Professor Matthew Leach

Professor of Energy & Environmental Systems
+44 (0)1483 689170
08 BA 02
(I only come to campus occasionally as I work part-time. Please email me)

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.


My qualifications

PhD, Energy Policy
Imperial College London
MSc Environmental Technology (Energy Policy option)
Imperial College London
BEng Mechanical Engineering
University of Southampton

Previous roles

1995 - 2007
Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the Energy Policy Option of the MSc in Environmental Technology
Imperial College London, Centre for Environmental Policy


Research interests

Research collaborations


Postgraduate research supervision

My teaching

My publications


This study focuses on British Sustainability-inspired Business Startups (SiBS) from two sectors of the creative industry: fashion clothing and gifts. These two sectors are some of those that motivate most entrepreneurship, by using distinct elements of business models to attract their consumers. While price and style have led consumers to look for products with short lifespans, reducing sustainability impact is a growing concern in the fashion clothing and gifts sectors, what motivates some sustainable initiatives to be taken in place. However, although some sustainable initiatives have emerged, there is no clear understanding of how they are based in the business drivers or in the business models, and if these initiatives are contributing to startups to succeed. This research aims to provide new understanding of the role of sustainability in the business startups from the fashion clothing and gifts sectors which offer manufactured green products. In order to narrow the presenting study, specific research questions are: What are the drivers of SiBS and do they differ from generic-mainstream startups? What business models are adopted by SiBS, how and why? and What are the factors affecting the longevity of the startups investigated and why? Case study method was chosen to allow in-depth investigation and analyses of multiple variables in each startup investigated. Then, qualitative data from each startup was collected by different sources: interviews, direct observation and documentation. The use of multiple sources of evidence allowed triangulation between data collected. Fifteen British startups were examined, covering generic-mainstream and SiBS, business lifetimes up to ten years, and two sectors in the experimental group (fashion clothing, with four startups; and gifts, with six startups) and one sector in the control group (energy, with five startups). Data analysis consisted of within-case study and multi-case study. In-depth investigation provided richness of information from each startup and the identification of similarities and differences between groups of startups investigated. Accordingly, the findings of this research suggest that: Regarding business drivers, startups in the gifts and fashion clothing sectors are more motivated by lifestyle and less motivated by money than energy firms; Also, SiBS are driven by the founder’s motivation when aiming to incorporate sustainability aspects into their business activities, while generic- mainstream startups are driven by money with focus on profits; Regarding business models, iii SiBS prioritise environmental and social issues as main elements of their business models; Furthermore, business models do not really change throughout the growth of startups; Regarding business longevity, most startups in the gifts and fashion clothing sectors do not have clear financial strategies but this is commonly clear in the energy firms. Important differences in outlook between different groups and types of business startups (generic-mainstream and SiBS) investigated in this study lead to the conclusion that: The awareness of two financial aspects (financial literacy and financial importance) provide an opportunity to increase chances of success in the early days of SiBS; The dissemination of the types of business models innovation for sustainability may motivate the development of more sustainable practices into the SiBS operations; And the emphasis on sustainability in business startups, either as through the business drivers or the business models adopted, is a central and long-term strategy that may increase the significance, the number and the importance of SiBS.
Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Jane Glover, David Bradley, Kourosh Behzadian, Alma Lopez-Aviles, Julian Cottee, Clare Downing, John Ingram, Matthew Leach, Raziyeh Farmani, David Butler, Andy Pike, Lisa De Propris, Laura Purvis, Pamela Robinson, Aidong Yang Re-distributed manufacturing and the food-water-energy nexus: Opportunities and challenges, In: Production Planning & Control Taylor & Francis
Addressing the intersection of two important emerging research areas, re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) and the food-energy-water (FEW) nexus, this work combines insights from engineering, business and policy perspectives and explores opportunities and challenges towards a more localised and sustainable food system. Analysis centred on two specific food products, namely bread and tomato paste reveals that the feasibility and potential of RDM vary with the type of food product and the supply chain (SC) components. Physically, energy efficiency, water consumption and reduction of waste and carbon footprint may be affected by scale and location of production activities and potentials of industrial symbiosis. From the business perspective, novel products, new markets and new business models are expected in order for food RDM to penetrate within the established food industry. Studies on policies, through the lens of public procurement, call for solid evidence of envisioned environmental, social and economic benefits of a more localised food system. An initial integrated framework is proposed for understanding and assessing food RDM and the FEW nexus
J Cottee, A Lopez-Aviles, K Behzadian, D Bradley, D Butler, C Downing, R Farmani, J Ingram, M Leach, A Pike, L De Propris, L Purvis, P Robinson, A Yang (2016)The Local Nexus Network: Exploring the Future of Localised Food Systems and Associated Energy and Water Supply, In: Sustainable Design and Manufacturing 2016 (Smart Innovation Systems and Technologies). Special Volumepp. 613-624 Springer
This volumes consists of 59 peer-reviewed papers, presented at the International Conference on Sustainable Design and Manufacturing (SDM-16) held in Chania, Crete Greece in April 2016. Leading-edge research into sustainable design and manufacturing aims to enable the manufacturing industry to grow by adopting more advanced technologies, and at the same time improve its sustainability by reducing its environmental impact. SDM-16 covers a wide range of topics from sustainable product design and service innovation, sustainable process and technology for the manufacturing of sustainable products, sustainable manufacturing systems and enterprises, decision support for sustainability, and the study of societal impact of sustainability including research for circular economy. Application areas are wide and varied. The book will provide an excellent overview of the latest research and development in the area of Sustainable Design and Manufacturing.
There are narratives based on qualitative and quantitative data that describe the West African Power Sector as very inefficient. In the context of electricity distribution, companies are usually tagged inefficient with various stakeholders justifying that with various analyses, statistics and narratives. Empirical studies establishing such assertions are rather absent or lack a holistic measuring approach. In this work, the acknowledgement of the importance of bench-marking in electricity market regulation is made with the need to further estimate a baseline cost efficiency of the electricity distribution sector of West Africa demonstrated. The aim of this research is to do efficiency studies on the electricity distribution sector of West Africa to comprehend the current state of electricity distribution as well as to understand the underlying causes of inefficiency. Three themes are covered in this thesis. The first theme investigates the theoretical concepts of measuring efficiency and contributes to a longstanding debate regarding the preferred choice of statistical distribution underlying the inefficiency term in the stochastic frontier approach. In this regard, the Burr Type X stochastic frontier model is constructed and tested against other existing models including Normal-Half Normal, Normal- Exponential and Normal-Rayleigh stochastic models. The investigation presents the newly constructed Burr X stochastic frontier model as one that competes with the other models when using cross-sectional data. In the second theme, cost efficiencies are estimated from an unbalanced panel of 14 electricity distribution companies over the period of 2007-2014 using several panel data models including the pooled model, Pitt & Lee model, true random effects model and true fixed effects model. The results suggest that the EDCs in the West African region operate at an average efficiency level of 52% (pooled normal-Half normal estimate) which appears to validate the perception of many stakeholders. The Nigerian EDCs have a mean inefficiency level of 51% which is the worst among the sub groups considered. The East African comparator (KPEDC in Kenya) recorded an efficiency level of 63% and was outperformed by some West African EDCs. The results demanded an investigation into the underlying reasons for such high inefficiencies in the West African sub-region considering that the sector has experienced significant reform and investment efforts. In the third theme, using the Electricity Company of Ghana as a case, a Political Economy Analysis (PEA) framework which has the capability of discovering reform opposition and the associated political and economic incentives that unearths informal rules in the industry was employed. Our findings suggest a plethora of possibilities that are encompassed in political and cultural characteristics of consumers, management and political stakeholders who assume overwhelming powers to further influence the governance of the power industry. Perceived inefficiency drivers seem to emanate from financial mismanagement, cultural and attitudinal forces, unsatisfactory regulation, mismanagement of third party contractors, procurements lapses and others. Privatisation seems to be the way forward according to the views of many stakeholders but there are issues surrounding the fear of high cost of electricity as well as downsizing of the utility that could bring hardship to the staff who will be included in such a programme.
The potential for generating renewable electricity from palm oil mill residues (POMR) has received policy support from the Malaysian Government for almost two decades. However, uptake of the technology is still relatively low. A significant issue dominating the discussion for many years is how to translate the renewable electricity generation potential from POMR into actual implementation. The research seeks to understand the opportunities and barriers for the use of POMR for a Renewable Electricity System (POMR-RES) in Peninsular Malaysia by assessing the technical, techno-economic and environmental feasibility of generating renewable electricity from palm oil mill residues focusing mainly on empty fruit bunches (EFB) and biogas. A combination of mathematical analysis and simulation using Aspen PlusTM software was employed to assess the technical feasibility of the system. Techno-economic analysis was combined with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to integrate the environmental impact perspective into the POMR-RES evaluation. The results show that EFB has better technical and techno-economic performance than the biogas. Furthermore, the on-site POMR-RES with an installed capacity of 5.70 MW or greater is technically feasible, economically viable and environmentally favourable. The electricity generated from a POMR-RES of this scale is sufficient to meet a mill’s operational electricity demand, the parasitic load of the POMR-RES and provide surplus electricity to the national grid. An economically feasible size POMR-RES are expected to provide: 1. a 20% return on investment (ROI) with five to seven-year payback period (PP). 2. a positive net present value (NPV) with break-even point (BEP) of five to seven-year. The electricity generated in POMR-RES emits 95% less GHG emissions compared with current Malaysian electricity grid average when the emission from LUC is excluded from the electricity generation process. Thirty-five mills in Peninsular Malaysia were identified as having sufficient EFB supply to operate at or above this economically feasible size with the total accumulated generation capacity of 200 MW. This accumulated capacity would account for 25% of the 2020 target for palm oil biomass under National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan. This research provides a positive case for generating local, renewable electricity from EFB that can be used as evidence and practical recommendations for various actors such as prospective investors, analysts, stakeholders, mill owners and policymakers and government agencies such as the Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA) for efficient and sustainable utilization of POMR. This study also makes a positive contribution towards achieving the national renewable energy target for additional renewable power supplies and as a contribution towards improved global sustainability.
This thesis investigates factors affecting demand for heat pumps in the residential sector in England and Wales. There are three objectives: to identify the macroeconomic and sociodemographic factors, environmental aspects, climatic conditions and policies that led to the mass deployment of heat pumps in other European countries; to assess the optimal level of heat pump adoption from a societal perspective taking account of environmental externalities; and to identify policies that could result in the mass-market deployment of heat pumps in the UK. Following reviews of studies on consumer preferences for heating systems, and markets and policies to promote heat pumps in eight European countries, two quantitative approaches are followed. The first is an econometric model based on panel data which estimates the impact of macroeconomic, sociodemographic and environmental factors on the demand for heat pumps in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The role played by three types of policies, financial/fiscal, informative and legislative, is investigated. These are found to have been significant factors in promoting heat pump take-up. A bottom-up techno-economic model simulating the choice of heating systems in the existing housing stock in England and Wales is then developed and is used to assess optimal heat pump take-up and policies that might promote their adoption. Capital cost subsidies, used in most European countries, are considered alongside the Renewable Heat Incentive approach adopted in the UK. The implications of adding the policy costs of support for renewable energy and energy efficiency to electricity prices, tilting the market against electric technologies, are also considered. The thesis concludes that financial incentives are needed to build heat pump markets, but they are not enough in themselves. Building supply chains, driving down costs and improving the performance of heat pumps are also essential.
Evidence demonstrates that tackling indoor overheating is a key priority within the context of climate change adaptation, particularly for residential buildings, whose occupants are more likely to be highly exposed and vulnerable to it. The overarching aim of the research is to provide guidance for building designers on how to minimise the overheating risk of new residential buildings in the UK, to ensure these can be capable of maintaining thermal comfort in a changing climate. The first part of the research involved using two case studies to explore different aspects of the problem. A climate change adaptation study explored and assessed measures for future-proofing an extra-care scheme in the north of England, highlighting the importance of early-stage analysis and client’s engagement through effective communication. A post-occupancy study on a new social housing development helped to gain an understanding of the role of building occupants in perceiving and acting upon overheating, and emphasised discrepancies between design predictions and actual in-use performance. In the second part of the research, the development a Rapid Overheating ASSessment Tool is presented, seeking to encourage practitioners to appropriately consider thermal comfort in a changing climate, by providing rapid feedback on the overheating risk associated with the early-stage design decisions. The focus is on flats in multi-storey buildings located in London. An overheating risk database was populated with the results of a large number of parametric dynamic thermal simulations, which included iterative variations of design aspects corresponding to known over-heating risk factors. Statistical meta-models were developed by means of alternative regression techniques, allowing to quantify the relative importance of each risk factor and make ‘good-enough’ predictions with input available at the early-design stages. Finally, the work to develop two types of user interface is presented, with the goal of allowing relevant and meaningful information to be extracted from the engine of the tool by its prospective users.
