Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

Sustainability of liquid biofuels

By Robert Lyons on 18th July 2017

A new report by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that the UK should focus on the use of waste for the production of biofuels rather than crops that might displace food production. The authors argue that ncentives should be given to farmers to increase production of fuel crops like Miscanthus on marginal land and note that even with the greater use of electric vehicles, biofuels will still be needed for aviation and heavy goods.

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The more variable nature of some forms of renewable energy can be balanced by using adequately flexibile measures, such as adaptable fuel generation sources, active demand response (a change in consumer power consumption to match the demand for power with the supply), better storage of power and interconnections; the big challenge is to develop a flexible power system with the adequate resources to ensure a cost-effective integration of renewables.

This study, based on a one-year field trial of a solar power installation in India, found that despite substantial increases in access to electricity there was no systematic evidence for changes in savings, spending, business creation, time spent working or studying, or other broader indicators of socioeconomic development.

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This new report for Citizens Advice Scotland points to the monopoly nature of district heating schemes, depriving consumers of many of the protections usually available in gas and electricity markets. With district heating set to expand in Scotland, the report explores what consumer protections might be needed in future and the options available to secure them. 

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This new UKERC report argues that energy cooperation over the past decades has helped European countries to enhance their geopolitical security, respond to growing climate threats, and create a competitive pan-European energy market. Maintaining close cooperation in this field, and the UK’s integration in the European internal energy market (IEM), will be important for the UK and the EU27 post-Brexit.

This recent Green Alliance report looks at how small scale, low carbon energy technologies such as solar panels and electric cars are rapidly falling in cost as their popularity grows. The UK’s future energy market will not only consist of passive customers buying power from big and distant power stations. Instead it will increasingly be owned and operated by those who purchase these technologies.

Global trends in renewable energy

By Robert Lyons on 25th April 2017

A new report for UN Environment’s Economy Division finds that wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, small hydro and marine sources added 138.5 gigawatts to global power capacity in 2016, up eight per cent from the 127.5 gigawatts added the year before. The added generating capacity roughly equals that of the world's 16 largest existing power producing facilities combined. Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation.

What impact can hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have in addressing the energy trilemma: energy security, energy cost, and CO2 emissions?

The H2FC SUPERGEN commissioned four evidence-based White Papers to inform key stakeholders, especially policy makers, of the roles and potential benefits of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in addressing:

The costs and impacts of intermittency – 2016 update

By Robert Lyons on 27th February 2017

This report updates a previous UKERC study, published in 2006, which reviews the evidence on integrating variable renewable sources such as wind and solar into power systems. The new report argues that the key challenge facing policymakers, regulators and markets is delivering a flexible, low carbon system that makes best use of variable renewables whilst minimising overall cost and enhancing security and reliability.

A new report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy, commissioned by the Welsh Government in 2015, identifies which low income households are the most vulnerable from the detrimental effects of living in cold homes, and which are in the greatest need of a home energy efficiency intervention. The research also tested the potential reach and impact of a new energy efficiency scheme using a number of different annual budgets.

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