Our research activities are organised along the following areas:

Decarbonisation of industrial chemicals and fuels

Global emissions are commonly attributed to four sectors: electricity, transport, heating, and industry. We focus on decarbonising industrial chemicals and, in some cases, exploring their use as ‘green’ fuels in transport, electricity, and heat. We model emission free production both in the UK and in other parts of the world.

Design of sustainable energy and production systems

Sustainable provision of energy, water, food, and other goods and services poses significant challenges to our society, calling for innovations at both the technology level and the systems level. Our work is aimed to further develop concepts and approaches in process systems engineering and industrial ecology, to enhance our understanding of the challenges from a systems perspective and to devise methods and tools for improving the production systems in a holistic manner. In particular, we are exploring ways to design decentralised and multifunctional systems with improved sustainability.

Greenhouse gas removal

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere, often referred to as negative emission technologies, aims to stabilize the climate through restoring the atmospheric CO2 concentration to a safe level. Collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines such as earth science and mineral science and engineering, our work in this area investigates the potential of enhanced weathering and related schemes, with the hope to design systems that can operate under mild conditions in order to avoid prohibiting energy and economic costs.

Multiscale modelling and biological systems engineering

Multiscale modelling combines models of different scales of a system in order to obtain an overall model of desired quality or computational efficiency which is difficult to achieve by a single scale model. Our current work focuses on applying multiscale approaches to the analysis and design of biological systems for engineering purposes.

Rational utilisation of biomass resources

Biomass is an important renewable resource for the sustainable provision of energy, chemicals and materials. We are interested in applying systems engineering tools such as multi-criteria decision making, mathematical modelling and optimisation to assess, improve, and integrate processes and supply chains that utilise biomass for various products or services. Research in this area is closely linked to the treatment of municipal and industrial waste streams, including application of micro-algae based systems.

Computer-based decision support

We have been developing computer based decision support systems for the improved automation of the processes within areas such as transport, energy, biofuels and pharmaceutical sectors. A significant area of our current work involves the development of decision support programs to assist policy designers. These programs are based on engineering design, computer science techniques and decision methods such as for example, ontologies, multi-criteria decision making, backcasting and complexity science.