As the UK moves towards a low carbon electrified economy, household level generation of renewable energy will play a key part in reducing peak demand. A knowledge gap remains concerning manual demand shifts that are made as a response to household level microgeneration. This thesis looks at household practices that are manually shifted by the householder to align with the production of self-generated energy and employs a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out on a sample of 34 households. This thesis argues that a moment of material change occurs when households supplement their grid energy supply with self-generated renewable energy and pursues an approach informed by social practice theory to explore the resulting changes in household practices. It takes a stance that recognises that household energy consumption practices are interwoven: rather than considering distinct individual practices, a wider approach is taken looking at clusters or bundles of practices to enable a more effective exploration of the flexibility within the timing of practices. Whilst this in itself is not a new concept and aligns with the approach of the majority of contemporary practice thought, the novel element of this research is that it uses this approach to consider changes in practice catalysed by the introduction of renewable energy in the household. Results are presented in terms of how differing levels and patterns of occupancy interact with household practices and energy use. Collective practices and high numbers of fundamental anchor points add to the perception of householders feeling that they are time-squeezed. In contrast, high levels of occupancy increase the time available to the householder to perform energy related practices and thus the feeling of time-squeeze is reduced. In terms of flexibility of clusters of practices, results align with contemporary research: domestic cleaning practices have higher levels of flexibility. The most frequent adaptation seen was the time shifting of laundry practices to coordinate with times of abundant renewable energy supply. Population heterogeneity means that conclusions cannot be drawn too widely beyond the sample population, however results are explored in a more generalised context of policy and possible implications against the background of the move towards an electrified economy.
Driven by increased urbanisation, construction of buildings and infrastructure continues to grow worldwide, further exacerbating the social and environmental impacts created by this sector. Large scale projects, requiring thousands of component parts and globally sourced materials, flow across supply networks to construct built assets. Embodied within these supply networks are minerals, energy, water, labour, waste, modern slavery and other human rights abuses. This thesis focuses on the UK construction industry and the ability of the main contractor, a key procurer of materials and manager of the build process, to affect the sustainability of the final asset. This research is case study based on unprecedented access to staff and key suppliers of a major UK main contractor, Carillion plc. The work is an holistic approach to sustainability, incorporating both social and environmental lifecycle thinking, sustainable supply chain theory, and the fields of stakeholder and collaborative working. Applying grounded theory methodology, four major themes emerge from this inductive research; fragmentation, the role of focal nodes, inter- and intra-company collaboration and knowledge of sustainability. Set within the context of a lifecycle perspective they define the ability of the main contractor to directly implement or influence sustainable build. The research develops theory uniting economic equity, network actor perspective and life stage impacts. The findings demonstrate that operating within current unsustainable business models the main contractor can only play a bit role. Additionally, it provides the basis for recommendations on business model, policy and process change.
Abstract There is a wide diversity of approaches towards the inclusion and use of corporate sustainability concepts and practices across sectors and countries. This thesis explores and analyses corporate approaches towards sustainability in the Thai natural rubber industry, arguably different to approaches in developed countries. Specifically, the thesis identifies sustainability challenges in the Thai natural rubber processing industry; examines sustainability strategies employed by rubber processing firms; and analyses corporate sustainability activities in the industry. Empirical data was collected from multiple sources including in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, a regional questionnaire survey and case study analyses to allow a deeper investigation of practices and strategies at sectoral and firm levels of industry. The analysis makes three key findings and contributions. First, the research suggests that sustainability is a substantial challenge for the industry due to the complexity of sustainability related factors and their linkages. It was found that the economic climate, a lack of technology development, environmental problems, and impacts on local community are the major concerns. These findings extend the limited evidence base on sustainability challenges for the industry, in particular stakeholders’ point of view. Second, the research indicates that there are four distinct strategic approaches among the Thai natural rubber processing firms responding to sustainability challenges and provides an outline of the key features of these sustainability strategies. These strategies are important to validate and compare existing typologies of sustainability strategy in the corporate sustainability literature. They also contribute to a better understanding of corporate strategic decisions towards sustainability in Thailand and probably beyond. Finally, the analysis suggests that the main motives to pursue corporate sustainability activities are not shaped by economic but institutional and normative factors. The most adopted activity patterns can be classified into environmental management, community involvement and employee engagement. This confirms the influence of local community and relative importance of local issues. It also sheds light on the role of business in the community and the social purpose of the companies.
Long Seng To, Vikram Seebaluck, Matthew Leach (2017)Future energy transitions for bagasse cogeneration: Lessons from multi-level and policy innovations in Mauritius, In: Energy Research & Social Science35pp. 68-77 Elsevier
Agro-industries have the potential to catalyse energy access and promote development. Mauritius is one of the most advanced countries in the use of waste from sugar processing (bagasse) to simultaneously generate heat and electricity (cogeneration) to feed into the grid, but developments have evolved over several decades with complex dynamics between different actors. A multi-level perspective is used in this paper to examine this process and to extract policy lessons for other countries. The analysis shows how policies influenced the development of the bagasse cogeneration niche and changes in the sugar and energy regimes over time. The formation of independent power producers, centralisation of sugar mills, the use of a complementary fuel (coal) in the off-crop season, and targeted financial incentives were important for the development of bagasse cogeneration in Mauritius. Mauritian sugar mills are at the forefront of niche technological and organisational innovations in response to recent reduction in sugar prices. The country has been able to respond to changes and manage niche innovations strategically due to the deployment of finance, technical expertise and strong governance structures which enabled the government to coordinate with industry. Therefore, local capacity and institutional context are important for managing transitions towards sustainable energy.
R Gross, P Heptonstall, M Leach, J Skea, D Anderson, T Green (2012)The uk energy research centre review of the costs and impacts of intermittencypp. 73-94
L Exarchakos, M Leach (2006)Electricity storage and demand-side management: Is their co-existence possible?, In: Proceedings of the Sixth IASTED International Conference on European Power and Energy Systemspp. 207-212 ACTA PRESS ANAHEIM
Peter Bradley, Shane Fudge, Matthew Leach (2018)Smart metering and Employee Environmental Behaviour- the role of social norms, In: Research Handbook on Employee Pro-Environmental Behaviour Edward Elgar Publishing
Around the world there is strong interest in the use of energy feedback via smart metering technology as an option for businesses to reduce their energy use and mitigate greenhouse gases (GHGs). In order to bring about such energy reductions in this way, the feedback provided needs to motivate changes in energy behaviours and practices within organisations. The chapter explores the impact of a real-life smart metering intervention and its impact on the emergence and diffusion of energy-related social norms and the link between these and energy use. The chapter begins by looking at early organisation and energy conservation studies (mainly feedback-based), before moving on to organisational and social norms studies, and concluding with those most relevant to the current chapter. We first briefly define what we mean by social norms. Cialdini et al. (1991) argue that social norms can be defined as either injunctive (characterised by perception of what most people approve or disapprove of) or descriptive (characterised by what most people do). According to this argument, injunctive norms incentivise action by promising social rewards and punishments (informal sanctions) for it (and therefore enjoin behaviour). According to Cialdini et al. (1991) these constitute the moral rules of a group. Descriptive norms on the other hand, inform behaviour, and incentivise action, by providing evidence of what are likely to be effective and adaptive steps to take based on what others do (Cialdini et al. 1991). The ‘focus theory’ of Cialdini et al. (1991) stipulates that this differentiation of social norms is critical to a full understanding of their influence on human behaviour.
N Bergman, A Hawkes, DJL Brett, P Baker, J Barton, R Blanchard, NP Brandon, D Infield, C Jardine, N Kelly, M Leach, M Matian, AD Peacock, I Staffell, S Sudtharalingam, B Woodman (2009)UK microgeneration. Part I: Policy and behavioural aspects, In: Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Energy162(1)pp. 23-36
J Skea, D Anderson, T Green, R Gross, P Heptonstall, M Leach (2008)Intermittent renewable generation and the cost of maintaining power system reliability, In: IET Generation, Transmission and Distribution2(1)pp. 82-89
M Leach, S Deshmukh, D Ogunkunle (2014)Pathways to decarbonising urban systemspp. 191-208
J Hong, C Johnstone, J Torriti, M Leach (2012)Discrete demand side control performance under dynamic building simulation: a heat pump application, In: Renewable Energy39(1)pp. 85-95 Elsevier
This study presents the findings of applying a Discrete Demand Side Control (DDSC) approach to the space heating of two case study buildings. High and low tolerance scenarios are implemented on the space heating controller to assess the impact of DDSC upon buildings with different thermal capacitances, light-weight and heavy-weight construction. Space heating is provided by an electric heat pump powered from a wind turbine, with a back-up electrical network connection in the event of insufficient wind being available when a demand occurs. Findings highlight that thermal comfort is maintained within an acceptable range while the DDSC controller maintains the demand/supply balance. Whilst it is noted that energy demand increases slightly, as this is mostly supplied from the wind turbine, this is of little significance and hence a reduction in operating costs and carbon emissions is still attained.
J Sadhukhan, Y Zhao, M Leach, NP Brandon, N Shah (2010)Energy Integration and Analysis of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Based Microcombined Heat and Power Systems and Other Renewable Systems Using Biomass Waste Derived Syngas, In: INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH49(22)pp. 11506-11516 AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Meron Tesfamichael, Clifford Bastille, Matthew Leach (2019)Eager to connect, cautious to consume: An integrated view of the drivers and motivations for electricity consumption among rural households in Kenya, In: Energy Research & Social Science Elsevier
In the last ten years, electrification in Kenya has proceeded at an astonishing rate. Notwithstanding this feat, household electricity consumption, particularly in rural areas, remains significantly low. Thus, stimulating demand and sustainable consumption are the next critical challenges policymakers face. In this paper, we present a case study of an electrification project that targets workers’ housing inside a commercial tea estate. We use Energy Cultures framework to analyse what motivates and constrains household electricity consumption in rural Kenya. Our findings show that although people give significant consideration to cost, money is not the only determinant. Electricity is desired to the extent that it enables families to carry out socially desirable activities, while service is measured against expectations and aspirations. Although access to the grid influences households’ perceptions of wellbeing, their status as migrant workers has a constraining effect on how they consume electricity. Empowered by technology, households are also increasingly taking charge in shaping their own distinct energy cultures. However, for the most part, this involves finding new ways to reproduce and sustain a way of life that is consistent with their belief systems. Seeing households as embodiments of lifestyles whose energy culture is shaped by their on-going interactions with their physical and social environments, the paper argues for an integrated approach to policy and programmatic interventions.
R Gross, M Leach, A Bauen (2003)Progress in renewable energy, In: ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL29(1)PII S0160-pp. 105-122 PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
AD Hawkes, MA Leach (2008)The capacity credit of micro-combined heat and power, In: ENERGY POLICY36(4)pp. 1457-1469 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Paul D Jensen, Lauren Basson, Matthew Leach (2011)Reinterpreting Industrial Ecology, In: Journal of Industrial Ecology15(5)pp. 680-692 Wiley
This article argues that industrial ecology has, to date, largely engaged with the ecological sciences at a superficial level, which has both attracted criticism of the field and limited its practical application for sustainable industrial development. On the basis of an analysis of the principle of succession, the role of waste, and the concept of diversity, the article highlights some of the key misconceptions that have resulted from the superficial engagement with the science of ecology. It is argued that industrial ecology should not be seen as a metaphor for industrial development; industrial ecology is the ecology of industry and should be studied as such. There are manifold general principles of ecology that underpin our understanding of the world; however, the physical manifestation and causal effects of these principles are particular to the system and its constituent elements under analysis. It is thus proposed that context-specific observation and analysis of industry are required before theoretical and practical advancement of the field can be achieved.
TJ Foxon, M Leach, D Butler, J Dawes, D Hutchinson, P Pearson, D Rose (1999)Useful indicators of urban sustainability: Some methodological issues, In: Local Environment4(2)pp. 137-149
This paper considers methodological questions concerning indicators of sustainability, which have arisen in the course of an EPSRC-supported project investigating a systems approach to assessing the sustainability of cities. The project aimed: (a) to develop a methodology, the Reference Sustainability System (RSS), for representing the energy, resource and material flows, on which the environmental sustainability of cities depends; (b) to show how this methodology could contribute to a more systematic assessment of the potential of technological and resource management strategies to enhance urban sustainability. Systems models of the material or resource flows caused by the household demand for paper, energy, water and bottled water have been constructed. The project has highlighted the complexity of assessing the contributions of specific technologies and strategies to enhanced sustainability. Particular issues raised include the relative merits and problems of using externality valuation methods compared to physical indicators, the difficulties of aggregating environmental impacts, the question of where system boundaries should be drawn in a life cycle analysis, and the need to consider both distant and local impacts which arise from the end-use demands of urban populations. The paper explores these issues, through the use of modelling results from the case studies. Particular emphasis is placed on the communication of research results to policy makers, interested organisations and the public, drawing on recent experience with the dissemination of results from the project's first case study relating to waste-paper management options.
