Maya Singer Hobbs from the Department of Chemistry and Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT), University of Bath, has written a new Policy Brief, launching at today’s Local Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility workshop, organised by The West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

WECA, which encompasses Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire, has devolved statutory duties for planning, transport, housing and economic development. In partnership with local government, business and the community, it has important obligations for developing low carbon economic growth, tackling climate change, and improving the local environment, including reductions in air pollution. Highlighting research at the University of Bath, this Policy Brief sets out what can be done to develop green transport infrastructures and promote environmentally sustainable, low carbon growth in the devolved regions of England.

In mapping out a range of research taking place at the University, Maya highlights a number of developing research projects which could potentially help policymakers. Industry expertise from Professor Saiful Islam (Department of Chemistry), reveals the need to increase the energy density of battery materials to help improve the available range of electric cards and hybrids. Research in to developing greener fuels is also featured, with interesting findings from Dr Chris Chuck (Department of Chemical Engineering), who is investigating algae and seaweed as a potential source of biofuels, and Professor Geoff Hammond (Department of Mechanical Engineering) who argues the introduction of biofuels in small blends is possible, without the need for significant infrastructural change. Similarly, research from Professor Tim Mays (Department of Chemical Engineering) is exploring the sustainable development and storage of Hydrogen - the ‘ideal’ fuel as it only produces water and energy in a fuel cell or via combustion.

This Policy Brief also highlights important research from Professor Marcelle McManus (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Dr Gunes Erodgan and Dr Maria Battara (School of Management) on spatial strategy, planning and mapping. Similarly, research from Professor Bas Verplanken (Department of Psychology) suggests potential drivers for human behaviour change, which may help generate a greater uptake of greener transport. Dr Lucy O’Shea and Dr Alistair Hunt (Department of Economics) also explore financial incentives to encourage adapting to greener transport, as well as the financial consequences of inaction if we maintain the status quo.

In summarising key research currently taking place across the University, Maya concludes this Policy Brief setting out clear recommendations for policymakers in the West of England. Through strategic planning and thoughtful policymaking, incorporating collaborative and interdisciplinary thinking across a range of research fields, she asserts that local authorities can deliver on green transport, and help move toward a low carbon economy.