The innovative use of collaboration and digital engineering tools to protect London’s water supply by a Cork-based engineering company, and a project born to life in Galway to reduce its customers’ carbon footprint by one gigaton within 10 years, are among six projects to be recognised by Engineers Ireland and ESB in the recently unveiled Engineering Excellence Digital Series.

Here we examine the two winning projects – and those that were highly commended – in the 'Innovation and Sustainability' category. 

Winning project No 1

The ADVANCER project

Thermo King, by Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, is a worldwide leader in sustainable transport temperature control solutions. Its refrigeration and temperature control products are responsible for protecting sensitive cargo from the food we eat to pharmaceuticals, vaccines and much more.

In response to its parent company’s 2030 sustainability aspirations, and the commitment to reduce its customers’ CO2e  emissions by one gigaton by 2030 – equivalent to 2% of the world's annual emissions or, the annual emissions of France, Italy & UK combined – Thermo King responded with the introduction of ADVANCER, a disruptive new reimagining of the trailer refrigeration unit.

Built with ambitious sustainability goals at its core, ADVANCER was born to life in Thermo King’s manufacturing site in Co Galway through the use of the all-new mild hybrid electrified architecture that creates a bold new standard for performance, fuel efficiency, temperature control and environmental sustainability. This architecture enables paradigm-shifting reductions in fuel consumption >30% and CO2 emissions >50%.

Additionally, the ADVANCER product is built on a new world-class sustainable assembly line that has reduced its energy consumption by 60%, utilising 100% renewable energy. This Galway-based assembly line is now on track to become the first carbon-neutral assembly line in the sector.

The overall project achievements included:

  • A 40% faster temperature pulldown than the competition which provides greater load protection, reduces operating costs and provides superior recovery from door openings;
  • Up to 30% more fuel efficient which is unrivalled in the market;
  • Variable airflow – only unit in the market with fully variable airflow independent of engine speed;
  • Quietest unit on the market as standard;
  • Highest cooling capacity on the market with the highest airflow;
  • Lowest carbon emissions which has reduced the carbon footprint by 50 trees per year per unit sold;
  • Future ready power agnostic and can adapt to a variety of power sources including shore power, hybrid, holdover battery, axle generator and even integrated solar panels for battery charging;
  • Designed for service with 30% less servicing required and 60% reduction in unscheduled maintenance;
  • Most Intelligent refrigeration unit ever with brand new controller, connected, telematics and fleet connectivity as standard;
  • Manufactured to quality with a predicted 77% improvement in DPPM versus incumbent mechanical architecture refrigeration unit;
  • Designed for lean manufacture with a 30% reduction in labour hours to manufacture, 45% reduction in number of assembled parts and 40% reduction in footprint;
  • Implementation of Industry 4.0 and internet of things with the roll-out of advanced large-scale robotics, MES systems, in process verification and automated test facility.

Carbon-neutral assembly through the reduction of energy required to build a unit by 54% and utilising 100% renewable energy for the remaining energy needs.

Winning project No 2

Coppermills water treatment works new roughing filters

This project, by Irish engineering company EPS Group, involved the innovative use of collaboration and digital engineering tools to protect London’s water supply.

Founded upon 52 years of operating experience, EPS Group has grown from an electrical and pumping services business in to an innovative, internationally exporting group, headquartered in Mallow, Co Cork, and focused upon the water and wastewater and clean technology sectors. 

Coppermills Water Treatment Works is located in north London adjacent to the Walthamstow Wetlands, a 300-acre reservoir system providing about a third of London’s drinking water, supplying north and east London primarily and to the wider London water supply system.

The overall project was co-ordinated by SMB as part of the eight2o delivery alliance and collaboration was supported by EPS/MWH through our meps JV.

Challenges to the supply of water from Coppermills were identified by Thames Water with effective capacity being reduced during periods of algal bloom due to the increased work load this placed on the existing 24 rapid gravity filters within the treatment works, which could restrict output to 380Mld limiting headroom in the London supply demand balance.

As a solution it was decided to build an additional 12 rapid gravity filters to augment the existing infrastructural capacity on site.  

