Sweco to Showcase Polar Innovation and Sustainability Credentials at RRS Sir David Attenborough Event


Sweco to Showcase Polar Innovation and Sustainability Credentials at RRS Sir David Attenborough Event

24 September 2019
Sweco will showcase how its design and sustainability expertise is helping the UK remain at the forefront of polar exploration during a three-day event (September 26-28) in Merseyside celebrating the official naming of the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) new research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Our team has been working with BAS, in conjunction with partners BAM and Ramboll, to deliver the BAS Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) – a series of projects to modernise and refurbish the UK’s Antarctic infrastructure to support ongoing frontier research. This includes redeveloping the wharf at the Rothera Research Station in Antarctica – the BAS’ largest Antarctic facility – to accommodate the new vessel.

On the first day of the celebrations, Sweco technical director Lewis Barlow will join colleagues from its partners and Cammel Laird – builders of the RRS Sir David Attenborough – for a panel discussion held at the Engineering College in Birkenhead, as part of a breakfast event chaired by the Financial Times.

Focusing on how innovation in low carbon technology can create a safer and more sustainable future for polar research, the speakers will explore the innovations in renewable technologies and construction design - with a specific focus from Sweco on low carbon leadership - to support the BAS’ projects. They will also discuss how green engineering principles being applied in Antarctica can be used in other industries.

Stewart Craigie, technical director, Sweco, said: “This event marks a celebration of the engineering, scientific and construction expertise that the UK has to offer and highlights the strength of its polar research capabilities.

“As well as enabling us to showcase our progress in the Antarctic to date, the event provides us with a platform to help inspire the next generation of engineers who will continue to push the boundaries of engineering, construction and design.”

In addition to the breakfast session, Sweco and its partners will host an exhibit at the event’s ‘Ice Worlds Festival of Discovery’, a public festival of science, engineering and technology where partners will showcase their work and expertise.

‘Ice Worlds’ will house a series interactive displays and talks, with the BAS partners running a series of games and STEM-related activities. Challenges including building your own Antarctic wharf, and are designed to help students learn more about engineering and the partners’ role in Antarctica, and to inspire them to consider future careers in construction and engineering.

Stewart added: “We’re exceptionally proud to be working in Antarctica to apply the expertise in cold climate and sustainable construction that stretches across our international office network to support the British Antarctic Survey’s future aspirations. This has included working to reduce embodied carbon through smart choice of materials and construction methods; to boost stations’ energy efficiency and; developing innovative solutions to provide more sustainable energy sources.”

The AIMP forms part of a £300m investment by the government in the UK’s polar science infrastructure, the largest since the 1980s, which includes infrastructure modernisation works and the construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Sweco partnered with BAM in 2017 to provide key design and construction services for the project.

The programme, commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), will enable British scientists to continue vital research into major issues facing the planet.

The first stage of work to extend the wharf at the Rothera Research Station – conducted as part of the AIMP initiative – is due for completion in May 2020, with the second stage, the construction of a large Science and Operations building, set to begin in October 2019.