§ Dr. Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on research being carried out by the national engineering laboratory into the elimination of pollution at source.
§ Mr. Atkins
[holding answer 11 April 1989]: I have been asked to reply.
Research at the national engineering laboratory addresses three major environmental concerns. These are the deterioration of the ozone layer, acid rain and the greenhouse effect.
NEL is able to do this because it is a major centre of research into heat transfer, the properties of fluids and flow measurement. Research into these areas is necessary to achieve the elimination of pollution at source. The work is concerned with acquiring the data, developing analysis and design techniques, and providing the specialist test facilities needed to optimise pollution-reduction strategies. Furthermore it is evident that much of this research is of value in enabling industrial processes to become inherently more efficient and less hazardous.
- NEL is determining the physical properties of replacements for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This data is essential in order that equipment, particularly refrigeration/air conditioning plant, operates as efficiently using these replacement fluids as current equipment using CFC refrigerant.
- NEL research on internal combustion engines is expanding the understanding of processes occurring within an engine. This will enable stricter emission targets to be met by improvements in engine design rather than by installing cleaning devices in the exhaust system.
- Research at NEL is concerned with understanding and improving both heat transfer and combustion of gaseous fluids. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fuel is recognised as the major contributor to the greenhouse effect. A reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide can be achieved by improving the efficiency of the extraction and transfer of thermal energy.
- NEL also manages the national wind turbine centre and has expertise in tidal power and water turbines.