EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R002193/1
Title: Transforming Birmingham - a city system approach
Principal Investigator: Quinn, Dr AD
Other Investigators:
Bryson, Professor J Radcliffe, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr SE Lee
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 08 May 2017 Ends: 07 February 2018 Value (£): 58,793
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Mar 2017 Energy Systems Catapult Feasibility Studies Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Energy is a vital resource for everyday life. Without it, there would be no heating (or cooling), lighting or transport in the cities of the world. However, the world is rapidly changing with unprecedented rises in the global population (much of it in cities), innovative technological developments, a changing climate and an ever rising demand for natural resources. Such changes are putting increasing strain on the systems that provide the means for us to enjoy our modern lifestyle. At the same time, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise contributed to by the burning of fossil fuels.

The UK Government has set an ambitious target to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere from the UK by 80% from 1990 levels. Progress has been made towards achieving this target with increasing use of renewable energy, more efficient use of energy in general and a reduction in the number of coal-fired power stations. However, it is recognised that there is still a long way to go to actually achieve this target and that much greater effort is required in terms of changing UK society's energy use and reducing inefficiencies, particularly in the domestic sector.

Over the last ten years there has been a wide body of research undertaken on whole energy systems across many sectors (transport, built environment and engineering) investigating energy use and potential new technologies that will reduce the reliance on using fossil fuels. In addition, transition pathways to future energy scenarios have been presented. Despite this work, it has not had the desired impact on policy or investment decisions. This is due in part to technological, investment and governance path dependency. Many of these studies have looked at energy in isolation but it is becoming increasing recognised that interconnections between sectors are a vital component that must be incorporated into models. This will enable realistic interpretations of not only existing systems but also future unknown systems which may behave very differently. Another issue that needs consideration is the relevance of existing approaches to modelling compared to the real experiences of a city

It is evident that there is an urgent need to understand the interactions between different sectors in terms of energy supply and demand. It is recognised that this is a complex topic and that there are significant knowledge gaps in determining how societal, environmental and economic issues interact within the energy system. Economic models have been developed that highlight value appropriation related to financial inputs but there other ways of capturing value from energy systems that would reduce negative environmental

A key question that needs to be addressed is: What kind of modelling framework is needed to incorporate not only energy systems but also waste, air quality, legacy housing stock, new build and transport issues to inform policy makers as to the best way to decarbonise a city?

Our aim is to develop a user-friendly dynamic model framework based on systems engineering that will be a vital tool to inform not only city decision-makers together with utility companies, engineers, designers, waste companies but the UK Government to assess the impact of changes in the energy system. This will enable the best use to be made of a city's resources and that of its hinterland as well as ensuring that all citizens enjoy thermal comfort regardless of income, contributing to their health and well-being.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk