Heindl’s Gravity Storage - graphic showing a huge mass of rock in a cylinder, held up by water

Gravity – the solution to energy storage?

Oliver Schmidt, research postgraduate on the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP who is funded by the Grantham Institute, recently authored a report analysing the costs of gravity-based energy storage options. In this blog, he considers why harnessing the power of gravity could revolutionise energy storage in the future. Lithium-ion batteries seem to be used everywhere – from tablets and smart phones, to electric … Continue reading Gravity – the solution to energy storage?

The energy conundrum: Bringing carbon under control and reversing rising emissions

Neil Hirst, Senior Policy Fellow at the Grantham Institute and author of The Energy Conundrum, Climate Change, Global Prosperity, and the Tough Decisions We Have to Make, considers the outlook for global energy and how to bring rising carbon emissions under control. Twenty-five years ago, the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty was set up to tackle the causes of global … Continue reading The energy conundrum: Bringing carbon under control and reversing rising emissions

Volcán de Colima: Insights from Mexico’s fiery volcano

Jack Anderson, a Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP research postgraduate based at London’s Natural History Museum, describes his fieldwork on the highly-active Volcán de Colima in Mexico, and explains the significance of his research. As my Aeroméxico flight begins its descent into Colima, I eagerly position my phone in preparation to capture a first glimpse of its formidable volcano. I am greeted … Continue reading Volcán de Colima: Insights from Mexico’s fiery volcano

The future of the electricity utility – decision time for US stakeholders

Last month, Grantham Affiliates Dr Jeffrey Hardy and Dr Chris Mazur travelled to Chicago to run a ‘Decision Theatre’ workshop with participants from the US energy supply chain as part of the Utility 2050 project. Here, they consider the findings of the workshop, the differences across the pond, and the potential for collaboration. The Utility 2050 project, originally conceived by the Energy Research Partnership, offers … Continue reading The future of the electricity utility – decision time for US stakeholders

Graphic showing a thermometer rising, with a 2 written at the top to imply a 2 degree temperature rise

The lower the climate sensitivity the better – but what we need is zero carbon

Following the publication of a paper presenting a new narrower estimate of “equilibrium climate sensitivity” – a measure of how future greenhouse gas emissions could alter the climate – Professor Joanna Haigh, co-director of the Grantham Institute, explains the implications of climate sensitivity and why it should be interpreted carefully. What concerns me about a recent paper published in Nature is the interpretation of its … Continue reading The lower the climate sensitivity the better – but what we need is zero carbon

What to do with all the carbon dioxide?

Research Postgraduates Clara Heuberger and Clea Kolster, who recently attended the UNFCCC’s 23rd Conference of the Parties in Bonn, consider the significant potential of  carbon dioxide removal technologies, and the barriers they face.  A recent report published by the UN highlighted that, last year, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at record speed, hitting a level not seen for more than three … Continue reading What to do with all the carbon dioxide?

Our "commute to work". A 7.5km hike across mudflats, wetland, ice and rivers

Ring of Fire: how biofilms will help us understand the impacts of climate change

‘Ring of Fire’ is a NERC-funded research project that, over the course of four years and five geothermal sites in the Arctic Circle, investigates the impact of rising temperatures of global warming on freshwater ecosystems. Danielle Harris has just returned from an eight-day fieldwork trip in Svalbard, where she scrubbed nearly 300 rocks to see how temperature affects the community composition of biofilms, and the … Continue reading Ring of Fire: how biofilms will help us understand the impacts of climate change

Solar heat water heater and chimney

Could solar-thermal be the solution for low-carbon heating?

Well-established solar heat technologies could be playing a key role in creating a sustainable future energy system and meeting an increasing global demand for energy, according to our latest briefing paper. “Solar-thermal and hybrid photovoltaic-thermal systems for renewable heating” looks at the continuing potential of this technology and what stands in the way. Dr Alexander Mellor, Research Associate in the Department of Physics and co-author of … Continue reading Could solar-thermal be the solution for low-carbon heating?

Energy Utopia: What stands in the way of smart, clean, affordable, customer-led energy?

Last year, Dr Jeffrey Hardy took a career break from his role as Head of Sustainable Energy Futures at Ofgem and joined the Grantham Institute as a Senior Research Fellow. He has been imagining a future where your relationship with your energy company is different to the present, and why new business models must put customers in the driving seat of the low-carbon transformation. Here he … Continue reading Energy Utopia: What stands in the way of smart, clean, affordable, customer-led energy?

The boat in Greenland

Into the Ring of Fire: Arctic adventures to predict the impact of climate change

  Dr Michelle Jackson, Research Associate and Ecologist at Imperial College London, is working on ‘Ring of Fire’, a four-year, NERC-funded research project that investigates the impact of rising temperatures on freshwater ecosystems. Here, she discusses the challenges of fieldwork in the Arctic and the results that make it all worthwhile. Our planet is warming at an unprecedented rate. Year on year, temperature records around … Continue reading Into the Ring of Fire: Arctic adventures to predict the impact of climate change