The 5 biggest engineering stories of 2015

It’s been another monumental year for engineering in the UK. In this article, we trace some of the biggest stories of 2015, from Crossrail’s final breakthrough, to the jubilant launches of BLOODHOUND SSC and Major Tim Peake – the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station.

Major Tim Peake

As we get ready to welcome a brand new year of engineering innovations, let’s take a fond look back at some of the biggest engineering stories of 2015.

5. Crossrail makes breakthrough

Crossrail made its final breakthrough – literally – as the tunnelling machine Victoria brought three years of tunnelling to a conclusion at Farringdon in May. Eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines bored 26 miles or 42 km of new 6.2m diameter rail tunnels under London. The first trains are earmarked to start running in May 2017, with full operation due in December 2019. Europe’s largest engineering project will continue to rumble on and grab the headlines into 2016.

4. Artemis win MacRobert Award

Artemis Intelligent Power won the the UK’s longest running and most prestigious prize for engineering innovation – the MacRobert Award. Edinburgh-based Artemis has pioneered a new Digital Displacement power system, with digitally controlled hydraulics, that has the potential to transform the viability of offshore wind power and low carbon transportation. As well as dramatically improving power capacity, the smart, modular system has been designed to overcome the significant reliability issues associated with existing turbines.

3. BLOODHOUND SSC launches

At a glittering event in London’s Canary Wharf, The BLOODHOUND Project revealed the world’s fastest and most advanced racing car: BLOODHOUND SSC. The product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities, the supersonic car is designed to reach speeds of over 1,000mph (1,600km/h) and will cover a mile in just 3.6 seconds when the team make their land speed record attempt some time in 2016.

2. China invests in British nuclear power

The Hinkley Point nuclear deal was finally given the green light to proceed. Due to be completed in 2025, the facility will see a 33.5 per cent stake controlled by China General Nuclear Power (CGN). In return, the site will be the recipient of £6bn of Chinese investment and is touted to generate around 3.2GW of power. Deals have also been brokered to develop new nuclear stations at Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.

1. Ground control to Major Tim

Major Tim Peake became the first UK astronaut to visit the International Space Station. The former helicopter test-pilot will spend six months aboard the ISS conducting numerous scientific experiments and enjoying stunning views of Earth from 400 km overhead. A large part of his mission is an educational programme is set to inspire and involve children and students with computer coding, lessons from space and fitness regimes. A keen runner and triathlete, Tim will even run the London Marathon in space on a treadmill!

What a year it’s been! A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all of us at PIF.

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