PODCAST

Midlands Energy & Transport Innovation

David James

The energy and transport revolution is upon us. Midlands Energy and Transport Innovation helps business leaders understand and succeed in the changing landscape ahead.

12 Elon Musk's Boring Competition; Warwick Boring make the finals
10-04-2021
12 Elon Musk's Boring Competition; Warwick Boring make the finals
So why did Elon Musk set up the Boring Company? The story goes that he just wanted to set up the company because the name was funny…. However the Boring Company has set out to solve an interesting and serious set of problems. If you listened to the last episode of Midlands Energy & Transport Innovation you will have heard from John Fox that the issue with autonomous vehicles is the complexity of the Operational Design Domain. If you put vehicles in a tunnel where there are no pedestrians, birds, plastic bags blowing in the wind, cattle grids or junctions, self driving becomes viable and safe with the technology we have right now. The other problem you solve is you can power the vehicle from a rail so less need for so many lithium batteries which are going to become a major bottle neck for the roll out of battery electric vehicles. If you depressurise the tunnel and add a magnetic rail you create a hyperloop which can allow underground travel at speeds over 700 miles an hour. You also don’t need to bulldoze pristine countryside or houses to create new inter and intra city transportation. So there’s lots of reasons why tunnels are a really great idea for the future or transport. What Elon has discovered the hard way is digging tunnels is slow, expensive and complicated. So how does someone like Elon solve a boring problem? He holds a boring competition and gets teams from around the world to come up with the fastest, cheapest and more accurate way to dig tunnels. My name is David James and in this episode of Midlands Energy & Transport Innovation I’m talking to Sanzhar Taizhan and Tanner Hatzmann of Warwick Boring, a team from Warwick University who have reached the finals of Elon Musk’s Boring Competition. Support Warwick Boring with their fund raising here: ( out more: ( Energy & Transport Innovation: (
1-1 How WPD will cope with a 400% increase in demand for electricity with Paul Jewell
21-01-2021
1-1 How WPD will cope with a 400% increase in demand for electricity with Paul Jewell
There’s a revolution taking place in the energy and transport sectors. By 2050 the UK will be a carbon neutral economy. By 2030 there will be no more sales of diesel or electric cars. By the end of 2021 PWC predict most of the UK’s energy will come from renewable sources and 1 in 8 new cars will be electric. Of all the regions on the world the Midlands has potentially the most to gain but also to lose in this revolution. We are home to some of the world’s most famous and respected fossil fuel based transportation companies including Rolls Royce, Jaguar Landrover and Triumph. Derby is home to the world’s biggest cluster of rail companies. East Midlands Airport is the UK’s busiest freight cargo airport.  We are also home to the Energy Systems Catapult, the Energy Research Accelerator and one of the world’s most advanced autonomous vehicle test beds. There is no hiding from the energy revolution, change is coming and the Midlands economy has everything at stake. Right now the world’s biggest brands and economies are positioning and competing to be the winners in this once in a generation opportunity. Whatever business you are in, how the Midlands comes together to grasp the opportunities that this revolution represents wil have a huge impact on your future success or failure. Nothing is going to stay the same so we need to get agile, connected and innovation focused. Welcome to Midlands Energy and Transport Innovation, the brand new podcast designed to help business leaders in the Midlands understand and succeed in the unfolding energy revolution. My name is David James and in this pilot episode I’m talking to Paul Jewell the DSO development manager and electric vehicle lead at Western Power Distribution. Paul talks about the impact the energy and transport revolution is going to have on WPDs network. If you imagine that each new electric car adds the equivalent of another house to the demands on the grid. And each household having on average two cars you can see the impact that the 2030 ban on diesel and electric car sales is going to have on the network. Add to that the move to decarbonised heating which is going to see houses heated by electric powered ground source heat pumps you can see WPD is expecting three or four times more demand for electricity over the years ahead. Paul explains how Western Power Distribution is preparing to cope with this huge surge in demand and the role that artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data, solar, storage and the development of a smart grid will play. By listening to this episode you will begin to understand where the strategic opportunities lie in a future that is fast approaching. To find out more and to subscribe to this podcast and learn about our upcoming events visit METI.org.uk and put your email in the sign up box on the front page.