UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Energy Pathways


What we do

The energy pathways theme examines long-term scenarios for the energy system and explores the implications of these scenarios for people and policymakers. It spans economics, engineering, social and environmental issues, and policy. We work with other themes on cross-cutting issues such as climate policy and the water-food-energy nexus.

Low-carbon energy vectors are the principal focus, with a hydrogen energy programme and projects on carbon capture and storage, greenhouse gas removal technologies and renewable electricity generation. Fossil and biomass resources have been an area of interest for several years, and we have increasing interest in modelling waste management and the circular economy.

Our work

Our main research tools are a series of energy system optimisation models.  We jointly develop our UK model, UK TIMES, with the UK Government, who have used it to inform UK climate policy through publications such as the Clean Growth Strategy. We also use a global energy system model called TIAM-UCL which identifies decarbonisation pathways across the world to keep the global temperature rise well under 2 °C.

Our recent UK research has focused on decarbonising heat, energy storage, European interconnection, and hydrogen systems.  We are currently finalising a new version of UK TIMES that can model the transition to a net zero energy system in 2050.  As part of this, Oliver Broad is on secondment at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where he is working with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Forestry Commission, on the role of bioenergy in meeting the UK’s emission goals.  In Summer 2020, we will start to develop a multi-region version of UK TIMES that will enable us to look at political decision-making at different scales across the UK. 

On a global scale, we have been looking at the potential roles of biomass, afforestation, direct air capture, and other negative emissions technologies on global decarbonisation pathways.  We are also examining the global role of fuel cell vehicles, and the potential for a global trade in hydrogen to develop in the future

Energy Pathways Staff

Paul Dodds
Associate Professor
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Oliver Broad
Research Associate
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Isabela Butnar
Senior Research Associate
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Daniel Scamman
Senior Research Associate
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Photo credit: Basil Samuel Lade, Unsplash