Imperial and Hitachi to launch decarbonisation research centre

14 Jul 2022 | Network Updates | Update from Imperial College London
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A new joint research centre to tackle key challenges in decarbonisation and climate repair is to be launched by Imperial College London and Hitachi.

Imperial College London, Hitachi Ltd and Hitachi Europe Ltd have signed an agreement to create the Hitachi and Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions, to collaborate in fundamental and applied research to drive the transition to net zero pollution.

The organisations will work together on selected research projects, reports and white papers on the technologies needed to achieve net zero and will help train the next generation of net-zero scientists and engineers.

Initial research projects will focus on carbon management, the decarbonisation of energy and transport, carbon dioxide removal and biodiversity, with a focus on new technologies and nature-based solutions.

Projects will be guided by senior representatives from Imperial and Hitachi, including Professor Mary Ryan, from Imperial’s Faculty of EngineeringDr Mirabelle Muûls, from Imperial’s Business School, and Dr Kazuyuki Sugimura, Chief Technology Officer of Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Professor Ryan, who leads Imperial’s Transition to Zero Pollution initiative, said: “There is greater urgency than ever before to tackle global pollution, of which CO2 is one of the biggest sources.

“This joint research centre will bring together world-leading scientists and innovators in decarbonisation and climate repair to develop new technology and solutions to the climate emergency.

“Imperial and Hitachi will work closely together to make significant advances in developing cleaner energy and this new centre will accelerate our work towards a zero-pollution future.”

Through the Transition to Zero Pollution initiative, Imperial aims to build new partnerships between research, industry and government – from fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking – to bring about a sustainable zero pollution future.

Environment Vision

Hitachi is committed to realising a decarbonised and resource-efficient society through its Environment Vision initiative, with the company joining the United Nations Race to Zero Campaign and acting as a principal partner of the COP26 climate change conference in recent years.

Dr David Green, collaboration centre lead for Hitachi and Head of the Sustainability Laboratory in the European R&D Centre of Hitachi Europe Ltd, said: “Limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reaching Net Zero is crucial.

“Yet even in a net zero world we will still face serious societal and environmental challenges caused by high residual levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“We are excited to open our new centre with Imperial which builds on previous collaborations and harnesses their expertise in scientific research, business and policy."

At a ceremony on Monday, Professor Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College Business School, and Dr Norihiro Suzuki, Vice President and Executive Officer, CTO and GM of R&D Group, at Hitachi Ltd, signed the agreement to establish the new centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Veloso said: “At Imperial, we are uniquely positioned to work at the intersection of technical and social science to meet the global challenges we have today, in climate, energy and health.”

He added: “The aim of the new Centre that we are celebrating here today is to be a connection point, not only across Imperial, but also together with Hitachi to find those leverage points where we can really make a difference to this challenge.

“The aim to do this on the technical side and on the policy side is something we are very happy about because we know that the problem can only be addressed if we combine the two.”

Dr Suzuki also told attendees that Hitachi wanted to be a leader in the decarbonisation transition and to help to develop the technological solutions that are needed to cut pollution.

He said: “By combining the expertise of Hitachi and Imperial College, we can overcome these challenges and prepare solutions to allow society and nature to rebalance their positions and work in harmony again.

“I welcome our new collaboration centre and look forward to working together with you at Imperial College over the coming years.”

Dr Muuls, Co-Director of the Centre, said: “This Centre will bring together different disciplines, from engineering and systems thinking to economics, new business models and policy making. More than ever, it is clear that we cannot solve climate change in isolation.

“We need to think about the implications of energy security and dealing with climate change, in allocation, mitigation and leading to a zero-carbon society. This will have implications for democracy and the well-being of the generations after us. It is not a small task.”

This article was first published on 11 July by Imperial College London. 

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