Cardiff project tackles barriers to low-carbon transport

Cardiff University has been awarded up to 1m to help tackle climate change.

Experts from the University’s Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence and Sustainable Transport cross-cutting theme in the School of Engineering will lead a network to remove barriers to low carbon transport in the UK through electrification.

The award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - part of UK Research and Innovation - will bring together expertise from industry and academia to address road, rail and airborne low-carbon modes of transport and associated electricity infrastructures to deliver future mobility needs.

Led by Prof Liana Cipcigan , Director of Cardiff’s Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence and leader of Sustainable Transport cross-cutting theme in School of Engineering , the Cardiff collaboration will work with a host of industry partners and academics from Cranfield University, University of Bristol, University of Birmingham and the University of Southampton.

Bringing together expertise from across industry, academia and the public sector, the consortium aims to identify challenges to an integrated, electrified transport system across the automotive, aerospace and rail sectors exploring drivers for change and technology innovation.

Dr Cipcigan said: “The network will look to prepare the wider industry for decarbonisation commissioning projects addressing short, medium and long-term challenges associated with electric & autonomous vehicles, electric & hybrid aircraft and electrification of rail along with associated infrastructures, developing a wider strategy for decarbonisation of the transport sector through electrification.”

Public and private sector partners include Aston Martin, Safran Power UK Ltd, National Grid, Ricardo Group, SP Energy Networks EA Technology, Transport for London, Transport for Wales, Turbo Power Systems, ABB, FTI Consulting , NR Electric UK Ltd, WSP Group plc UK, Scorpion Power System Ltd., JingGe Electromagnetics Ltd., QUERCUS Investment Partners, Welsh Government, COST, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

The Cardiff project is one of five new networks to help tackle climate change by removing barriers to low carbon transport in the UK, ranging from commercial flights using electric airplanes to decarbonised freight transport and hydrogen-fuelled cars.

Supported with 5 million of funding, the five Decarbonising Transport Networks+ will bring together expertise from across academia and industry to lay the groundwork for the use of low carbon technologies across the road, rail, marine and air networks.

Transport Minister Ken Skates said: “Projects like this will make a massive difference in efforts reducing the carbon footprint of our transport infrastructure and helping us reach our decarbonisation targets.

“It is important we lower our carbon emissions by promoting the use of cleaner, greener vehicles, and this project will help ensure the technological progress to make this a reality.”

A wide range of academic, industry and the public sector collaborators are involved across the five networks. Partners include the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Transport, Hyundai-Kia, Aston Martin, Safran Power UK Ltd, Ricardo Group, Transport for London, Transport for Wales, the Welsh Government and the National Grid.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Transport is the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the UK, and the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions globally.

“Adapting our transport systems to low carbon technologies is vital for the future health of the planet, and the networks announced today will undertake important work in preparing the UK for this transition.”

Professor Greg Marsden, who leads the DecarboN8 network, has been appointed as the Decarbonising Transport Champion and will co-ordinate between each Network+ and act as a champion of the decarbonising transport challenge to the government, policy and industry.