Research impact - Reducing carbon emissions

Karen Baxter

A case study submitted to the Research Excellence Framework 2014 demonstrating the impact of the University's research.

New technology developed at Kent could play a major role in the global challenge of tackling climate change. It was used to help Drax, the largest power station in the UK, move from firing coal to a combination of biomass and coal, as it sought to halve its carbon footprint within five years.

Based on new instrumentation, the technology allows the engineers to diagnose the combustion process and optimise the operation of coal, biomass and heavy-oil-fired power plants. It has been applied in countries including the UK, France, China and Saudi Arabia, and is likely to have the greatest impact in countries such as China, where up to 70% of energy is generated from coal-fired power plants.

The research was conducted by Professor Yong Yan, Dr Gang Lu, Dr Peter Lee and Clive Birch of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 showed that Kent ranks 17th in the UK for research intensity, has world-leading research in all subjects and that 97% of our research is deemed to be of international quality.

Contributing to the University’s REF success were the number of our world class publications, the number of research active staff and the demonstrable impact our research has made to the sciences and to economic, social and cultural understanding.