Aerial view of train tracks entering London

For over 20 years Imperial has pioneered new electrochemical materials and technologies that will underpin the ‘affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems’ of the future (SDG 11).

Global transportation systems are a major source of both carbon emissions that contribute to climate change as well as particulate matter and noxious gases that harm human health. Yet transport is a necessary driver for economic development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals state that by 2030, we should be providing safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all (SDG 7,11,9).

That will likely require the mass adoption of plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles plus the supporting charging or fuelling infrastructure – all integrated into the wider clean energy economy.

“Imperial has long been at the forefront in developing and refining electrochemical technologies such as fuel cells and batteries that underpin the shift to low carbon transport – and this work is starting to have a tangible impact as industries mature and scale up,” said Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering. He adds: “Ultimately this will help to achieve various pillars of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including making our cities more sustainable, building resilient infrastructure, ensuring a clean energy  supply and taking action to combat climate change. ”

The work of Professor Brandon and his team into developing fuel cells that generate low-carbon electricity gave rise to spinout Ceres Power – now the UK’s most valuable cleantech company. Ceres is making fuel cell technology accessible and cost effective for a variety of applications, including transport, data centres, and homes and commercial premises. 

Imperial is also a key partner in the UK’s Faraday Institution, which is looking for ways to reduce battery cost, weight, and volume; to improve performance and reliability; and to develop whole-life strategies including recycling and reuse.