Many events related to energy take place across the University of Oxford every term. For the excellent events organised by Oxford student see also Oxford Energy Society.

Upcoming Events

9 September 2019 12:00 am
Achieving Net Zero International Conference 9-11 September 2019

This two-day conference spread over three days (half-day/full day/half-day) starting after lunch on Monday 9th September and concluding before lunch on Wednesday 11th September. The conference programme is inspired by the format of the Talanoa Dialogue. ​ Plenary sessions to be held in the Holywell Music Room. Parallel sessions to be held in Holywell Music Room and Oxford Martin School Lecture Theatre. Each session will be split into two parts: the first part will include 4 or 5 short talks (10 minutes each) to provide a launch point for the second part – a moderated discussion between the participants, aiming for a balance between researchers, policymakers and practitioners. ​ The outputs of the conference will include a series of targeted briefing documents (one from each session). These documents will summarise the issue being addressed in the session and the key outcomes of the discussion in terms of future research gaps and policy recommendations. A proposal is to be submitted for a Special Issue based on the conference’s outputs.
Wadham Collage, University of Oxford

1 October 2019 8:45 am
8th Oxford Energy Day

Register here

The 8th Oxford Energy day 2019 will focus on the key issue of ‘Energy Storage’. It is a topic that is high on the energy agenda for researchers, industry and policymakers. The conference will address the technical, economic, social and policy issues associated with ensuring adequate storage for a decarbonised energy system. Different sessions will address “The role of storage in future systems? “Battery technology and short term storage” and “Long term storage options”. Our confirmed speakers include Prof Peter Bruce (Faraday Institution), Prof Chris Llewellyn Smith (University of Oxford), Claire Spedding (National Grid), Prof Jihong Wang (University of Warwick), Dr Rebecca Ford (EnergyRev), Prof Bill David (STFC) and Prof Yulong Ding (University of Birmingham). The conference will set out recent experience from research and trials on different technology options and the social and policy questions involved in large-scale deployment. We invite researchers to opt-in to participate in the conference poster session at lunchtime on the day. There is a prize for the most innovative one.  There will be a new breakfast session focussing this year on ‘Women in Energy’ before the main conference starts at 10.15am. The day will finish with a reception from 5-7pm. Energy Sector external delegates are invited to contribute a fee of £300 (organisation/consultancy) or £30 (individual/NGO).
Natural History Museum Oxford

Past Events

18 June 2019
Empowering the great energy transition while fossil fuels are still abundant: The U.S. challenge

Anyone who believes bumper sticker solutions can reconcile today’s global energy and environmental challenges should be humbled after hearing this talk. Based on her forthcoming book with Scott Valentine and Benjamin Sovacool, Dr. Brown will offer a sobering analysis of the complicated challenges, tradeoffs, and opportunities involved in transitioning globally to a renewable energy future. The U.S., in particular, is finding it difficult to reset its energy system, at a time when fossil fuels are so abundant and cheap. The good news is that renewable technologies are more affordable than ever, and radical solutions for improving energy efficiency are becoming cost-competitive. Cities, companies and citizens across the globe are strengthening their commitment to sustainable practices and addressing climate change. Hotter summers, rising sea levels, forest fires, and climate extremes are beginning to persuade the most recalcitrant voyeurs that something is amiss. But there are forces that resist change. New policies and new business models are needed to mobilize and accelerate the transition to clean energy options. At the same time, we must keep issues of energy and climate justice front and center, particularly when public resources are being deployed. As you will hear, Empowering the Great Energy Transition takes up these themes and more.     Speaker:  Dr. Marilyn A. Brown is the Regents’ and Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she created and leads the Climate and Energy Policy Lab. Prior to Georgia Tech, she worked for 22 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where was the Director of the Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Electric Grid program.  While at Oak Ridge, she conducted several national climate change mitigation studies, and became a leader in the analysis and interpretation of energy futures in the U.S.  Her research focuses on the design and modeling of energy and climate policies, with an emphasis on the electric utility industry.  Prior to ORNL, she was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. From 2010 through 2017, Dr. Brown served two terms as an appointee of President Barack Obama to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority. In that capacity, she helped put the largest public power provider in the U.S. on track to reduce its CO2 emissions in 2020 to 60% below 2005 and developed the concept of an “energy efficiency power plant”.  She has authored more than 250 publications and six books including Empowering the Great Energy Transition (Columbia University Press, 2019).  Among her honors and awards, she is a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for co-authorship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on Mitigation of Climate Change.  She has served on eight committees of the U.S. National Academies and just completed her second term as a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

11 June 2019
Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO)

Summary:  Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) is one of four smart energy systems demonstrator projects recently funded by InnovateUK. These demonstrators will show how businesses can develop local energy approaches at scale that will create better outcomes for consumers and promote economic growth for the UK. By the early 2020s, the demonstrator programme aims to prove that smarter local energy systems can deliver cleaner and cheaper energy services. The ESO project aim is to research and demonstrate scalable solutions for electric vehicle charging, battery storage and provision of electrically-supplied heat. Novel battery storage technologies and control systems will be demonstrated. Vehicle charging will be offered to a range of local electric fleets including buses, taxis and waste collection vehicles. Around 300 homes will be heated using ground source heat pumps. Amongst its innovations, ESO will apply machine learning approaches and use direct connection to the electricity transmission system. It should deliver economic benefits for the local area, and demonstrate the potential of these technologies and businesses models for many other areas of the UK. The ESO project consortium consists of Pivot Power LLP, Habitat Energy Limited, Kensa, Oxford City Council, RedT Energy, and Oxford University (Engineering Science and ECI).   Speaker: David Howey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, where he leads a research group focused on modelling, diagnostics and control of electrochemical energy devices and systems, with a particular focus on batteries. He has active current research on degradation, thermal and electrochemical modelling, data driven health prediction, parameter estimation, and control of grid energy storage, sponsored by EPSRC, the Faraday Institution, InnovateUK and companies including Siemens and Continental AG. He is an IEEE Senior Member, ECS Member, and editor of IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. Website  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

28 May 2019
Are UK attachments to nuclear power at least partly a military romance?

Major long-run global energy trends are raising serious questions about the persistent intensity of UK Government attachments to civil nuclear power. In particular, queries emerge in the UK as elsewhere about the role of military nuclear interests. With hitherto undeclared dependencies between civil and military nuclear programmes increasingly openly discussed elsewhere, defence policy documents in the UK offer crucial substantive evidence. In short, it is evident that capabilities to build and operate nuclear propelled submarines depend to a large extent on the ability of nuclear skills infrastructures and supply chains that are largely funded by second and third tier civil nuclear contracts. Figures from the National Audit Office suggest the magnitude of the associated effective subsidy from UK electricity consumers to military nuclear interests amounts in respect of only one of six currently proposed civil nuclear projects, to many tens of billions of pounds – or around 6% of average electricity bills. Resulting issues are attended to abroad, but remain virtually entirely undiscussed either in UK energy policy or wider national media debates. The issues that are raised therefore transcend energy and military policy, to raise further grave questions about health of British democracy. Speakers:   Andy Stirling is a professor in SPRU and co-directs the STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex. With a background in astrophysics, archaeology and social anthropology he is a transdisciplinary researcher on the politics of science and technology. A fellow of the UK Academy of Social Science, he’s served on several UK and EU policy advisory committees and the International Panel on Social Progress.   Phil Johnstone is a Research Fellow at the Science Policy Research unit (SPRU). Phil completed his PhD in Geography at Exeter. He is a member of the Sussex Energy Group (SEG) and has been involved in research on a number of topics including nuclear power policy, disruptive innovation in the energy sector, green industrial policy, and the role of war and the military in sociotechnical change., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

21 May 2019
Energy sufficiency: living well, within the limits.

This talk presents conceptual work about ‘energy sufficiency’, carried out with Sarah Darby (Environmental Change Institute). It forms part of a wider European-level exploration of what energy sufficiency means, how it is distinct from energy efficiency, and how it might be implemented within policy. We develop a definition of ‘energy service sufficiency’, and consider how this relates to the sustainable development goals and planetary limits.  Ideas of sufficiency (probably) require making a distinction between needs and wants. Theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence on the different between these are presented. Finally, thoughts how this concept could be developed into practical policies are explored. Speaker:    Tina Fawcett is a Senior Researcher and Acting Deputy Leader of the energy research team at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.  Tina is leading the ‘policy and governance’ theme in the Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions. The theme will generate knowledge and develop new approaches for further, faster and more flexible delivery of energy demand reduction., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

