Alice Larkin talks to TED on the coming realities of climate change

Watch Alice Larkin, Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering and Tyndall Manchester, present a TED talk about the ways climate change will affect all our futures unless we make radical changes to our behavior.

Tyndall Manchester Seminar Series: Changing institutions in a changing climate

Prof. Audley Genus, Kingston University

19 January 2017, 4.00pm Lecture theatre C21, Pariser Building


In the seminar, I argue that a more rounded understanding of how to respond effectively to the challenges posed by human-made climate change may be obtained by drawing on an institutional perspective. In particular I advance an approach which combines neo-institutional theory and critical discourse analysis in a complementary way. Such a discourse-institutional view has a number of benefits: (1) institutionally, it moves analysis beyond the usual if understandable focus on the activities and policies of government; (2) due attention is given to a view of institutions as stable but potentially changeable norms, professional standards, culture, and ingrained habit; (3) the language basis of institutions is duly recognized; and (4) connections among language in text, and in discursive and social practice are acknowledged, as are their role in processes of (non- or de-) institutionalization. The presentation summarizes the suggested approach, and illustrates it with reference to the example of the diffusion of renewable energy technologies.

Audley Genus, PhD, is YTL Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Kingston University. He researches innovation, sustainability and technology policy, publishing in journals such as Research Policy, and Technological Forecasting and Social Change. He is the editor of the book ‘Sustainable Consumption, Design and Innovation’, published by Springer (2016).

Role of University research in preparing power supplies for climate change

A University of Manchester research programme, delivered in partnership with National Grid, has been included in National Grid’s latest climate change adaptions progress report for Defra which was published earlier this week.

This Defra report sets out National Grid’s progress in adapting to the current and future predicted effects of climate change and includes findings from the Resilient Energy Networks for Great Britain (RESNET) research project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

National Grid participated in the RESNET programme to improve awareness of the longer-term risks of the impact of climate-related changes to the reliability of the UK’s electricity system and develop tools for quantifying the value of adaptations that would enhance the grid’s resilience.

The RESNET consortium’s energy scenarios considered population and industrial growth, climate change legislation, changing energy demands and the incorporation of renewable generation into the National Grid in order to plan a more resilient network to withstand tomorrow’s harsher climate conditions.

“The National Grid is facing changes from all angles”, said Prof Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester, “There are so many factors and uncertainties to take into account.” He illustrates his point with an example of the north of England: “We may see an industrial renaissance in the north that will require a much greater supply of electricity. In order to advise where, when and how energy companies should invest we need to link predictions of industrial growth with weather forecasts and patterns of energy use.”

The need to adapt for anticipated climate changes, including hotter and drier summers, warmer and wetter winters and increasingly extreme weather events, is especially relevant where infrastructure is above ground and exposed to the elements. Expected increases in ambient temperatures over the rest of the century will impact on National Grid’s asset ratings which are temperature dependent. Ratings given to assets in National Grid’s report covered overhead power lines, underground cables and the impact of climate change on transformers.

Energy is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons. Our five research beacons - addressing global inequalities, advanced materials, cancer, energy and industrial biotechnology – are exemplars of interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are distinctive to our University, making pioneering discoveries and improving the lives of people around the world. Researchers in our beacon areas are at the forefront of the search for innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the planet today.

UoM Professor wins UK Energy Innovation Award

University of Manchester technology Acoustek® won ‘Best University Technology of the Year’

The Acoustek system in action

Prof Barry Lennox's Acoustek system has won a presitigious award at the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2016, held at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday April 28th

Acoustek was first used as a tool for detecting blockages in high pressure natural gas pipelines. Working with Circor the technology is now used routinely in the oil & gas industry to detect and locate blockages at distances of over 10 km. More recently, the technology has been adapted so that it can be applied to locate blockages and other features in gas distribution pipeline networks.

Creator Barry Lennox commented: “The work with the gas distribution operators has proven to be highly successful, with a commercial product expected to be available within the next year or so.”

The technology is set to revolutionise the market as the tool designed for the gas distribution market can quickly and accurately locate features at distances of more than 300m. This reduces the number of excavations and ensures a more rapid resumption of service to customers.

Lecture Series: The Energy Challenge

Cameron Rennie, Senior Strategy Advisor at BP Group Technology,
Cameron Rennie

Cameron Rennie, Senior Strategy Advisor at BP Group Technology, delivered the third ICAM webinar of 2016 on the global energy challenge. Increasingly, we recognise that we live in an interconnected world. Solving a challenge in one domain can have implications in another area. This applies to the production and use of energy.

