Business Secretary visits Imperial as Government announces new energy plans

Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP visited Imperial to learn about carbon capture research.

Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited Imperial to see the College’s Carbon Capture Pilot Plant and learn first-hand about Imperial’s energy and carbon capture research and Transition to Zero Pollution programme.

“It was great to welcome the Secretary of State to Imperial to discuss how the UK can achieve its net zero ambitions, and to show how world-class academic institutions like Imperial can support that transition.” Professor Nigel Brandon Dean, Faculty of Engineering

Hosted by Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Dr Colin Hale, Senior Teaching Fellow, the Business Secretary toured the Carbon Capture Pilot Plant. Stretching over four floors, it provides a fully hands-on discovery experience for students and researchers alike and is a core part of the training Imperial provides to future chemical engineers. It is also a vital resource in the fight against climate change, demonstrating best practice in capturing and storing harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) before it can be released into the atmosphere.

Professor Brandon said: “It was great to welcome the Secretary of State to Imperial to demonstrate our Carbon Capture Pilot Plant, to discuss how the UK can achieve its net zero ambitions, and to show how world-class academic institutions like Imperial can support that transition through our teaching, research, translation and public engagement.”

The visit came as the government released new plans to clean up our energy system and keep bills affordable as we transition to net zero. The Energy White Paper plans to enable a green economic recovery and support up to 220,000 jobs over the next decade across the UK.

Building on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the paper outlines steps to cut emissions including in major infrastructure projects for power generation, carbon capture storage, hydrogen, and retrofitting homes for improved energy efficiency and clean heat.

Alok Sharma MP said: “Today’s plan establishes a decisive and permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels, towards cleaner energy sources that will put our country at the forefront of the global green industrial revolution.”

Imperial’s vision for a sustainable zero pollution future

Imperial is leading the way to a net zero-future. We have expertise across the College in how to achieve net zero, including in our Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment, Centre for Environmental Policy and Energy Futures Lab.

In September, the College launched a new strategic programme Transition to Zero Pollution, one of the first initiatives of Imperial’s new Academic Strategy, with a launch event featuring a keynote speech from Mary Robinson.

The initiative captures our vision to transform the way we think about pollution, bringing together ideas around resource management, health and environmental impacts, socio-economic and human behaviour in a ‘whole system’ approach.

Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Engineering and College Champion for Zero Pollution, also welcomed the Secretary of State to the College.

Professor Ryan said: “The UK has a key role to play in pioneering solutions to climate change, and we were delighted to speak to the Secretary of State about our broader ambitions at Imperial to create and translate holistic solutions to pollution in all its forms, including carbon dioxide.”

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