UCL Energy Institute


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?