Cameron Rennie discussed how the production and use of energy is linked to availability of many natural resources. He described examples of dependencies on availability of water, land and specific minerals.
The challenge is to create understanding, to navigate the complex interdependencies – so decision makers encourage policy that prevents resource constraints, even as the climate changes and economies expand and urbanise.

You can read the full article here

Professor Mark O'Malley's Seminar

Professor O'Malley

Professor Mark O'Malley (University College Dublin) will deliver a seminar entitled 'Energy System Integration and its Role in Integrating Variable Renewable Energy' at the University on Thursday 29th September.

Mark is the Professor of Electrical Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD) and founding Director of the Electricity Research Centre and Director of the UCD Energy Institute, a multidisciplinary, multi institutional, industry supported research activity. Energy Systems Integration (ESI) is the optimisation of energy systems across these energy vectors and scales. ESI is most valuable at the interfaces where the coupling and interactions are strong and represent a challenge and/or an opportunity. You can find further information on this seminar Seminar Invitation - Mark O'Malley.

Free WISE PV knowledge sharing workshop

Tuesday 20th September 2016 from 10.00am to 13.00pm The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, One Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ

The purpose of the workshop is to present the findings of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded WISE PV project, and explore  implications. The project brings together teams from the University of Manchester, The University of Sheffield, Loughborough University Oxford Brooks University and Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology.

FInd our more about this event here.

The University of Manchester’s cutting-edge energy research and state-of-the-art facilities to be showcased at LCNI 2016

The University of Manchester’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering are exhibiting at this year’s Low Carbon Networks & Innovation (LCNI) conference, taking place in Manchester between 11-13 October at the Manchester Central Convention Complex.

The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering’s Power and Energy Division will be highlighting their latest research, training opportunities and consultancy projects as well as demonstrating the world-class equipment used by researchers to deliver new innovations.

As well as having the opportunity to speak to University of Manchester experts involved in the latest energy research, visitors to stand A011 will also be able to sign up to free tours of the laboratories on the nearby University campus, travelling by free coach arranged by the event organisers.

For more information, read the full story on the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering’s website.

Tree Station Open Day

Come and find out what’s going on at the TreeStation - a social enterprise in arboriculture, wood fuels and timber. Join us for the TreeStation Open Day on 3rd September 2016 (from 11am to 2pm) 

  • Your chance to see what goes on behind the big gates
  • A tours of our biomass boiler & kiln
  • A slideshow of TreeStation projects & products
  • A showcase of local businesses & community groups
  • Kids' play area
  • Refreshments & nibbles

At TreeStation, we’re working towards a greener Manchester - our aim is to reduce carbon emissions and ‘make wood work’ in the local community. TreeStation Open Day Flyer to learn more about this event.

NARG Newsletter June 2016

The latest newsletter of the North Africa Research Group is now available.

The newsletter contains information about recent studies and publications from the group, as well as forthcoming conference presentations and details of all group members, including PhD stdents.

Highlights include:

  • Updates on field studies, Extensive logging and sampling of sections in the Agadir and Tarfaya Basins.
  • Presentations made at EAGE, IAS, AAPG, PESG/HGS Africa Conference.

Click here to read the newsletter

ShengJi Tee bursary award

ShengJi Tee

ShengJi Tee won the CIGRE-UK Next Generation Network Presentation Competition with £1000 travel bursary and free registration to CIGRE Session 2016 to be held in Paris from 21 to 26 Aug 2016.

Mr Tee is a final year PhD student in the Power and Energy Division in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He has been working on ageing assessment of transformer insulation through oil test database analysis, under the supervision of Dr Qiang Liu and Prof Zhongdong Wang. He has published two IEEE journal papers with another IET journal paper under review.

CIGRE Session offers a platform for more than 8500 worldwide senior executives, engineers and experts to share and discuss ideas in the field of power systems. The CIGRE-UK NGN is an organisation for young professional engineers in the power industry to engage with CIGRE’s activities and develop their knowledge, skills and contacts within the industry.

New researcher to blog on fuel poverty

Neil Simcock

The University of Manchester's EVALUATE group addresses scientific and policy challenges at the interface of energy system transformations, the environment and cities.

A new addition to the EVALUATE project team is Neil Simcock, who is joining as a research associate over the next two years to undertake qualitative research with vulnerable households in the case study areas. In his first blog article, Neil discusses the key themes and aims of this section of EVALUATE.

Read Neil's full blog post here.

Award for pioneering research on hot bricks

High school student Alexander Lewis has won a special energy prize sponsored by The University of Manchester, after showcasing ground-breaking research on new home insulation technology.

