EPSRC engineering net zero week showcasing green visions for the future

In a mission to showcase green visions for the future, EPSRC organised a photography competition as part of engineering net zero week (ENZ) and announced the winners on the final day of the event.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) hosted its engineering net zero week, an interactive event featuring exhibitions, panels, workshops, and keynote sessions in Glasgow with attendees joining in-person and virtually.

EPSRC says ENZ showcased the research being done to achieve net zero ambitions as well as the innovative technologies and solutions that will deliver a net zero world.

The event focused on four themes: towards net zero energy, solutions for a greener industry and urbanisation, our green future, and delivering zero emissions transport and mobility solutions.

EPSRC’s Deputy Director for Cross Council Programmes, Dr Lucy Martin, said: “Our Engineering Net Zero Week and this photography competition have been an ideal platform for the engineering and scientific community to show what they are doing to address the pressing problems of climate change and moving towards a carbon neutral future.”

Inspiring change: how to achieve net zero

EPSRC says the aim of the photography competition was to shine a spotlight on the engineering and physical science research being funded through EPSRC. It also wanted a competition to highlight the work needed to achieve net zero targets.

To reach the summit of net zero, innovation and change needs to be inspired. But how is this possible? Telling a story is a one way to capture people’s imaginations and drive change and photography is a fantastic storytelling medium. After all a picture says a thousand words.

Here are the vibrant ENZ competition winners:

Manufacturing beauty

Category: Notable submission award

Dr Momchil Vasilev, Research Associate, University of Strathclyde

With quality checks carried out by hand, researchers have developed ultrasonic weld testing which will make manufacturing more sustainable.

Created using a welding robot, the image features lines formed by moving a high energy electric arc across a steel plate. This process melted the steel to create the eye-catching mandala pattern that pops with vibrant colours and textures.

A wide range of industries utilise arc-welding robots in factories.

This image showcases the work researchers have done to develop ultrasonic weld testing that has the potential to make manufacturing more sustainable.

Our net zero future, through the eyes of a 12-year-old

Category: Weird and wonderful

Dr Susan Scholes, Research Associate, Newcastle University

A collaborative effort, researcher Dr Susan Scholes worked alongside her 12-year-old son to create this image that gives a vision of a green future.

The photo captures, through the medium of Lego, what relaxed family life may look like in a net zero future. Alongside the family figurines and their home is an electric vehicle in the driveway, solar panels installed on the roof, and a wind turbine in the garden.

If the wheels are turning, CO2 emissions are occurring

Category: Delivering zero emissions transport and mobility solutions

Collette Larkin, PhD Researcher, The University of Edinburgh and Repsol

This image aims to highlight the carbon emissions transport causes by showing a primary stage in the design of a mini motorbike with an on-board carbon capture system.

A highly promising solution for the future, on-board carbon capture devices could ensure zero emissions transport. This has the potential to support a cleaner transition to carbon-neutral fuels by allowing existing transport to be decarbonised.

Quantification of energy generation in remote locations

Category: Our green future

David Nicol EngD, Researcher, University of Warwick and WMG

Showcasing a panoramic view of the village of Koh Panyee, Thailand, the image shows the village sitting on the water with tiny islands dropped around it.

2x 125kW diesel generators provide power for almost 1,500 people living in Koh Panyee. This works out, on average as an equivalent of less than 0.2kW of electrical energy per person. The UK, for example, averages 8 to 10kW per person.

From redundancy to recirculation

Category: Solutions for a greener industry and urbanisation

Dr Fiona Beck Sillars, Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) Team Lead, University of Strathclyde

The composite image showcases a landscape before and after waste components were reused.

Unfortunately, many components of wind turbines end up in a landfill at the end of their service life. The image highlights this issue by showing the collaboration between the AMRL and Renewable Parts Limited, which aim to recirculate wind turbine components instead of them ending up in landfill.

A new dawn for tidal measurement

Category: Towards net zero

Dr Michael Togneri, Lecturer, Swansea University

This photograph depicts the installation of a converging beam acoustic Doppler current profiler in West Wales.

The device has the potential to effectively collect the data required to verify computer models of the ocean and tidal energy systems.


For behaviour changes to be lasting and permanent, they need to come from a moment of inspiration. This inspiration can come in many forms. Maybe someone will learn how using a deposit return scheme is easy and convenient. A person may hear about the real impact of waste and decide to make a change too.

The photographs entered in ENZ’s competition have the potential to inspire people in a variety of ways. From lasting behaviour changes to switches in career, the photos could help someone decide to make the world a more sustainable place.

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