14 May 2019
Catalytic Activation of Carbon Dioxide to make Polymers and Fuels

This talk will provide an overview of research in the Williams group into new catalyst development both for synthesis of polymers and for fuels, such as methanol. CO2 is a famously recalcitrant molecule and very difficult to efficiently transform into useful materials. The opportunity is to discover how to use CO2 as a raw material both to make chemicals, thereby reducing pollution associated with conventional petrochemical routes, and to use it as an energy vector. This lecture will provide a general introduction to these two topic and will provide detail on the context, chemistry, life cycle analysis, energy opportunities and potential for integration with other industries. It will also seek to inform on the product application areas for the polymers. The talk will describe a series of new homogeneous catalysts for the polymerization of carbon dioxide and epoxides which operate in the low pressure regime: at 1 bar CO2 pressure.  In particular, it will emphasise the importance of polymerization kinetics and structure-activity studies in developing more active catalysts.  The lecture will highlight the development and industrial application of polycarbonates and polyols prepared from carbon dioxide. In the second part, research into new nanoparticle catalysts comprising ZnO and Cu for the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol will be described.  It will describe the potential to exploit organometallic reagents and intermediates to prepare ultra-small colloidal nanoparticles, as well as new well-defined metal-hydroxyl clusters and 2-D layered materials. The opportunity to couple CO2 recycling with energy storage in the form of methanol will be discussed and areas for future research identified. Charlotte Williams is a professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford University (2016-present). Her research interests are in polymerization catalysis, polymer chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis. She investigates how use renewable resources to make polymers, with a particular emphasis on polyesters and polycarbonates.  Her work includes catalysts enabling carbon dioxide copolymerization, lactone ring-opening polymerization and selective catalysis from monomer mixtures (switch catalysis). In 2011, Charlotte founded econic technologies which is commercializing catalysts to transform CO2 into products (  From 2003-2016, she was on the faculty at Imperial College London and during that time served as the head of the materials chemistry research section.  Earlier in her career, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge University (2002-2003), working with Andrew Holmes and Richard Friend (Organometallic polymers for electronics), and at the University of Minnesota (2001-2002) working with Bill Tolman and Marc Hillmyer (zinc catalysts for lactide polymerization). She obtained her BSc and PhD from Imperial College London, working with Vernon Gibson and Nick Long on ethene polymerization catalysis.  Charlotte’s work has been recognised by recent prizes from DECHEMA (Otto Roelen Medal, 2018), The UK Catalysis Hub (Sir John Meurig Thomas Medal, 2017) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (Corday Morgan Medal, 2016).  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

7 May 2019
Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire)

This project is led by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks along with EDF Energy, Nuuve, Open Utility, Origami Energy, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, The Low Carbon Hub C.I.C. and the University of Oxford Project LEO will show how the very latest in energy innovation can be put together to provide cheaper, cleaner energy for users. LEO will take a Distribution System Operator (DSO) approach to implementing new energy projects across Oxfordshire, facilitating future forecasting and planning.  The approach will be to create a local energy marketplace which will enable virtual aggregation of electricity loads, their flexible dispatch and local peer-to-peer trading. A data interface with the DSO will enable better active network management and visibility/forecasting of local constraints.  Overall, the project takes a very community centric approach. It has a large portfolio (~90) of low carbon energy projects, which will be used to demonstrate feasibility and provide learning. Priority projects will include a community hydro project, an EV transport hub and heat network proposals. The university project lead is Professor Malcolm McCulloch in the Energy and Power Group, Dept of Engineering. Booking is recommended for this event., at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

30 April 2019
Opportunity in crisis: Ten surprising ways to use CO2 to produce valuable products at the gigatonne scale

Ambitious climate goals require large-scale CO2 emissions reductions and removal from the atmosphere. Utilising CO2 to produce economically valuable products might reduce the net costs of emission reductions and removals. This talk assesses the potential scale and cost of ten different utilisation pathways. We will consider pathways using CO2 in construction, chemicals and fuels, which have significant potential to reduce CO2 emissions, and limited potential for net CO2 removals from atmosphere. We will also review pathways that enhance CO2 uptake on land, increasing agricultural output and removing CO2 at scale over the medium-term.  All pathways considered could scale to over 0.5 Gt CO2 utilisation annually. Cameron Hepburn is Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.  He also serves as the Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. Cameron has published widely on energy, resources and environmental challenges across disciplines including engineering, biology, philosophy, economics, public policy and law, drawing on degrees in law and engineering (Melbourne University) and masters and doctorate in economics (Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar).  He has co-founded three successful businesses and provides advice on energy and environmental policy to government ministers (e.g. China, India, UK and Australia) and international institutions (e.g. OECD, UN). Booking is recommended for this talk., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

24 April 2019
UKERC Annual Research Conference 2019: Local Energy Systems in National and International Contexts

    The role of localised generation and supply of energy is attracting considerable interest both in the UK and internationally. Local energy systems are a key focus in the UK’s Industrial Strategy and the Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme. They are considered to facilitate faster decarbonisation than large scale systems, while providing welfare and economic benefits alongside industrial renewal.  Localised systems have also been highlighted by the devolved administrations and local authorities as providing services that are well-adapted to widely varying local conditions and priorities. This inter-disciplinary conference will bring together researchers, practitioners and policy-makers on local energy systems, to consider how best to exploit low carbon sources of energy, and manage or reduce energy demand. More information Abstract submissions Registration  , at St Anne's College

19 March 2019
TERRITORIES workshop 2019 | Workshop #4 Assessing risks from radioactive legacy sites

Workshop #4 | Workshop on assessing risks from radioactive legacy sites and how to better present uncertain information. The objective of the workshop is to discuss the risk assessment process as applied to radioactively contaminated legacy sites and how to better present the assessment findings and associated uncertainties to stakeholders.  The workshop will show how the risk assessment process has been applied to a real site in the UK. The workshop discussions and presentations are intended to be of interest to students (final year, MsC, PhD) and those in early career stage in the field of radiological protection and nuclear sciences, particularly radioecology and environmental impact assessment, and therefore their participation is encouraged. Register your interest in this corthcoming event View the agenda here Apply for Oxford workshop travel scholarship, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

5 March 2019
How Environmentally Sustainable is Oxford University?

From where does Oxford University source its electricity? How is it reducing its carbon emissions? What are its building standards? When will it become carbon neutral? What are its transport plans? All these questions and more will be covered by the University's Head of Environmental Sustainability, Harriet Waters. Speaker:  Harriet Waters is Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oxford, a position she has held for the past 6 years. Prior to that she was Sustainability Manager at Oxford Brookes University for ten years so environmental sustainability in Oxford has occupied much of her career over the last decade or so. At the University of Oxford, Harriet manages the team that support the University’s environmental sustainability policy. The teams’ main areas of work include carbon reduction, building more sustainably, transport, environmental legislation compliance, waste management and biodiversity. She is a cyclist, local food fan and reuse app collector.  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

26 February 2019
What’s happening in PV?

The global photovoltaics industry is the biggest it has ever been. In many parts of the world, solar power is already more competitive than fossil fuels. Aggressive forecasts predict the industry will double in the next three years and again the following three years. By 2024, installed capacity could have reached 400 GW. This talk will look at the current developments in the photovoltaics industry, covering the opportunities and challenges as the industry strives to reach the 1 TW mark. With a specific focus on the opportunity of perovskite photovoltaics to improve the economics of mainstream solar.   Speaker: Dr Chris Case, Chief Technology Officer, joined Oxford PV in April 2014.   Chris brings a strong track record of senior technology management to the business. Since 2009, he has been running his own consultancy providing high level strategic technology commercialisation advice to global companies and small companies alike, including Voltaix Llc; recently acquired by Air Liquide, and Surrey NanoSystems. Prior to this, he spent ten years with BOC Edwards and The BOC Group, latterly part of the Linde Group where he was Chief Technology/Scientific Officer, responsible for driving global technology strategy and R&D for the €8 billion business.  He began his career as Assistant Professor of Engineering at Brown University followed by 10 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He was a Fulbright-Hays scholar at the Université de Bordeaux, and holds a ScM in engineering and a PhD in materials science from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

