At Manchester, our experts are committed to delivering an equitable and prosperous net zero energy future.

What's your area of interest? Choose from the below categories.

General Academic Industry Policy

Households, communities, businesses and industry need to be able to access energy in a way that is sustainable, just and secure.

How we use energy, and where we get it from, has significant implications on how we address the climate change challenge, and also how our economy and society might flourish.


Leading the energy transition

The breadth and depth of our energy research is unique to Manchester. 

By bringing together science and engineering with social science, economics, politics and arts, our community of more than 600 experts can address the entire lifecycle of every challenge faced. In collaboration they create innovative and enduring solutions to make a difference to the lives of people across the globe.

We're helping to develop pathways to ensure a low carbon energy transition that will also drive jobs, prosperity, resilience and equality though a focus on three strategic research areas. 

Energy production and security

Our researchers are taking on the challenge of meeting supply and demand – ensuring efficient, reliable and secure access as we decarbonise, decentralise and digitise energy systems.

Energy equity and engagement

Our experts in innovation, politics, economics and social justice are engaging governments, industries and communities to ensure universal access to reliable, affordable, and sufficient energy in a way that allows economies and communities to thrive.

Energy and environmental sustainability

We’re at the forefront of tackling climate change, delivering answers to the biggest questions facing the future of our planet. This includes devising pioneering methods to mitigate the environmental impacts of energy supply and demand.

Research institutes and centres 

The University is home to globally-renowned research institutes and centres that cover the full spectrum of energy investigation, including:

The ground-breaking work of these communities influences local authorities, industry and international partners to deliver real-world energy and environmental solutions.

A living laboratory

Our leading facilities including the 2MV high-voltage laboratory on campus and £20 million Dalton Cumbrian Facility, help both us and our industry partners develop innovative solutions. The campus acts as a living laboratory, with its 339 buildings providing a test bed for tomorrow’s energy systems.

For the homes of the future energy will need to travel new routes, going further and faster, while leaving no carbon footprint. At Manchester we’re helping ensure the systems are in place for this to be possible across a number of energy sources.

Energy: research breakthroughs

Global challenges, Manchester solutions

Reprocessing radioactive materials

Global challenge

Removing nuclear fuel and other waste products, whether from damaged nuclear power plants such as Fukushimi Daiichi or decaying storage ponds at Sellafield, is extremely difficult due to high levels of radioactivity.

Manchester solution

We’ve designed an amphibious, remotely operated vehicle that can fit through small access ports, typically found in nuclear facilities; carry neutron detection and navigation equipment, and withstand extremely radioactive environments.

At Fukushima Daiichi the vehicle will help identify fuel that is believed to have melted so that it can be safely removed, significantly reducing radiation levels, lowering risk and making the plant easier and cheaper to decommission.

Locking up radioactive wastes

Global challenge

Radioactive wastes contain long-lived radionuclides that will be around for millions of years. Understanding their behaviour in waste disposal systems is critical to ensuring safe, publicly acceptable disposal of these challenging
byproducts of nuclear energy generation.

Manchester solution

In collaboration with Diamond Light Source, our researchers investigated long-lived radionuclides using X-ray spectroscopy techniques. We found that radionuclides could be directly and irreversibly ‘locked up’ within the iron oxide mineral frameworks that are present in the waste, under a range of different conditions, thereby limiting their movement into the environment. The research is being used by Radioactive Waste Management and Sellafield Ltd.

Harnessing the potential of biomass

Global challenge

Biomass has potential to provide sustainable, low carbon energy. Rice farming in Asia produces about 550 million tonnes of straw residue annually; however, this potential fuel source is simply burnt in fields, resulting in emissions hazardous to humans and the ecosystem.

Manchester solution

Manchester researchers use a multidisciplinary approach to deliver the technology to turn rice straw residue into a clean energy source, factoring in the priorities and preferences of local communities and their energy demands.

Our academics have experience working across the globe to tackle logistical, technological and environmental issues.

Storing energy until required

Global challenge

Renewables are key for a growth in low carbon energy, but are inherently intermittent power generation sources. Enhancing how we store energy will therefore by pivotal to our efforts to decarbonise our energy system.

Manchester solution

Our research is transforming the processes that bring energy to our homes and finding ways to use existing systems more efficiently. Our involvement in the multidisciplinary MY-STORE project is bringing a new perspective on the wide-scale deployment of energy storage by exploring socioeconomic and environmental factors as well as public perceptions for future distributed multi-energy systems.

Combating energy poverty

Global challenge

Many people across the world cannot afford enough energy to meet their basic needs, which seriously impacts on their well-being.

Manchester solution

Researchers at our Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy are working to understand the complex causes of energy poverty. Our researchers are advocating an ambitious and strategic approach, backed by national government resources, which includes comprehensive energy efficiency improvements proactively targeted at areas of poor housing stock.

Wider measures should address rising energy prices and the structural causes of low incomes, such as unemployment. Manchester is also the lead institution for the European Energy Poverty Observatory.

Reducing the costs of nuclear power

Global challenge

Manufacturing high-integrity nuclear power station components is expensive. New approaches are needed to make this less costly, balanced with a detailed understanding of new manufacturing processes and the effect these have on component performance over design life.

Manchester solution

We’re building a capability to produce realistic manufacturing features, such as industry-standard welds, carrying out detailed materials analysis to determine performance at the micro and macro scale, and developing analytical models of long-term performance. We’ve also invested £8 million in our Manufacturing Technology Research Laboratory, dedicated to innovation in nuclear manufacturing.

Social research in nuclear power

Global challenge

The global transition to zero carbon energy will have a profound impact on society. New understandings of the social controversies around nuclear power will be vital if it is to play its part in this transition.

Manchester solution

Manchester is leading The Beam, a novel research network fostering engagement between the nuclear sciences and social research to open up new thinking and approaches for civil nuclear decision-makers. The network invites world-class researchers to bring their insight to bear on global nuclear challenges, encouraging an ethnographic approach and placing emphasis on those impacted by nuclear power.