Alexander, from Saffron Walden County High School, has been awarded the ‘Global Challenges, Manchester Solutions: Energy Prize’, a special category in the National Science & Engineering Competition.


Read the fully story here.

Elsevier Atlas Award winner

Prof Patricia Thornley, Director, SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has won the prestigious Elsevier Atlas Award for her paper, “Maximizing the greenhouse gas reductions from biomass: The role of life cycle assessment". Each month a single Atlas article is selected from published research from across Elsevier’s 1,800 journals by an external advisory board. 


Congratulations Patricia!

ScienceX at the Trafford Centre, 23rd-24th April

A major showcase of science and technology, as part of Manchester, European City of Science.

As a major contribution to the City of Science programme, The University of Manchester is presenting a #scienceX extravaganza, taking scientists, engineers and experiments to intu Trafford Centre, one of Europe's largest shopping and leisure complexes and the Chill Factore, the UK's longest indoor ski slope. These are ideal places for us to meet people who would never usually visit the University campus and facilities, to excite them about science and engineering, and get them involved in experiments and other activities.

Our own Daniele Atkinson has a featured commentary on the Huffington Post this week. You can read Daniele's full article here.

For more information about the event, please visit the sciencex website,

Upcoming Seminar

‘Wild Interdisciplinarity: Reflections on Doing Social Science within a Technology Project’ by Dr. Murray Goulden (Horizon Institute, University of Nottingham)

Thursday 21st April (room C1, George Begg Building, Sackville Street) at 4.00pm

Drawing on the experiences of a novel collaborative project between sociologists and computer scientists, this paper identifies a set of challenges for fieldwork that are generated by this ‘wild interdisciplinarity’. Public Access Wi-Fi Service(PAWS) was a project funded by an 'in-the-wild' research programme, involving the study of digital technologies within a marginalised community, with the goal of addressing digital exclusion. We argue that similar forms of research, in which social scientists are involved in the deployment of experimental technologies within real world settings, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The fieldwork for the project was highly problematic, with the result that few users of the system were successfully enrolled. We analyse why this was the case, identifying three sets of issues which emerge in the juxtaposition of interdisciplinary collaboration and wild setting. We conclude with a set of recommendations for projects involving technologists and social scientists. Please RSVP, or contact Amrita with any queries-

Prof Kevin Anderson's reflection on COP21, in Nature.

Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, writes in Nature that rather than relying on far-off negative-emissions technologies, the Paris Climate Change Summit (COP21) needed to deliver a low-carbon road map for today.

Read the full story, "Talks in the city of light generate more heat", here

Policy @ Manchester blogs: "Radioactive waste: legacy versus new build"

By Hollie Ashworth

Radioactive waste is a controversial topic. But understanding the difference between historic and new wastes would produce a more informed debate, explains Hollie Ashworth.

Read more here.

Electric Vehicle Innovation Rewarded

A project which monitored electric vehicle usage by selected households to identify how levels of charging activity might impact the network has won an industry award.

The project involved a number of partners including support from Northern Powergrid, The University of Manchester and De Montfort University, reports Bloomberg Business News.


Tyndall centre seminar

Complex Infrastructure Systems: science and practice

Thursday 21st January, 4.00pm, room C1, George Begg Building - Professor Liz Varga, Cranfield University, UK

Infrastructure systems embrace not only the disciplinary fields of energy, water and waste, transport, and telecommunications, but also the inter-connections between these systems, and the systems which they depend on and which depend on them, including the environment and the climate.  The whole is a complex ecosystem of innovation, co-evolution and opportunity but the darker side involves issues of definition and pluralism, measures and beneficiaries, interdependency and resilience, and methods for science and practice.  This seminar takes a broad overview of complex infrastructure systems, and elaborates on the perspective using a number of research project examples.

Liz Varga is Professor of Complex Infrastructure Systems and Director of the Complex Systems Research Centre at Cranfield University, UK. 

Blog: Prof Kevin Anderson asks, is the IPCC overly optimistic on our climate?

Professor Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, will be attending the Climate Change Conference in Paris this December. He has a stark warning about the future of our climate.

In June 2000 scientists attended a major climate conference as a prelude to the political negotiations in Paris in December. After four days of presentations the conference committee concluded that limiting “warming to less than 2 °C” is “economically feasible” and “cost effective.” This conclusion chimed with a headline statement from...


Blog: Paris and 2DegC - A view from the coal face

As the Paris COP21 negotiations continue, Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, who is in France for the conference, gives his views.

Sunflower and PV

" a citizen concerned with the moral framing of climate change, I consider the 2°C increase above the pre-industrial average as too high. It is not a safe threshold. Many people will die as a consequence of a 2°C rise, and they will typically be poor..."

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