D Hart, MA Leach, A Bauen, R Fouquet, P Pearson (2000)Methanol infrastructure - will it affect the introduction of SPFC vehicles?, In: Journal of Power Sources86(1-2)pp. 542-547 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
A Hawkes, M Leach (2005)Impacts of temporal precision in optimisation modelling of micro-combined heat and power, In: ENERGY30(10)pp. 1759-1779 PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
PD Jensen, L Basson, E Hellawell, MR Bailey, M Leach (2011)Quantifying ‘geographic proximity’: Experiences from the United Kingdom's National Industrial Symbiosis Programme, In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling55(7)pp. 703-712 Elsevier
Geographic proximity is said to be a key characteristic of the resource reuse and recycling practice known as industrial symbiosis. To date, however, proximity of symbiont companies has remained an abstract characteristic. By conducting a statistical analysis of synergies facilitated by the United Kingdom's National Industrial Symbiosis Programme during their first five years of operation, this article attempts to quantify geographic proximity and in the process provide practitioners with an insight into the movement trends of different waste streams. Among other it was found that the median distance materials travelled within a symbiotic relationship is 20.4 miles. It is argued that quantitative information of this form is of practical value for the effective deployment of industrial symbiosis practitioners and wider resource efficiency planning. The results and discussion presented within this article are specific to industrial symbiosis opportunities facilitated within the United Kingdom; the methodology and assessment of resource movement influences are, however, expected to be relevant to all countries in which industrial activity is similarly mature and diversified.
E Jones, M Leach, J Wade (2000)Local policies for DSM: the UK's home energy conservation act, In: ENERGY POLICY28(3)pp. 201-211 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
H Chalmers, J Gibbins, M Leach (2007)Site specific considerations for investments in new coal-fired power plants with CO2 capture, In: 24th Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference 2007, PCC 20071pp. 95-113
In recent years, concerns have grown about global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the potential for dangerous climate change which is associated with business-as-usual emissions from coal-fired power plants (and other large sources of CO2). Thus, it is increasingly being suggested that CO2 capture will be a requirement for continued use of coal for electricity generation in coming decades. For example, within Europe, it has been proposed that CO2 capture could be mandatory for all new coal-fired power plants from 2020 (Commission of the European Communities, 2007). A number of site-specific considerations can be expected to shape technology choice and other decisions related to investments in new coal-fired power plant. These include restrictions in the coal available at reasonable cost, local environmental legislation and the electricity market that the plant would operate in. This paper outlines some considerations for investors, utilities and possibly regulators when identifying sites and making technology choices for new coal-fired plants which are expected to use CO2 capture, either from the outset or following later retrofit (i.e. the initial plant would be capture-ready). It identifies some extra factors in selecting appropriate sites, when compared to plants built without CO2 capture considerations, and outlines some potential 'show-stoppers'. For example, CO2 capture plants must be sited in locations which allow CO 2 to be transported to safe geological storage (or other use). These new factors must ultimately feed into investment decisions. An initial discussion of approaches which could be used by investors and other stakeholders to compare specific technology options is included here. It is important that methods that allow investors and legislators to make informed choices, taking into account site-specific factors which are often neglected in general comparisons of technology, are identified and developed. The qualitative discussion in this paper is intended to inform the quantitative analyses that will be used by project developers in the next few years to select power plant technology options for capture-ready plants and for plants built from the outset with full-scale CO2 capture as part of integrated carbon capture and storage schemes.
E Gould, WCH Wehrmeyer, M Leach (2016)Transition pathways of commercial-urban fleet electrification in the UK, In: Journal of Contemporary Management5(4)pp. 53-67 Better Advances Press
Road transport accounts for 90% of UK transport emissions; by 2027 this is targeted to be reduced by 50% (OLEV, 2011). Electric vehicles offer a substantial opportunity to reduce road emissions, particularly to decarbonise the fleet market due to the sheer number of new registrations for business applications. However the diffusion of electric vehicles requires a transition across a large spectrum of societal and economic dimensions. The relationship between transition pathways and technological lock-in in the transport sector is underresearched, particularly in the field of e-mobility. This paper explores the pathway for electric vehicles, identifying the development blocks and technological lock-in of existing vehicle types, in order to understand the opportunities for technology diffusion within commercial fleet applications. This study takes a small sample of cases to achieve an in depth exploration of the motivations and barriers to this technological change. Three UK commercial-urban fleets in differing sectors are examined to understand their individual contexts and the level of correlation with the challenges experienced by the fleet market as whole, and how these have or have not been overcome. The multi-level perspective was used to determine the dynamics of change for fleets towards electric vehicles, and the roles of different stakeholder types were explored through the ‘action space’ of government, civil society and market logics. It is evident from the cases that an ‘innovator logic’ is competing to unlock EVs through technology innovation that extends beyond the transitional role of hybrids.
S Batchelor, E Brown, J Leary, N Scott, A Alsop, Matthew Leach (2018)Solar electric cooking in Africa: where will the transition happen first?, In: Energy Research & Social Science40pp. 257-272 Elsevier
Whilst the rapid spread of solar photovoltaics (PV) across Africa has already transformed millions of lives, it has yet to have an impact on the main energy need of poor households: cooking. In the context of falling global PV prices, recent advancements in battery technology and rising charcoal/fuelwood prices in severely deforested regions, the door is opening for a potentially transformative alternative - solar electric cooking (PV-eCook). While initial investigations focused on solar home systems sized for cooking (cooking device, battery storage, charge controller and PV array), it has since been shown that battery-supported electric cooking (eCook) can also strengthen national, mini, micro and nano grids. This paper presents a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) based methodology, accounting for a wide variety of socio-cultural, political, technical and economic factors which are expected to affect the uptake and potential impact of eCook across a variety of African contexts. It shows the concept has considerable viability in many African countries, that there are significant sizeable markets (millions of potential users), and that within the next five years the anticipated costs of eCook are highly competitive against existing ‘commercialised polluting fuels’.
C Candelise, R Gross, MA Leach (2010)Conditions for photovoltaics deployment in the UK: the role of policy and technical developments, In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTION OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS PART A-JOURNAL OF POWER AND ENERGY224(A2)pp. 153-166 PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING PUBLISHING LTD
F Barnes-Regueiro, M Leach, M Ruth (2002)The Mexican energy sector: integrated dynamic analysis of the natural gas/refining system, In: ENERGY POLICY30(9)PII S0301-pp. 767-779 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
J Zhang, L Basson, M Leach (2009)Review of Life Cycle Assessment Studies of Coal-fired Power Plants with Carbon Capture and Storage, In: 2009 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE POWER GENERATION AND SUPPLY, VOLS 1-4pp. 2108-2114
P D Jensen, L Basson, M Leach (2011)Reinterpreting Industrial Ecology, In: Journal of Industrial Ecology15(5)pp. 680-692 Wiley
This article argues that industrial ecology has, to date, largely engaged with the ecological sciences at a superficial level, which has both attracted criticism of the field and limited its practical application for sustainable industrial development. On the basis of an analysis of the principle of succession, the role of waste, and the concept of diversity, the article highlights some of the key misconceptions that have resulted from the superficial engagement with the science of ecology. It is argued that industrial ecology should not be seen as a metaphor for industrial development; industrial ecology is the ecology of industry and should be studied as such. There are manifold general principles of ecology that underpin our understanding of the world; however, the physical manifestation and causal effects of these principles are particular to the system and its constituent elements under analysis. It is thus proposed that context-specific observation and analysis of industry are required before theoretical and practical advancement of the field can be achieved.
V Karakoussis, NP Brandon, A Leach, M Leach, R van der Vorst (2001)The environmental impact of manufacturing planar and tubular solid oxide fuel cells, In: JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES101(1)pp. 10-26 ELSEVIER SCIENCE SA
P Kumar, C Martani, L Morawska, L Norford, R Choudhary, M Bell, M Leach (2016)Indoor air quality and energy management through real-time sensing in commercial buildings, In: Energy and Buildings111pp. 145-153 Elsevier
Rapid growth in the global population requires expansion of building stock, which in turn calls for increased energy demand. This demand varies in time and also between different buildings, yet, conventional methods are only able to provide mean energy levels per zone and are unable to capture this inhomogeneity, which is important to conserve energy. An additional challenge is that some of the attempts to conserve energy, through for example lowering of ventilation rates, have been shown to exacerbate another problem, which is unacceptable indoor air quality (IAQ). The rise of sensing technology over the past decade has shown potential to address both these issues simultaneously by providing high–resolution tempo–spatial data to systematically analyse the energy demand and its consumption as well as the impacts of measures taken to control energy consumption on IAQ. However, challenges remain in the development of affordable services for data analysis, deployment of large–scale real–time sensing network and responding through Building Energy Management Systems. This article presents the fundamental drivers behind the rise of sensing technology for the management of energy and IAQ in urban built environments, highlights major challenges for their large–scale deployment and identifies the research gaps that should be closed by future investigations.
M Leach (1997)Not for burning?, In: NEW SCIENTIST156(2112)pp. 56-56 NEW SCIENTIST PUBL EXPEDITING INC
R Gross, P Heptonstall, MA Leach, D Anderson, T Green, J Skea (2007)Renewables and the grid: understanding intermittency, In: Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Energy160pp. 31-41 Thomas Telford
TJ Foxon, D Butler, JK Dawes, D Hutchinson, MA Leach, PJG Pearson, D Rose (2000)An assessment of water demand management options from a systems approach, In: Journal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management14(3)pp. 171-178
A systems approach is used to model the urban water and wastewater system. Scenarios are developed for the implementation of a range of water demand management measures, including (a) leakage reduction, (b) the increasing use of water metering, (c) the replacement of standard WCs by low-flow WCs, and (d) the introduction of greywater recycling systems. These measures are assessed according to the water saving, cost per unit of water saved, and other indicators of the relative contribution to the sustainability of the system. Preliminary assessments of selected environmental costs and benefits are also included.
AD Hawkes, P Aguiar, CA Hernandez-Aramburo, MA Leach, NP Brandon, TC Green, CS Adjiman (2006)Techno-economic modelling of a solid oxide fuel cell stack for micro combined heat and power, In: JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES156(2)pp. 321-333 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
P Bradley, S Fudge, M Leach (2016)Motivating energy conservation in organisations: smart metering and the emergence and diffusion of social norms, In: TECHNOLOGY ANALYSIS & STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT28(4)pp. 435-461 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
I Staffell, P Baker, JP Barton, N Bergman, R Blanchard, NP Brandon, DJL Brett, A Hawkes, D Infield, CN Jardine, N Kelly, M Leach, M Matian, AD Peacock, S Sudtharalingam, B Woodman (2010)UK microgeneration. Part II: Technology overviews, In: Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Energy163(4)pp. 143-165
Adam Luqmani, Matthew Leach, David Jesson (2016)Factors behind sustainable business innovation: The case of a global carpet manufacturing company, In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions24pp. 94-105 Elsevier
Innovation is critical to business. Sustainability is a global challenge requiring innovation. Many organizations have publicly committed to innovate towards environmental, social and economic sustainability, but a behaviour gap remains. In order to promote the effectiveness of these endeavours, there is a pressing need to understand the conditions for successful innovation towards sustainability, backed by empirical evidence. This paper complements prior work by developing a definition of sustainability-oriented innovation (building upon definitions of eco-innovation), and by discussing observations of this activity in practice. The paper presents an account of sustainability-oriented innovation at Interface, a global manufacturing company with radical sustainability goals. It expounds the contexts in which these innovations arose, focusing in particular on Net-Works, a radical, socially-minded fishing-net recycling programme. It was found that several unique factors contributed to success: adopting an existing route to market, partnering with an NGO, and learning from mistakes in a “safe failure space”.
E Martinez-Hernandez, M Leach, A Yang (2015)Impact of Bioenergy Production on Ecosystem Dynamics and Services-A Case Study on UK Heathlands, In: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY49(9)pp. 5805-5812 AMER CHEMICAL SOC
For sustainability's sake, the establishment of bioenergy production can no longer overlook the interactions between ecosystem and technological processes, to ensure the preservation of ecosystem functions that provide energy and other goods and services to the human being. In this paper, a bioenergy production system based on heathland biomass is investigated with the aim to explore how a system dynamics approach can help to analyze the impact of bioenergy production on ecosystem dynamics and services and vice versa. The effect of biomass harvesting on the heathland dynamics, ecosystem services such as biomass production and carbon capture, and its capacity to balance nitrogen inputs from atmospheric deposition and nitrogen recycling were analyzed. Harvesting was found to be beneficial for the maintenance of the heathland ecosystem if the biomass cut fraction is higher than 0.2 but lower than 0.6, but this will depend on the specific conditions of nitrogen deposition and nitrogen recycling. With 95% recycling of nitrogen, biomass production was increased by up to 25% for a cut fraction of 0.4, but at the expense of higher nitrogen accumulation and the system being less capable to withstand high atmospheric nitrogen deposition.
L Yassin, P Lettieri, SJR Simons, A Castillo-Castillo, M Leach, C Ryu, J Swithenbank, V Sharifi (2009)From incineration to advanced fluid-bed gasification of waste, In: Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Waste and Resource Management162(3)pp. 169-177
C Brown, Y Jin, M Leach, M Hodgson (2015)μJADE: adaptive differential evolution with a small population, In: Soft Computing springer Verlag
This paper proposes a new differential evolution (DE) algorithm for unconstrained continuous optimisation problems, termed (Formula presented.)JADE, that uses a small or ‘micro’ ((Formula presented.)) population. The main contribution of the proposed DE is a new mutation operator, ‘current-by-rand-to-pbest.’ With a population size less than 10, (Formula presented.)JADE is able to solve some classical multimodal benchmark problems of 30 and 100 dimensions as reliably as some state-of-the-art DE algorithms using conventionally sized populations. The algorithm also compares favourably to other small population DE variants and classical DE.
