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Low-carbon energy

Low-carbon solutions are crucial to the world’s future energy mix. The University of Edinburgh is home to world-class expertise in low-carbon research areas, including renewable energy, hydrogen, biomass and nuclear.

With a range of commercial partners, our researchers are:

  • creating novel technologies for low-carbon energy
  • applying and developing these technologies commercially
  • enhancing the growth of existing companies and powering the creation of new spinouts
  • delivering advanced multidisciplinary training in the field of low-carbon energy


Key areas of expertise

Staff Bootcamp

Wind, wave, tidal and solar

  • Design, evaluation and testing of wave and tidal devices
  • Home to Flowave TT, the world’s most sophisticated combined current and wave test tank
  • Design and analysis of offshore infrastructure and coastal defence
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Solar power: innovation in dye-sensitised solar cells and thin-film photovoltaics.

Renewable resource assessment

  • Wind, marine and hydropower resource modelling
  • Impact of climate change on renewable resources
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Environmental impacts of marine renewable energy devices
  • Techno-economic analysis, governance and policy around renewable energy
  • Energy policy and economics.

Power systems, power electronics

  • Control and power take-off for marine energy systems
  • Power systems: distributed networks, network expansion, load modelling, demand-side management, power quality and reliability, power system dynamics and stability.
  • Smart grids
  • Clean combustion
  • Novel generator designs for renewable power generation.

Hydrogen as an energy source

  • Development of advanced fuel cells and materials for hydrogen storage
  • Understanding phases and properties of hydrogen under extreme conditions.


  • Electrochemical sensing for selective detection
  • Radioactive waste disposal and geo-reservoir management

Biomass and biochar

Disruptive technologies

Facilities at the University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is host to an extensive range of facilities, equipment and expertise which can be accessed by companies and organisations for in-house projects. Find out how to access the facilities, equipment and expertise at the University, or to discuss a particular project in greater depth.

Explore all facilities in the College of Science and Engineering


Facilities available at the University of Edinburgh for low-carbon energy

Pyrochemical Research Lab

  • Advanced equipment for research in molten salt pyrochemical processing
  • Suite of interconnected controlled atmosphere dry-boxes equipped with furnaces, cell systems, potentiostats and other equipment for characterisation and development of essential elements
  • Demonstrate individual component or a complete pyrochemical process including monitoring and analysis
  • Unique facilities to develop and demonstrate integrated pyrochemical reprocessing of nuclear fuel, along with the required process monitoring.

Synthsys (Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology):

  • Edinburgh Genome Foundry
  • Kinetic Parameter Facility
  • Laser Enabled Analysis and Processing (LEAP)
  • Single cell analysis and microscopy
  • Plant phenomics
  • Data management and models
  • Chemical translational biology

Read about our current projects and success stories

Improved Heat Storage Technology

Prof Colin Pulham is working with a local start-up company, Sunamp, to develop technology for efficient, low-cost heat storage. This approach reduces CO2 emissions and fuel bills. The team has developed phase-change materials based on salt hydrates, and the research has had a major impact on the design of Sunamp’s prototype heat-storage batteries.

Testing Offshore Wind Infrastructure

Concrete Marine Solutions, a Scottish SME, used the smaller of the University’s wave tanks to test a prototype of its novel installation platform for offshore wind turbines.

Collaborative Working in Marine Energy

The University’s Institute for Energy Systems is leading the FP7-funded project Optimal Design Tools for Ocean Arrays, which consists of 18 international partners including Vattenfall, Iberdrola and DEME. The project will provide design tools for the development of ocean energy arrays, enabling open sea demonstration of tidal stream and wave energy technologies.

Contact us to find out how we can help