Imperial College London and Hitachi to launch a joint research centre for decarbonisation and natural climate solutions

Imperial College London (Imperial), Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Europe Ltd. (Hitachi) recently announced that they have signed an agreement to establish a joint research centre for decarbonisation and natural climate solutions. Together, they will collaborate in fundamental and applied research, addressing key challenges in decarbonisation and climate repair in order to achieve a Net Zero future.

The new Centre, named the ‘Hitachi-Imperial Centre for Decarbonisation and Natural Climate Solutions’ will enable a fundamental and applied research programme to be established where Imperial and Hitachi will collaborate on selected research projects, reports and white papers on the challenges and technologies in reaching net zero, as well as potential scenarios that could arise when the world reaches net zero. The Centre will also help train the next generation of scientists and engineers in the field.

Initial research projects will focus on carbon management, the decarbonisation of energy and transport, carbon dioxide removal and biodiversity, with a focus on new technologies and nature-based solutions. The Centre will be a platform to bring together researchers from different faculties and disciplines, to build a truly multidisciplinary, holistic programme, taking a systems-thinking approach to embed both technical and socio-economic/policy aspects to deliver transformative and translatable solutions.

Imperial is committed to helping societies become more sustainable through bold initiatives that find meaningful solutions to climate change. Imperial’s Transition to Zero Pollution initiative aims to build new partnerships between research, industry and government – from fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking – to realise its vision of a sustainable zero pollution future.

Hitachi’s Environmental Vision is to realise a decarbonised and resource-efficient society in harmony with Nature, and thereby contribute to a sustainable society flourishing within planetary boundaries and enhancing human well-being. To underline its commitment to a net zero society and become a Climate Change Innovator, Hitachi joined the United Nations Race to Zero Campaign in 2020, was a principal partner of COP26, and has been advocating a holistic approach to combating climate change together with stakeholders. Building on its strong presence in the mobility and energy sectors in Europe, Hitachi will leverage the global footprint and green products portfolio of the Hitachi group to deploy economically viable impactful end-to-end green solutions.

Projects under this collaboration will be steered jointly by senior representatives from both Imperial and Hitachi, including Professor Mary Ryan from Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering, and Dr Kazuyuki Sugimura, CTO of Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Professor Ryan, who also leads the Transition to Zero Pollution initiative, said: “There is greater urgency than ever before to tackle global pollution, of which CO2 is one of the biggest sources. This joint research centre will bring together world-leading scientists and innovators in decarbonisation and climate repair to develop new technology and solutions to the climate emergency. Imperial and Hitachi will work closely together to make significant advances in developing cleaner energy and this new centre will accelerate our work towards a zero pollution future.”

Dr David Green, collaboration centre lead for Hitachi and Head of the Sustainability Laboratory in the European R&D Centre of Hitachi Europe Ltd. said: “Limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reaching Net Zero is crucial. Yet even in a net zero world we will still face serious societal and environmental challenges caused by high residual levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We are excited to open our new centre with Imperial which builds on previous collaborations and harnesses their expertise in scientific research, business and policy.”

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