P Bradley, M Leach, J Torriti (2013)A review of the costs and benefits of demand response for electricity in the UK, In: Energy Policy52pp. 312-327 Elsevier
The recent policy discussion in the UK on the economic case for demand response (DR) calls for a reflection on available evidence regarding its costs and benefits. Existing studies tend to consider the size of investments and returns of certain forms of DR in isolation and do not consider economic welfare effects. From review of existing studies, policy documents, and some simple modelling of benefits of DR in providing reserve for unforeseen events, we demonstrate that the economic case for DR in UK electricity markets is positive. Consideration of economic welfare gains is provided. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
H Chalmers, M Lucquiaud, J Gibbins, M Leach (2009)Flexible operation of coal fired power plants with postcombustion capture of carbon dioxide, In: Journal of Environmental Engineering135(6)pp. 449-458
AD Hawkes, P Aguiar, B Croxford, MA Leach, CS Adjiman, NP Brandon (2007)Solid oxide fuel cell micro combined heat and power system operating strategy: Options for provision of residential space and water heating, In: JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES164(1)pp. 260-271 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
D Hart, MA Leach, NJD Lucas, D Hutchinson (1996)Strategies and system concepts for hydrogen utilisation in an urban environment, In: HYDROGEN ENERGY PROGRESS XI, VOLS 1-3pp. 329-332
A Castillo-Castillo, M Leach, L Yassin, P Lettieri, SJR Simons, C Ryu, J Swithenbank, V Sharifi (2009)Thermal technology scales in future waste management strategies, In: Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Waste and Resource Management162(3)pp. 151-168
AD Hawkes, MA Leach (2007)Cost-effective operating strategy for residential micro-combined heat and power, In: ENERGY32(5)pp. 711-723 PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
J Torriti, MG Hassan, M Leach (2010)Demand response experience in Europe: Policies, programmes and implementation, In: ENERGY35(4)pp. 1575-1583 PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Over the last few years, load growth, increases in intermittent generation, declining technology costs and increasing recognition of the importance of customer behaviour in energy markets have brought about a change in the focus of Demand Response (DR) in Europe. The long standing programmes involving large industries, through interruptible tariffs and time of day pricing, have been increasingly complemented by programmes aimed at commercial and residential customer groups. Developments in DR vary substantially across Europe reflecting national conditions and triggered by different sets of policies, programmes and implementation schemes. This paper examines experiences within European countries as well as at European Union (EU) level, with the aim of understanding which factors have facilitated or impeded advances in DR. It describes initiatives, studies and policies of various European countries, with in-depth case studies of the UK, Italy and Spain. It is concluded that while business programmes, technical and economic potentials vary across Europe, there are common reasons as to why coordinated DR policies have been slow to emerge. This is because of the limited knowledge on DR energy saving capacities; high cost estimates for DR technologies and infrastructures; and policies focused on creating the conditions for liberalising the EU energy markets. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
J Torriti, M Leach, P Devine-Wright (2012)Demand-side participation: Price constraints, technical limits and behavioural risks, In: The Future of Electricity Demand: Customers, Citizens and Loadspp. 88-105
© Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 2011.Introduction: Demand response in domestic contexts may be differentiated into two modes of provision. First, ‘automatic’ load control involves the direct intervention by utilities to manipulate the performance of domestic appliances using heat or power, without the immediate involvement of domestic end-users. This is sometimes referred to as ‘dynamic demand’. For example, in the UK a trial was initiated in December 2009 by a consortium including a fridge manufacturer (Indesit), an energy utility (Npower) and a technology company (RLtec). Three hundred end-users were supplied with ‘dynamic demand fridges and fridge freezers’, free of charge and the trial involved the monitoring of each device as well as the switching off of appliances for short durations in response to grid conditions. A second form of demand response can be described as more ‘intentional’ load control. This involves the direct intervention by domestic end-users themselves, rather than utilities, that would retain total control over the working of domestic appliances and would choose to modify behavioural patterns of energy consumption in response to some form of signal from a utility. This signal is most likely to be a price signal but is not necessarily so – it could involve communicating the availability of energy generated from different kinds of resource (e.g. fossil fuel or renewable) (Devine-Wright, 2003). The signal is most likely to be communicated via a smart metering device, but could alternatively involve a ‘traffic light’ device that signals the availability of energy via colour-coded signals, or a communication to other forms of ICT via text messages or emails (e.g. mobile phones).
J Barton, M Thomson, S Huang, D Infield, M Leach, D Ogunkunle, J Torriti (2013)The evolution of electricity demand and the role for demand side participation, in buildings and transport, In: Energy Policy52pp. 85-102 Elsevier
This paper explores the possible evolution of UK electricity demand as we move along three potential transition pathways to a low carbon economy in 2050. The shift away from fossil fuels through the electrification of demand is discussed, particularly through the uptake of heat pumps and electric vehicles in the domestic and passenger transport sectors. Developments in the way people and institutions may use energy along each of the pathways are also considered and provide a rationale for the quantification of future annual electricity demands in various broad sectors. The paper then presents detailed modelling of hourly balancing of these demands in the context of potential low carbon generation mixes associated with the three pathways. In all cases, hourly balancing is shown to be a significant challenge. To minimise the need for conventional generation to operate with very low capacity factors, a variety of demand side participation measures are modelled and shown to provide significant benefits. Lastly, projections of operational greenhouse gas emissions from the UK and the imports of fossil fuels to the UK for each of the three pathways are presented. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
M Leung Pah Hang, E Martinez-Hernandez, M Leach, A Yang (2015)Engineering Design of Localised Synergistic Production Systems, In: Computer Aided Chemical Engineering37pp. 2363-2368 Elsevier
Centralised production of essential products and services based on fossil fuels and large scale distribution infrastructures have contributed to a plethora of issues such as deterioration of ecosystems, social-economic injustice and depletion of resources. The establishment of localised production systems can potentially reduce unsustainable resource consumption and bring socioeconomic and environmental benefits. The main objective of this work is to develop engineering tools for the rational design of such systems. Production of products and services is characterised as inter-linked subsystems (e.g. food, energy, water and waste). A sequential design approach is developed to design subsystems in turn, with necessary iterations. The process is illustrated through the co-design of energy, water and food production for a case study locale based on a developing eco-town in the UK. This design approach suggested an integrated system based primarily on locally available resources and allowed greater insight into the drivers and constraints on local resource use.
Melissa Yuling Leung Pah Hang, Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2017)Insight-Based Approach for the Design of Integrated Local Food-Energy-Water Systems, In: Environmental Science & Technology51(15)pp. 8643-8653 American Chemical Society
Society currently relies heavily on centralized production and large scale distribution infrastructures to meet growing demands for goods and services, which causes socioeconomic and environmental issues, particularly unsustainable resource supply. Considering local production systems as a more sustainable alternative, this paper presents an insight-based approach to the integrated design of local systems providing food, energy, and water to meet local demands. The approach offers a new hierarchical and iterative decision and analysis procedure incorporating design principles and ability to examine design decisions, in both synthesis of individual yet interconnected subsystems and integrated design of resource reuse across the entire system. The approach was applied to a case study on design of food-energy-water system for a locale in the U.K.; resulting in a design which significantly reduced resource consumption compared to importing goods from centralized production. The design process produced insights into the impact of one decision on other parts of the problem, either within or across different subsystems. The result was also compared to the mathematical programming approach for whole system optimization from previous work. It was demonstrated that the new approach could produce a comparable design while offering more valuable insights for decision makers.
D Anderson, MA Leach (2005)The Costs of Mitigating Climate Change, In: World Economics: the journal of current economic analysis and policy6(3)pp. 71-90
D Butler, P Jowitt, R Ashley, D Blackwood, MA Leach (2003)SWARD: decision support processes for the UK water industry, In: Management of Environmental Quality14(4)pp. 444-459
MYLP Hang, E Martinez-Hernandez, M Leach, A Yang (2016)Towards a coherent multi-level framework for resource accounting, In: JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION125pp. 204-215 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Bioenergy is an important renewable energy source in the UK, but the bioenergy industry and in particular the wood fuel sub sector, is relatively under-developed. Socioeconomic factors have been identified as critical for facilitating deployment levels and sustainable development. However, previous studies have mostly assessed these factors using quantitative methods and models, which are limited in assessing pertinent contextual factors such as institutional/regulatory governance, supply chain structure and governance, capital resource availability as well as actor decisions. As a step further, this research engages with these under-explored aspects of the system by developing a new analytical framework: the Resilience and Livelihoods in Supply Chains (RELISC) framework, which was designed by linking Value Chain Analysis, the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and a supply chain resilience framework. Its application to a UK wood fuel supply chain produced useful insights. For example, the structure of the chain revealed a high level of dependency on a particular end user and contractor. Key institutional governance was critical in sustaining natural resources and providing access to finance. Internal supply chain governance was limited in ensuring the sustainability of resources and lack of actor awareness and interest were also limiting factors. In addition, five capital analyses revealed gaps in skills, networking and physical infrastructure. Finally, the design of the novel RELISC framework enables it to engage with diverse aspects of the system holistically and its application generated practical recommendations and strategies for supply chain resilience and sector growth, which are useful and applicable to other emerging sectors.
MYLP Hang, E Martinez-Hernandez, M Leach, A Yang (2016)Designing integrated local production systems: A study on the food-energy-water nexus, In: JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION135pp. 1065-1084 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
PD Jensen, L Basson, EE Hellawell, M Leach (2012)'Habitat' Suitability Index Mapping for Industrial Symbiosis Planning, In: Journal of Industrial Ecology16(1)pp. 38-50 Wiley
By ‘working with the willing’, the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) has successfully facilitated industrial symbiosis throughout the United Kingdom and, in the process, delivered significant economic and environmental benefits for both Programme members and the country as a whole. One of the keys to NISP's success is that, unlike failed attempts to plan and construct eco-industrial systems from scratch, the Programme works largely with existing companies who have already settled in, developed, and successfully operate within a given locale. This article argues that existing and mature industrial systems provide the best prospects for identifying opportunities for, and ultimately facilitating, industrial symbiosis. Due to levels of diversification and operational fundamental niches that, in the fullness of time, develop within all industrial systems, industrially mature areas are deemed to be industrial symbiosis ‘conducive environments’. Building on the conservation biology concept of a habitat suitability index, the article presents a methodology for comparing a potential site for eco-industrial development to a known baseline industrial ‘habitat’ already identified as being highly conducive to industrial symbiosis. The suitability index methodology is further developed and applied to a multi-criteria evaluation geographic information system to produce a ‘habitat’ suitability map that allows practitioners to quickly identify potential industrial symbiosis hotspots (the methodology is illustrated for England). The article concludes by providing options for the development of symbiosis suitability indices and how they can be used to support the facilitation of industrial symbiosis and regional resource efficiency.
L Exarchakos, M Leach, G Exarchakos (2009)Modelling electricity storage systems management under the influence of demand-side management programmes, In: International Journal of Energy Research33(1)pp. 62-76
MA Leach, A Bauen, NJD Lucas (1997)A Systems Approach to Materials Flow in Sustainable Cities. Case study of paper, In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management40pp. 705-723
M Di Castelnuovo, M Leach, P Pearson (2008)An analysis of spatial pricing and renewable generation in the British electricity system, In: International Journal of Global Energy Issues29(1-2)pp. 199-220
E Jones, MA Leach (2000)Devolving domestic energy efficiency responsibility to local government: the case of HECA, In: Local Environment: the international journal of justice and sustainability5pp. 69-81
AD Hawkes, MA Leach (2009)Modelling high level system design and unit commitment for a microgrid, In: APPLIED ENERGY86(7-8)pp. 1253-1265 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
H Chalmers, J Gibbins, M Leach (2011)Valuing power plant flexibility with CCS: the case of post-combustion capture retrofits, In: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change17(6)pp. 621-649 Springer
An important development in recent years has been increased interest in retrofitting CO2 capture at existing power plants. In parallel, it has also been suggested that flexible operation of power plants with CO2 capture could be important in at least some jurisdictions. It is likely that retrofitted power plants could have significant ‘built-in’ flexibility, but this potential is often not considered in studies of the economic performance of power plants with CO2 capture. This paper makes a contribution to filling this gap by developing methods for first order screening analysis of flexible operation of power plants with CO2 capture and applying them to the case study example of an appropriately integrated retrofit of post-combustion capture at a coal-fired power plant. The quantitative analysis suggests that rich solvent storage could be an attractive option on a short-run basis for some fuel, CO2 and electricity price combinations. Results from first order analysis can then be used to determine which operating modes should (and shouldn’t) be included in further, more detailed design studies.
RV Kapila, H Chalmers, S Haszeldine, M Leach (2011)CCS prospects in India: Results from an expert stakeholder survey, In: Energy Procedia4pp. 6280-6287 Elsevier
MC Grimston, V Karakoussis, R Fouquet, R van der Vorst, P Pearson, M Leach (2001)The European and global potential of carbon dioxide sequestration in tackling climate change, In: CLIMATE POLICY1(2)pp. 155-171 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
J Keirstead, M Leach (2008)Bridging the gaps between theory and practice: A service niche approach to urban sustainability indicators, In: Sustainable Development16(5)pp. 329-340
Alma Lopez-Aviles, Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2019)Sustainable energy opportunities in localised food production and transportation: A case study of bread in the UK, In: Sustainable Production and Consumption20pp. 98-116 Elsevier

