Climate Change and Energy Systems

The impact of new technologies is integral to their development and acceptance and the technological research innovations of themes [1], [2] and [3] will be closely linked to climate change impact, and energy systems socio-economic issues.

Research challenges include; impact of emissions from technologies using fossil fuel, new and alternative fuels on climate change chemistry and future air quality; knowledge of the detailed chemical pathways for oxidative degradation of emissions in the atmosphere; development of innovative experimental (fieldwork, simulation chamber and laboratory) and modeling (development of chemical mechanisms) approaches; e.g. increased use of biofuels in a low carbon future will lead to increased emissions during growth, (e.g. isoprene), increased emissions during transport and storage, and as unburnt fuel in post-combustion exhaust. Use of life cycle analysis of emissions associated with new technologies and new and alternative fuels.

Socio-economic research challenges include: understanding the interplay between technological innovation and social and policy drivers for, and barriers to, change; analysing pathways for a transition to a low carbon economy; examining the incentives for households and businesses to adopt low carbon technologies and processes; investigating the potential for adaptation to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events; modelling climate systems and their interaction with food and energy systems; price & availability of alternative fuels; safety & environmental benefits of new technologies and fuels; investigating market failures and barriers to entry which can impede the development and commercialisation of new technologies; costs and risks of moving from the demonstration phase to commercialization; impact of Government intervention; understanding the development, marketing and promoting of low energy transport; understanding the stimuli for consumer use of energy intensive travel; factors influencing vehicle and alternative fuel choice; advanced modeling for transport/energy forecasts.

We have world class Centres at Leeds that will support theme [4] providing a thorough understanding of climate change chemistry and socio-economic issues associated with the whole energy system through teaching module delivery, group work and joint PhD projects in relation to the technologies that the students will be researching;

  • Sustainability Research Institute >30 staff – Researching environmental social sciences, Sustainable development and environmental change, Environmental policy, planning and governance, Ecological and environmental economics, Business, environment and corporate responsibility e.g. Leeds hosts the new ESRC Centre for Climate Change, Economics & Policy (£5.2m with LSE).
  • Institute for Climate Change and Atmospheric Sciences (Inc School of Chemistry) >45 staff, Researching physical and chemical processes of the atmosphere, large scale climate issues, aerosol-chemistry-climate models, atmospheric flows, cloud dynamics, atmospheric process numerical models and field and laboratory experiments e.g., Leeds hosts the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (£3.4m NERC).
  • Institute for Transport Studies >90 staff in multidisciplinary School researching transport aspects including; Attitudinal Studies, Demand Forecasting, Environmental Analysis, Network Analysis, Project Appraisal, Road Pricing, Route Choice Studies and Safety Analysis. e.g. ITS is a EU Transport Research Centre of Excellence.