Currently I am studying mechanical engineering at New York City College of Technology and my major can contribute to finding the answer to climate change and reducing its impacts.
To start off, I will explain how Mechanical Engineering can help fight climate change. Mechanical Engineering is an engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematic principles with science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. This results in brilliant minds working together using science to solve the problems of today, one of them being climate change. Greenhouse gases, being one of the main causes of climate change is one of the issues mechanical engineers try to solve.
Mary Beth O’Leary, Department of Mechanical Engineering is quoted here saying: “In addition to exploring sustainable forms of energy that do not require fossil fuels, a number of faculty members in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are turning to technologies that store, capture, convert, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions using very different approaches.”
Mechanical engineers are not only working to reduce carbon emissions, they are also finding alternative fuel sources, improving energy storage, and converting pollutants into valuable resources. In 2015, at the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Climate Change Conference proclaimed a clear directive: “a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.” Under the Paris Agreement we’ve seen multiple countries around the world coming together to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. That meant that mechanical engineers in each country are charged with developing methods to help their countries reduce the emissions that they create. We engineers are the blood and bones of our country’s technological advancements and survival. Without us, dilemmas and issues would run rampant worldwide. Engineers play one of the biggest parts of solving climate change.
There are many issues at hand to solve first before climate change can be fully eradicated. To make renewable energy technologies like solar panels to make sense economically, the method of storage is crucial. “Improving energy storage is a critical issue that presents one of the biggest technological hurdles toward minimizing greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Asegun Henry, Noyce Career Development Professor and associate professor of mechanical engineering. Henry’s team from Georgia Tech developed an innovative ceramic pump to transfer very hot liquids. Since steel pipes get corroded from liquid salt, at above 565 degrees C (how energy from solar power is currently stored) his team made a pump that allows liquid to flow at much higher temperatures. This invention made it to the Guinness Book of World Record for the “highest operating temperature liquid pump.” The pump was able to carry molten tin between 1,200 – 1,400 degrees C. Now rather than using liquid salt, Concentrated Solar Panel plants can store energy in molten metals and won’t corrode the inventive ceramic pipes. Now with a less limited way to store temperature, the heat can be turned into electricity by converting the white glow using photovoltaics, creating a greenhouse gas free energy storage system. Usually this system is assisted by the burning of fossil fuels or nuclear power which generates most of the world’s power in recent years, but in doing so, releases almost immortal radioactive waste and emission to a terrifying degree. These effects have even worse effects on our planet. Pollution and greenhouse gases will eventually lead to irreversible damages to the planet. Mechanical Engineers will be the key to the future of humanity. They will help us reach a pinnacle of science and a future where climate change will not be an issue no more.
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Mary Beth O’Leary | Department of Mechanical Engineering Dec. 9, 2. (2018, December 09). In the News. Retrieved October 01, 2020, from http://meche.mit.edu/news-media/tackling- greenhouse-gases
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