University of Manchester

Tyndall Manchester has been a Tyndall core partner since the centre’s inception in 2000, during which time it has lead the research themes focusing on energy and climate change. Based in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering and with close affiliation to the Manchester Business School and the School of Environmental, Atmospheric and Earth Sciences, the Tyndall Manchester team includes scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists. 

Tyndall Manchester analyses both the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and the adaptation to climate change impacts. The research programme currently comprises of 20 energy-related projects covering a range of topic areas including: emissions pathways work at a range of scales (e.g.  Wales, UK, Russia and the EU), aviation policy, biomass and biofuels, carbon capture and storage, marine renewables, personal  transport policy, freight, shipping, food supply chains, nuclear energy, personal carbon allowances, industrial heat, carbon trading and carbon labelling.

Within these areas the Centre conducts discrete engineering, scientific and social science research, and synthesises such work to provide an integrated system-level understanding of climate change. This combination of specialised and integrated research has contributed to Tyndall Manchester becoming a valuable resource to the business and policy communities, with Centre researchers regularly requested to contribute to high-level policy debates across all spatial scales, from local and regional through to national and global.

Over the next few years, the Tyndall Manchester research agenda will both continue to address mitigation outside of the EU as well as build on the innovative and highly influential carbon budgeting research.  This work will be expanded in two ways, firstly by looking as new areas such as shipping and secondly by considering emissions accounting from a consumption, rather than production approach. At a more disciplinary level, the Centre will seek to strengthen its climate change modelling, life cycle assessment and economic analysis of both mitigation and adaptation.



Energy and Climate Change

The Tyndall centre is the UK network of excellence for generating sustainable responses to climate change, based on world-class interdisciplinary analysis and innovative forms of stakeholder dialogue In support of this vision, the Centre's three core objectives are:

to seek, evaluate and facilitate sustainable responses to climate change that will minimize its adverse effects and stimulate policy for the transition to a more benign energy and mobility regime;

to develop, demonstrate and apply new methodologies for integrating climate change related knowledge; to promote informed and effective dialogue across society about the options to manage our future climate.

The Tyndall Centre is unique in the UK in undertaking interdisciplinary research in support of sustainable responses to climate change, not only by covering the whole spectrum of geographical, time and human scales, but also by linking research efforts across disciplines in an integrated way.

The Tyndall Manchester team based at the University of Manchester, are leading the Tyndall Centre's research into 'Constructing Energy Futures: What are the pathways to global decarbonisation?' Our research incorporates cultural, political and institutional factors along with technical, economic and scientific analyses, with an emphasis in international decarbonisation over the next 50 years.

We are both developing comprehensive and systems level approaches to decarbonisation both within the UK and within an international framework, working from the level of national energy systems, to carbon intensive sectors, and to the household level and personal behaviour. We listen carefully to business, government and international trade organisations. The current main research areas are:

Assessing the potential for carbon capture and storage in the UK

In Phase 1, the Tyndall Centre funded two CCS projects. The first was a [small pilot project] that compared geological and biological carbon sequestration. This work led to a larger integrative, [collaborative project] that assessed the potential for geological carbon sequestration in the UK.

Aviation emissions and climate policy

Stabilising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at or below 550ppmv is necessary to avoid 'dangerous climate change'. Achieving such levels, demands industrialised nations make significant emissions cuts, whilst emerging economies adopt low-carbon pathways. One proposed approach gaining support for co-ordinating the international effort essential for reducing emissions is contraction and convergence. Tyndall's aviation project aimed to demonstrate the severe consequences for the UK in meeting its obligations to reduce carbon emissions under a contraction and convergence regime, if the UK Government continues to permit, or indeed promote, the current high levels of within its aviation sector. The project revealed the enormous disparity between the UK's position on carbon reduction and the Government's singular inability to seriously recognise and adequately respond to the rapidly escalating emissions from aviation. A comparison of forecasts and scenarios reflecting growing aviation emissions with contraction and convergence profiles clearly illustrates this point. Results show that at an annual growth rate of only half of that experienced by UK aviation in 2004, the UK's aviation sector accounts for 50% of permissible emissions in 2050 under the 550ppmv regime, and consumes the entire carbon budget under the 450ppmv level. Key project conclusions: 1.The UK Government must urgently update its aviation forecasts 2. Without swift action to curtail aviation growth, all the other UK sectors will have to almost completely decarbonise by 2050 to compensate 3. The proposed partial inclusion of aviation within the EU's emissions trading scheme will do little to mitigate carbon emissions 4. Aviation growth must be curbed until sufficient steps are taken to ensure fuel efficiency gains balance growth. The final report is attached below