12 February 2019
Is it really the end of internal combustion engines and petroleum in transport?

Transport is almost entirely (99.9%) powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) burning petroleum-derived liquid fuels (95%) and the global demand for transport energy is large and is increasing. The alternatives to ICEs and conventional fuels start from a very low base and face significant environmental and other barriers to fast and unrestrained growth. For instance, there is speculation that transport could be rapidly and fully electrified.  However commercial transport, which accounts for over 50% of transport energy use, is very difficult or impossible to electrify. To replace even all light duty vehicles (LDVs) by battery electric vehicles (BEVs) requires the numbers of BEVs to increase by perhaps a thousand-fold on a global scale. The greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of BEVs would be worse than that of conventional vehicles if electricity generation and the energy used for battery production are not sufficiently decarbonized. If coal continues to be a part of the energy mix, as it will in China and India, and if power generation is near urban centres, even local air quality in terms of particulates, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide would get worse. The human toxicity impacts associated with battery production are large and cannot be ignored as they currently are. If governments wish to force a change to BEVs, very large investments in charging infrastructure and electricity generation will be needed. There will be additional costs in the short term associated with various subsidies required to promote such a change and in the longer term, the loss of revenue from fuel taxes which contribute significantly to public finances in most countries.  Internal combustion engines will continue to power transport, particularly commercial transport, to a very large degree for decades to come and will continue to improve. There will also be a role for low-carbon and other alternative fuels where they make sense. However, such alternatives also start from a low base and face constraints on rapid and unlimited growth so that they are not expected to make up much more than 10% of the total transport energy demand by 2040. In the longer term, as GHG-free electricity generation is greatly expanded and battery technology improves there will be an increasing role for BEVs and the required charging and recycling infrastructure will evolve. Meanwhile, there will certainly be increasing electrification, particularly of LDVs in the form of hybridization to improve ICEs.   Speaker: Gautam Kalghatgi is currently a Visiting Professor at Oxford University (Engineering Science) and also at Imperial College London (Mechanical Engineering) and in the past, at KTH Stockholm, TU Eindhoven and Sheffield University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), I.Mech.E. and the Combustion Institute and an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Energy Environment and Sustainability.  He worked for 31 years at Shell Research followed by 8 years in Saudi Aramco before retiring in June 2018.  He has published extensively, including a book - “Fuel/Engine Interactions” - on combustion, fuels, transport energy and engine research.  He has a B.Tech. from I.I.T. Bombay (1972) and a Ph.D. from Bristol University (1975) in Aeronautical Engineering and did post-doctoral research on turbulent combustion at Southampton University (1975-1979) before joining Shell., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

5 February 2019
Cumulative emissions of carbon – a path to halting climate change?

Since the late 2000s, science has established that global warming is largely defined by the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere. This concept not only implies that halting warming to any level implies that global carbon dioxide emissions have to be reduced to net zero, it also allows to estimate carbon budgets that would be compatible with limiting warming to either 1.5°C or 2°C. Once established, the carbon budget concept and its implications were rapidly taken up in policy discussions. This talk will explore and discuss the latest developments in estimation the remaining carbon budget as well as its usefulness for guiding policy and climate change mitigation action. This event will take place at the Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BD.  Registration is required for this event.    Please register for this event here.   It will be broadcast live, and you do not need to register to watch online.   Speaker:  Joeri Rogelj was an Oxford Martin School Visiting Fellow with the Oxford Martin Zero Carbon Investment Initiative and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Post-Carbon Transition. He is a Lecturer in Climate Change and the Environment at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. His research aims at actively informing the international climate policy debate through dedicated interdisciplinary research and analysis, and focusses on the scientific assessment of international climate agreements, the identification and response to major gaps in knowledge for effective climate policy, and the development of new concepts bridging the divide between social and physical sciences. Over the past decade, Joeri has contributed to and led several major scientific climate change assessments informing the international climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. He is a long-serving lead author on the Emissions Gap Reports; these are annual policy synthesis reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He contributed to the physical science and climate change mitigation assessment of Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is a Coordinating Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming, and a Lead Author on carbon budgets for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment. He also continues to follow the UNFCCC climate negotiations as a scientific advisor. He has published on the potential effectiveness of international climate agreements including the Copenhagen Accord and the Paris Agreement, carbon budgets, implications of delaying climate mitigation action, the mitigation potential of short-lived climate forcers, global zero emission targets, the interaction between climate and sustainable development, the appropriateness of global temperature targets like 2°C, and emission pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C and 2°C., at Oxford Martin School

29 January 2019
Update on development of the new Offshore Renewable Energy Supergen programme (re-schedule from 16 October 2018)

The presentation will introduce the development of the new Offshore Renewable Energy Supergen hub and describe the process and results of the engagement and consultation work carried out to design the new programme, together with an update on the status of the new Supergen hub.   Speaker:  Deborah Greaves is Head of the School of Engineering, Professor of Ocean Engineering and Director of the COAST (Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport) Laboratory at the University of Plymouth. Her research interests include marine renewable energy (MRE), physical and numerical modelling of violent free surface flow and wave-structure interaction.  She is and has been involved with a number of national and international research projects concerning MRE in collaboration with industrial and academic partners and is the new Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Supergen Leader (2017), directing the UK research programme in ORE.   She has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers and has secured £9.3 million research income., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

22 January 2019
Building Capacity in Energy Systems, the new interdisciplinary MSc for 2019/20

The transition of worldwide energy systems to cleaner sources, and at the same time, providing energy to over 1.3 billion people currently without access to electricity, whilst simultaneously maintaining the quality of supply for those already with access, is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.  A necessary requirement on solving this challenge is to equip future generations with the best possible appreciation of the complexity involved in developing these new energy systems and, an important step towards ensuring that industry and government policy can effectively address these challenges. The fundamental transformation of energy systems required calls for a new kind of domain expertise, systems thinkers, who combine excellence with interdisciplinary breadth. These people will need to be able to recognise the multi-dimensional nature of the problem across technical, social and economic areas. The newly approved Masters in Energy Systems, due to start in October 2019, builds on contributions by the world leading Oxford Energy network to include the host department, Engineering Science as well as Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry and the School of Geography and the Environment. Successful graduates from the course will be highly sought after individuals, the first academically trained systems thinkers in energy. Tuition will include knowledge from cutting edge research teams from across Oxford University departments and beyond. We will ensure students are also able to connect to a broad range of non-academic stakeholders in the public sector and industry for relevant components of the course. As well as creating graduates who think differently about these complex problems we are also aiming to recruit the student cohort as broadly as possible. Part of this strategy is to encourage and broaden participation in the course by supporting study as either full time or part-time attendance.   Speaker: Professor David Wallom is an Associate Professor in the Oxford e-Research Centre, Department of Engineering Science, where he leads the Energy and Environmental Informatics Research Group.  Alongside work on climate change and its impact the group works on the digitization of the energy system in a number of different areas including, smartening the distribution system through making computational and data services available as a service to the systems operator and connecting consumption with drives of usage at the domestic and non-domestic levels. He will be the founding course director for the MSc., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

18 January 2019
Accelerating energy and low-carbon transitions

Transitioning away from our current global energy system is of paramount importance. The speed at which a transition can take place—its timing, or temporal dynamics—is a critical element of consideration. This presentation therefore investigates the issue of time in global and national energy transitions by asking: What does the mainstream academic literature suggest about the time scale of energy transitions? Additionally, what does some of the more recent empirical data related to transitions say, or challenge, about conventional views? In answering these questions, the article presents a “mainstream” view of energy transitions as long, protracted affairs, often taking decades to centuries to occur. However, the article then offers some empirical evidence that the predominant view of timing may not always be supported by the evidence, and that accelerated transitions are possible under the right circumstances.       Speaker:  Benjamin K. Sovacool is Professor of Energy Policy at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the School of Business, Management, and Economics, part of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.  There he serves as Director of the Sussex Energy Group and Director of the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand which involves the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester. Professor Sovacool works as a researcher and consultant on issues pertaining to energy policy, energy security, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation.  More specifically, his research focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, the politics of large-scale energy infrastructure, designing public policy to improve energy security and access to electricity, and building adaptive capacity to the consequences of climate change.  He is a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), due to be published in 2022, and an Advisor on Energy to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation in Brussels, Belgium. He has played a leadership role in winning and managing collaborative research grants worth more than $19.6 million, including those from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program of Denmark, the Danish Council for Independent Research, and the European Commission.  In the United Kingdom, he has served as a Principal Investigator on projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, National Environment Research Council, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  With much coverage of his work in the international news media, he is one of the most highly cited global researchers on issues bearing on controversies in energy and climate policy., at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

