Ernest Young

'Waste treatment facility design at sea'


Ernest Young is currently pursuing an MSc in Engineering with Finance at University College London. Prior to joining the course, he completed a Bachelors in Engineering at the University of Warwick, specialised in mechanical manufacturing engineering. He has worked on a range of different engineering projects, including a sustainability-project where he designed a solar-powered pit latrine system for a remote village in Cameroon, as an entry to the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) annual sustainability challenge. He has also previously interned at the International Institute of Nanocomposites, conducting research with the aim of improving the mechanical properties of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) through synthesis with Metal Oxide Framework-6 (MOF6)

Introduction to research

The consequences of human and industrial activity have long accumulated and plagued our natural environment. Now, in the 21st century, those consequences pose a threat to human life in parts of the world, with low lying countries like Kiribati facing no other option but to relocate and avoid the destruction of rising sea levels caused by global warming. In previous literature, a robust case has been made to relocate onto a buoyant structure such as an offshore artificial Island. What is yet to be addressed, and hence the focus of this project, are the infrastructure such as a wastewater and sanitation system which would support the population of such an artificial Island. Hence this project will aim to conduct a front-end engineering design for such a system using the proposed artificial island concept.This system will be designed to accommodate the Kiribati’s population to the year 2050 but will be constructed and expanded further in gradual stages.

Why did you choose maritime as your area of study and research?

I chose maritime firstly as this wasn’t a topic which heavily featured in my degree as much as other topics. For this reason I saw it as a challenge to either push the boundaries of my knowledge and apply it to the issue at hand or to learn something completely new whilst aiming to cherry pick the most applicable to module a solution with given constraints in a short period of time.This project in particular was important to me as it centred around an environmental issue I feel does not get enough attention and action.The aim of designing something for an offshore structure is nothing new, however, the motivation to do so is fairly recent hence I was intrigued to discover how this would influence and mould the design and decision process through the project. Being a maritime project in a developing country, laws and technical requirements for such projects aren’t set in stone and therefore brings the prospect for some innovation which I hoped to capitalise on.

What do you hope to get out of participating in the Maritime Masters programme?

What I hope to gain from participating in the Maritime Masters programme is firstly an insight into a field of engineering I have come to appreciate has breadth and depth. By exploring the work being undertaken in this field, I hope to gain an enriching understanding of the issues currently being tackled but also the diversity approaches employed by participants with strong range of backgrounds.The exposure to industry professionals is what I believe will put me in good stead towards yielding pragmatic approaches and solutions to future projects. This is because there is often a discrepancy in theoretical and practical application of knowledge. Following a presentation of my project I hope to bridge such inconsistencies through short consultations with industry professionals and those currently at the forefront of industry knowledge. This is a value-add which is difficult to gain in text but invaluable to exhibiting evidence of experience which as a student, is lacking.Finally, the motivation for my project is one which I feel strongly about and is something I relish the opportunity to advocate, and be part of an establishment which supports work towards such pressing issues. I hope the programme acts as platform to highlight topics within Marine Engineering where vital work is required and crucial to the socio-economic stability of countries such as that which is the focus of my project.