Department of Mechanical Engineering


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Towards a low carbon future

Geoff Hammond and Áine O'Grady discuss research into energy production and a low carbon future.

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Áine O'Grady



Áine O’ Grady is a Research Associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research involves the technology assessment of energy systems using a set of appraisal techniques from engineering, environmental sciences and strategic thinking (such as environmental life cycle assessment, thermodynamic analysis, horizon scanning and other future-oriented technology analysis).


Áine is part of the Realising Transition Pathways Consortium which was set up to extend the work of the Transition Pathways project which was established in 2008. The project is funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and will run from 2012 to 2016. The consortium is managed by Professor Geoffrey Hammond at the University of Bath and Professor Peter Pearson at Cardiff University (co-leaders).  It includes research teams at the universities of Bath, Cardiff, East Anglia, Leeds, Loughborough, Strathclyde, Surrey, Imperial College London and University College London.

This new project is to extend and enhance the work of the original Transition Pathways consortium, through testing the pathways developed, and exploring the actions required to achieve a transition that will deliver a low carbon, secure and affordable energy supply for the UK.

Áine is involved in the following two work streams within this consortium:

Whole systems energy and environmental appraisal of low carbon technologies and pathways

This work stream will evaluate the environmental impacts, including the carbon emissions associated with a range of energy technologies that will potentially be adopted for the power sector out to 2050. It will act as the environmental component of an overall sustainability appraisal framework (economic, social, environmental and technical benefits) for the selected low carbon technologies and transitions that will be explored by the Consortium.

Horizon scanning of low carbon power systems

Technological choices in the UK power sector are likely to vary significantly out to 2050. A portfolio of techniques will be developed in this work stream to identifying emerging trends in the UK power sector, and improve the capability to predict and pinpoint implications of emerging science and technology related to electricity generation. It will allow stakeholders and policymakers increase their awareness of important emerging influences on the UK energy system and its environment.