29 November 2018
Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS): vital for 1.5C, but does it work?

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Room 3, Thom Building, Department of Engineering Science, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PJ Abstract: Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) features prominently in scenarios that deliver the 1.5C target agreed in Paris during the 2015 COP. However, it remains a technology dogged by social, political, and scientific controversy. For some, it is a panacea which permits the reversal of the effects on the climate of fossil fuel combustion. For others, it is reckless gamble, endorsed by those who want to “have their cake and eat it”, potentially breaching planetary boundaries in many directions. During this talk, we will explore some of these concepts from a UK perspective, aiming to understand the conditions under which BECCS can provide sustainable, material and timely removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Recognising that BECCS also has the potential to act as a power generation technology, we also explore the way in which BECCS may operate in a liberalised electricity market, and gain some insight into the various services it may provide, at what cost, and how those services might be rewarded. Bio: Dr Niall Mac Dowell is a Reader in Energy Systems at Imperial College London, where he currently leads the Clean Fossil and Bioenergy Research Group. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is on the Executive Board of the IChemE’s Energy Centre, a member of the Technical Working Group of the CCSA and the ZEP on industrial decarbonisation and a member of the UKCCSRC.   Speaker: Dr Niall Mac Dowell is a Reader in Energy Systems at Imperial College London, where he currently leads the Clean Fossil and Bioenergy Research Group. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is on the Executive Board of the IChemE’s Energy Centre, a member of the Technical Working Group of the CCSA and the ZEP on industrial decarbonisation and a member of the UKCCSRC., at Thom Building Dept Eng Science

20 November 2018
Oxford Energy Society | Solar-chemical manufacturing

Chemical manufacturing is responsible for 26% of the world energy demand. The need to decouple industrial processes from fossil energy sources is growing more and more urgent in the struggle to mitigate climate change whilst meeting increased global energy demand. The industry requires large amounts of heat derived from fossil sources to drive thermochemical processes. Emerging electrochemical processes which require electricity rather than heat, have continued to gain traction as an avenue towards the integration of renewable energy sources in the chemical industry. Electrochemical processes directly interconvert clean electricity, from solar or wind, into chemical energy and high-value products. This presentation will discuss opportunities in clean chemical manufacturing through the design of electrochemical reactors fuelled by solar energy. Solar-chemical processes for the production of clean fuels and textiles will also be discussed, as well as their potential disruptive impact in markets ranging from transportation to fashion. There will be a Q&A after the talk which should be around 40 minutes. The room will be free to use for networking and further discussion until 7pm, over Pizza provided by the society. This talk will be given by Miguel A. Modestino, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, New York University who heads the start-up Sunthetics, which is currently working to commercialise his lab groups technologies. As usual talks are free for members and £2 otherwise (but we promise this a good deal for your pizza/knowledge intake), at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

20 November 2018
Could renewables completely replace fossil fuels?

Shell’s latest Scenario, called Sky, meets the objectives of the Paris agreement whilst also providing access to energy to the billions of people on the planet who do not currently have it.  The route forward for energy is heavily dependent on renewables. The Sky Scenario illustrates this technologically, industrially and economically and also sees an ongoing role for fossil fuels, even in a net zero world. This talk will outline the thinking behind the Sky Scenario, the role envisaged for both renewables and fossil fuels in the energy transition, and how scenarios thinking feeds into Shell’s strategy and business plans. Speaker:  Jo Coleman has worked in Shell for over 20 years in roles spanning engineering design and construction, oil and gas field development, national energy planning, economics and business development. In 2011 Jo joined the Energy Technologies Institute, a public-private partnership tasked with accelerating technology development and demonstration in support of the UK’s energy transition.   Jo was subsequently appointed Strategy Director and led the ETI’s team of modellers and sector experts exploring UK energy transition pathways and the opportunities and challenges in delivering them.  Jo returned to Shell in February 2018 as UK Energy Transition Manager.   Jo was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list and is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

6 November 2018
Electricity demand management in a cool climate – a little theory and quite a lot of practice

As we move from demand-led to supply-led electricity systems, the need to match demand to available supply in real time becomes more significant. There is a plethora of research setting out the desirability of ‘active demand’ and modelling potential outcomes and there are also many possible ways of achieving it, with different combinations of technology, pricing and human effort. But we do not yet have much empirical evidence of how demand response works in smart grid applications. Through findings from a recent large-scale demonstration of smart residential electric thermal storage in three European countries, we look at the people, hardware and software that were needed to produce fully-flexible demand in in real-life conditions. We also see what aspects of the project led to a good customer experience, something that will be necessary if householders are to be persuaded to take part in demand response. The project produced plenty of interesting material on putting demand response into practice, a few surprises and some useful lessons for future attempts at achieving demand response.   Speaker:  Sarah Darby is acting leader of the Energy Programme at the Environmental Change Institute. She holds a BSc in Ecological Science from Edinburgh and, later in life, a DPhil from Oxford (Awareness, action and feedback in domestic energy use) that evaluated householders’ and advisers’ experiences of energy advice programmes. She contributed to evaluations of the trial and early rollout of smart metering in Great Britain; at present she is mostly working on assessment of the social dimensions of smart grids, seeing them as interactions between human activity, hardware, rules, formal knowledge, and practical know-how.  , at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

30 October 2018
Understanding fossil fuel consumption growth: why history matters

This talk proposes ways of studying fossil fuel consumption through the lens of global history. Study of technological systems, the social and economic systems in which they are embedded, and the interactions between these, can yield insights. These types of history may help us to understand, first, the context for the political history of the international climate negotiations, and, second, the negotiations’ disastrous failure to achieve their central aim, i.e. to reverse fossil fuel consumption growth. The paper will also reflect on the political significance of different methods of quantitative research of fuel consumption. It will point to important turning-points in consumption growth since the mid 20th century, and consider what light these shed on the transition away from fossil fuels.     Speaker:  Simon Pirani is author of Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto, August 2018). He is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where he has worked on the natural gas research programme since 2007, writing papers and articles, and editing books, on natural gas markets in former Soviet countries. His previous books as a historian include The Russian Revolution in Retreat (Routledge, 2008) and Change in Putin’s Russia (Pluto 2010).  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

23 October 2018
Energy and happiness

Does high consumption make us happier? As much as we like it not to be true, electricity consumption correlates positively with enjoyment. This is a problem for all who wish we used less. This week we will explore how *valuable* energy is to people, rather than just how costly it is. High resolution data from hundreds of UK households can shine a light on the diversity of electricity uses, the activity patterns underlying them and the enjoyment perceived at the time. Important stuff if demand side response is to deliver on its promise. If using more makes us happier, what happens when we intervene to reduce demand? Find out - there is a happy twist. Speaker: Phil Grunewald used to be a 'proper engineer' developing laser processing tools for the manufacture of thin film photovoltaic panels. Prior to this he was part of a small team developing the world's first commercial Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) micro stepper for Intel (these tools are early prototypes for future production tools as required to meet the ambitious roadmaps in the semiconductor industry). However, since becoming involved with energy research, Phil had to realise that technical innovation is only a small part of the picture. During his MSc at Imperial College he adopted techno-economic modelling to explore future commercial drivers for disruptive new technologies, such as solar hydrogen. In his PhD he broadened this approach further, to include stakeholder perceptions and transition theory. This helped to expose some of the challenges we face in introducing new concepts to markets and institutions which have evolved over many decades around established technologies of electricity generation and delivery. The example in his thesis was electricity storage. Very similar issues arise for demand response, which he is exploring now. Phil's complete lack of disciplinarity is supported by his degree in Business-Engineering from Wedel (Germany), an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College and an interdisciplinary scholarship for his PhD from the UK Energy Research Centre.    , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

