Energy in the 21st century: can we ensure a bright future?

Professor Colin Snape
28 Nov 2012 13:45:00.000


An energy expert from The University of Nottingham joined a distinguished panel to discuss one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Professor Colin Snape was a special guest at the British Library for a public debate on key questions around energy — and what we must do in the years ahead to keep the lights on.

A podcast of the debate is available here.

Click here for full story

The event — Sustainable Energy for the 21st Century: can we ensure a bright future? — was part of the British Library’s TalkScience series, café scientifique events where experts provide provocative introductions to a topic.

Future energy mix

The debate was followed by a discussion with an informed audience from academia and industry, policy makers, research funders and publishers. It was chaired by The Guardian’s Environment Correspondent, Fiona Harvey, and co-organised by the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training, based at The University of Nottingham.

Professor Snape, Director of the Energy Technologies Research Institute at Nottingham, said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to participate in such a successful event and to share the stage with colleagues from the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.

“Energy is important to us all and there are still some huge challenges to overcome which make the debate on the future energy mix so engaging and stimulating.”

An unsustainable situation?

The TalkScience debate touched on a wide range of topics including:
• What is the UK’s current energy mix? Where does our energy come from and how much do we import and export?
• Why is our current situation unsustainable?
• Is technology really enough to provide a sustainable energy future? What is the role of behavioural change and that of political institutions?
• Is it actually possible to meet the Government’s energy targets without using fossil fuels or nuclear power?

Also on the panel were Daniel Crean from The University of Sheffield, Loughborough’s Dr Kirk Shanks, and Professor Phil Taylor of Durham University. Panel members were drawn from the Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training (NECDT).

The NECDT's membership is drawn from 13 research centres with expertise in all aspects of energy and is co-led by The University of Nottingham and the University of Leeds. The goal of the network is to produce the energy leaders of the future, who will help the UK reach the carbon emissions reduction target of 80 per cent from 2000 levels by the middle of the century.

Key research priority

Energy is one of the University of Nottingham’s key priority areas for research.

The University has a commitment to developing low-carbon technologies with the potential to touch every aspect of modern life. It has internationally-recognised teams working in the fields of bioenergy, hydrogen fuels, carbon capture and storage, sustainable architecture, biomass and many other areas.

October 2012 saw the opening of a new £9 million Energy Technologies Building at the University, which is set to become the UK’s most advanced research facility into new energy innovations.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Colin Snape, Director, Energy Technologies Research Institute, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 9514166 ,
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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