Re-distributed manufacturing (RDM) is of high economic and political interest and is associated with rapid technological, environmental, political, regulatory and social changes in the UK. RDM of food raises opportunities and questions around the local nexus of food, energy and water. Considering these together can provide opportunities for rationalising resource utilisation, production, and consumption while contributing to shared prosperity between business, society and natural ecosystems. This paper concentrates on the energy–food aspects of the nexus for RDM by focusing on the case study of bread manufacturing and transportation in the UK. A detailed analysis of the energy requirements and environmental impacts of centralised bread production and transportation compared with localised options for re-distributed bread manufacturing is undertaken. This is achieved by building on existing literature and developing a series of bread-energy system configurations to model energy usage and green-house gas (GHG) emissions at the large (centralised), medium and small scales.

Results from the analysis indicate that energy use and emissions can in some instances increase as a result of losing economies of scale through downscaling bread manufacturing. However, the analysis shows that overall energy use and emissions along the bread supply chain are dominated by transportation stages. Thus, RDM opens up new opportunities for reductions in overall energy consumption and emissions, for example by using low carbon vehicles for the transportation of bread and flour at the medium and small scales. Major energy use and emission reductions could also be achieved by reducing car usage if more consumers buy in local bakeries.

The configurations also consider energy use for various bread wastage conditions. Assuming that buying more frequently in local bakeries only the bread that is consumed helps avoiding bread wastage, this would lead to reduced bread purchasing and bread manufacturing, which translates to reductions in energy use and emissions in the modelled configurations.

Existing data demonstrate that there is a wide diversity across different manufacturing sites in the energy use and associated emissions per loaf of bread produced. The study highlights the opportunities for improvement in the sector if plant move towards the best available manufacturing technologies and practices, and this may be more practical for smaller scale operations. Two hypothetical bread production scenarios show that a greater share of the UK’s bread being produced locally could result in a reduction in overall energy consumption and emissions.