t3_23.pdf900.41 KB

Avoiding carbon lock-in by industrialising nations

While industrialised nations find it difficult to make effective changes to decarbonize, industrialising countries face the challenges of growing their economies, whilst reducing carbon intensity. We are studying the nature, determinants and methods of avoiding carbon "lock-in" by industrialising nations, by focusing on constraints within a nation's energy system, mechanisms for technology transfer, and the extent for technological "leap-frogging" fossil fuelled electricity.

City scale emissions accounting


  This project will develop a city scale emissions accounting tool that estimates greenhouse gas emissions on the city scale. In conjunction with this, the GRIP scenario tool will be adapted to work on the city scale, with both of these pieces of work being focused on London in the first instance.

Severe and Extreme Weather and its Impact on the UK Fire Service: A Study of the Effect in Four Regions This study investigated the level of vulnerability of the Fire Service in communities as a result of various recent severe and extreme weather events.

Vulnerability, in terms of demand on Fire Service time and resources was then mapped to identify local hotspots during severe weather episodes. The reasons for vulnerability occurring in certain locations were investigated through examining meteorological and environmental factors, as well as the Adaptive Capacity of the response community. The results were used to create descriptive scenarios of future severe/extreme events on the Fire Service.

Study Area: North Yorkshire, North Wales, Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester. Summary poster attached.

DS_poster.pdf2.03 MB

Decarbonising the UK


The Decarbonising the UK scenarios produced by the Tyndall Centre are the first to fully integrate the energy system and include carbon dioxide emissions from land, sea and air transport. The scenarios integrate the perspectives of energy analysts, engineers, economists and social and environmental scientists to provide a whole system understanding of how the UK Government can achieve a 'true' 60% carbon dioxide reduction target by 2050. The Tyndall scenarios clearly illustrate that even a true 60% reduction in the UK's carbon dioxide emissions is technically, socially and economically viable. Read the full report attached below

tyndall_decarbonising_the_uk.pdf1.78 MB

Domestic Tradable Quotas


Personal carbon trading (PCT) schemes are emissions trading schemes under which individuals are holders of emissions rights. Various PCT schemes have been suggested including Domestic Tradable Quotas (DTQs), a scheme proposed in 1996 by David Fleming. Since July 2003, the Tyndall Centre has been assessing DTQs for their feasibility and appropriateness as an instrument of public policy. A new project investigating public attitudes towards PCT started in September 2006. In December 2005, the Tyndall Centre published a major report on Domestic Tradable Quotas (DTQs). Attached below.

t3_22.pdf671.72 KB

Driving low carbon freight


As the global economy expands, imports and exports are one of the fastest growing sectors in emissions, creating a need for practical policy options aiming to reduce the greenhouse gas pollution of this economic sector. We are exploring the carbon implications of international freight by evaluating the consequences of a concerted carbon reduction strategy and assessing the potential if alternatives such as high-speed rail. Our research includes the creation of a global freight carbon emissions database and an evaluation of carbon mitigation options in this sector.

Effective energy and emissions accounting


Aviation and shipping are growth sectors estimated to produce a high proportion of carbon dioxide emissions in industrialised countries during the next decades but are currently not accounted for in national inventories of greenhouse gases. If these emissions are not accounted for, any policies to achieve a concerted greenhouse gas emissions reduction target will be infective because of faulty and incomplete accounting. We are developing a model that enables policy makers to explore implications of an energy system as a whole, or by its components, and to compare it with competing options. We are also refining the energy-carbon scenarios for the UK produced in Tyndall's Phase 1, creating new scenarios for other countries, and producing detailed carbon footprints for energy and transport.

