Northern universities to pioneer research into transport emissions

A new network of northern universities will work together to find innovative ways that cut UK transport emissions.

The DecarboN8 network’s main focus will be tackling emissions from cars, vans, buses, heavy goods vehicles and trains, but it will also examine emissions from the manufacture and maintenance of these vehicles.

The network includes researchers from Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York universities and is being backed by £1.25m Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding.

The project will also explore how different places could be quickly switched to electromobility for personal travel before 2050, and how different decarbonisation strategies needed for cars and heavy vehicles can interact with each other.

Professor Greg Marsden from the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, will lead the project.

He said: ‘The challenge of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 as outlined in the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change represents a huge technological, engineering, policy and societal challenge for the next 30 years.

Photo Credit – The University of Leeds

‘A key element of the work of DecarboN8 will be to demonstrate how “place” is important to researching the decarbonisation challenge. This will open up a new branch of decarbonisation science across the transport and energy sector that will be of real significance to other regions in the UK and globally.

‘A focus on place is also essential to consider the connection to local energy resources that may play a part in emission reduction, for example the availability of clean hydrogen which could power trains or ambulances.’

The project will also include research into societal acceptance towards EVs, with many consumers still sceptical over the technology for a variety of reasons.

Monika Büscher, director of the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University, is leading this area of the research.

She said: ‘Decarbonising transport is not just a matter of building the right technologies, or even of defining the right policies. Social acceptability or the capacity of ordinary people to translate innovation into their everyday life is critical.’