SENG QLD Newsletter - May 2019

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SENG QLD Newsletter -   May 2019

Welcome to Newsletter Number 78
Dear SENG Qld members and friends,

There are two exciting SENG Qld events planned for the very near future. The Energy Storage, Marine Permaculture, Food and Border Security, Ecosystem Regeneration, Ocean Carbon Sinks event will be held on Tuesday the 7th of May. Dr Brian Von Herzen, founder of the Climate Foundation, will discuss many fascinating topics including ocean sink and energy storage applications and their potential impacts upon Australian and global energy systems. Also, the Future of Infrastructure Sustainability event is on the 11th of June, where industry leaders will share their experiences driving sustainable outcomes across Queensland's infrastructure projects. Both events will be held at Hawken Auditorium, Engineering House, 447 Upper Edward St in Spring Hill, Brisbane. These events will be very informative, great fun, and fantastic for networking and professional development. Further details are available below.
We look forward to them and hope to see you there! .
This month's newsletter includes:

Upcoming SENG Events

Other Events

Interesting Snippets

Open for comment

David's Blog

As always, we welcome input from members regarding topics or speakers of interest. Please contact one of the Qld committee members or consider coming along to a committee meeting, held at Engineering House prior to each of our technical seminars.

Kind regards,

Sustainable Engineering Society

Qld Branch
Engineers Australia.

Upcoming SENG Events 

Energy Storage, Marine Permaculture, Food and Border Security, Ecosystem Regeneration,
Ocean Carbon Sinks

Tuesday 7th May, 2019
Time:           5:30 for 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Presenter:   Dr. Brian Von Herzen
Venue:          Hawken Auditorium, Engineering House, 447 Upper Edward St, Spring Hill, BRISBANE
Cost: Members:$15 // Society Members:$45 // Non-members:$45 // Student Members:Free

Brian Von Herzen, Ph.D will be speaking on the topic of needing affordable energy storage globally to allow for greater penetration of renewables, particularly photovoltaic, and then describe underwater compressed energy storage (UWCAES) and pumped thermal energy storage (PTES), how it relates to the 50% renewable energy usage commitment Queensland has committed to by 2030.

Brian Von Herzen, PhD obtained his A.B. in Physics, Magna Cum Laude, from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Computer and Planetary Science from Caltech where he was the recipient of the prestigious Hertz Fellowship ( While at Princeton, Brian spent four years working closely with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  At Princeton, his dissertation on global climate models demonstrated how changes in the Earth's orbit affects climate.  During his Caltech years Brian worked on models of the overabundance of carbon in Jupiter's atmosphere.  Little did he know that a decade later we would have to address this problem for the Earth's atmosphere. From these experiences, he acquired a detailed understanding of the Earth’s carbon cycle and has envisioned sustainable approaches to restoring carbon balance in our atmosphere.  Nature does a great job of fixing carbon.  Primary production on the Earth has been fixing carbon for billions of years.  By filling nutrient value-chain gaps and restoring natural carbon cycles, we can restore food productivity of Earth while concurrently balancing carbon.  Once we reduce the carbon intensity of our own lifestyles, natural biogeochemical processes can take our civilization carbon negative using technologies comprising marine permaculture to withdraw gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere for millennia.

The Climate Foundation is dedicated to educating and empowering people to balance carbon on land and sea on a global basis. We have developed several sustainable approaches to balancing carbon in the environment. Once society adopts sustainable practices and substantially reduces carbon emissions in our lifetimes, we believe it is still possible to reverse the man-made factors leading to climate disruption.
Read more about this fantastic event, and register here.

The Sustainable Hydrogen/Ammonia Economy 

Date:              Tuesday 7th May, 2019
Time:              Starts at 17:30
Presenter:      Dr. Patrick Hartley and Mr Tom Campey
Venue:            Engineers Australia, Level 31, 600  Bourke St Melbourne
Cost:  Members:$10 // Society Members:$40 // Non-members:$40 // Student Members:$10
This seminar will discuss the the engineering profession's role in influencing rapid tranisition to an economically sustainable domestic and export Hydrogen energy system. The presenters wil focus upon the National Hydrogen Roadmap and discuss the Hydrogen Strategy Group's brief (Hydrogen for Australia's Future) for the COAG Energy Council. Find out more and register here.

The Future of Infrastructure Sustainability in Queensland

Date:              Tuesday 11th June, 2019
Time:              5:00 for 5:30 - 7:00 pm
Presenter:      Panel Speakers
Venue:            Hawken Auditorium, Engineering House, 447 Upper Edward St, Spring Hill, BRISBANE
Cost:              TBA
An increasing number of Queensland projects are pursuing infrastructure sustainability outcomes and ratings through the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia's (ISCA) Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) Rating. This session draws a selection of industry practitioners and leaders together, to share their experiences driving sustainable outcomes across infrastructure projects.

