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UCL Energy Institute

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UCL Grand Challenges

The UCL Grand Challenges aim to address global problems that must be solved for future generations to have the opportunity to flourish.

Our research has a direct impact on the UCL Grand Challenges. Energy, the lack of it, as well as the emissions caused through its use and generation have profound and wide-ranging implications for society.

Global Health and Energy

  • Lack of access to clean forms of energy.
  • 1.6 billion people are exposed to adverse health risks because of lack of access to electricity.
  • In the UK, there are between 20,000 and 50,000 yearly excess winter deaths – many caused by the poor energy efficiency of the UK housing stock.

Sustainable Cities and Energy

  • Access to secure and clean forms of energy is essential for the sustainable operation of cities.
  • 75% of world energy use occurs in cities where over 50% of the world's population now lives.
  • In developed countries, up to half of the energy is used to condition the built environment.
  • The energy we use directly impacts on the urban heat island and with a changing climate how will energy use change in urban areas?

Intercultural Interaction and Energy

  • More than 70% of the known global reserves of gas and oil are located in the Middle East and former Soviet Union.
  • Past peak oil production accessing limited fossil fuel reserves will increasingly drive international conflicts.
  • Conflicts between biomass energy and food are also possible.

Human Wellbeing and Energy

  • We have an innate ability to think up new ways of using energy to have fun.
  • How does energy use impact on our quality of life?
  • Should each individual have a human right to access a certain amount of clean and secure energy?
  • Can you consume too much energy?