10 October 2018
Energy and Carbon in the Anthropocene

Abstract Changes to energy use are critical to addressing threats to planetary boundaries, especially climate change. Recent cost changes make a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy the most plausible solution. Their deployment requires a paradigm shift in energy markets and policy, with public policy support at scales from local to global     Speaker:  Nick Eyre is Professor of Energy and Climate Policy at the University of Oxford and    Director of Energy Research for the University. Since April 2018, he has been Director of the major UK Research and Innovation research centre - CREDS, Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Nick was formerly the leader of the Lower Carbon Futures Programme of energy research in the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), leading its research theme on decision-making. He was a lead author of the ‘Buildings’ Chapter of the Mitigation Report of 5th Assessment of the IPCC. He is a member of Ofgem’s Sustainable Development Advisory Group and a Fellow of the Energy Institute. Previously he worked at the Energy Saving Trust as Director of Strategy and was a co-author of the UK Government's 2002 Review of Energy Policy., at H O Beckit Room, School of Geography & the Environment

3 August 2018
Future Energy Solutions – RAL talks – Engineering Special

3 talks from STFC Engineers. Bill David, ISIS, Ammonia - the quintessetial non-carbon hydrocarbon Geoff Gilley, Technology - Power where the sun doesn't shine Tristan Davenne, Technology - Pumped termal energy storage, at CR12/12, R68

19 June 2018
Speaker Dave Rapson: Estimating Demand for Electric Vehicles in Low- and Middle-income Households (Joint OxCarre Seminar Series/INET))

Abstract to follow, at Seminar Room A, Department of Economics

5 June 2018
Speaker Catherine Mitchell: Innovation and Governance of the GB Energy System: implications of decentralisation, decarbonisation, digitalisation and flexibility needs.

Momentum within the current energy system is towards decentralisation, decarbonisation and digitalisation (D3) and this requires a more flexible system operation. Together this is having an impact on market design, network regulation, regulatory mechanisms (ie a move to more performance based outcomes), business models, retail offerings and customer propositions. Whereas in the conventional energy system the links between, for example, market design and network regulation were fairly minimal, there is now an increasing integration between all these rules and values – leading to business plans based on stacked revenues rather than one basic source of revenue. This has implications across the board for innovation and this presentation will discuss this topic.

  About the speaker:  Catherine Mitchell is Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Exeter. Previous to that, she worked at the Universities of Warwick, Sussex and California, Berkeley. Catherine currently holds an Established Career Fellowship with the EPSRC on Innovation and Governance, at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

29 May 2018
Speaker Jonathan Stern: European and Global Challenges to the Future of Gas: unburnable or unaffordable?

Modelling studies suggest that COP21 targets can be met with global gas demand peaking in the 2030s and declining slowly thereafter. This would qualify gas to be considered a `transition fuel’ to a low carbon economy. However, such an outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion, particularly in Europe where decline may be more rapid post-2030. There are limited numbers of countries outside the OECD which can be expected to afford to pay wholesale (or import) prices of $6-8/MMbtu and above, which are needed to remunerate 2017 delivery costs of large volumes of gas from new pipeline gas or LNG projects. Prices towards the top of (and certainly above) this range are likely to make gas increasingly uncompetitive leading to progressive demand destruction even in OECD countries. The current debate in the gas community is when the `glut’ of LNG will dissipate, and the global supply/demand balance will tighten. The unspoken assumption is that when this happens – generally believed to be around the early/mid 2020s - prices will rise somewhere close to 2011-14 levels, allowing a return to profitability for projects which came on stream since the mid-2010s and allowing new projects to move forward. Should this assumption prove be correct, it will create major problems for the future of gas. The key to gas fulfilling its potential role as a transition fuel up to and beyond 2030, is that it must be delivered to high income markets below $8/MMbtu, and to low income markets below $6/MMbtu (and ideally closer to $5/MMbtu). The major challenge to the future of gas will be to ensure that it does not become (and in many low-income countries remain) unaffordable and/or uncompetitive, long before its emissions make it unburnable.       About the speaker:   Jonathan Stern founded the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) Natural Gas Research Programme in 2003 and was its Director until October 2011 when he became its Chairman and a Senior Research Fellow, he became a Distinguished Fellow in October 2016. He is honorary professor at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum & Mineral Law & Policy, University of Dundee; visiting professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London; fellow of the Energy Delta Institute and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (in Tokyo). He is the author and editor of several books, including: The Pricing of Internationally Traded Gas (OUP, 2012). He is author of two chapters in: eds. Anne-Sophie Corbeau and David Ledesma, LNG Markets in Transition: the Great Reconfiguration, published by OIES and KAPSARC in 2016. His papers on The Future of Gas in Decarbonising European Energy Markets and Challenges to the Future of Gas: unburnable or unaffordable? were published by the Institute in 2017., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

22 May 2018
Speaker Myles Allen: Direct air capture of CO2

Direct air capture of CO2 — what’s it got to do with energy policy? Everything, really — and this is a problem, because most people who think about energy policy see air-capture as a futuristic and largely hypothetical distraction. But the cumulative impact of carbon dioxide emissions means there is a high chance that much of the CO2 generated by fossil energy production today will need to be scrubbed back out of the atmosphere in the future if our long-term climate goals are to be met. So the development of air-capture is implicit in almost all ambitious climate mitigation scenarios, and no-one has worked out how it will happen, and most important of all, how it will be paid for. We will present modelling results that indicate that traditional carbon pricing mechanisms are very unlikely to build up a CO2-disposal industry on anything close to the speed and scale required, even in a country with relatively progressive climate policies and ample disposal resources like the UK. The only way of securing the resources for the development of large-scale air capture without the moral hazard of encouraging present-day emissions is to make large-scale CO2 disposal a licensing requirement of the continued extraction and sale of fossil fuels. Such a scheme would be surprisingly affordable in the near term, and have significant co-benefits for other aspects of energy policy.

Myles Allen will be joined by Matthew Ives from INET.

    About the speaker:  Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and co-Director of the Oxford Martin Net Zero Carbon Investment Initiative. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts. He is currently a Coordinating Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees, having served on the IPCC’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments, including the Synthesis Report Core Writing Team in 2014. In 2010 he was awarded the Appleton Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics “for his important contributions to the detection and attribution of human influence on climate and quantifying uncertainty in climate predictions."  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

15 May 2018
Speaker Ian S Metcalfe: Chemical energy storage and how we can exploit it to improve energy conversion processes

Chemical energy storage and how it differs from other forms of energy storage will be discussed.  We will consider the fundamental requirements of a chemical energy store system in order to select possible chemical solutions.  Energy densities will be compared to other forms of energy storage for context.  Material and energy balances for overall chemical energy storage processes will be employed in order to gain insight into important issues that need to be considered when designing a chemical energy store.  Simple back-of-the-envelope calculations will be used to develop ideas.  We will study the topical example of methanol production from combustion flue gas as a case study as well as the example of ammonia as a hydrogen carrier.  The importance of handling and distribution of chemical energy storage media will be emphasised.  Optimal strategies for energy integration using tools such as pinch technology will be discussed. Our aim is to show that chemical energy storage can serve the additional purpose of making overall energy conversion processes more efficient by allowing us to move waste-heat off e.g. vehicles to stationary locations.  This comes with a very significant thermodynamic benefit.       About the speaker:   Ian S Metcalfe's research is in the area of the thermodynamics of chemical conversion with an emphasis on energy processes.  He has a particular interest in membrane processes and solid-gas chemical looping cycles. He is Professor of Chemical Engineering at Newcastle University, and  a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012. He has held both an Esso Centenary Education Award (1989) and an ICI Fellowship (1993). Whilst at Imperial College he received the Imperial College Award for Excellence in Teaching (1996).  He currently holds a European Research Council Advanced Grant and acts as director of the virtual UK membrane centre (EPSRC – SynFabFun), co-director of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell SUPERGEN and co-director of the Centre for Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems, CAM-IES. He has authored a text book on chemical reaction engineering which has sold 10,000 copies and has published more than 130 refereed research articles. He has supervised about 50 PhD students., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

