Researchers from UK and Chinese universities, including the University of Cambridge, are collaborating on four new projects to work towards achieving low carbon cities in the UK and China. The projects were announced as Chinese President, Xi Jinping visited the UK this week. 

The projects will receive over £3 million in funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with matched equivalent resources from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

Funded under the Low Carbon Cities programme, the projects will encourage collaboration between leading UK and Chinese academics, combining research to reduce the carbon emissions of existing technologies.

The projects will also deliver fundamental research into alternative energy sources and a reduction of energy demand, all with a focus on future urban environments.

By using comparative research to examine social, political and technical challenges, this will help the UK and China to successfully transition towards future low carbon cities. This programme and joint funding process has been facilitated by the RCUK China office.

“The aim of this UK-China research collaboration will be to reduce worldwide CO2 production and ensure energy security and affordability,” said Professor Philip Nelson FREng, EPSRC’s Chief Executive. “This is the first of three low carbon innovation projects between EPSRC and NSFC. The projects build on the strength of our internationally renowned research and will benefit both the UK and Chinese economies.”

“NSFC has been working closely with EPSRC for several years to address challenges related to achieving a low-carbon economy,” said Professor Che Chengwei, Deputy Director General, Department of Engineering and Material Sciences, NSFC. “This latest programme, with a focus on future urban environments, will build substantially stronger links between Chinese and UK research communities in relevant areas. It will also brighten the future bilateral collaboration between both countries.”

The four projects funded are:

1.       Low Carbon Transitions of Fleet Operations in Metropolitan Sites
(Newcastle University, Imperial College London, and Southeast University)

2.       City-Wide Analysis to Propel Cities towards Resource Efficiency and Better Wellbeing (University of Southampton and Xi’an University of Architecture & Technology)

3.       The ‘Total Performance’ of Low Carbon Buildings in China and the UK (University College London and Tsinghua University)

4.       Low carbon climate-responsive Heating and Cooling of Cities (University of Cambridge, University of Reading and Chongqing University)

The Cambridge project, led by Professor Alan Short of the Department of Architecture and also involves Professor Peter Guthrie from the Department of Engineering, will focus on how to deliver economic and energy-efficient heating and cooling to cities of different population densities and climates.

Low Carbon Cities forms part of the Low Carbon Innovation programme, a £20 million three-year investment announced in March 2014. Facilitated by Research Councils UK (RCUK) China, this programme builds on five years of successful collaborative research funded jointly by EPSRC and NSFC in energy research. Low Carbon Innovation will also support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, as well as offshore renewables.

Adapted from an EPSRC press release


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