UCL Summer School


Energy and Future Cities

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Thomas Heenan, Thomas Budd
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
In-class test (25%), Group presentation (75%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

Depletion of traditional fuel stores has been accompanied by increasing pollution levels. Consequently, motivations to lower carbon-emissions have elevated. To ensure change is achieved on a global scale a multinational agreement was confirmed in 2015 at the Paris climate conference whereby 195 countries agreed a legally binding global climate deal, the first of its kind. Advancements in the field of electrochemical engineering and the infrastructure that will subsequently facilitate such changes are essential in order to reduce dependencies upon traditional carbon-intensive technologies. For instance, battery technology for use in automotive applications will require a robust charging network in order to prevent energy shortages and power blackouts. This course will provide insight into each stage of this process, from the chemistry and manufacture of new materials to the organisation of the grid and the redesigning of our metropolitan infrastructure. These stages will subsequently shape and dictate the future of our cities.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • have knowledge of the basic principles governing electrochemical devices
  • have awareness of the current and past developments of the energy market
  • understand the applications of low-carbon technologies in automotive vehicles and buildings
  • have explored the current and future infrastructure requirements to facilitate decarbonisation
  • understand the implications these technologies could have on the shaping of our future cities

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • In-class test (25%)
  • Group presentation (75%)

Module leader

Thomas Heenan moved from Swansea in 2011 to complete a BEng degree in the Chemical Engineering department at UCL. In 2014 he progressed to a PhD in the electrochemical Innovation Lab and is now a researcher for the Faraday Institute. During this time he has embarked on international collaborations with the likes of NASA (USA), synchrotron particle accelerator facilities (SLS, ESRF, and Diamond) and national labs (ANL, NREL, LBL, NPL). Dissemination of his work has come in the form of international talks and many publications in high-impact journals, for which his work has received numerous awards. Tom has also taught on several undergraduate programs, summer schools and led a non-profit public engagement group (UCell) for many years. Internally within UCL, Tom has been involved in several of the Grand Challenge proposals including two cross-disciplinary projects between the Slade School of Art and UCL Physics.
Tom Budd has been studying and practicing architecture in London over the last 7 years. During this time he has worked within multiple architectural practices, and had the opportunity to take part in projects ranging from a new pedestrian Bridge in Kings Cross to larger scale conceptual studies for future transport systems in London. Most recently, whilst working for Foster and Partner’s, Tom worked with the Norman Foster Foundation on the foundation’s Droneport project, a concept for using drones as a fast paced medical delivery network in remote regions of Africa. Tom is currently coming to the conclusion of his March Part 2 Architecture Degree at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His final thesis looked into the redesigning of the traditional English village for the future of Britain’s rural Landscape. Tom has taught computing lessons and run workshops on concept visualisation with undergraduate students at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and also worked on the Bartlett summer school program

Application information

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