1 May 2018
Speaker Andreas Löhrke: BMW Group | From Innovation to Series Production | BMW Group Electric Powertrain

By providing a range of different models with specific characteristics the BMW Group e-fleet meets the requirements on urban and long-distance mobility, ecological compatibility and regulatory provisions while keeping the joy of driving that is typical for a BMW. In this way the BMW Group asserts its leadership in terms of innovative developments and high-performance products. In order to continue the electrification across all vehicle segments still in a very rapid, efficient and sustained way the BMW Group pursues a modular components strategy that provides innovative drive solutions for all demands and all fleets. As from 2020 BMW will be in a position to integrate either combustion engines or electric drives in all vehicle architectures. By use of the modular components it will be possible to cover a wide range of performance variants with scalable components. The presentation covers the following topics at BMW Group:

  • Strategic challenges and opportunities of e-mobility.
  • Vehicle concepts of current and future electric cars.
  • Technology and development paths of electric drive components.
  • Experience and further aspects of e-mobility.
About the speaker:    Andreas Löhrke, Head of R&D High Performance Powertrain Components, BMW Group Master of Science and Master in Economic Sciences, Andreas joined BMW in 2002, and has been working in the field of e-mobility since 2005. He has headed the BMW team of eAxle and eMachine Simulation, Design and Validation from 2014. Since 2017  he has been head of R&D High Performance Powertrain Components and Project Leader of the APC funded High Power Battery Project, located in Oxford, UK., at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

24 April 2018
Speakers: Rene Banares and Edman Tseng: Scientific, technical and economic factors in the production of ‘green’ ammonia

Abstract   This combined presentation will be given by two independent group leaders from the University of Oxford who have been working collaboratively to address the development of ‘green’ ammonia synthesis [1]. First, Rene Banares-Alcantara (DoES) will set the scene by presenting intermittency as the main challenge in the integration of renewable energy (RE) to the grid, and how energy storage (ES) systems are a possible solution as they can store RE and use it when energy demand is higher than supply.  There are two important questions that need to be answered when selecting the most appropriate ES technology: the required amount of energy to be stored, and the required storage duration.  The production of ‘green’ ammonia (using hydrogen from RE water electrolysis instead of steam methane reforming) as a long duration energy storage vector will be discussed in this context. The DoES group has been developing computer models in collaboration with the Tsang group to minimise the levelised cost of ammonia for a given geographical location and to estimate the optimal RE ratio (wind/solar), size of the ammonia production plant and its operation regime (ramping rates).  Recent results indicate that the dramatic reduction in RE costs have the potential to produce commercially competitive ‘green’ ammonia with existing technology. The second part of the presentation will be given by Edman Tsang (DoC), who will present some experimental results for hydrogen production via electrification of water using RE (wind, solar, tidal wave, etc.) with an adaptation to a small scale modified Haber-Bosch process as catalytic eHB.  He will also highlight the development of alternative methods of production (i.e. electrochemical). While designing new ammonia plants with integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) or retrofitting CCS to conventional plants does have notable potential, the eHB and electrochemical methods will be discussed in this presentation due to the rapid decrease in the cost of renewable energies.  He will present some of challenges and opportunities for both the catalytic and electrochemical methods for ‘green’ ammonia production, review their current research status, and evaluate some reported rates and efficiencies with references to his own in-house research and recent US Department of Energy targets.

  1. Reaction: “Green” Ammonia Production, Lin Ye, Richard Nayak-Luke, René Bañares-Alcántara, Edman Tsang. CHEM, DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2017.10.016
  About the speakers: Prof Rene Banares-Alcantara is a Reader in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. He has a I.Q. degree from the Facultad de Quimica, UNAM (Mexico) and an MSc and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA). All of his degrees are in the field of Chemical Engineering. His research interests are in the area of Process Systems Engineering (mainly process design, synthesis and simulation, but also diagnosis and control) and the development of decision support tools.  For the last three years he has been involved in projects related to long-term (chemical) storage of renewable energy and the production of ‘green’ ammonia.   Edman Tsang is a professor of Chemistry and Head of Wolfson Catalysis Centre at the University of Oxford, UK. His main research interests are on nanomaterials and catalysis concerning energy and environment which include developments of catalytic, photocatalytic and electrocatalytic technologies for fine chemicals, cleaner combustion, green chemistry, energy storages, processes and production, etc. Particular expertise is in design and architecture of nanocatalysts, which can lead to understanding of catalytic surfaces and interfaces.  , at Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment

1 February 2018
Inequality, unelectrified hospitals and post-truth politics: How to address the social dimension of energy planning in Uganda

Speaker: Philipp Trotter, University of Bath In Uganda, 84% of the population does not have access to electricity. While electrification technologies are well-known and finance availability has greatly increased, electrification in Uganda is marred by several salient socio-political issues. This talk explains some of these problems, and suggests how they can be addressed in spatially explicit energy planning models. Organisers: Smith School Who can attend? Members of the university only Booking: RSVP to, at Gottmann Room, OUCE

30 January 2018
Energy from our nearest star: commissioning a solar mini-farm in rural southern India.

Speaker : Katherine Blundell

Energy is collected from our nearest star by day and stored as chemical energy, so that the observatory can safely be used to observe interesting stars by night. Katherine Blundell will describe how the commissioning and operation of a solar-mini farm powers an astronomical observatory at a school in rural southern India. She will illustrate its challenges, successes, and its impact on the impressionable teenagers at this Government of India school. Read more : Oxford Energy Colloquia | Tuesday, 30 January 2018

, at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

16 January 2018
Fully Charged: Revolutions in Energy and Transport

  Speaker: Robert Llewellyn live ........ Comic actor and television presenter Robert Llewellyn is also a massive advocate of clean energy technologies, especially electric vehicles and renewables. Since 2010, he has been running his own Youtube channel, Fully Charged, on these issues. With over 300 episodes made, more than 200k followers, and some episodes gathering over 1m views, Fully Charged is becoming a vital source of news and information about the energy transition. Robert will share his experience of seeing the scale and pace of this technological shift first hand, and the role of media in covering the transformational change of our times. Entry is free, however, booking is recommended here.        , at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

28 November 2017
Finding the balance – New System Flexibility with Storage and Demand Response

Finding the balance – New System Flexibility with Storage and Demand Response

 Speaker : Phil Grunewald

The UK government believes that a smart energy system with storage and demand response could save consumers up to £40bn by 2050. In this colloquium we will unpack the drivers behind the increasing need for flexibility and review the potential roles for electricity storage and demand response in addressing them. Interesting tensions between efficient and flexible uses of energy emerge. Dr Philipp Grünewald leads the Flexibility theme at the Lower Carbon Futures group in the ECI. He holds an EPSRC Fellowship and is PI of the Meter Study (<>) on the understanding of household electricity use dynamics. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Frank Jackson JRF at Oriel College, Oxford. Despite much of his work being inter-disciplinary, Phil is an engineer at heart and by background. Phil obtained his first degree in Business Engineering from Wedel, Germany. For 10 years he worked on advanced laser processes for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industry. Phil holds an MSc in Sustainability Energy Futures from Imperial and did his UKERC funded PhD at Imperial’s Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT) on the future role of electricity storage, long before the topic became quite so popular., at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

14 November 2017
Energy Research in Oxford – Highlights and Opportunities | Chris Llewellyn Smith, Director of Energy Research 2011-17

Oxford Energy Colloquia

Weekly, term-time talks on topical energy issues. These talks are free and open to all. Tuesdays during term time at 5pm in the School of Geography and the Environment. Lecture Theatre, School of Geography and the Environment Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS will give a guided tour of the ‘Oxford Energy wheel’ and describe some research highlights. He will then outline initiatives taken to strengthen the impact of Oxford’s energy work, and open a discussion of possible future opportunities. Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS, who is a theoretical physicist, has just stepped down after nearly seven years as Oxford’s Director of Energy Research, and eight and a half years as President of the Council of SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East). He is interested in all aspects of energy supply, demand and systems. He has been Chair of the Council of ITER, Director of the UK's fusion programme, Provost and President of University College London, Director General of CERN (1994-1998, when the Large Hadron Collider was approved and construction started), and Chairman of Oxford Physics.  He has written and spoken widely on science funding, international scientific collaboration and energy issues, and served on many advisory bodies nationally and internationally, including the UK Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology (1989-92). His scientific contributions and leadership have been recognised by awards and honours world-wide, including election to the Royal Society in 1984, and most recently the award of the Society’s Gold Medal in 2015., at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

