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Research Themes

Our research is framed within concepts of sustainable, ethical and appropriate options for a clean and just energy transition. In each of our research themes we unlock synergies between disciplines and sectors, and by applying new and integrated perspectives to existing and emerging energy challenges, we produce major insights into the complexities of transitioning to a low-carbon living and how these transitions can be ethically managed.

Theme 1: Clean and Just Transitions

Our research is focused on delivering a clean, just and socially inclusive energy transition. We take an integrated approach to the social and material conditions for changing energy practices, continually striving to understand how energy system transitions affect different groups to ensure that no one is left behind. 

Theme 2: Sustainable Power Generation and Storage

DEI's research is delivering improvements to existing renewable technologies, ensuring that offshore wind, solar, bio-energy and conventional power can generate more economically, reliably and at multiple scales, and developing new energy sources and technologies, driving research into novel high-efficiency energy designs, nuclear fusion and energy storage to help to make a zero-carbon future a reality.

Theme 3: Decarbonising Heating and Cooling

DEI aims to embed thermal energy systems research at the heart of international efforts tot tackle the challenge of achieving net-zero. Our research expertise includes geothermal energy, hydrogen for heating, integrated combined heating, cooling and power systems, thermal energy storage and solar thermal systems. 

Theme 4: Energy Infrastructure and Systems

Durham Energy Institute is a world leader in energy systems research, attracting researchers, partners and funding from across the globe. Our state of the art Thermochemical Systems, Zero-Carbon Energy Systems, Hydrogen and Smart Grids Laboratories provides researchers and industry partners’ access to the latest research and analysis facilities to develop efficiency and smarter energy systems.

Theme 5: Resource Politics, Energy Materials and Waste

Our research addresses key issues around the geopolitics of resources and critical minerals, challenges exploitative practices, and considers life-cycle sustainability. Our research develops and improves materials for energy technologies such as photovoltaics, methods for exploration of natural hydrogen and helium, and addresses issues of waste materials and greenhouse gases through technologies such as CCS. 

Theme 6: Decarbonising Transport

DEI's research in the decarbonisation addresses all aspects of the transport system, including electric vehicles, hydrogen for road transport, the decarbonisation of the marine sector, low and zero carbon trains and more efficient and sustainable aviation. 

Theme 7: Energy Policy, Law and Regulation

Achieving decarbonisation requires changes to policy, regulation and law. DEI leads research on UK and global systems for the energy transition. Our research covers justice in energy law, offshore renewables and law, climate change litigation, regional and national energy planning and international climate policy.