Hydrogen, Magnets, Sustainability and the Birmingham Connection .
Readers who enjoyed reading about an earlier post,The Ross Barlow: a zero-emission hydrogen hybrid canal boat, will be interested to read that Professor Rex Harris, University of Birmingham gave the Lunar Society’s 2011 Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture.
He talked about hydrogen, rare earth magnets, sustainability and the role of the city and region, past, present and future, considering two major threats facing our planet: resource depletion and climate change. Both operate on similar timescales and both require urgent remedial action.
Professor Harris explored the challenges that face society in identifying solutions that reduce the seemingly inexorable rise in CO2 emissions, and which make the most of our sustainable energy sources.
He drew upon his own research on hydrogen and magnets and demonstrated that they are essential partners in any life-saving drive towards a sustainable society and showed why Birmingham and its environs could play a pivotal role in the implementation of carbon-free technologies by building upon its manufacturing and engineering history and creating a much needed manufacturing renaissance.
Professor Rex Harris is currently Honorary Professor of Material Science at the School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham. For around 40 years, Professor Rex Harris was leader of the Applied Alloy Chemistry Group (AACG) in Metallurgy and Materials. During this time he maintained a long-standing research interest in the fields of rare earth alloys, permanent magnets and hydrogen purification and storage materials. He developed a close synergy between these fields with the development and application of the Hydrogen Decrepitation (HD) process to the manufacture of NdFeB magnets. The HD process is now used world-wide as the standard means of production of these materials.