Engineers gather in Geneva to discuss the future of energy

© 2011 WEC 2011

© 2011 WEC 2011

EPFL is taking part in the 2011 World Engineers’ Convention which take place from September 4 to 9. Education, transportation and mobility, and energy storage are among the topics to be addressed. A special session on the Fukushima nuclear disaster is also on the agenda.

Energy is the issue at the core of this year’s WEC convention, an international meeting that will bring people from 35 countries to Geneva to participate in seminars, debates and roundtable discussions. “After being held in Hanover, Brazilia and Shanghai, we wanted to bring the convention to Europe, and Geneva seemed like a good idea to us,” says EPFL Professor Daniel Favrat, who is in charge of the convention’s program. “We considered the theme of sustainable development, but it seemed too general for this edition, whereas today’s most pressing issues all involve energy, in particular.” Over a five-day period, engineers, scientists and politicians will discuss this issue. “We have divided the convention into seven main topics,” Favrat explains, “including mobility and transportation, buildings and megacities, and the conversion, distribution, rational use and storage of energy.”

Many well-known personalities will give keynote speeches in their fields of expertise. Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard will open the convention. Other speakers include Solar Impulse co-founder and pilot André Borschberg, Michaël Grätzel, inventor of the dye-sensitized Grätzel solar cells, Gretchen Kalonji, assistant director-general for natural sciences at UNESCO and Anne Lauvergeon, former CEO of AREVA.

Fukushima: What really happened?

Amidst all the information, misinformation and silence, a haze of misunderstanding still surrounds the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. What exactly was the sequence of events, what could have been prevented, what were the mistakes made and what is the current state of affairs? A special session dedicated to the disaster will take place Wednesday, September 7, with experts from countries including Japan, France, the US and Switzerland. “Of course we will also discuss the economic consequences of stopping (or not) the production of nuclear power,” adds Favrat.

NB: it’s still possible to get day passes for the World Engineer’s Convention – visit the website