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The University of Southampton

Research Group: Carbon Management Research Group

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The Carbon Management group is a team of academics, research staff and postgraduates from across the University of Southampton. Our group is focussed on Greenhouse Gas emissions and the main principle behind all our work is trying to find practical solutions for the management of these emissions in the public and private sector across all scales. Our dynamic and multidisciplinary group is currently researching carbon footprinting in cities and urban communities, the waste industry, the transport sector, the corporate sector and the maritime industry. We are also looking into the future potential of carbon sequestration.

The management of carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions is becoming increasingly important in the face of future climate change. The Carbon Management Group is undertaking research into carbon footprinting and carbon sequestration, and their potential to aid future carbon management across all sectors.

Some key research highlights include:

Standardising Carbon Footprinting and creating a practical technique

-Carbon footprinting is one of the main methods for quantifying anthropogenic environmental impacts and tackling the threat of climate change. However there are a number of different definitions, approaches and terminology surrounding carbon footprinting analysis. We have created a carbon footprinting framework that is cost-effective, practical and repeatable that can be adopted by all types of organisations. We have also created a glossary of key carbon footprinting terminology to make the field of carbon footprinting more accessible.

-We have created a simple guide to carbon footprinting. This goes through each stage and provides an introduction to the main methodologies and their advantages and disadvantages.

-We have undertaken studies that have helped define carbon footprinting tools. With our future work we intend to keep improving carbon footprinting techniques, making sure that there are practical tools available for the growing area of carbon management.

Carbon Footprinting tools and techniques for Cities.

-Cities contribute a significant proportion of anthropogenic greenhouse gas. To control emissions, municipal governments need effective tools to enable effective policy decision making. We have worked closely with Southampton City Council to develop a carbon footprinting tool for cities, to help authorities make informed emissions reduction policy decisions.

-We are working to ensure that carbon footprinting is a cost-effective, practical and repeatable metric that is adopted by municipal governments across the globe as a baseline indicator.

Carbon Footprinting in the Waste Management Sector

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Waste management

-The UK waste management sector is under increasing pressure to manage its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We have critically evaluated the waste management sector and have found carbon footprinting has become highly subjective. We have identified a need for the creation of a waste management sector specific standard for measuring and reporting GHG emissions.

Carbon Footprinting in the Maritime Sector

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Maritime sector

-The group is running multiple research projects looking at the carbon footprinting of maritime transport. Currently being developed is a computer model for the use in calculating and reporting carbon emissions from shipping organisations. The model will help identify key operational and technical measures where GHG reductions could be accomplished.

-We are also quantifying the contribution of small marine vessels to greenhouse gas emissions from the maritime sector. We will be using the UK as a case study to estimate GHG emissions from marine vessels that have not been explicitly included in previous studies. This will shed light upon the level of significance of these small marine vessels to the global estimated GHG emissions from the shipping sector. 

Carbon Sequestration

-Carbon Sequestration is the process of removing carbon and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by either a physical, biological or chemical process. It is becoming increasingly likely that carbon sequestration will be used by organisations and governments in future carbon management plans. Carbon sequestration is a newly emerging field in carbon management and the group is assessing the potential different carbon sequestration techniques have in future management plans.

Carbon Footprinting and Transport

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-Working with Southampton City Council the group is developing an advanced model/software package for calculating the carbon footprinting implications of transport management; and how it can impact on the wider emission profiles of cities.  This research will create different management scenarios to predict and then evaluate the environmental impacts if implemented in Southampton, including a monetary valuation on these environmental changes

-Working with the Estates and Facilities team from the University of Southampton the group is developing a bespoke carbon footprinting tool for the transport and institution operational activities of the University of Southampton.  This will help the University meet its Higher Education Funding Council for England target of a 20% reduction of carbon emissions by 2020 against 2005 levels.

Contact us

Engineering and the Environment
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ 

Prof. Ian Williams

Telephone: (023) 8059 8755

Mr Simon Kemp

Telephone: (023) 8059 5868

Mr Laurie Wright

Telephone: (+44) 2380 593292


Key Publications

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