Richard Hanna, Matthew Leach, Jacopo Torriti (2017)Microgeneration: The installer perspective, In: Renewable Energy116(Part A)pp. 458-469 Elsevier
This paper presents an exploratory analysis of microgeneration installer businesses in the UK during a period of intense change in policies supporting microgeneration from 2010 to 2012. The research examines the influence of installer businesses on rates of uptake and standards of installation, and the interplay between business practices and the policy environment. The research developed new detailed datasets through a nationwide survey, to which 388 installers responded, and follow-up interviews with 22 installers. Focusing on solar photovoltaics and air source heat pumps installed in households, the results show the fundamental dependence of installer businesses on government financial incentives and on the quality assurance scheme in operation. Market confidence was compromised by the sharp reduction in the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) for residential solar PV in 2012 and long delays to the equivalent Renewable Heat Incentive for residential installations. Nevertheless, more modest FIT levels have reduced the risk of sub-optimal installations and inappropriate specification of microgeneration systems. The findings underline the need for consistent policy to allow installer businesses and their supply chains to develop and mature, and thus facilitate commercial deployment of microgeneration of high quality, raise its competiveness with incumbent forms of energy supply and contribute to decarbonisation goals.
Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Melissa Yuling Leung Pah Hang, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2016)A Framework for Modeling Local Production Systems with Techno-Ecological Interactions, In: Journal of Industrial Ecology Wiley
At the local scale, interconnected production, consumption, waste management, and other man-made technological components interact with local ecosystem components to form a local production system. The purpose of this work is to develop a framework for the conceptual characterization and mathematical modeling of a local production system to support the assessment of process and component options that potentially create symbiosis between industry and ecosystem. This framework has been applied to a case study to assess options for the establishment of a local energy production system that involves a heathland ecosystem, bioenergy production, and wastewater treatment. We found that the framework is useful to analyze the two-way interactions between these components in order to obtain insight into the behavior and performance of the bioenergy production system. In particular, the framework enables exploring the levels of the ecosystem states that allow continuous provisioning of resources in order to establish a sustainable techno-ecological system.
A Hargreaves, V Cheng, S Deshmukh, MA Leach, K Steemers (2017)Forecasting how residential urban form affects the regional carbon savings and costs of retrofitting and decentralized energy supply, In: Applied Energy186(3)pp. 549-561 Elsevier
Low carbon energy supply technologies are increasingly used at the building and community scale and are an important part of the government decarbonisation strategy. However, with their present state of development and costs, many of these decentralised technologies rely on public subsidies to be financially viable. It is questionable whether they are cost effective compared to other ways of reducing carbon emissions, such as decarbonisation of conventional supply and improving the energy efficiency of dwellings. Previous studies have found it difficult to reliably estimate the future potential of decentralised supply because this depends on the available residential space which varies greatly within a city region. To address this problem, we used an integrated modelling framework that converted the residential density forecasts of a regional model into a representation of the building dimensions and land of the future housing stock. This included a method of estimating the variability of the dwellings and residential land. We present the findings of a case study of the wider south east regions of England that forecasted the impacts of energy efficiency and decentralised supply scenarios to year 2031. Our novel and innovative method substantially improves the spatial estimates of energy consumption compared to building energy models that only use standard dwelling typologies. We tested the impact of an alternative spatial planning policy on the future potential of decentralised energy supply and showed how lower density development would be more suitable for ground source heat pumps. Our findings are important because this method would help to improve the evidence base for strategies on achieving carbon budgets by taking into account how future residential space constraints would affect the suitability and uptakes of these technologies.
Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2017)Understanding water-energy-food and ecosystem interactions using the nexus simulation tool NexSym, In: Applied Energy206pp. 1009-1021 Elsevier
The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus concept highlights the importance of integrative solutions that secure resource supplies and meet demands sustainably. There is a need for translating the nexus concept into clear frameworks and tools that can be applied to decision making. A simulation and analytics framework, and a concomitant Nexus Simulation System (NexSym) is presented here. NexSym advances the state-of-the-art in nexus tools by explicit dynamic modelling of local techno-ecological interactions relevant to WEF operations. The modular tool integrates models for ecosystems, WEF production and consumption components and allows the user to build, simulate and analyse a “flowsheet” of a local system. This enables elucidation of critical interactions and gaining knowledge and understanding that supports innovative solutions by balancing resource supply and demand and increasing synergies between components, while maintaining ecosystems. NexSym allowed assessment of the synergistic design of a local nexus system in a UK eco-town. The design improved local nutrient balance and meets 100% of electricity demand, while achieving higher carbon capture and biomass provisioning, higher water reuse and food production, however with a remarkable impact on land use.
Anton Johannes Veldhuis, Matthew Leach, Aidong Yang (2018)The impact of increased decentralised generation on the reliability of an existing electricity network, In: Applied Energy215pp. 479-502 Elsevier
This study evaluates the impact of decentralisation on the reliability of electricity networks, particularly under stressed conditions. By applying four strategies to add decentralised generators to the grid, the impact on network reliability has been assessed, where the blackout impact has been defined as the product of the relative blackout size and the relative blackout frequency. The general approach taken to decentralise the network is to replace the aggregated generation capacity at an existing node with three new nodes representing the total generation capacity of multiple decentralised generators. Two different networks have been used: a reduced and aggregated version of the electricity network of Great Britain (GB) and the IEEE 39 network, and each of them has been assessed for decentralisation based on conventional energy sources and for decentralisation based on intermittent renewable energy sources. The results suggest that adding significant amounts of DGs, especially if it is intermittent, can seriously reduce network reliability; however, various approaches regarding the decentralisation strategy and management of the resulting network can mitigate the negative effects.
J Torriti, M Leach (2012)Making the least active pay: A simulation of rewards and penalties under demand side participation programs, In: International Journal of Green Energy9(7)pp. 584-596 TAYLOR & FRANCIS INC
The orthodox approach for incentivizing Demand Side Participation (DSP) programs is that utility losses from capital, installation and planning costs should be recovered under financial incentive mechanisms which aim to ensure that utilities have the right incentives to implement DSP activities. The recent national smart metering roll-out in the UK implies that this approach needs to be re-assessed since utilities will recover the capital costs associated with DSP technology through bills. This paper introduces a reward and penalty mechanism focusing on residential users. DSP planning costs are recovered through payments from those consumers who do not react to peak signals. Those consumers who do react are rewarded by paying lower bills. Because real-time incentives to residential consumers tend to fail due to the negligible amounts associated with net gains (and losses) for individual users, in the proposed mechanism the regulator determines benchmarks which are matched against responses to signals and caps the level of rewards/penalties to avoid market distortions. The paper presents an overview of existing financial incentive mechanisms for DSP; introduces the reward/penalty mechanism aimed at fostering DSP under the hypothesis of smart metering roll-out; considers the costs faced by utilities for DSP programs; assesses linear rate effects and value changes; introduces compensatory weights for those consumers who have physical or financial impediments; and shows findings based on simulation runs on three discrete levels of elasticity. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Elizabeth Robertson, Áine O'Grady, John Barton, Stuart Galloway, Damiete Emmanuel-Yusuf, Matthew Leach, Geoff Hammond, Murray Thomson, Tim Foxon (2017)Reconciling qualitative storylines and quantitative descriptions: An iterative approach, In: Technological Forecasting and Social Change118pp. 293-306 Elsevier
Energy system transition research has been experimenting with the integration of qualitative and quantitative analysis due to the increased articulation it provides. Current approaches tend to be heavily biased by qualitative or quantitative methodologies, and more often are aimed toward a single academic discipline. This paper proposes an interdisciplinary methodology for the elaboration of energy system socio-technical scenarios, applied here to the low carbon transition of the UK. An iterative approach was used to produce quantitative descriptions of the UK's energy transition out to 2050, building on qualitative storylines or narratives that had been developed through the formal application of a transition pathways approach. The combination of the qualitative and quantitative analysis in this way subsequently formed the cornerstone of wider interdisciplinary research, helping to harmonise assumptions, and facilitating ‘whole systems’ thinking. The methodology pulls on niche expertise of contributors to map and investigate the governance and technological landscape of a system change. Initial inconsistencies were found between energy supply and demand and addressed, the treatment of gas generation, capacity factors, total installed generating capacity and installation rates of renewables employed. Knowledge gaps relating to the operation of combined heat and power, sources of waste heat and future fuel sources were also investigated. Adopting the methodological approach to integrate qualitative and quantitative analysis resulted in a far more comprehensive elaboration than previously, providing a stronger basis for wider research, and for deducing more robust insights for decision-making. It is asserted that this formal process helps build robust future scenarios not only for socio political storylines but also for the quantification of any qualitative storyline.
H Chalmers, J Gibbins, M Lucquiaud, M Leach (2009)Introducing CCS: Potential changes in coalfired power plant design, operation and regulation in a carbon constrained future, In: Carbon Capture and Storage including Coal-Fired Power Plantspp. 57-78
© 2010 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.Significant coal reserves are reported in many countries including USA, China, Australia and India and it is often suggested that the use of this coal could play an important role in global energy security until the end of the century and beyond. But at the same time, concerns over the potential for dangerous climate change to be caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from many human activities, including power generation using coal, has led to global efforts to identify technologies that can reduce CO2 emissions. For coal-fired power plants, it is likely that successful development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies will be the only way that their continued operation will be allowed, in order to avoid unacceptable environmental impacts. This chapter reviews the key carbon capture technologies closest to commercial deployment at coal-fired power plants. It identifies similarities and differences between options that should be taken into account when investment decisions are made, with a particular focus on operating characteristics. It is very likely that regulation, including on acceptable CO2 emissions, will play a critical role in determining the landscape for power plant investment, so a discussion of some key regulatory issues in determining if, when and where CCS is introduced is also included.
Elias Martinez-Hernandez, MH Ibrahim, GM Campbell, Matthew Leach, P Sinclair, Jhuma Sadhukhan (2013)Environmental sustainability analysis of UK whole-wheat bioethanol and CHP systems, In: Biomass and Bioenergy50pp. 52-64 Elsevier
The UK whole-wheat bioethanol and straw and DDGS-based combined heat and power (CHP) generation systems were assessed for environmental sustainability using a range of impact categories or characterisations (IC): cumulative primary fossil energy (CPE), land use, life cycle global warming potential over 100 years (GWP), acidification potential (AP), eutrophication potential (EP) and abiotic resources use (ARU). The European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive's target of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission saving of 60% in comparison to an equivalent fossil-based system by 2020 seems to be very challenging for stand-alone wheat bioethanol system. However, the whole-wheat integrated system, wherein the CHP from the excess straw grown in the same season and from the same land is utilised in the wheat bioethanol plant, can be demonstrated for potential sustainability improvement, achieving 85% emission reduction and 97% CPE saving compared to reference fossil systems. The net bioenergy from this system and from 172,370 ha of grade 3 land is 12.1 PJ y providing land to energy yield of 70 GJ ha y. The use of DDGS as an animal feed replacing soy meal incurs environmental emission credit, whilst its use in heat or CHP generation saves CPE. The hot spots in whole system identified under each impact category are as follows: bioethanol plant and wheat cultivation for CPE (50% and 48%), as well as for ARU (46% and 52%). EP and GWP are distributed among wheat cultivation (49% and 37%), CHP plant (26% and 30%) and bioethanol plant (25%, and 33%), respectively. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
S Satchatippavarn, EM -Hernandez, MYLP Hang, M Leach, A Yang (2016)Urban biorefinery for waste processing, In: CHEMICAL ENGINEERING RESEARCH & DESIGN107pp. 81-90 INST CHEMICAL ENGINEERS