Other Events

IAIA19 - EVOLUTION or Revolution: Where Next for Impact Assessment?
29 April - 2 May 2019
Brisbane Convention Centre
Suite 3 Tonella Commercial Centre
This event is hosted by the International Association for Impact Assessment and will address some of the challenges facing impact assessments in the 21st century. These challenges include attacks from project and policy proponents for impeding the development of projects, and also from environmental and community groups criticising impact assessments for failing to meaningfully influence project decision-making processes and protect environmental and social values. Both groups criticise impact assessments for being costly, overly procedural and political, and question the value it adds to development and environmental outcomes. Find out more about the event here

Waste Expo Australia
23 - 24 October 2019
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, VIC
This event comprises a waste summit conference, a wastewater summit and waste evolution seminars. The waste summit conference will include case study presentations, ministerial addresses, panel discussion and a keynote presentation. The wastewater summit will confront the challenges and opportunities in wastewater treatment through technology, strategy and compliance. The waste evolution seminars showcase new technologies, products and processes predicted to change waste management and resource recovery in the near future. Find out more and register here.
World Engineering Conference 2019
20 - 22 November 2019
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, VIC
This event is co-hosted by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and Engineers Australia, who are celebrating their centenary in 2019. The theme, "Engineering a Sustainable World: The Next 100 Years", combines engineering innovation and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals to create positive impact. Early bird registration finishes 10 May. More event information and registration details can be found here.

Interesting Snippets

For your interest, horror and amusement.
SENG makes no claims regarding the accuracy or currency of these items, but always refers to authoritative sources.

Climate Code Red
This website presents reports, videos, news and social media posts about climate action, including new science research, policy-making processes, and the increasing gap between science and politics that regulatory science strives to bridge. The website's main contributor is David Spratt, Research Coordinator for the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne, who is well-published regarding the climate emergency and the urgenct need for action. Follow this link to the website and read about the consequences of "bright-siding" - maintaining optimism whilst tackling and discussing climate challenges.

Urgent Action Needed to Save Koalas
EDO Qld lawyers and key conservation groups have developed a plan calling for an immediate moratorium on development and tree clearing in koala habitats across Queensland. This plan has been presented to the Queensland Government and proposes that the moratorium be in all new legislation until laws are strengthened to protect koalas across the state. The Koala Expert Panel has advised that urgent action is needed to prevent habitat destruction and protect koalas from disease, starvation, car strike, and dog attack. Read more here.
Tesla Electric Car Tows Electric Plane
Australian technology entrepreneur, Simon Hackett, has rebuked statements made by Tony Abbott regarding the towing capacity of electric cars by towing his electric plane with his Tesla Model X electric car. Hackett's public statement further derided unresearched and false attempts to derail the electric vehicle industry for political purposes, regardless of your voting preference. Read more about this story here.

New Research Critical to the Sustainable Recycling of PET Plastics
The molecular structure of the enzyme MHETase has recently been solved providing new information in the effort to recycle PET plastics. The discovery was made by a research team from the university of Greifswald and Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin and allows for the production of a MHETase variant with optimum activity. This Enzyme along with PETase acts to specifically breakdown PET and represents a promising solution to the sustainable recycling of the plastic. These findings have been published in the research journal Nature Communications and can be accessed here.
Breakthrough Increases Battery Performance
Advances in recent research have allowed for quicker charging and greater performance from Lithium-ion batteries. Nikhil Koratkar, engineering professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, explains that the results were produced by substituting cobalt oxide with vanadium disulfide in lithium-ion anodes. Find out more details here.

California's Struggle to Prevent Groundwater Storage Reduction Gains New Tool
Parts of the Central Valley in California have dropped by as much as 28 feet during the first half of the 20th century as a result of extraction of water from aquafers. This overdrawing of water results in consolidation of the soil, permanently reducing the groundwater storage capacity, with some areas dropping by nearly 8 inches per year. However, new research from Stanford University suggests a way to map the usage and recharge of aquifers to stop the sinking. Geophysicist and professor at Stanford's School of earth, energy and environmental science Rosemary Knight has spoken on the topic stating that the only way to stop the sinking is to be strategic about what is done with the available recharge water. To read more, visit the Stanford news page here.
Free Tickets to the World Engineering Convention 2019
To celebrate their centenary, Engineers Australia are giving away tickets, including flights and accommodation, to the World Engineering Convention in Melbourne, November 20-22 2019. This event will include over 580 presentations, bringing engineers and related professionals from more than 70 countries together. If you are a non-student member of Engineers Australia and would like to attend the fantastic WEC2019 event, follow this link to find instructions to enter the competition. Entries close 3rd May.
Green Roofs Could Reduce Indoor Air Pollution
Green roofs are already known to reduce carbon dioxide, stormwater runoff and urban heat. However, new research from PSU's department of mechanical and Materials Engineering suggests that Green Roofs may also reduce the amount of ozone entering the building. The study was conducted over a two-day period at a retail store in North Portland containing half green roof and half conventional white membrane roof. Authors of the study have stated that the findings warrant a longer-term study which may involve the measuring of other pollutants in addition to ozone. Follow the link to find out more.

Awards and Open for Comment

Sign the Climate Emergency Declaration 

Act now and sign the Climate Emergency Declaration. The Climate Emergency Declaration will call on national, state, and local governments to declare a climate emergency. Read and sign the Climate Emergency Declaration here. Please sign this three-level of government petition even if you have already signed the earlier petition with actions data to the federal parliament.

Moment for Action 

Sign the petition

David's Blog

Keep up to date by reading David's Blog on the SENG website. Log in to post your comments or ask questions.

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