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ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliberative Events

The Fracking Great Debate
A Crowd Wise event
Thursday 22nd May 2014
Newcastle University

Should we exploit the UK's onshore shale gas, and if so under what conditions?

Induced hydraulic fracturing (widely referred to as fracking) has been in use since the 1940s but has recently come to the fore as a means of releasing natural gas stored in shale rocks that would otherwise be inaccessible. This technology has huge potential for providing gas for energy generation, and has become increasingly attractive as gas prices have risen and the natural gas that can be easily extracted has been depleted. However, there is significant resistance to the technology due to potential environmental risks of its widespread use, such as ground water contamination and the migration of gases and chemicals to the surface.

So, how great are the risks? How will they be managed? What are the long term implications of pursuing this technology? How should we move forwards?

This event explored these questions using the new economics foundation's Crowd Wise process: Beginning with the central question "Should we exploit the UK's onshore shale gas, and if so under what conditions?" participants (panel and audience) were invited to work together to create and refine possible answers with a view to deciding jointly what the best solutions are.

Ampea Boateng, Narec
Jonathan Imber, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University
Gareth Powells, Department of Geography, Durham University
Jeffri Ramli, Mech-Tool Engineering

Facilitators: Perry Walker and Caspar Hewett

This event was held as part of ETUDE: a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious project run by The Great Debate in partnership with Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities.

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Other ETUDE Events:

The events are organised by The Great Debate in partnership with

Etude Project Steering Group:
Dr Caspar Hewett, Director and Chair, The Great Debate, Durham University
Prof. Richard Dawson, Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Newcastle University
Dr Sara Walker, Director of Business and Engagement, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Northumbria University

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Jonathan Imber
Jonathan Imber

Jonathan Imber is an Earth scientist and is interested in the structural geology of shale deposits. He is currently a Royal Society Industry Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University. He previously held post-doctoral positions at Durham University, University College Dublin and Liverpool University.

Gareth Powells
Gareth Powells

Gareth Powells has an inter-disciplinary background and currently works with colleagues in Geography, Anthropology and Engineering on a major regulator funded smart grid research project, the Customer Led Network Revolution investigating the impacts, challenges and opportunities surrounding the creation of smart grids in the UK the project uses qualitative and quantitative methodologies to provide insight into current and future electricity governance, networks and markets.

Jeffri Ramli
Jeffri Ramli

Jeffri was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He spent 20 years of his life in Malaysia before moving to Germany and the UK. He currently lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and has been living in the city for over 12 years. He works as a structural design engineer at Mech-Tool Engineering (MTE), working in their Design Consultancy unit. He joined MTE in December 2012 after completing his MEng in Civil and Structural Engineering at Newcastle University. He is the current Vice Chair of the ICE North East Graduates and Students (G&S), and member of the ICE Education Panel in the North East region. He has been involved with the G&S committee since 2008, elected as the Main Student Rep for 4 consecutive years (2008-2012), and sat as the Honorary Treasurer for 2013/2014. He is also an ICE STEM Ambassador and actively involved in outreach activities to promote civil engineering and STEM subjects to schools and colleges, as well as a CREST assessor for the British Science Association and a moderator for the Big Bang North East. Besides his passion for engineering, Jeffri is also highly passionate about music and art. He is an experienced performer and has appeared at renowned venues such as Sage Gateshead, The Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle City Hall and various international venues in Malaysia and Germany.

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