EPS Group undertook the concept design, design and off-site construction of 12 filter flumes in stainless steel to provide 200MLD capacity, using an off-site ethos to maximum effect while massively reducing health and safety risks when compared with traditional construction methods.

Traditionally, they would have been built on site in cast-in-situ concrete and of the main two filter feed pipework galleries which would conventionally have been built on site.

The site labour reduction brought about was 94% in this area with zero accidents, zero working at height and zero temporary works or form work were required, which reduced cost and environmental impacts. It was an 18-month programme, saving £6 million in preliminaries.

The overall project achievements for Thames Water, eight2o and SMB included:

  • A total of 890 safe days;
  • Up to 90% reduction in working at height;
  • An 18-month programme reduction;
  • A total of 3,400 tonnes of pre-cast concrete installed in 18 weeks;
  • A 92% reduction in site labour;
  • A 40% reduction in carbon;
  • A total of 2,000+ service diversions avoided.

Highly commended projects

  • Sam Dennigan 1.5MW Solar PV Array by Enerpower

Sam Dennigan, a shipping company with cold storage facilities for fresh produce, engaged Enerpower to engineer, procure and construct a Solar PV Array that could help the organisation reduce their energy consumption, carbon foot print and the environmental impact of their food transport business in line with Ireland’s renewable energy goals.

1.5MW Solar PV Array by Enerpower

The project started with an energy audit followed by investigations and preliminary designs into different Green Energy Technologies, which culminated in the selection of a 1.5MW Solar PV Array which was installed on the organisaton’s existing warehouse roof in North County Dublin.

This EPC project carried out by Enerpower came in on time, under budget and to date is exceeding its current modelling predictions, with an estimated savings of 388,000kg of CO2 per year, in addition to lower energy costs for the client.

Completed in September 2020, Sam Dennigan 1.5MW Solar PV Array by Enerpower is currently the largest Solar PV Array in Ireland.

  • Expansion of wastewater treatment plant capacity at Rothera research station, Antarctica 

This project, by EPS Water, used digital design and off-site delivery to de-risk projects in remote locations.

Rothera Research Station is the largest Antarctic research facility operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It is located approximately 1,000 miles south of the Chilean port of Punta Arenas.

View of Rothera Research Station in the summer months - Courtesy of British Antarctic Survey

The station operates all year, with over 100 personnel in the summer months, reducing to a skeleton staff of only 22 in winter. The environment is extreme, with highly variable weather conditions throughout the year and winter temperatures frequently at -20°C or lower.

Incremental growth in the staffing levels at the station had led to the overloading of the existing wastewater treatment plant and, with the commencement of construction work on site for a new shipping wharf to accommodate the RRS Sir David Attenborough, additional treatment capacity was required.

Left: The Salsnes Filter and platforms were integrated at the EPS factory in Ireland. Right: rendered images of project 3D model. Images courtesy of EPS Group

By selecting the most appropriate technology and using the latest digital design and integration techniques, EPS created a pre-assembled and factory tested solution which was successfully installed to meet the future needs of the research facility.

  • Osberstown sludge treatment facility

This project, by Veolia, successfully increased the capacity of the Osberstown wastewater treatment plant for Kildare County Council and Irish Water, so that it now serves a population equivalent of 360,000 people and numerous local industries. 

Following this success, the Veolia team were tasked with the challenge of upgrading the adjacent Osberstown sludge treatment facility. This facility processes all wastewater sludge for Co Kildare.

Osberstown sludge treatment facility by Veolia

Veolia’s ground-breaking approach to the project combined innovative technologies to deliver advanced anaerobic digestion to create an energy self-sufficient sludge treatment facility that reduced CO​2​ emissions by more than 8,000 tonnes per annum.

It formed a ‘blueprint’ for sustainable phosphorus reuse well into the future and created huge savings, including a saving of circa €9 million of CAPEX ensuring the viability of the project and €2 million per annum (at design loading) of OPEX.

The project also delivered substantial energy savings that will allow the equivalent of more than 2,700 households to be provided with thermal energy from natural gas.

To view the six part Engineering Excellence Digital Series, held in association with ESB and supported by Accenture and Geoscience Ireland, visit: