Environmental Science

The Impact of MMU Research on Technical Climate Policy in the Aviation and Maritime Sectors

Summary of the impact

This case study describes the impacts of the work undertaken at Manchester Metropolitan University’s (MMU) Centre for Aviation, Transport, and the Environment (CATE), on international and national policy and legislation for reducing CO2 emissions from aviation and shipping.

The research has provided a robust technical basis for emissions reductions of CO2 from aviation and the maritime sectors. It has influenced international and national policy development of the International Civil Aviation Organization through their Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (ICAO-CAEP), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the European Commission (EC), and the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC). Greenhouse gas emission reductions have been pledged under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) as a result of the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) influential report “Bridging the Emissions Gap”, in which a chapter on aviation and shipping was led by CATE staff ([1], sec.3, numerical references to the research).

Underpinning research

The context: Reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and principally those of CO2, represent one of the greatest environmental challenges to society today because of the nature, scale and longevity of impacts. According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC), transport emissions of CO2 were 23% of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2004 ([A], sec.5, alphabetical sources to corroborate the impact). However, the aviation and maritime sub-sectors of transport (~21% of transport CO2 emissions) have less potential for dramatic reductions in CO2 emission intensity. This is because of their dependence on liquid fossil fuels and slow fleet turnover. Moreover, both sectors are predicted to continue to grow at rates greater than that of the GDP. Thus, aviation and maritime sectors are likely to represent increasing proportions of both total transport and global fossil fuel related CO2 emissions.
CATE, at MMU, has been researching the environmental impacts of aviation (noise, air quality and climate) since 1993. Since 2003, CATE has focussed upon the impact of the aviation and maritime sectors on climate. CATE’s key REF staff, (Prof. David Lee and Dr Sarah Raper, supported at any one time by a team of ~10 RFs, RAs and PhDs), have developed research that has earned a global reputation for its policy-relevance on emissions, atmospheric impacts and the impact of future alternative fuel (biofuel). This is evidenced by continuous support by the Department for Transport (DFT) since 2003 (sec.3) and key widely cited research on the quantification of the impact of aviation on climate ([1], sec.3).
Research on international aviation emissions (2010–2013): This research has focused upon i) the design of a whole aircraft performance-based emission metric for international regulation, ii) the design of emission scenarios and assessment of future trends, and iii) developing summaries of the science of aviation and climate. This has led to three internationally authored ICAO ‘White Papers’ for policy makers. Key outputs at ICAO-CAEP 9th meeting, Feb. 2013 ([B], sec.5).
Research on international maritime emissions (2007–2010): Historical, current-day and potential future maritime emissions and climate impacts comprise the core of this research ([2], [3], sec.3), which is of particular importance to the IMO. Key outputs of benchmark emissions and mitigation options were given in an IMO report ([3], sec.3), and development of understanding of trade-offs in CO2 and non-CO2 emissions in 2009, 2010 journal articles ([2], [4], sec.3) supported by EC grants, Quantify, ATTICA, sec.3).
Designing aviation policy options in the European Union and the UK (2005–2012): This has involved i) design of the scope and coverage of the European Aviation Emissions Trading Scheme, resulting in key outputs published in 2005 ([5], sec.3), 2008, that led to legal implementation of the scheme in 2012, ii) assessment of the size and scope of UK international aviation emissions at baseline and future years for the Committee on Climate Change; key output a 2009 CCC report forming the basis of UK policy on international aviation emissions of CO2 ([C], sec.5).
Informing climate negotiations for emissions reductions pledges (2010–2011): Primarily research into the mitigation potential from aviation and maritime CO2 emissions by 2020. One key peer-reviewed output was the UNEP report ([6], sec.3), presented to the 2011 COP meeting in Durban.
Work for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1997–2013): This has encompassed assessment of aviation emissions and impacts for the IPCC Special Report 1999, an emissions calculation methodology for IPCC Greenhouse Gas Guidebook in 2006 (both of which have enduring impacts and continued usage into the REF period); the assessment of transport-related mitigation potential in the IPCC Fourth Assessment report (2007) ([A], sec.5); and contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report between 2010 and 2013 (published, Sept. 2013).

References to the research

  1. Lee D. S., Fahey D., Forster, P., Newton P. J., Wit, R. C. N., Lim L. L., Owen B., and Sausen R. (2009) Aviation and global climate change in the 21st century. Atmospheric Environment 43, 3520–3537, DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.04.024, (154 citations)
  2. Fuglestvedt J. S., Berntsen T., Eyring V., Isaksen I., Lee D. S., Sausen R. (2009) Shipping emissions: from cooling to warming of climate – and reducing impacts on health. Environmental Science and Technology 43, 9057–9062. DOI: 10.1021/es901944r (19 citations)
  3. Buhaug O., Corbett J. J., Endresen O., Eyring V., Faber J., Hanayama S., Lee D. S., Lee D., Lindstad H., Markowska A. Z., Mjelde A., Nelissen D., Nilsen J., Palsson C., Winebrake J. J., Wu W., Yoshida K. (2009) Second IMO GHG Study, 2009. International Maritime Organization, London.
  4. Fuglestvedt J. S., Shine K. P., Cook J., Berntsen T., Lee D. S., Stenke A., Skeie R. B., Velders G. J. M. and Waitz I. A. (2010) Transport impacts on atmosphere and climate: Metrics. Atmospheric Environment, 44, 4648–4677. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.04.044, (92 citations)
  5. Wit R. C. N., Boon B. H., van Velzen A., Cames M., Deuber O. and Lee D. S. (2005) Giving wings to emission trading. Inclusion of aviation under the European emission trading system (ETS): design and impacts. CE-Delft, No. ENC.C.2/ETU/2004/0074r, the Netherlands.
  6. Lee D. S., Hare, W., Endresen Ø., Eyring V., Faber J., Lockley P., Maurice L., Schaeffer M., Wilson C. (2011) International emissions. In ‘Bridging the Emissions Gap. A UNEP Synthesis Report’. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Research Grants

