Net Zero

Research theme

Climate change is a global threat and addressing the climate emergency is among the most pressing challenges facing the world today. In 2015, the global community agreed in Paris to limit carbon emissions so that the temperature rise could be restricted to well below 2ᵒc. Many countries have since pledged to achieve net zero emissions but reaching this target nationally and globally without transgressing the ‘planetary boundaries’ remains a daunting task.

The race for developing sustainable solutions opens opportunities for technological innovation, systems thinking and development of new business activities. Developments in communication systems, data analysis capabilities and information technology will underpin these changes. Simultaneously, the decarbonisation process is likely to have significant socio-economic implicationsin terms of costs and benefits as well as inclusivity and justice, particularly for economically vulnerable people. De Montfort University (DMU) is already active in this area of research, with researchers from different faculties already engaged in low-carbon transition research – both locally and globally. Examples include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Decarbonisation and low carbon energy systems and infrastructure

    DMU researchers are investigating new energy technologies (low carbon heating technologies such as geothermal and solar thermal heating, thermal energy storage), innovative materials and designs (photovoltaics, batteries, nano-materials), smart grids and integration of low carbon systems as well as circular economy issues (e.g. waste to energy, recycling of plastics, etc.). Several groups are working on decarbonisation of transport (electric vehicles, smart transport systems, and transport policy) and decarbonisation of the built environment, including low carbon buildings, resource efficiency, planning, climate resilient infrastructure, infrastructure strategies, and ecosystem services
  2. Just transition, socio-economic impacts and alignment of climate actions with the Sustainable Development Goals

    Researchers at DMU have also undertaken work in association with localand international partners to investigate the issues of just decarbonisation, economic and socialimpacts of the transition, local governance and the alignment of climate actions at local or nationallevels with the Sustainable Development Goals. This subtheme also includes research on climateresilient sustainable communities both locally (in Leicestershire, Market Harborough) as well asglobally (India, China, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana) to support climate friendly and sustainablecommunities, covering sustainable food, water systems, waste management and better and healthy living.
  3. Low carbon transitions in the developing world

    Increasing numbers of researchers are workingin partnership with developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America to support a transitionto low carbon pathways and a climate-resilient development path. For example, the Solar Taxiproject is exploring the viability of passenger vehicle charging in the Gambia using electricity froma solar-powered mini-grid. Other examples include research on clean cooking energy transitionsfor the indigenous population in Mexico, resilience in low-income housing using big data analytics,and biophilic design of schools, among others.
  4. Creative engagement and innovation to net zero

    Impactful research is being done in the areasof creative industries, media and business. The research on textiles, fashion, innovative businessmodels, financing, governance arrangements, monitoring and reporting, as well ascommunication and media needs to be mentioned here.

 

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Project: Helping community football teams achieve Net Zero

In line with the recently launched UN ‘Football for the Goals’ initiative, described as ‘a platform for the global football community to engage with and advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals’, researchers and students at DMU are working with two community football clubs to help them achieve their ambitions of becoming Net Zero.

More about the helping football teams achieve Net Zero project
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Project: The SaFEGround project – Decarbonising the heating and cooling of buildings

As part of the SaFEGround project, researchers at DMU are engaged in a £1.5m project which aims to reduce the use of fossil fuels linked to climate change in heating and cooling technologies.

Learn more about SaFEGround
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Project: The East Midlands Accelerator Programme

DMU researchers are engaged with local companies who have between 10 and 250 employees to determine their carbon footprint and to advise on steps to reduce emissions.

More about the The East Midlands Accelerator programme

Climate change is a global threat and addressing the climate emergency is among the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Many countries have pledged to achieve net zero emissions but reaching this target nationally and globally without transgressing the ‘planetary boundaries’ remains a daunting task.

Raffaella Villa and Mark Charlton, Net Zero Theme Directors