Every year, the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award is presented to the engineers behind the UK’s most exciting engineering innovation. 2020's finalists were:
- Babcock’s LGE business (Fife, Scotland) for developing ecoSMRT®, a disruptive technology to dramatically improve the efficiency of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) around the world. Ships carrying LNG must control the pressure of their LNG cargo, as evaporation occurs in the tanks. The ecoSMRT® system captures and reliquefies this ‘boil-off’ gas, with significant reductions in emissions compared with current technology. The ecoSMRT® LNG reliquefaction system for LNG carriers delivers up to a 50% reduction in carbon footprint, a 50% reduction in maintenance costs, 40% reduction in the physical space required, and improves power efficiency by up to 20% when compared with existing systems. Each ecoSMRT® reliquefaction system in service on an LNG ship will save the equivalent of up to 19,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted per year, compared to older systems that burn off the excess gas. With demand for LNG set to double by 2040, boil-off gas recovery is fundamental to improving the environmental credentials of today’s modern LNG carrier fleets.
- Jaguar Land Rover (Warwickshire) for developing the I-PACE, the world’s first premium battery-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV). Jaguar Land Rover is one of the first major vehicle manufacturers to transition to electric vehicles and the I-PACE is in the vanguard of this strategic shift. Revolutionary in its design, engineering and technical specifications, the I-PACE has a range of up to 292 miles1. Its core innovations include novel approaches to battery, thermal management, and e-motor technology. The I-PACE was granted 40 significant patents for its innovative technology overall, and its software and control systems include over 250,000 lines of code.
- JCB (Staffordshire) for developing and manufacturing the world’s first volume produced fully electric digger (19C-1E), with zero exhaust emissions, improved productivity, outstanding noise and vibration characteristics and emission-free at point of use for use inside buildings. Rapid urbanisation is happening across the globe, but this is negatively impacting air quality and global warming initiatives. The JCB 19C-1E signals the beginning of a revolution in conscious construction, and is the only volume produced battery-powered excavator on the market. To date, the current fleet has saved the equivalent of 15,100kg in CO2 emissions across 5,616 hours of work.
2020 MacRobert Award winner: JCBOn 9 July 2020, JCB were announced as the winners of the MacRobert Award. Their fully electric digger was recognised as vital step in transition to a low-carbon future as UK gears up for construction-led economic recovery. The winning team received a £50,000 prize and a gold medal.
JCB's Chief Innovation Officer, Tim Burnhope FREng, joined Chair of the MacRobert Award judges Professor Sir Richard Friend FREng FRS in a special live event to discuss the digger's role in powering a net zero UK by 2050. Chaired by physicist and presenter Helen Czerski, the panel event also featured Dervilla Mitchell CBE FREng, Chair of the National Engineering Policy Centre’s Net Zero emissions working group, and Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, co-founder and CEO of energy storage firm H2GO Power.