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UK fund for research network into freight decarbonisation

Press Release: A New UK Research and Innovation funded network is to unleash investment for research into decarbonising the UK’s Freight Transport.

The UCL led network will prioritise research which will accelerate investment in energy and propulsion switch across the road, rail, sea and air freight modes

Decarbonising the UK’s Freight Transport is a network of over forty academic and industry partners, led by UCL Energy Institute, that will run for three years and operate in three key phases to distil current knowledge and to identify and de-risk the key remaining research challenges that can unleash significant freight-decarbonisation targeted investment and guide enabling policy.

The Network, one of five new transport networks, supported with £5 million of funding from UKRI, will foster a close-knit community focused on unlocking and enabling the next step in UK freight transport decarbonisation. Building on five previous rounds of investment in this area, the network now has £2 million of funding from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and a number of industry partners, including BMT, Lloyds Register, Environmental Defense Fund, Chartered Institute of Logisitics and Transport.

£400,000 has been allocated to feasibility projects to provide a rigorous and independent co-created (industry stakeholders and academia) knowledge and evidence base and accompanying recommendations to accelerate investment. Interested stakeholders are invited to join the network to inform the discussions and guide the research.

The network will look to prepare the wider industry for decarbonisation, commissioning projects that will look at aspects ranging from the use of data to enable investment, to the pathways for moving freight transport’s energy and propulsion technology away from dependence on fossil fuel.

Principal Investigator, Dr Tristan Smith, Reader at UCL Energy Institute said: “freight transport, perhaps along with aviation, are sub-sectors which look likely to decarbonise whilst continuing to need an energy dense but non-fossil fuel. How they will do this remains unclear. So it is particularly exciting to be addressing that puzzle through the applied lens of “what research is needed to unlock necessary investment”, as well as bringing a broad coalition together than can help spot synergies between sectors (especially trucking and shipping), and between the under-researched interactions between domestic and international freight systems.” 

Current network members include:

Academic partners: Newcastle University, University of Strathclyde, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh, University of Westminster, University of Cambridge, Heriot-Watt University (Centre For Sustainable Road Freight),University of Plymouth, The University of Manchester, University of Southampton.

Industry partners: Argent Energy (UK) Ltd, BMT Group Ltd (UK), British Ports Association, Cargill Inc, Chalmers University of Technology, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Copenhagen Business School, Department for Transport, Environmental Defense Fund Europe, Fraunhofer Institute, Freight Transport Association Ltd, Future Proof Shipping, Global Maritime Forum, IMarEST, International Windship Association, Lloyd’s Register EMEA, Maritime Strategies International, Norsepower Oy Ltd, Norwegian School of Economics, Optrak Distribution Ltd, Shell, Smart Green Shipping Alliance, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sustainable Shipping Initiative, UK Chamber of Shipping, University of Antwerp, University of the South Pacific, WEGEMT

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