About the Centre for Sustainable Technologies

The Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST) is internationally recognised as a leading academic centre


CST has focussed on the assessment of decarbonisation of energy using combinations of modelling of future energy scenarios underpinned by real dynamic data derived from our extensive laboratories and Terrace Street – our family occupied living laboratory.

As part of the then Built Environment Research Institute in REF 2014, 100% of research environment and impact judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent

The Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST) has secured approximately £13M of UKRI-EPSRC, EU, Interreg and other funders) during the reporting period.

The overall strategy of CST has been the integration and assessment of decarbonisation approaches using combinations of future energy scenario developments evaluated through blends of techno-economic modelling, life-cycle assessment, energy market modelling and Locational Net Benefit Analysis underpinned by real dynamic data derived from our extensive laboratories and Terrace Street – our family occupied living laboratory.

Aims

We aim to:

  • Develop scenario modelling approaches to fulfil net zero carbon 2050 legislation.
  • Build upon our excellence in techno-economic modelling and Life-Cycle Assessment for new energy systems.
  • Define future energy market structures that accommodate up to 100% renewable energy scenarios and understand how energy infrastructure will need to be adapted to facilitate this.
  • Determine through locational net benefit analysis and system coupling methodologies, likely best size and place for decarbonisation technologies.
  • Develop renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that facilitate the net zero carbon legislation of the UK.
  • Inform regional, national and international policy decision makers on alternate energy structures based on decarbonisation, decentralisation and democratisation.

Themes

Our research falls into the following main themes:

  • Renewable Energy: Photovoltaics, including concentrators; Solar thermal systems including advanced integrated storage systems; Biomass Gasification or wood and construction waste.
  • Energy Efficiency including improved efficiency of building insulation products; Advanced glazing systems using vacuum technology; Zero-carbon heating systems using novel heat pumps.
  • Energy Storage for demand side response, decentralisation, energy network support, aggregation, arbitrage etc.
  • Energy System Coupling through combinations of modelling and laboratory developments that drive the building environment and its supplying infrastructures towards net zero carbon outcomes.

Our Impact

Our research is defining future energy policy concepts are through NIREV – the Northern Ireland Energy Revolution in conjunction with the Northern Ireland energy utility regulator UREGNI and Interreg VA SPIRE 2.

Internationally, our EPSRC SolaNetwork research has led to the provision of energy to remote off-grid Sub-Saharan communities. This provides reliable energy for health and schooling and aids communities to escape poverty through provision of  lighting, motive power, and access to media and communications.

This has been developed from our unique strategy of evaluation of a wide range of technologies in our state-of-the-art solar, biomass, heat pump and advanced glazing/insulation laboratories leading to deployment in Terrace Street. Our “no silver bullet” approach accepts that there are many likely solutions and our research focuses upon defining the likely roles of these technologies through development, real-life evaluation and future scenario modelling.

CST represents the UK in several International Energy Agency Annexes, and this has enhanced both its national and international standing. Partnerships range from NGO’s working in Africa, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the German Space Agency (DLR) through to the UK Government via the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.