23 October 2014
Webinar 3 – the 2015 Calls for Proposals for Smart Cities and Communities projects

The EU Energy Focus team will deliver a webinar series to highlight the forthcoming opportunities in Horizon 2020 Energy. In the webinars we will cover the following topics: Webinar 1 – the 2015 Calls for Proposals for Low Carbon Energy projects including renewable electricity, renewable heat, smart grids and energy storage Webinar 2 - the 2015 Calls for Proposals for Energy Efficiency projects Webinar 3 - the 2015 Calls for Proposals for Smart Cities and Communities projects. The tables below show the topics we will cover in each webinar in the current series. You can register for the webinars by clicking on the links below.. The EU Energy Focus service is a free, Government-funded service that aims to ensure that UK companies, research institutions and other organisations are well informed and have every chance of success in applying for and securing European funding for energy-related projects. The EU Energy Focus team provides the National Contact Point service in the UK for Horizon 2020 Energy. Our services include a telephone and email helpline, monthly email bulletins, one-to-one proposal clinics, specialist online support sessions and proposal review.. Please contact the team if you have any queries on Horizon 2020 Energy. EU Energy Focus Tel - 0845 6000 430 Email - Register here, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

17 September 2014
BIEE 10th Academic Conference

See the call for papers, at St John's College

3 September 2014
Behave Conference

Behave 2014 is the third European conference on behaviour and energy efficiency. This year’s theme is ‘Paradigm Shift: From Energy Efficiency to Energy Reduction through Social Change’ and will explore how energy efficiency can be achieved through social behavioural change. It will be held at the Saïd Business School in Oxford on the 3 and 4 of September., at Said Business School

25 June 2014
The Future of LNG from Australia

James Henderson and David Ledesma, OIES

, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

23 June 2014
Control and Computation for Future Power Networks

Professor Bikash Pal, Imperial College London Monday 23th June 2014, 1400-1500, LR7 (IEB) in Engineering Science xx Abstract: Electrical transmission and distribution all over the world are entering a period of significant renewal and technological changes. Transmission grids in continental Europe are evolving to address the challenge of transporting large power from offshore wind farms through HVDC grids. The dynamic interactions between wind farms and offshore transmission systems have been a major problem in uninterruptedly running the system. At the distribution level of the network, optimal capacity utilisation of feeders and cables is challenged by the absence of system monitoring and control. A large number of smart meters are likely to be deployed in customer premises and substations; thus opening up the opportunity for state estimation for effective active distribution network operation. Latest research suggests measured quantities from only a few selective metered points are required to monitor and control the system very satisfactorily thus obviating the need of a huge data transmission infrastructure., at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

18 June 2014
The role of energy markets and energy demand in a decarbonised world

Malcolm Keay, OIES, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

17 June 2014
Transformative Change in Energy

Tuesday, 17 June

Maths Institute, Oxford

A one-day Oxford energy meeting on Transformative Change, which will address potentially transformative technical and policy changes. Leading thinkers from Oxford, the UK and abroad will share their vision in a day of talks and discussions. Speakers and panel members include: Charles Soothill (Alstom), Belinda Perriman (Shell), James Cameron (Climate Change Capital), Mark Fulton(Energy Transition Advisors), Dr Tony White, MBE (BW Energy), Ben Moxham(Capital Dynamics), Richard Moore (Shell), Professor Nigel Brandon (Imperial College), Professor Peter Pearson (Low Carbon Research Institute of Wales), Professor Steven Cowley (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy),Tony Roulstone (University of Cambridge), Professor David Banister (Transport Studies Unit), Professor Doyne Farmer (The Institute for New Economic Thinking), Professor Peter Grindrod (Mathematical Institute), Professor Cameron Hepburn (Environmental economist, Smith School), Dr Henry Snaith (founder, Oxford Photovoltaics), Dr Malcolm McCulloch (co-founder, Oxford Yasa Motors, Navetas),Mike Mason (founder, Queen’s Award winning Climate Care) and Malcolm Keay (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies). More information Full programme, at Mathematical Institute

4 June 2014
The Impact of the Arab Spring on MENA oil and gas supplies

Laura El-Katiri, OIES

, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

2 June 2014
Future Automobility

Does the car have a sustainable and ethical future? Future Automobility ePoster , at Cumberland Lodge

28 May 2014
Canceled: Iran’s natural gas industry in the post-revolution era: optimism, scepticism, and potential

Elham Hassanzadeh, OIES

, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

21 May 2014
Ethanol and oil firms: the beginning of a new role for alternative fuels?

Nelson Mojarro, University of Sussex/OIES

, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

17 May 2014
Oxford Energy Perspective Conference

Speakers and panelists include:
·      Dr. Malcolm McCulloch – Director, Kempler Energy
·      Dr. Nick Eyre – Contributing Author, IPCC 5th Assessment Report 2014
·      Nicole Hildebrand – Morgan Stanley and EMBA
·      Yanos Michopolous – VP BD Vestas
·      Shyam Menon – General Partner, Infuse Ventures India
·      Juergen Heeg – Power Group, Denham Capital Poster_OEP, at Said Business School

8 May 2014
Complexity and the Art of Public Policy: Solving Society’s Problems from the Bottom Up

Public Lecture Speakers: Roland Kupers, Visiting Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University. Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s INET@Oxford research program at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. Event details
, at Environmental Change Institute

8 May 2014
Politics and the Energy Trilemma

DanByles Speaker: Dan Byles, MP and member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Unconventional Oil and Gas. Dan will give his take on balancing the need for energy affordability, sustainability and reliability (the trilemma), at Gottmann Room, OUCE

7 May 2014
Divergent Paths to a Common Goal? Challenges in Electricity Sector Reform in Deveoping versus Developed Countries

Anupama Sen, with John Rhys (discussant), at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

7 May 2014
Financialization of wind energy? The case of Germany

Britta Klagge, Professor of Economic Geography, University of Bonn, at A J Herbertson Room

2 May 2014
Energy Underground: Energy Law and Transformational Change

9:30 Property Rights in Underground Resources 11:30 Governing Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction & CCS 2:45 Resolving Underground Resource Conflicts around the World See full programme You are welcome to attend part or all of the seminar but please RSVP to, at Old Library, All Souls College

1 May 2014
Transforming Energy: New Business Models shaping a New System

LauraSandys Speaker: Laura Sandys, MP and former member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, at Gottmann Room, OUCE

30 April 2014
When markets meet politics: Consolidation and conflict in the Russian oil industry

Speaker: Shamil Yenikeyeff, OIES & Ahmed Mehdi, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

11 March 2014
The Hydrogen Economy: Hope or Hype?

Bill David ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, OX11 0QX and Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QR Energy production and energy security issues make headline news but “the role for energy storage is poorly described in many pathways to a low-carbon economy”. For most of the first decade of the 21st century, hydrogen was considered to be the long-term energy storage solution particularly for fuel-cell based transportation. However, the failure to discover a hydrogen storage material that matched the multiple prerequisite criteria coupled with issues associated with fuel cells, hydrogen production and, perhaps most significantly, the huge costs of a hydrogen infrastructure led many to regard hydrogen no longer as a hope but as hype. While much of the research focus in mobile energy storage has shifted to batteries, there remains potential to realise the promise of the hydrogen economy through greater understanding of the reaction mechanisms that facilitate desirable hydrogen storage properties. In this talk, I will present our research on the lithium imide / lithium amide system in which lithium ion conductivity is key to the facile reversibility in this promising lightweight solid-state hydrogen store. Our search for superior alternative hydrogen stores based on this system has led us to consider a potentially more promising route for chemical energy storage that may find applications ranging from transportation to grid-balancing intermittent renewable-energy production. , at Chemistry Lecture Theatre in the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory,

10 March 2014
Water and energy in Brazil

Professor Jerson Kelman, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro About 5% of the Brazilian population live in the northeast corner of the country. They share the same language, culture, institutions, education and political system as the other 95%. Yet, they have by far the lowest per capita income. What really differentiates this region from the rest of the country is hydrological variability. How to mitigate this problem? About 10% of the Brazilian population live in the north part of the country, in the Amazon River basin, where new power plants are being built to tap the energy from the mighty rivers and transmit it to large urban centers, located thousands of kilometres away. What is the trade-off between the energy benefits that accrue to the majority of the population and the environmental and social impacts that affect local people, including indigenous populations? Jerson Kelman is a Civil Engineer and Ph.D. in water resources. He was the president of two Brazilian governmental authorities – on water and on electric energy – and was the CEO of two Brazilian power companies (Light and Enersul), serving about 15 million people. Kelman is or has been a member of several boards: Brazilian Sustainable Development Foundation; Energy Councils of the Brazilian Industry; ABENGOA International Advisory Board, UNESCO Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands; Brazilian Councils of Energy, Environment and Water Resources. In 2003, he received the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize., at Blue Boar Lecture Theatre

