Bank Observatory, and her PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with UMIST
Prof. George said: “When I was 8 years old I was given a telescope by my parents and I was fascinated – I would get up in the middle of the night to watch lunar eclipses. I knew immediately that some form of hands-on investigation was what I wanted to do in life.
“Today’s generation are in a truly unique position. The technology we use and depend on every day is expanding and developing at a phenomenal rate and so our society has never been more equipped to be creative and innovative.
“I want everyone to realise that they have the power to change the world – right from their bedroom, kitchen table or garden shed.
“If we all take control of the technology and systems around us, and think creatively, then solving some of the world’s greatest challenges is only a small step away. I believe everyone has the potential to be an inventor!”
So, if your students or recently-employed graduates have any similarly bright ideas for improving energy-efficiency, reducing C02 emissions or other inventive energy generation innovations, please encourage them – NOW – to enter the Heriot Watt Scottish Energy Research of the Year 2015 competition.
At least £3,000 prize money is up for grabs in these awards. To enter now just click here:
The Awards will be presented in May 2015 by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing at the head office of the UK Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh.
Although organised by Heriot Watt University’s Energy Academy, these awards are open to students at all Scottish universities and higher education colleges, as well as to young graduates who have recently begun their careers in Scottish energy sectors.
As a nation, we have the potential to maximise economic returns from fossil fuel exploration and recovery in the North Sea at the same time as pioneering leading technological innovation in exploiting Scotland’s large wind and wave power resources on a global scale – given the right ambition and encouragement.
Heriot Watt University – and its Energy Academy experts – are already making a highly positive contribution to this 21st century industrial revolution and we hope that the Heriot-Watt University/ Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Awards 2015 will help to stimulate, accelerate, recognise and reward the brightest brains in the process of energy and engineering innovation for the national – and international – good.
If you have any queries, or wish to discuss any aspect of this competition, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or Dr. Patrick McCarthy
Patrick McCarthy at Heriot-Watt on 0131 451 3881 or email
Mark R Whittet (LLB, BA)
Since launch in September 2013, the Scottish Energy News business-to-business daily email newsletter is now sent to more than 4,000 individually-named and actively subscribed readers every day.
Readers include 75% of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament – and scores more in Brussels and Westminster.
In addition, the Scottish Energy News website is now visited by an average of just under 8,000 unique visitors per month (Jul-Dec 2014).
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