SFL name launch

Find out more about the Sustainable Futures Lab (SFL)


We will soon be launching world-class facilities to undertake research in the field of transition to zero pollution, one of Imperial’s strategic initiatives. We are entering a golden age of chemical engineering, and the Sustainable Futures Lab will help us achieve our ambitions to eradicate pollution, prioritising interdisciplinary, globally collaborative research and innovation, and setting the standard for the sustainable research of the future.


Image of two trees and a wind turbine As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the window of opportunity for climate change action is rapidly closing, making progress towards achieving net zero by 2050 is crucial. Imagining, testing, and implementing routes to decarbonization is a multidisciplinary task in which chemical engineers have an integral role to play. We, chemical engineers, take this challenge as an opportunity to realise the future of the chemical and energy systems and technologies for the good of the planet and humanity.

Sustainable Futures Lab (SFL)

This space will be a 500 m2 sustainably constructed and operated research space in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial's South Kensington Campus. It will host state-of-the-art experimental equipment arranged in a modular and flexible fashion to answer mission-oriented questions related to sustainability. The facilities will go from synthesis reactors to high-throughput manufacturing platforms and pilot scale testing rigs. Adjacent networking spaces will create a collaborative, flexible set up designed to complement and propel research activities and act as a blueprint for the sustainability research facilities of the twenty-first century. The space will house experts working at the forefront of research in renewable energy production, carbon capture storage and utilisation, energy storage, biorefining, recycling, life cycle analysis, circular economy, and systems engineering.

With the SFL, academics, researchers, and students working on sustainable energy and chemicals production will benefit from a state-of-the-art collaborative space that facilitates lab- to pilot-scale work. External partners will benefit via an SFL Consortium, through which, they will gain access to world-leading researchers and facilities, get support to accelerate progress along their sustainability journey, and explore tech transfer opportunities.

Research themes

Research will concentrate on four pillars to deliver sustainable chemical and energy processes:

  1. Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing: Reimagining ways to produce chemicals sustainably by diversifying feedstocks (incl. biomass and waste) and designing cleaner processes.
  2. Industrial Decarbonisation: Providing solutions for hard-to-decarbonise sectors to reduce their carbon emissions and minimise economic, social, political, and energy security disruption.
  3. Sustainable Energy Technologies: Creating electrochemical, thermal, and solar based energy technologies, from materials development to device implementation.
  4. Negative Emissions Technologies: Designing engineered solutions for carbon removal, including materials and processes for direct air capture.

Research projects

Planned research projects include: 

  • Decarbonisation of industrial and energy processes and systems
  • Re-imagining the chemical industry
  • Capture of CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Clean hydrogen production
  • Production of fuels and chemicals from non-fossil sources
  • Developing a circular chemical economy

Contact us

For all enquiries and collaborations: chemeng.comms@imperial.ac.uk