Carbon Trust identifies low carbon technologies with greatest potential

Hydrogen, fuel cells and biomass for local heat, are among a number of technologies that have the potential to underpin the UK’s transition towards a low carbon economy and are likely to receive a share of £75 million over the next three years, according to a new research by the Carbon Trust into where planned investment of would be most effective.


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Through assessment by independent experts, the Trust’s new Low Carbon Innovation Programme (LCIP) has studied 49 technologies for their ability to assist in the move to a low carbon economy and where investment would have the most significant impact. The organisation has identified those technologies on which investment should focus, as well as those that could be considered on a case-by-case basis, which will form the core of the LCIP’s investment programme. A number of technologies that should be monitored or reviewed periodically were also identified.

The technologies that would have the greatest impact on carbon reduction and where investment would have the greatest impact are:

  • biomass for local heat generation;
  • building design and construction, through fabric, heating, ventilation, cooling, and integrated design;
  • domestic micro combined heat and power;
  • advanced combined heat and power;
  • fuel cells for domestic CHP and industrial and commercial purposes;
  • hydrogen infrastructure, including transport, production, storage and distribution; and
  • a variety of technologies within industry, such as combustion technologies, materials, process control, process intensification and separation technologies.

Technologies that will be considered case-by-case, receiving LCIP funding if the project has a potentially significant impact, are:

  • lighting for buildings;
  • biomass for local electricity generation;
  • coal-bed methane;
  • electricity storage technologies;
  • waste heat recovery in industry;
  • photoconversion;
  • solar photovoltaics;
  • solar water heating collectors;
  • tidal stream; and
  • offshore, near-shore and shoreline wavepower.

However, Technology Director at the Carbon Trust, Dr David Vincent, notes that other technologies not highlighted by the investigation could still become a focus for future investment if they can demonstrate their ability to deliver significant carbon emission reductions.

The Carbon Trust believes that this study is the first of its kind giving low carbon technologies a ranking for investment purposes. The Trust intends to re-run the study this year and says that it will welcome input from interested parties.

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