A Lopez-Aviles, AJ Veldhuis, M Leach, A Yang (2017)Energy and emissions in localised food systems: a case study of bread in the UK, In: Applied Energy
Jason Chilvers, Timothy J Foxon, Stuart Galloway, Geoffrey P Hammond, David Infield, Matthew Leach, Peter JG Pearson, Neil Strachan, Goran Strbac, Murray Thomson (2017)Realising transition pathways for a more electric, low-carbon energy system in the United Kingdom: Challenges, insights and opportunities, In: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy231(6)pp. 440-477 SAGE Publications
The United Kingdom has placed itself on a transition towards a low-carbon economy and society, through the imposition of a legally-binding goal aimed at reducing its ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions by 80% by 2050 against a 1990 baseline. A set of three low-carbon, socio-technical transition pathways were developed and analysed via an innovative collaboration between engineers, social scientists and policy analysts. The pathways focus on the power sector, including the potential for increasing use of low-carbon electricity for heating and transport, within the context of critical European Union developments and policies. Their development started from narrative storylines regarding different governance framings, drawing on interviews and workshops with stakeholders and analysis of historical analogies. The quantified UK pathways were named Market Rules, Central Co-ordination and Thousand Flowers; each reflecting a dominant logic of governance arrangements. The aim of the present contribution was to use these pathways to explore what is needed to realise a transition that successfully addresses the so-called energy policy ‘trilemma,’ i.e. the simultaneous delivery of low carbon, secure and affordable energy services. Analytical tools were developed and applied to assess the technical feasibility, social acceptability, and environmental and economic impacts of the pathways. Technological and behavioural developments were examined, alongside appropriate governance structures and regulations for these low-carbon transition pathways, as well as the roles of key energy system ‘actors’ (both large and small). An assessment of the part that could possibly be played by future demand side response was also undertaken in order to understand the factors that drive energy demand and energy-using behaviour, and reflecting growing interest in demand side response for balancing a system with high proportions of renewable generation. A set of interacting and complementary engineering and techno-economic models or tools were then employed to analyse electricity network infrastructure investment and operational decisions to assist market design and option evaluation. This provided a basis for integrating the analysis within a whole systems framework of electricity system development, together with the evaluation of future economic benefits, costs and uncertainties. Finally, the energy and environmental performance of the different energy mixes were appraised on a ‘life-cycle’ basis to determine the greenhouse gas emissions and other ecological or health burdens associated with each of the three transition pathways. Here, the challenges, insights and opportunities that have been identified over the transition towards a low-carbon future in the United Kingdom are described with the purpose of providing a valuable evidence base for developers, policy makers and other stakeholders.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a high level development plan for a world free of poverty, with decent work for all and less environmentally damaging patterns of production and consumption. This thesis explores whether paying living wages to Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese (BRIC) workers in the Western European clothing supply chain could contribute towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This thesis principally uses two modelling frameworks. A global multi-regional input-output framework, extended to enable assessment of fairness in global supply chains, and a system dynamics model of the Western European clothing supply chain. This allows us to explore both the different ways in which clothing retailers might be able to pay for a living wage in their supply chains and associated sustainability impacts. Our analysis makes three key contributions. (1) Empirical evidence suggesting that in the Western European clothing supply chain, consumption drives environmental impact, and BRIC wages are ‘unfair’ and unable to support a ‘decent’ quality of life. (2) Extension of the limited evidence base on the employment effects of living wages in developing countries. We point to a potentially powerful employment multiplier effect (which may mean that living wages increase employment). However, we also suggest that productivity gains following wage increases could exacerbate job losses. (3) Mixed evidence on the environmental impacts of paying a supply chain living wage. While this is likely to marginally reduce the environmental impacts of affluent country consumption our findings also suggest that global environmental impacts could rise due to increased developing country consumption. Based on these findings, we argue that paying a living wage to those developing country workers employed in affluent country supply chains could contribute to a more sustainable world by reducing poverty and improving working conditions. We further argue that the risk of increased total environmental damage could be minimised through investment in more sustainable infrastructure in developing countries themselves, and we also highlight the need for additional reductions in the environmental impacts of affluent country consumption, beyond supply chain living wage initiatives. Finally, we suggest that efforts to move to craft based production methods could be used to resist labour productivity growth, minimising the risk of job losses.
Electric vehicles have been identified as a key technology to decarbonise road transport which accounts for approximately a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas end-user emissions (DECC, 2014). The diffusion of electric vehicles requires a transformation across a large spectrum of societal and economic dimensions. Using research and data over the study period from 2011 to late 2015, this research examines the pathways for transition from today’s personal transport mix to one focused on electric vehicles, the research identifies path dependencies and lock-in of the internal combustion engine that results in sustained usage patterns. The relationship between transition pathways, path dependencies, technology lock-in and e-mobility has been under-researched. Commercial urban fleets and car clubs were identified as key market opportunities for electric vehicles. Total Cost of Ownership studies and in-depth interviews with industry experts were conducted to identify existing transition barriers for the adoption of electric vehicles within these applications. Established path dependencies of the internal combustion engine and consequent technology lock-in were found to stem from an inter-dependant and reinforcing technology system of roads, service stations, parking facilities and societal status. In order to achieve integrated transport services –and EVs as part of it - alternative business models are to redefine humankind’s relationship with the car through systemic innovation and competitive finance models. The multi-level perspective was used to determine the dynamics of change for fleets towards electric vehicles, and the roles of different stakeholder types were explored through the ‘action space’ of government, civil society, market and governance logics. The results indicate that the diffusion of niche technologies and business models are establishing individual pathways within the two markets. It is evident within the fleet and car club markets that an ‘innovator logic’ is competing within the action space to unlock EVs through technology innovation that extends beyond the transitional role of hybrids. However, fundamental to each market is the parallel role of government to invest in R&D and motivation crowding to remove lock-in and destabilise the existing regime.
Companies which integrate sustainability into their strategies outperform competitors both financially and in the stock-market. Advice on how to create sustainable strategy is not explicit, so organisations must either find their own way or struggle to do this. Sustainable firms also need resilient strategies in shifting business conditions, yet guidance for combining resilience with sustainability is almost non-existent. Strategy furthermore involves a choice between options which require allocation of scarce organisational resources, and so firms need an approach to allow them to not only identify their risks and opportunities, but also to find the most robust method to manage these. These choices are becoming more critical for Ford Motor Company, as the automotive sector undergoes rapid technological and social change. This research developed an approach (named Sustainable Resilient Strategic Decision-Support: SuReSDS™) to allow those analysing strategy to capture different types of sustainable value affected by their choices, and investigate how to optimise each strategy’s resilience against different possible future scenarios. By comparing the results a contextually “best” option can be found. This process was developed using desk-top and action-research case studies, at Ford and an SME, Butyl Products. The use of SuReSDS™ allowed users to integrate environmental and social sustainability into strategy by considering significant risks or opportunities for a wider group of stakeholders than previously. It also assisted them to identify and manage risks from different kinds of uncertainty. This provided participants with insights which were incorporated into real-world strategy decisions. The approach is modular and generic, so that it is suitable for different organisation types conducting business-model, product-service or technology-level analysis, and can cope with varying levels of precision, from qualitative concepts to quantitative data. The approach cannot replace knowledge-transfer on sustainability issues or resilience-building skills altogether, but enables companies to utilise in-house or external experts more effectively.
Smart energy systems are those that incorporate the ability to collect data across the energy infrastructure and use that data to dynamically balance supply and demand and use system assets more efficiently. Making energy smarter is widely seen as a key enabler of the wider low-carbon energy transition in the UK and a major opportunity for innovation in the energy industry. This research examines processes of innovation around smart energy in the UK by focusing on three case studies of self-contained smart energy trials, or niches. Using interviews and project documentation, the research uncovers a rich account of these case studies, their origins and their outcomes. These case studies allow a deeper understanding of the evolution of smart energy within these niches, and the novel technologies, contractual arrangements, governance structures, and business models that are emerging within them. The research also explores the influence of ICT concepts and technology, as well as regulation, and incumbent energy sector actors for innovation in this area. I endeavoured to make the findings produced in this research relevant to policy makers or business strategists involved in promoting and supporting the transition to a low-carbon energy system by translating research findings into insights that can guide the management of innovation.
Presently, the uncertainties associated with controlling domestic heating system are managed using rule of thumb or heuristic rule-based controllers. The problems associated with this are: lack of bespokeness and optimality of the control to each unique building, difficulty in comparing technologies due to inconsistent control quality (lack of generality) and the expense of developing controllers for new technologies. In this work, the problem of heating system control is generalised with the intent of developing a generic-optimal controller — one that can control any set of heat sources in any building optimally, alleviating the aforementioned problems. A hybrid intelligent system design methodology is applied in order to develop the (model predictive) controller resulting in two sub-tasks. First, acquiring a model of each heating system — identification must be carried out on-line. Second, delivering optimal control using the model, given constraints. The first is tackled by applying Echo State Networks (ESN’s), whose benefits are that they have universal approximation ability, on-line learning is a recursive linear regression problem (for which the solution even in low precision environments is well understood), that on-line learning can be easily achieved using real feedbacks (network stability is relatively easy to attain) and that they can be easily scaled to systems of varying complexity. The second is tackled by using a global, derivative-free optimiser — meaning that the controller may tackle mixed integer problems and incorporate arbitrary output constraints expressed as penalty functions. A theoretical third problem arises due to the interaction of the learning and optimisation components of the controller. A methodology for tackling this is given. When applied to a simulated monovalent heating system in an unoccupied house (in the absence of user disturbances) consistent control can be achieved. The effective rejection of user disturbances is an outstanding problem and is briefly discussed.
