January 29, 2014

Feature Focus - James Saunders: "Never Stop Asking Why"

As a Life Cycle Emissions Analyst, James Saunders says one of the most important skills to accomplishing his work is maintaining a child-like curiosity and constantly asking “why.”

James analyzes the environmental benefits of different types of new and existing Westport technology. Translation: he looks at how a Westport product works, why it works the way it does, its benefits and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“I look at how we can use energy in a more efficient and responsible way,” he says. “I see natural gas a way to do that, and a stepping stone to doing that with a lower carbon footprint.”

James works on a wide range of Westport technology, including high pressure direct injection (HPDI), spark-ignited technologies and combustion technologies.

He works with the advanced technology and strategy teams at Westport and also liaises with engineers from Westport’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, bringing his mechanical engineering skills and sustainability expertise to every project. He collaborates with cryogenic and service engineers, among others, running calculations, experiments and completing technology analysis.
James Saunders, Westport Life Cycle Emissions Analyst:
"I look at how we can use energy in a more efficient and responsible way."
His interest in clean energy research was born at UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre, where he completed his doctorate in optical diagnostic techniques applied to high temperature fuel cell technologies.

In 2009, while he was a student, James won the UBC Alternative Energy X Contest for his proposal to minimize UBC’s energy and water consumption by using alternative energy sources and energy management techniques.

“It was the first place that made me realize you can’t just be concerned about the future of the environment, you actually have to do something about it.”

In addition to his position at Westport, James is co-chair of the technical advisory panel of a collaborative study between the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) at West Virginia University (WVU) and various industry partners looking at fugitive methane emissions from natural gas vehicles.

“We are collaborating with industry partners and environmental non-governmental organizations to determine what our methane impact is and what are the most important areas to focus on if you’re trying to curb methane emissions,” he says. “We’re such a new industry, we’re learning, and we’re improving rapidly.”

He says that one of the best parts of his job is working with people who, in many cases, are the only people in the world with the knowledge and ability to engineer world class natural gas engines.

Related Reading:

Learn more about what Westport’s sustainability initiatives: http://www.westport.com/is/sustainability/
Learn more about the EDF study: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2013/03/04/scemr-release

No comments:

Post a Comment