7 March 2014
EU Energy and Climate Policy

Philip Lowe (until recently Director-General, Energy Directorate, European Commission), at School of Geography and Environment Lecture theatre

5 March 2014
Risks to Asia’s Oil

John Mitchell, Chatham House

, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

4 March 2014
Transport Controversies: THE TRANSPORT DEBATE

Issues: The quality of Britain’s transport system, the economic, social and environmental costs, and the potential for affordable and politically deliverable solutions. Iain Docherty, Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Glasgow Jon Shaw, Professor of Geography, Plymouth University, at H O Beckit Room, School of Geography & the Environment

27 February 2014
Power electronics for scalable energy storage systems

Dr Dan Rogers, Cardiff University In order to directly rival the Dinorwig pumped hydro station, future grid-scale energy storage systems will need a capacity of at least 1 GWh. If such a system were to be based on 100 Ah Li-ion cells, it would require the interconnection and management of around three million individual cells. Given a cell MTBF of 100 years, a failure rate of around 3 cells per hour of operation should be expected – the system must therefore be designed to cope with frequent failure of its component parts. In this presentation we will explore how modern power electronic circuits such as the modular multi-level converter can gracefully manage cell failure and efficiently correct imbalance between cells. The particular current stress that simple types of multi-level converter apply to individual cells will be illustrated as this may have a negative effect on cell efficiency and longevity that counterbalance some of the benefits of such circuits. Bio: Dan Rogers is a lecturer at Cardiff University. His interests lie in the design and control of power electronic circuits and systems, ranging from industrial applications of about 1 kW up to grid-scale applications at 100 MW or more. He is a co-investigator on the £6M multi-institution Energy storage for low carbon grids project and the principle investigator on Investigating the power density of power electronics. In 2013 he was a visiting assistant professor at Stanford University in the Murmann mixed-signal group. Dan received his MEng and PhD degrees from Imperial College London in 2007 and 2011 respectively., at Engineering Science

26 February 2014
Dutch Disease and the oil boom and bust

Speaker: Brock Smith, Oxcarre, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

20 February 2014
The Popular Biofuel Option?

Professor Gail Taylor, University of Southampton Turning green plants into liquid biofuels is controversial, particularly if crops with food value are used and they displace land that could have a high ecosystem service value. This seminar will explore the potential of poplar trees as non-food ligno-cellulosic energy crops. We have developed a process-based model to predict biomass yield that is able to quantify yield potential out to 2050 and current research is quantifying impacts on other ecosystem services, including greenhouse gas balance, both for home-grown biomass and that sourced from overseas. The end-point for much of this research suggests that genetic potential must be realised if such trees are to be used sustainably in the future. Forward genetic approaches have identified QTL for important biomass and sustainability traits including tree water use efficiency and saccharification (glucose release) potential and using an illumina genotyping chip, developed following next generation DNA sequencing and SNP discovery of 50 black poplar individual trees, we have identified significant associations between biomass production and underlying genetic controls including transcription factors and the potential of these for future bioengineering approaches will be discussed., at Large Lecture Theatre

19 February 2014
Rethinking biomass – a grossly undervalued renewable energy technology

Mike Mason, founder of Climate Care Hosted by the Oxford Energy Society Mike is currently working on a project to challenge the way we think about biomass, which he claims to be a grossly undervalued renewable energy. The microbes in cattle's guts produce significant quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than CO2. In his presentation Mike will expain his plans to use the very same microbes to generate large quantities of renewable energy from agricultural waste., at Lindemann lecture theatre

19 February 2014
BP Energy Outlook 2035

Alexander Naumov, BP, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

18 February 2014

Issues: Public private partnerships in the development of the necessary infrastructure planning and distributional aspects of transport infrastructure. John Howe, Professor of Transportation Engineering & Head of Infrastructural Engineering & Physical Planning, International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic & Environmental Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands Sue Barrett, Head of Transport Infrastructure, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), at H O Beckit Room, School of Geography & the Environment

15 February 2014
B2E: a startup weekend

B2E: a startup weekend to develop environmentally-focused business Commencing at 5pm on the 15th February and continuing on the 16th February, participants can learn about and develop environmentally-focused business ideas in an interactive way. Bring your own business idea, or join a team and work with others. £1000 awarded to the team with the best developed idea over the weekend. Open to all University of Oxford students. Catering, mentors and a workshop will be provided throughout the event. Go to: to get your ticket., at Said Business School

12 February 2014
The Challenges of the Upstream Sector of Nigeria’s Oil Industry

Suleiman Sa’ad, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

4 February 2014

Issues: Meeting projected demand, the limits of current airport capacity and what would be the impacts of a new airport to the east of London and spillover effects of the development constraints at Heathrow. Daniel Moylan, The Mayor of London’s adviser on aviation Sveinn Gudmundsson, Professor of Strategic Management, Toulouse Business School, at H O Beckit Room, School of Geography & the Environment

31 January 2014
From Nanostructured Materials to Thin-film Perovskite Solar Cells

Professor Henry Snaith 14_01_31Snaith, at Martin Wood Lecture Theatre

30 January 2014
Opportunities and challenges of the North American Petroleum Renaissance

Speaker: Lucian Pugliaresi, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

22 January 2014
Nuclear policy – the French case and some general issues of risk and cost

David Buchan and John Rhys, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

21 January 2014
Prof Jim Skea: “Developing UK Climate and Energy Policy”

Lecture theatre, OUCE. Jim will be drawing on his experience in policy formation as part of the Committee on Climate Change to show how Energy policy is developed in line with Climate goals., at Environmental Change Institute

21 January 2014

Issues: Non-transport impacts of HS2, covering topics such as employment, north-south divide, types of impacts and land values. Neil Ross, Principal Transport Strategy Officer, Centro Henry Overman, Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics , at H O Beckit Room, School of Geography & the Environment

11 December 2013
Infrastructure and Absorption in Gulf States

Lavan Mahadeva, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

6 December 2013
The Warsaw Climate Summit and the Path towards Paris 2015

Gilbert Room, OUCE. The recent climate talks in Warsaw have provoked frustration and outrage. The meeting of governments from around the globe, officially known as Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has seen whole delegations leaving the conference centre in protest and the gap between political positions widen. Even after a 36-hour negotiation marathon at the end of the conference it is not clear whether the long-awaited Paris 2015 summit will actually see a new agreement signed. Dr. Benito Müller, Director, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and ECI Associate Fellow Jeff Beyer, Strategy Associate, Carbon Trust, and SoGE alumnus (TBC) Rachel James, ECI Research Fellow Emilie Parry, SoGE DPhil Student Rachel Friedman, SoGE MPhil Student Chair: Dr. Bettina Wittneben, ECI Visiting Research Associate and Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Visiting Fellow , at Environmental Change Institute

4 December 2013
Auctions for Oil and Gas Exploration Leases in India: Fit for Purpose?

Anupama Sen, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

22 November 2013
The Energy Glut: The Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World

Dr Phil Edwards, senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine, co-author of 'The Energy Glut', at Lindemann lecture theatre

20 November 2013
SAFE Carbon: Burying What We Burn

Professor Myles Allen, Head of Climate Dynamics Group at the University of Oxford
Dr Nick Eyre, Jackson Sernior Research Fellow in Energy at the Environmental Change Institute, at Lindemann lecture theatre

20 November 2013
UK Shale Gas: Hype and practicality

Howard Rogers, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

13 November 2013
US Shale Oil: What kind of a revolution?

Bassam Fattouh, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

22 October 2013
Bioenergy – A fresh look at an undervalued global scale resource

Mike Mason, University of Oxford, Department of Engineering Science and Biojoule Ltd, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

2 October 2013
Gasoline and Diesel Pricing in BRIC Countries: Key issues and prospects for reform

Carolina Santos de Oliveira, at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Every effort has been made to list as many of events as possible below. If you are arranging or know of other events which should be listed, please send details to Phil Grünewald.