How energy from waste technologies are leading to a demand for engineers

With an increasing amount of resources being used to produce energy from waste, the industry’s landscape is shifting on a regular basis. As companies focus on innovation and finding the best methods of recovering energy, engineers are significantly in demand. We spoke to John Cullen, Associate Business Manager at Huxley, to find out more.  

The landscape of biomass plants

Finding resourceful, environmentally friendly ways to create energy is a priority in today’s climate. We’re still in a fairly uncertain position within the industry, and there’s no set method that’s been confirmed as the most efficient way to create energy from waste materials. Therefore, companies are experimenting with a range of different strategies when it comes to energy from waste and biomass plants. This impacts the demand for engineers, as John explains, “Due to the unpredictability of the industry, projects have tight time constraints. Skilled engineers are needed to carry out projects with a quick turnover. This results in an urgent requirement for a variety of engineers.”

Delays to the creation of plants can lead to companies facing financial penalties. As a Project Director or Construction Manager it’s essential you have the best engineering talent in place to complete projects on time. At Huxley, we have experience of placing a variety of highly skilled engineers across a diverse mix of projects.

Changing nature of the industry

The adoption of this trial and error approach means projects come with a wealth of variables. For example, while some businesses will produce plants that operate through anaerobic digestion, others won’t see this as the most effective procedure. This means every plant can take on a very different shape. While some companies will experience success, other projects may be costly and ineffective for organisations. John expands on this saying, “At this stage, it’s difficult to predict how different factors will impact the productivity and success of a plant, as there’s numerous reasons projects could encounter issues. With no guarantee of a project’s efficiency, companies are left with a great deal of risk.”

The slightest change to a biomass plant could produce entirely different results. An example of this would be Tees Valley 1 and Tees Valley 2; two UK projects that were carried out using gasification technologies. This produced successful results for projects in Japan and USA, but the results were vastly different in the UK. The plants were shut down. A potential reason for the failure of this project could have been the sheer scale at which the technology was being used, but it’s hard to identify a definitive cause. This demonstrates the unpredictable and experimental nature of the industry at the moment.

Engineers in demand

There’s a significant skills gap for a varied range of professionals across the sector, with Process Engineers and Electrical Engineers being some of the most in-demand roles within the market. Businesses need a variety of engineering talent to produce effective results and excellent managers to oversee these projects. If you want to access our varied pool of engineering talent, contact us today. 

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