The Earth’s energy resources are being consumed at an ever increasing rate. This places huge pressures on the environment and presents us with problems for harnessing these resources in a sustainable way.
The University of Manchester has one of the largest energy research portfolios of all UK academic institutions. We use our network of physical and natural scientists and engineers to develop future sustainable energy solutions.
As well as the sub-themes defined below there are links between environmental research and nuclear storage and disposal, and significant environmental impacts arising from changes in our energy systems such as the requirement for rare earth metals, and links between environmental hazards and energy resilience.
Such a broad challenge is not going to have one simple answer so research is ongoing to explore a variety of avenues to develop secure, affordable sources of low-carbon energy without undesirable impacts to our natural environment.
Our key areas:
In the move away from fossil fuels, new fuels are being developed that are free of air pollutants and greenhouse gasses. An essential component of this is the development of pathways to deliver these fuels using both new and repurposed infrastructure to meet the needs of the whole energy market. We have experts working in bioenergy, BECCS and hydrogen.
Renewable technologies have the potential to deliver efficient, low-carbon, resilient energy systems. Our expertise involves large-scale experiments, demonstration projects and national research programmes in these areas. Experts are working across key areas including; tidal, wind and solar.
Until we move completely away from using fossil fuels, it is important that the environmental impact of our current reliance on oil and gas is quantified and minimised. This not only involves rapidly reducing our use of hydrocarbons but also reducing the environmental impact of their extraction.
Looking to the future, carbon capture and storage in the Earth's subsurface could offer us a way to reduce atmospheric carbon. It could also provide us with geothermal energy, which may be an important contributor to the future energy mix.
Our researchers have significant expertise in the geological and technological characterisation of the subsurface and are working hard to provide solutions for a sustainable energy future.