Net Zero Week 2024: How Coventry University Group is delivering innovative solutions to net zero carbon challenges
Net Zero Week 2024: How Coventry University Group is delivering innovative solutions to net zero carbon challenges

The UK faces several challenges in achieving its net zero ambitions by 2050. Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Carl Perrin, highlights three of them and what we, at Coventry University Group, are doing to ensure a cleaner tomorrow. 

The UK is committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2050. This statement has been echoed repeatedly in recent years, yet there remain several serious challenges to this ambitious mission. 

To mark Net Zero Week and with a new Labour government coming into power, it seemed an appropriate time to explore some of these challenges and discuss how Sir Keir Starmer might go about addressing them in the months and years to come. 

The first is centred around energy and technology uncertainty. Concerns remain about the role of key energy alternatives like hydrogen. There are doubts around the removal of greenhouse gases and carbon leakage, and the pathway to net zero has been scrutinised with questions persisting over the mix of technologies and energy sources required to achieve it. 

Through our research into green battery technology, hydrogen power and future transport we are committed to working with partners to ease this uncertainty and deliver solutions to complex environmental concerns. Research is just one side of the coin, however, and we must continue to build partnerships in education, industry and policy to develop a positive narrative around green energy and emerging technologies. 

Net zero strategy

The UK emissions trading scheme (EMS) is central to the net zero strategy but addressing carbon leakage remains a challenge. Policies like the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) or a Mandatory Product Standard would certainly be a step in the right direction. They would help ensure the UK not only has optimal environmental policies for decarbonisation but is also putting in place preventive measures to ensure these emissions are not shifted elsewhere. 

These are steps we are taking within our university group through our Decarbonisation Strategy. As a document, this informs our net zero carbon response by not only providing a route map to reducing emission but also placing targets on our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in the years to come. 

Finally, to reach net zero carbon, electricity will have to get cleaner and there will need to be a lot more of it. Electricity demand is expected to rise as more systems including cars, buses and, in some circumstances heating, will be running on electrical power. 

Greenpower Park

Located at the heart of the UK’s manufacturing industry, the Greenpower Park is a trailblazing centre of excellence for electrification, battery technology and manufacturing, and represents a perfect example of what must become the norm if we are to produce and deliver cleaner, more efficient electricity. 

As a university group, we’re incredibly proud to be directly involved in this ground-breaking location which seeks to foster the UK’s growing battery ecosystem by offering an all-in-one solution for battery research, industrialisation, manufacturing, testing, recycling and electrified logistics. 

Researchers at Coventry University Group are attempting to meet these three major challenges head on at a national and international level, helping communities and habitats to regenerate themselves by engaging with citizens, with businesses and with technology. Our commitment to creating better futures for the communities around us is at the heart of much that we do and it is imperative that we, along with our partners in academia, industry and government continue to address these issues and deliver innovative solutions for a cleaner tomorrow.

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024