The University of Leeds partners on a new Energy Demand Research Centre

UK Research and Innovation has announced a total of £53 million in funding to decarbonise the energy sector.

One of its six new centres is the Energy Demand Research Centre (EDRC), of which the University of Leeds is a partner.

The academics involved include Professor John Barrett of the School of Earth and Environment, Professor Greg Marsden and Dr Kate Pangbourne of the Institute for Transport Studies, and Professor Peter Taylor of the School of Chemical and Process Engineering.

Their focus will be on ways to reduce energy usage by consumers, with key themes such as “futures,” “place” and “governance”.

They will investigate consumer behaviour, the impact of energy demand reduction measures and research to improve energy efficiency.

They’ll support the delivery of industrial and transport energy demand reduction across the UK, with the aim to help reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), said:

“The government has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, requiring rapid decarbonisation of our energy systems. UKRI is leveraging its ability to work across disciplines to support this ambition through a major portfolio of investments that will catalyse innovation and new green energy systems. 

The funding announced today will support researchers and innovators to develop game-changing ideas to improve domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.

The academics at the University of Leeds work alongside researchers from the Universities of Sussex, Newcastle, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Imperial, Lancaster, University College London, Manchester, Reading, Strathclyde, and Surrey.

The centre has been awarded £15 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

One of six innovative research centres

The EDRC is one of six new centres funded by the UKRI. Their aim is to “increase knowledge, innovation and new technologies to decarbonise the energy sector.”

The UKRI has stated that:

“Fundamental changes are needed in society to enable a deep energy demand reduction and wide use of low-carbon technologies.

“Energy demand reduction will improve energy security, reduce household energy bills and address climate change. Reducing energy use could help meet half of the required emissions reductions we need to become a Net Zero society by 2050.”

The new centre will enable equitable policy decision-making by giving evidence-based solutions to energy demand reduction that understand the needs of and impacts on consumers.

The other centres that have been awarded funding include three Supergen hubs that will improve energy distribution nationally and internationally, as well as increase the usage of renewable energies.

A further two centres aim to integrate hydrogen into energy systems in sustainable ways.