Addressing a number of critical challenges caused by centralised production and large scale distribution infrastructures, local production systems designed in a synergistic manner could offer a possible pathway towards sustainability. The thesis focuses on the technical design of local production systems integrating local heterogeneous processes to satisfy local demands through efficient use of locally available renewable resources within technical and ecological constraints. A conceptual and quantitative multi-level framework, based on the Cumulative Exergy Resource Accounting methodology, was first developed for a better understanding of a local production system by considering the production and consumption of products or services as well as ecological processes. A general design framework comprising an optional preliminary design stage followed by a simultaneous design stage based on mathematical optimisation was then developed for solving the design problem towards minimum overall resource consumption. The preliminary design stage considers each supply subsystem individually and allows insights into the potential interactions between them. The simultaneous design stage has the capacity to include all design integration possibilities. A second, insight-based approach was further developed, which offers a new hierarchical and iterative decision and analysis procedure and incorporates design principles and ability to examine design decisions. The multilevel resource accounting framework was demonstrated on ethanol production from cane and successfully revealed how decisions at one level would affect other levels of the system. Both design approaches were illustrated on a case study for the design of local food-energy-water nexus. It showed the advantages of an integrated design of a system which makes use of local resources to meet its demands over a system relying on centralised supplies and over a design without considering integration opportunities between subsystems. The insight-based approach was also found to produce a comparable design to the simultaneous design approach while offering more valuable insights for decision makers.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) frameworks worldwide have been dominated by the concerns and needs of large companies whose highly formalised CSR management systems often failed in previous years to prevent anti-social and illegal behaviour. Thus, there is growing interest in informal processes, relationships and organisational cultures – and corresponding business models – that embed and exemplify CSR. It is proposed that detailed study of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with informal and non-systematic approaches to CSR can shed light on the process and effect of cultural embedding of CSR values. This research focuses on a sample of SMEs in Switzerland to investigate the “raison d’être” that make up such informal CSR. Firstly, using a stakeholder map methodology, it explored the current state of CSR in Switzerland and identified SMEs as being the most significant CSR stakeholders. A network analysis resulting in specific parameters confirmed the importance of SMEs and their pursuit of an unconventionally informal and idiosyncratic CSR core logic. By method of interviewing 40 SME owner-managers, the next research step examined in more detail such dynamics and patterns among Swiss small business CSR. A Delphi process aggregated the results into an overarching small business model for CSR – L’EPOQuE. This model has six key features: 1) a visionary Leadership approach, where the leader “is” the business and vice versa, 2) long-term and trust-based relations to Employees, 3) niche Products, 4) driven by networks and informal, flat Organisations, 5) by efficient Quality, and 6) by Education to establish ethics during work socialisation. A further Delphi process explored the features’ consistency with criteria of conventional models. It confirmed the six key features and encouraged at the same time slight modifications with regard to nomenclature of sub-features resulting in L’EPOQuE 2.0. This heightened the power of this CSR-driven approach to be a new template for informal set-ups, and niches. It emerges from the difficulties some mainstream business models have to satisfy the needs of business at the nexus of culture and economic rationale. The sixth section explored, in four focus group discussions, motives inherent to the role and dynamics of CSR in Swiss small firms. The results support earlier findings and confirm the intrinsic motivation in Swiss SMEs coming from their philosophy of stewardship and aspiration and ambition of excellent craftsmanship. Accordingly, Swiss SMEs are particularly looking at social and labour issues of CSR. This contrasts with the approach of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs), which are primarily interested in environmental aspects and assume a financial benefit from their engagement. This raises two arguments in CSR: one is that companies evidently can be competitive in CSR (and economically) with a flexible, ethics-based approach, which contradicts the exclusivity and predominance of the “business approach” and its formalised systems aiming at profit-maximisation. This suggests that CSR can be intrinsic to the business or extrinsic, so that, secondly, the question arises under what circumstances one is to be preferred over the other and what the cost of a mismatch would be. Ultimately, a comparative overview over 15 different countries to explore explicit vs. implicit CSR (using the categories of intent, codification, motives, and language) revealed a universally supra-national CSR approach in SMEs from Switzerland and elsewhere. Thus, it is concluded that SME culture and an informal CSR core logic are strongly formative and supersede forces of market economies, nationally cultural patterns, and language. Hence, CSR classifications of countries by their market system, as found in the comparative capitalism literature, do not match the practices in SMEs as they mirror neither their business nor CSR. This raises again questions on the universality and generalisability of unmediated, explicit management concepts, especially in the context of small firms. At the same time, this confirms L’EPOQuE 2.0 as spanning across business models, mirroring culturally independent key features of SME businesses. In other words, there is a much bigger portion of “SME” than “Switzerland” in L’EPOQuE 2.0.
This research explores local energy initiatives through the theoretical frameworks of commons and polycentric (multi-stakeholder) governance, as theorised by the Ostrom workshop (Ostrom, 1990; McGinnis, 2016). It uses five case studies, two at the neighbourhood, one at the city, and two at the bioregional spatial levels. At the neighbourhood level, the thesis explores the use of Ostrom’s design principles for common pool resources to design a neighbourhood flexible energy district. At the city and bioregional levels, it explores the evolution of polycentric institutions in a mature community energy sector and active local government. It also explores the challenge of including valuing within the commons and polycentric governance paradigm. This thesis establishes that energy can usefully be framed as a commons: it is a resource that can be consumed, and one where exclusion of users is problematic. There are positive externalities of universal access to energy; there are negative externalities for the environment; and the infrastructure is at risk of monopoly rent-seeking. In a neighbourhood context, the research finds that supportive community accountability for consumption would be welcome, but that this must respect privacy and individual autonomy. At the city and bioregional scales, it finds that strong shared vision, coordination and collaboration between multiple organisations, individuals and sectors are essential to progress. It also finds that the fragmentation between the governance of the incumbent energy industry and the civic energy sector is a barrier to the transition needed to meet national carbon targets. Finally, a set of ‘design principles’ for commons-based polycentric governance of energy systems are proposed, tested in relation to the case studies, and revisited following analysis, with implications for policy, industry and the civic energy sector. These include a mixed system with a greater role for commons, nested governance, diversity of institutions and protecting equality and the environment.
Railways in the UK account for 1% of all electricity consumed nationally, and Network Rail consumed in excess of 400GWh in 2013/14. Large organisations need to reduce their energy consumption in order to prevent adverse climatic effects driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This doctoral thesis investigates attitudes and behaviours of individual Network Rail employees, relating to the adoption of energy-efficient practices and technologies, and their likely impacts on the organisation’s energy consumption. The research programme consists of two principal stages. Firstly, an exploratory approach is taken with managers of railway energy infrastructure to establish factors which may be influencing these behaviours, based on a commonly-used research framework for semi-structured interviews. Secondly, a staff survey is developed based on findings from the exploratory interviews. This is designed to test commonly-used behavioural frameworks from the sociological and psychological literature on pro-environmental behaviours in a variety of contexts, including the Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), and Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (Triandis, 1977). This survey also tests the salience of a set of barriers to energy efficiency in organisations proposed by Sorrell et al (2000; 2004). However, analysis of collected survey data suggests that no single theory provided a strong fit with observed results. Principal components analysis and structural equation modelling suggest an array of 6 alternative factors governing energy-efficient behaviours, management practices, and technology adoption, and an alternative causal model is proposed, based on these new factors. Cluster analysis then categorises groups of employees based on their personal approaches to energy consumption. Although a combination of technological- and behavioural interventions are required to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2014b), the findings presented here highlight how understanding the attitudinal and behavioural context in which energy consumption behaviours take place can help large organisations such as Network Rail lower their electricity consumption.
Bioenergy is an important renewable energy source in the UK, but the wood fuel sector is characterised by low growth and deployment levels compared to other countries. The sector is also described as emerging with a slowly growing demand, complex, fragmented and under-developed supply chains within a changing and uncertain environment. Further socioeconomic factors were identified as critical for its sustainable development, however previous studies assessed these factors using quantitative methods which are limited in assessing pertinent contextual factors such as institutional/regulatory governance, supply chain structure and governance, capital resource availability and actor decisions. Therefore, the aim of this research is to determine factors and strategies for the growth and resilience of the UK wood fuel sector with objectives to determine the structure and institutional context of its supply chains and assess the role of these under-explored contextual factors. To achieve this, a new analytical framework: The Resilience and Livelihoods in Supply Chains (RELISC) framework was designed, linking Value Chain Analysis, the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach and a supply chain resilience framework and then applied to three typical wood-fuel supply chains as case studies, based on a constructivist paradigm that engages with actor perceptions and experiences. The RELISC framework first revealed that policy assumptions underpinning the sector were uncertain. It also identified a range of different supply chain structures and institutional contexts. Further, it demonstrated the role of institutional and internal governance patterns in specific action spaces and processes and the influence of capital resources on supply chain governance as well as the impact of actor attitudes and actions on uptake levels and supply chain development. Finally, it showed how socioeconomic benefits and supply chain resilience can be derived from factors such as access to resources, actor decisions, internal governance patterns, compliance to external governance, effective organisational practices as well as employing supply chain resilience strategies that can be applied to other emerging sectors.
Implementing zero carbon homes within commercial housing developments has proven difficult. This has resulted in a stagnated zero carbon housing sector and a lack of truly innovative designs within national house builder portfolios. Key industry stakeholders justify this by reference to a number of economic, regulatory, market, technological and structural based issues. This research develops an approach to zero carbon homes that brings design and commercial perspectives together to address these major issues. Out of this approach, an optimised design with a unique economic model has been developed. The economics of this design challenge the widely accepted notions of house price and affordability in traditional builds. The research findings are presented through a life cycle cost analysis. A significant finding from this research is that zero carbon homes could be better marketed on economic rather than environmental benefits so long as the user practice, technological and structural barriers are also addressed at the design stage. An exploration of stakeholder attitudes towards the mainstream take up is also carried out. It identifies and positions the key stakeholders involved in the implementation process using the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) and Transitions Theory, generating a better understanding of what and who is required to transition the sector towards decarbonisation. In depth interviews and an observation study were conducted with these participants. This section of the research examines stakeholders opinions on whether the optimised zero carbon home is commercially viable. New insights are generated and existing insights from the literature are contextualised using the optimised design. This creates an analysis of its commercial potential. The research concludes by demonstrating the need to conduct further studies into wider systemic issues and to explore alternative routes to market.
Sustainability requires urgent, radical innovation from the private sector. However, private sector-led sustainability which meaningfully advances social, environmental and economic goals remains a rare occurrence. Despite the potential role of balanced environmental strategies such as ecological modernisation, there remains a lack of understanding of how such theories can be translated to actions at the level of a single organisation. This thesis explores the topics of ecological modernisation, employee engagement and sustainability-oriented innovation, grounded by a case study of Interface, a global manufacturing company. The work helps to build an understanding of the practicalities of organisation-level ecological modernisation, corporate sustainability and innovation in practice. It makes use of a case study research strategy combined with a grounded theory methodological approach. Three themes; ecological modernisation, employee engagement and sustainability-oriented innovation, are discussed and are applied to the analysis of the case material. The following key findings emerge: • Ecological modernisation, a theory typically applied and discussed at the macro-sociological level, is explored at the level of a single organisation, where it is used to contextualise the actions of Interface which contribute to wider, system-level sustainable disruptions. This is found to be a useful unit of analysis compared with typical explorations of EM, and reveals a number of interesting pathways by which EM organisations might impact upon the wider system in which they operate; • Social dimensions of EM theory are discussed and explored. By considering Interface at the centre of a larger, interconnected network of actors, it is found that there are numerous dynamics at play, including the role of employees and their levels of engagement, the role of competitors and the wider industry, the role of customers and the role of suppliers; • Temporal dimensions of EM are revealed and discussed, and several barriers are shown to emerge for Interface as it progresses further into a 20-year journey towards sustainability. Most strikingly, the low-hanging fruit is no longer available, and Interface finds itself in the “tall canopy” in seeking further reductions in emissions and waste; • Net-Works, a radical, innovative recycling project is presented and compared with other, less successful innovations from Interface. The contextual factors that gave rise to Net-Works are a combination of a radical goal, deliberate adoption of a social goal, and a safe failure space. Success is owed to developed capabilities, incorporation into an existing product, and partnering with an NGO and academia for accountability and credibility.