University of Bath

Sustainable Energy Research Team

We are a multidisciplinary team including engineers and scientists who promote sustainability through high-quality research and publications.

We are actively involved in broad and topical areas of sustainable energy and climate change research.

Our team

Research areas

    Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

    We use LCA to explore the life-time environmental impacts and benefits of different products and systems. These include:

    • wind
    • nuclear
    • solar thermal and solar PV
    • ground source heat pumps
    • combined heat and power systems

    We use LCA to explore the benefits and shortcomings of different bio-energy systems. We compare the use of domestic and imported fuel. And we research the impact of land use changes and how this can result in a loss of land for food crops. We also examine how LCA is used in policy making and governance, and its successful use in sustainable procurement.

    Microgeneration

    We are assessing microgeneration options using thermodynamic (energy & exergy) analysis, LCA and economic cost-benefit analysis techniques. This three-part appraisal provides a multidisciplinary perspective in the assessments. We're considering technologies including:

    • micro-wind
    • solar thermal and solar PV
    • ground source heat pumps
    • combined heat and power systems

    Our work is funded by the EPSRC-led SUPERGEN consortium on highly distributed power systems and HiDef.

    Embodied energy and carbon

    The Inventory of Carbon & Energy (ICE) benchmarks and summarises the embodied energy and carbon of over 200 materials. It is used to assess the energy and carbon impact of constructing new domestic and non-domestic buildings. We developed an ICE housing model to measure the embodied energy and carbon impact of a specific domestic building. This will enable us to benchmark it against the status quo.

    Thermodynamic analysis and energy demand reduction in industry

    We are finding out what energy demand reductions are achievable across the UK's industrial sector. We are exploring the theoretical potential including the economic and technical constraints. We are constructing an energy database for the industrial sector that will incorporate incorporate detailed bottom-up studies of important manufacturing sub-sectors. The studies will cover energy and exergy analysis to determine the thermodynamic potential for improvement. We will also identify technologies that can reduce emissions from the current baseline.

    Our research is funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and forms part of the broader Energy Demand Reduction theme.

    Bioenergy

    We are using CCT to examine the impact of bioenergy production routes. We are analysing differing LCA methodological approaches, including allocations issues and system expansion. We will carry out a regional assessment of resource availability, environmental performance and socio-economic benefits and costs. This includes:

    • evaluating crop production
    • analysing conversion technology
    • a 'cradle to grave' LCA of bioenergy systems

    We will determine how suitable exploiting a region's bioenergy is and its effects on the UK's renewable energy commitments. We are funded by BBS RC and by the UKERC, GWR and the Environment Agency before.

    Environmental footprinting

    Environmental or 'ecological' footprints are a simple, yet useful way to measure the resources consumed and waste produced by a population under existing technology. A country's footprint can vary based on economic development and geographic characteristics. We are assessing the determinants of environmental footprints using dimensional analysis to show the relative significance of each factor.

    Environmental economics

    The Supergen Consortium developed energy scenarios that span from 1996 until 2050. They list almost every source of energy, both renewable and non-renewable, and central or distributed. We are carrying out a cost-benefit analysis for each scenario as a whole to find the one with the greatest Net Present Value (NPV). This will help indicate the economic costs of each different scenario.