Energy production, distribution, consumption and related products and services can cause impact on the environment. Concerns that offshore wind turbines may disturb marine organisms or atmospheric pollution from power stations causing increases in greenhouse gas emissions are common examples.

The long-term effects of environmental degradation impacts on us all with effects such as poor air quality, reduction in food crop yields and acid rain. Industry is committed to the long term reduction of polluting emissions including its carbon footprint. This is supported by governments, NGOs and individuals around the globe but the solutions are complex.

We support these efforts by conducting research into areas such as the control of emissions to atmosphere, cleaner fuels and renewable energy sources such as biofuels. Our current areas of research for the reduction of environmental impacts include:

  • Land and soil – including the risk assessment and treatment of contaminated site.
  • Water – we are one of the largest research centres for water catchment, treatment and supply. Our work includes river restoration, irrigation, wastewater treatment and biogas recovery.
  • Air – such as carbon capture from emissions, reduction of greenhouse gases, and bio-aerosol and odour measurement, modelling and control.
  • Transport and industry – for example, precision engineering for reduced noise and vibration of machinery or supply chain and logistics sustainability.
  • Climate change impact – improving the response of plants, understanding geographical shifts and corporate sustainability.

Working with us

We work with clients on a varied range of projects, from short term consulting to long-term strategic studies. Environmental impacts are an important theme within our teaching which includes group and individual thesis projects and short courses across all sectors. We have several unique facilities at our disposal as well as the ability to work on full, pilot or bench scale facilities of our clients.

By responding to the needs of industry and helping to solve their challenges, we can provide both intellectual and financial value. We can work exclusively with a client through consultancy or joining forces as part of a consortium.

Typical services we are able to offer businesses include:

• Ecological assessments
• Soil measurement and monitoring
• GIS mapping and extensive analysis
• Land management and restoration
• Risk assessment
• Catchment modelling
• Emissions measurement and modelling.

Find out more about ways of working with us.

Facilities and resources

We operate unique engineering-scale facilities which support the development of efficient technologies with low CO2 emissions. Our test rigs for advanced fuel combustion are world-leading, enabling us to capture research data at near to industrial scale. We are well equipped to examine the practical implications of the various energy futures being considered to address climate change. Find out more about our unique carbon capture and storage facilities.

Our water science facilities are among the best in the world. Dedicated laboratories are complemented by our pilot-plant hall situated at our own sewage treatment works. Recent investments include an unparalleled environmental analytical facility for micropollutants and emerging contaminants in soil, waste, water and wastewater media. Significant waste management operations in the region are available to the University for pilot-scale projects.

We maintain all the published and unpublished paper soil reports and maps for England and Wales. Our datasets include:
• Vector and gridded vector versions of the 1:250,000 scale National Soil Map (NATMAP) including the simplified Soilscapes version.
The National Soil Inventory of data on soils and topsoil chemistry.

Clients and partners

We frequently work with a number of research and industrial clients including:

Research Councils, Government and associated companies
• Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
• Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
• Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
• Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
• Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
• Energy Technologies Institute (ETI)
• Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
• Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
• Technology Strategy Board (TSB)

Water NGOs
• Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
• British Water
• UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR)
• Water Aid.

Industry and service sectors
• Boeing
• Caterpillar
• E.ON
• Rolls Royce
• Shanks
• Siemens
• Viridor.

Water Companies
• Anglian Water
• Scottish Water
• Severn Trent Water
• United Utilities
• Veolia Water
• Yorkshire Water.