Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The challenge of introducing new technologies

Learners consider the obstacles, difficulties and resistance which chemical engineers face in introducing new technologies.

In this step, you will discover how chemical engineers are working to deliver on new technological targets which allow for clean and affordable energy through greater collaborations between government, suppliers and consumers.

As the world continues to be challenged by the unprecedented effects of climate change, the once traditional energy landscape, made up primarily of fossil fuels, will be forced to change. 

At the forefront of this reality, sustainable energy technologies have emerged, boasting low carbon and net zero CO2 emissions. However, such technology comes with high costs, which are often attributed to the technological readiness level of these new sustainable processes, as the ability to operate at large scale and deliver energy across communities, towns and cities are limited. When introducing any new technology, efficient and feasible scale-up becomes an important precursor to commercial uptake. 

Green hydrogen is one such example; manufactured using water electrolysis, the technology has challenged over the years by scalability as well as energy efficiency. However, through active research and learning-by-doing, new electrolysers are being launched with improved efficiencies and higher capacities allowing for increased economic feasibility. Similarly, the associated costs for solar and wind power have reduced dramatically due to technological growth. 

An image showing green hydrogen production. A pipe and generator with H2 printed on can be seen alongside wind turbines

Although these emerging clean technologies have entered the global energy supply chain, they are slow to be integrated; with many countries still utilising cheap fossil fuels as their main energy source. This is due to both a lack of guidance and technological know-how to sufficiently inform on energy transitions, as well as polices that can allow and maintain a global shift towards low carbon/net-zero energy supplies. 

The advent of international and global legislation such as the Paris Agreement, and climate goals from COP26 have increased the drive for greater renewables and green hydrogen integration. Furthermore, this has stimulated economic growth and development among emerging economies, where government spending has subsequently increased GDP. 

Have your say:

Consider the challenges that chemical engineers face when introducing new technologies. 
Does anything in particular surprise you? 
Share your thoughts with other learners in the Comments section.
This article is from the free online

Chemical Engineering: Shaping a Sustainable Future

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now