Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM) Award for Michael McElrone
Congratulations to Michael McElrone who has been awarded the 2018-19 Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (CIWEM) Prize for the best performance on the QUB MSc in Environmental Engineering. The prize, worth £150, was awarded to Michael based on his dissertation on a renewable energy strategy for Rathlin Island.
With the overall aim of developing Rathlin as a carbon-neutral island, Michael undertook his project with the support of Rathlin Development and Community Association (RDCA, http://www.rathlincommunity.org/rdca), the Department for the Economy (DfE), and the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE, https://www.case-research.net/).
The research undertaken as part Michael’s report has informed the Department’s work in the area and has been presented at the Rathlin Ministerial Forum. The key findings of the research were:
- Up to 60% of the 16 island homes surveyed have experienced fuel poverty in the last five years. Home insulation, particularly roof and wall insulation, is very poor in many of the surveyed homes and a retrofit programme would make a significant and cost-effective impact on both fuel poverty and energy efficiency;
- A district heating scheme in the Bay area would address a range of energy issues, particularly domestic heating requirements, and could be further developed to a combined heat and power plant and to include renewable energy technologies such as anaerobic digestion, biomass, geothermal and hydrogen solutions;
- The operation of the ferries to/from the Island represents almost 40% of total energy use and therefore alternative fuel sources would have to be considered if the Island were to reach its net-zero carbon goal.
As a Faculty-wide project, Michael, from the School of Natural & Built Environment, was supervised by Dr Beatrice Smyth, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and Dr Simon Murray, CASE and School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering.
Michael is currently working as a graduate highways engineer in WSP Belfast.