Friends of the Earth 450ppm scenarios



The work carried out for Friends of the Earth involved generating two energy scenarios that paint a picture of the UK's economy in transition from a high to a low-carbon system over a 46-year period (2004-2050). The two scenarios are named Static Mobility and Mobility Plus. Under Static Mobility, the number of passenger kilometres travelled in 2050 is similar to the number travelled today. By contrast, under the Mobility Plus scenario, the numbers of passenger kilometres travelled on land and by air are higher than they are today - twice as high for land-based travel, and three times as high for air travel.

The report concludes that we must act with a matter of urgency to curb dramatically our carbon emissions if a 450ppmv future is to be possible. Furthermore, it is an act either of negligence or irresponsibility for policymakers to continually refer to a 2050 target as the key driver in addressing climate change. The real challenge we face is in directing society towards a low-carbon pathway by 2010-12, and thereafter driving down carbon intensity at an unprecedented 9% per annum (6% per annum in terms of absolute carbon emissions), for the following two decades.

Friends of the Earth Aviation Report


The Friends of the Earth aviation report produced scenarios of EU aviation emissions that were based on historical trends and influenced by current growth rates and aviation industry forecasts into the future. The scenarios also considered the likely technological and managerial opportunities for improving aircraft fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. The scenarios were compared with the carbon reduction trajectories produced by the Global Commons Institute's Contraction and Convergence model for stabilising carbon dioxide at both 450ppmv and 550ppmv. The results indicate that the current very high levels of growth being seen within the EU's aviation industries can not be reconciled with a world striving to significantly curtail carbon dioxide emissions. The final report is attached below

FOE_aviation.pdf1.51 MB

Investigating the potential of using a biomass gasifier to power small-scale fuel cell combined heat and power systems


The overall aim of this project is to design a bioenergy system (consisting of a biomass gasifier and fuel cell in a combined heat and power system) that can be used to provide rural and urban fringe communities with heat and electricity. The choice of rural and urban-fringe locations is so that the biomass can be grown locally and thereby reduce the need for transport with its associated pollution and costs. The bioenergy system considered is for relatively small scale application where all or most of the processing is done on site, either as a residential appliance or a small power plant that will supply a rural community, hospital or school.

Reducing the demand for aviation


Aviation is the fastest growing sector of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and the government faces the challenge of reducing the growth emissions in a market with increasing demand for flying. We are exploring the social norms and standards of aviation practice; how availability of flight routes creates demand for consumers to travel; the role of the media; and the influence of dispersed networks of friends and peers. We aim to explore ideas for new effective policies and instruments.

Regional Scale Emissions


This project developed a new methodology for estimating emissions on the regional scale and applied this to the North West Region of the UK, including a user friendly scenario tool that can be used in scenario generation exercises to quantify in real time the consequences of different regional future energy mixes in terms of Carbon Dioxide emissions, energy efficiency & intensity requirements. A project overview can be found here.

Understanding public and stakeholder opposition and support of new and emerging renewable energy technologies This project is mapping the various perceptions of bio, wave and tidal energy technologies as they develop and considering the wider values and worldviews that underpin such perceptions.

It is part of the Supergen project. Investigating greenhouse gas offsets for the UK aviation industry The aim of this project is to investigate greenhouse gas offsets for the UK aviation industry, examining the scale, technical and procedural developments required for offsets, to accommodate climate-neutral growth for UK aviation to 2050.

The objectives are to: To examine the ecological, socio-economic and institutional performance of current GHG offset strategies implemented in the private sector and through the UNFCC ( Clean Development Mechanism, CDM, and Joint Implementation, JI), including biological sequestration, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

To construct a number of discrete growth and offset scenarios for the European aviation industry, to minimise contribution to anthropogenic climate change. Quantitatively and qualitatively describe the scale, land take, geographical locations, costs and administrative mechanisms.

Define standards to eliminate perverse outcomes, ecological and socio-economic disbenefits.

To assess the plausibility, acceptability and consequences of each scenario through multi-criteria assessment, stakeholder interviews and limited elasticity modelling.

