Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer MP visits Imperial

Leader of the Labour Party the Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer MP visited the Carbon Capture Pilot Plant as the UN’s Climate Change Conference began.

Sir Keir was hosted by Imperial’s President Professor Hugh Brady, Professor Mary Ryan, Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) and Zero Pollution Lead, Professor Omar Matar, Head of Department, Chemical Engineering, Professor Daryl Williams, Professor of Particle Science and Dr Colin Hale, Senior Teaching Fellow.

Meeting several students from the Department of Chemical Engineering as well as two climate entrepreneurs, Sir Keir saw first-hand how Imperial provides students with the knowledge and skills to lead a Net Zero future.

He visited the Carbon Capture Pilot Plant, the only facility in the world where students learn to operate an industry-like plant stretching over four floors.

Built to the highest industrial standards, the plant is a core part of the training provided to Imperial’s chemical engineers, typifying many of the features that graduates will encounter in the ‘real world’ and demonstrating best practice in capturing and storing harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) before it can be released into the atmosphere – an essential feature in the fight against climate change.

The Imperial students showed Sir Keir how to control the plant during an emergency before taking him on a tour of the plant. Sir Keir then talked to students about their hopes for a ‘green’ future and what they think technological change will mean.

Imperial graduate entrepreneur Julian Ellis-Brown explained how he founded SaltyCo, a materials science company that makes planet-positive textiles with a manufacturing facility located in Scotland. He said: “There is no single solution to the sustainability challenges we’re facing so innovation from young science entrepreneurs is critical, as is investing in innovation and talent in places like Imperial.”

Sir Keir also met Cai Linton, co-founder and CEO of Multus, who are developing a replacement for animal serum used in cultivating meat. Cai said: “Imperial’s Enterprise Lab and the support they offer has been key, from developing our business from an idea to now having a laboratory, offices and a team of 14, based at Imperial’s White City Campus.”

The visit came as COP27, the 2022 UN’s Climate Change Conference, got underway in Egypt.

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London said: “Imperial is on the front lines of the fight against climate change and, as one of the world’s top universities, we have the power to help make a zero-pollution future a reality. Our students, researchers and innovators are united in their commitment to solving this urgent global challenge – delivering evidence-based solutions, developing new technologies, and challenging conventional thinking.

“We were pleased to welcome Sir Keir Starmer to our Carbon Capture Pilot Plant today – the most sophisticated university facility of its kind in the world – where we are training our students with the skills they need to work towards a more sustainable world.”

Imperial is a world-leader in climate change research, driving advances in sustainable energy sources, electric vehicles and fuel cells; tackling water scarcity and ocean plastics; improving air quality; and helping to ensure food security and climate resilience across the world. It goes beyond carbon to consider human-made pollution in all its forms – from oil spills and ocean plastic to toxic air and heavy metals accumulating in our environment.

The College, having committed to becoming a sustainable and net-zero carbon institution by 2040, embeds a commitment to sustainability into all aspects of its work – from its research and education its campus operations and interacts with industry.

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