Process and Chemical Engineering - Journal Articles

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    The evolving engineer; professional accreditation sustainability criteria and societal imperatives and norms
    (Elsevier B.V., 2023-01-18) Byrne, Edmond P.
    Professional accreditation criteria around sustainability are an important consideration in the delivery of accredited (chemical) engineering programmes. This paper looks at the sustainability related criteria required by a number of professional bodies, while considering the evolution of such criteria over the past decades. It is seen that the scope and breadth of sustainability criteria has expanded among many accreditation bodies, including the Institution of Chemical Engineers, in line with institutional and professional imperatives. This has promoted the incorporation of a far broader range of sustainability related attributes than was previously envisaged. There are nevertheless large differences between the requirements of the various professional bodies considered, and in programmes across the world. The impact of societal imperatives and norms, including those of employers is reflected upon, as is the awareness and concerns of young people, who as graduates will be working through mid-century, directly engaging with sustainability related imperatives. IChemE accredited programmes are increasingly obliged to actively engage with contemporary sustainability related requirements more broadly, requiring increased integration of sustainability attributes across the curriculum, in terms of knowledge, skills and values. This evolution is important in remaining relevant as a profession, and in playing a key role in addressing societal challenges.
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    Participatory methods in energy system modelling and planning – a review
    (Elsevier, 2021) McGookin, Connor; Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.; Byrne, Edmond P.; Science Foundation Ireland; ESB Networks; National Science Foundation
    This paper presents a systematic review of participatory methods used in energy system modelling and planning. It draws on a compiled database of fifty-nine studies at a local, regional, and national level detailing analysis on full energy systems down to sectors, modes, and single technologies. The initial aim of the paper is to consolidate and present this growing body of literature, providing a clear understanding of which stakeholder groups have been engaged and what methods have been used to link stakeholder engagement with quantitative analysis. On from this, the progress to date in democratising key decision-making processes is discussed, reflecting on the benefits and challenges of a participatory approach, as well as highlighting gaps within the current body of literature. During the review, two differing spatial levels at subnational (cities, municipalities, or regions) and national scale emerged as separate groups for analysis. A clear distinction between the two groups was the motivation for involving stakeholders. At a subnational level, researchers hoping to build local capacity to bring about real-world change engaged with community representatives, whereas national level studies concerned with generating more impactful energy policy measures involved industry, policymaking, and academic experts. One key finding from the review was that only ten out of the fifty-nine studies reviewed noted some form of collaboration with non-academic stakeholders, and moreover 36% of studies involved just a single interaction with participants. This indicates a lack of progress to date in process democratisation within energy system modelling and planning research.
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    Doing things differently: bridging community concerns and energy system modelling with a transdisciplinary approach in rural Ireland
    (Elsevier, 2022-07) McGookin, Connor; Mac Uidhir, Tomás; Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.; Byrne, Edmond P.; Science Foundation Ireland; ESB Networks; National Science Foundation
    This paper reflects on the experience of co-producing energy strategies on the Dingle peninsula, a rural peripheral region in Ireland's South West. For the past three years, researchers from sociology, community development, and energy engineering have worked in partnership with Ireland's electricity distribution system operator and local non-profit organisations supporting enterprise and community development in the region. This involved coordinating the research with the transdisciplinary partnership established and widespread community consultation (including fifteen community meetings that received roughly 400 attendees) to understand the concerns and priorities of residents. The initial research focus was to incorporate stakeholder preferences into energy scenarios using a simulation modelling tool (Low Emissions Analysis Platform, LEAP). This was revised in favour of support for local development effort to prepare a strategic plan for the area across social, economic, and environmental domains. Widening the scope in this manner posed a serious methodological challenge but was necessary to respond to local needs and foster local impact. The results highlight the imperative of understanding the messy reality within which energy systems operate, and the need to align rural development with climate action policies via authentic engagement. A key contribution from this novel approach is to shine a critical light on the limitations of energy system models. This research serves to highlight the need for co-production/action research efforts that can support real-world transition processes and provide a better understanding of local contexts as an alternative to efforts that would seek to simply improve societal representations within energy system models.
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    An innovative approach for estimating energy demand and supply to inform local energy transitions
    (Elsevier, 2021-08) McGookin, Connor; Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.; Byrne, Edmond P.; Science Foundation Ireland; ESB Networks; National Science Foundation
    A vital first step for regional energy transitions is to develop an understanding of the current energy balance and related carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is a lack of clarity within existing literature on how best to determine a complete regional energy balance including industry, residential, services, agriculture, and transport sectors. This paper identifies four key limitations in the literature: overreliance on simple population-based proportioning, a narrow focus on building energy, subsequent omission of transport energy in the majority of studies and a lack of transparency in a significant number of studies. This paper proposes a novel conceptual framework to address these gaps using a combination of local energy usage indicators and national unit energy consumption statistics. The authors apply this multi-dimensional approach to a rural case study region, carefully examining the range of energy usage indicators in each sector before selecting the most suitable. The results quantitatively demonstrate the value of this approach, with the final energy demand in some sectors varying by as much as double or threefold compared with a population weighting. Focusing on the socio-economic drivers of energy demand in this manner provides useful insights into the local context that defines the energy system.
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    Systematically reviewing the use of participatory methods in energy system modelling and planning literature
    (Elsevier B.V., 2022-01) McGookin, Connor; Ó Gallachóir, Brian P.; Byrne, Edmond P.; Science Foundation Ireland; ESB Networks; National Science Foundation
    This article outlines the systematic review process undertaken to identify what progress has been made on the integration of participatory methods into energy system modelling and planning. As an emergent field that combines technical / social sciences, it presented a couple of interesting challenges. Firstly, the issue of language emerged as there is a wide range of different terms that may be used to refer to both the involvement of stakeholders in research and energy system modelling and planning tools. This required careful consideration of the research questions and search criteria during the initial scoping exercise. On from this, a conceptual framing of what a meaningful stakeholder participation involves was developed to help define the criteria for inclusion in this study and assess the literature to date. Finally, in synthesizing the literature reviewed to provide an overview of the field, several creative data visualizations were produced. * Systematic review process customized to identify literature covering the integration of participatory methods and energy system modelling and planning tools. * Conceptual framework developed to define criteria for inclusion in the compiled database.