Studying carbon reduction instruments for individuals


The proposed use of carbon reduction schemes such as Domestic Tradable Quotas, carbon taxes, or an extension of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, could effectively help to achieve strict carbon emissions reduction targets for the UK. However, they raise issues such as their fairness to people on lower incomes, set-up and running costs, and implementation problems such as eligibility, public acceptability, and technological and administrative feasibility. We are using econometric modelling on existing qualitative work to study whether these personal economic instruments are suitable to achieve strict national carbon targets in both the UK and abroad.



Supergen is a nationally-funded programme of research into sustainable power generation and supply. Researchers work in consortia: multidisciplinary partnerships between industry and universities, which are intended to promote interaction, generation of new ideas and transfer of research results, as well as significant step changes in power supply. Tyndall Manchester is involved in the Biomass and Bioenergy Consortium, overseeing research into the opinions of the public and stakeholders on bioenergy powerplants and scenarios, and undertaking extended life cycle analyses of bioenergy systems. Summary of Supergen at Tyndall Manchester attached below

supergen_summary2006.pdf185.88 KB



Thermalnet is a European network for biomass pyrolysis, gasification and combustion, funded through Altener in the Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme operated by DG TREN. The network addresses 15 different tasks, drawing on the knowledge of nominated experts across the European Community and accession countries. A task addressing non-technical barriers to bioenergy implementation is led by Patricia Thornley at University of Manchester, supported by Wolter Prins of BTG in the Netherlands.

UK Carbon Capture and Storage Consortium


The UK carbon capture and storage consortium (UKCCSC) is funded by the UK research councils under the TSEC initiative with the aim of facilitating the delivery of viable, large-scale carbon capture and storage options for the UK. The UKCCSC is a consortium of engineering, technical, natural, environmental and social scientists from fourteen UK research institutions.

The consortium is funded by the UK research councils under the TSEC initiative with the aim of rapidly expanding UK research capacity into CCS, and facilitating the delivery of viable, large-scale carbon capture and storage options for the UK.

The work of the UKCCSC is sub-divided into eight themes:

Theme A: CO2 capture, transport, usage

Theme B: Geological storage

Theme C: CCS & the environment

Theme D: Social processes

Theme E: Geographic information (GIS)

Theme F: Dissemination

Theme G: Modelling

Theme H: Dynamic Pathways Researchers at Tyndall Manchester are contributing to two of the above themes: Clair Gough is leading Theme H: Dynamic Pathways, and Sarah Mander is leading a project exploring media framing of CCS, under Theme D: Social Processes. Dynamic Pathways (H) There are three main objectives guiding this theme:

1.To gain a better understanding of the key uncertainties / controversies associated with CCS technologies

2.To identify key challenges / barriers to / conditions for the implementation of CCS in the UK

3. To build up pathways describing possible routes for CCS deployment in the UK, based on the results of 1 and 2.

An online Delphi survey has been developed in order to gather information and opinion from a broad variety of stakeholders. The survey is structured around questions on: the UK landscape, Capture and Engineering, CO2 transport, Storage, Leakage, Costs, Regulation, International context. Through this, we hope to gain insight into the level of agreement amongst expert individuals but also some indication of the perceptions of individuals engaged in the CCS debate in key issues beyond their specific area of expertise. Media Framing of CCS (D1) While there is ongoing work in public perceptions, and, to a lesser extent, in assessing NGO and industry perceptions, the role of the media has received scant attention.

The way in which the media report any new technology can radically affect the success of its implementation - how it is received by the public and other stakeholders as well as decision-makers in government and business. This work package aims to understand how media representatives perceive CCS within the broader energy and environmental debate, the process that affect these perceptions and the key risk issues that journalists may seize upon.

We will also explore the impact of the media framing of CCS upon public and stakeholder perceptions of the technology. Material from content analysis of newspapers will form the basis of structured workshops conducted in two different UK regions that will be affected by the adoption of CCS. The workshops will explore how different styles of reporting impact upon the responses of the NGO community to the technology. Interviews will also be conducted with local press, high level print and broadcast media representatives to understand how a new technology, such as CCS, emerges into the media spotlight.

How to find us (Manchester)

Tyndall Centre Manchester

Pariser Building
University of Manchester,
M13 9PL
tel: +44 (0)161 306 3700

fax: +44 (0)161 306 3255

If you are using sat nav or Google maps our postal address will take you to the wrong side of the University! Please use the north campus postcode M1 3NL