In the time covered by this impact case study MMU has attracted ~ £10 million of direct income from research grants and contracts related to this impact study. This includes funding from the EPSRC (£1.5M), UK Government (DFT, DEFRA, DECC; £4.5M), and the European Union (Quantify, ATTICA, ECATS, AERONET, AERO2K, REACT4C, ITAKA; £2M). From 2007 – 2009 CATE led the £5M HEIF-funded OMEGA project (£1.5M direct funding). OMEGA is a network of UK based research centres (Cambridge, Cranfield, Leeds, Loughborough, MMU, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield and Southampton) focussed on providing scientific data for sustainable growth in the aviation industry.

Details of the impact

The principle impacts are those upon public policy and the environment through scientific work to support international/national policy and regulation. These have resulted in real-world impacts, which ultimately result in tangible reductions in global CO2 and other atmospheric emissions.

Research on International Aviation Emissions

CATE, at MMU, has been working within a technical body of the UN ICAO Agency, to design the first CO2 emissions standard for aircraft (see ‘Research on international aviation emissions’, sec.2). MMU input has been crucial for the relevant UK and European regulatory authorities ([D], sec.5). The ICAO formally adopted the metric in February 2013 ([B], sec.5), but the standard has not yet been set. MMU is active in both establishing the principles for standard-setting and quantifying the impact of standards on future CO2 emission reduction. CATE leads one of the 6 technical ICAO Working Groups (Impacts and Science Group) and supports 3 others. According to the Executive Director of the Federal Aviation Administration of the US: CATE’s efforts to quantify aviation’s emissions inventories have informed critical decisions on new air quality and noise engine and aircraft standards in 2010 and 2013 at ICAO/CAEP.  Such policy decisions have tremendous costs and offer substantial environmental benefits.  They must be made carefully and be informed by the best available science.  CATE has been at the forefront of informing policy makers and ensuring their decisions are science-based” ([D], sec.5).

Research on International Maritime Emissions

The IMO is the UN Agency responsible for international emissions of CO2 from the maritime sector, under Article 2.2. of the Kyoto Protocol. The IMO commissioned a ‘game changing’ emissions and impacts assessment, published in 2009, to which David Lee contributed. This report has made a major impact on the maritime sector and has set benchmarks for historical, present, and future potential emissions through the development of scenarios. “The involvement of Professor Lee, amongst other world-leading experts has reduced the uncertainty for governments in their decision making process and is one of the main reasons for IMO’s successful adoption of the first binding and global CO2 regime for an industry sector.” (Technical Director, IMO, [E], sec.5) In addition to the emissions assessment, the section on the climate impact of maritime emissions was co-led by David Lee. Through the IMO report ([3], sec.3) and follow-on publications ([2], [6], sec.3), this shifted the perspective of the maritime and shipping industry to accept that the sector’s emissions of CO2 lead to global warming in the long-term, despite short-term cooling from sulphur emissions. Thus SO2 emissions regulations proceeded (entered into force 1 July 2010), with the consequential protection of local and regional air quality, simultaneously combined with a separate focus on CO2 emissions reductions. This resulted in adoption of a CO2 emissions standard/energy efficiency design index in July 2011.

Designing aviation policy options in the European Union and the UK

In January 2012, the European Union introduced aviation into its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The original scope of the scheme, in terms of pollutants and policy/geographical scope, was commissioned by the European Commission in 2005 ([5], sec.3). The 2005 report set out the basic design of the ETS. Crucially, the European Parliament wanted to include non-CO2 emissions from aviation, and David Lee, concluded in this ([5], sec.3) and a later (2008) report to the Commission that they should not be included in the ETS as the science was not sufficiently developed. As a result of the EU-ETS, significant CO2 emissions savings will result (currently under some negotiation at the international level, to which MMU is contributing data). “From the early stages of policy formulation through to on-going international negotiations over the future global policy and rules on aviation emissions, timely MMU research and input have enabled EU policies and positions to be formulated and defended on the basis of solid and state-of-the art knowledge, the most prominent example hereof being aviation's inclusion in the EU's Emissions Trading System” (Personal assistant to Member of Cabinet of Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action [F], sec.5)
The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was established by Parliamentary Act to examine UK CO2 emissions each year and ensure that the UK is on course to meet targets. The CCC assessed whether aviation emissions should form part of these targets, and examined impacts and mitigation options. David Lee was appointed to the CCC as special advisor on aviation, and contributed towards the writing of the CCC’s 2009 Aviation Report, as recorded in the report’s acknowledgements. As a result, the CCC noted that CO2 emissions from international aviation should be considered in the UK legal targets for CO2. Moreover, the CCC adopted and re-published the main chart from [1], sec.3, and recommended that non-CO2 impacts should be revisited in the future David Lee was an expert advisor for our review of aviation emissions (CCC, 2009), where he provided advice on non-CO2 effects, aircraft and fleet technologies and future scenarios.  This report was, and continues to be, very influential in debates around the future of UK aviation” (Climate Science Advisor, Committee on Climate Change Secretariat [G], sec.5).

Informing Climate Negotiations for Emissions Reductions Pledges

As a result of extensive technical and scientific experience in the aviation and shipping sectors, David Lee was invited by UNEP to lead a chapter of a UNEP Synthesis Report ([6], sec.3) on whether pledges of emissions reductions will be sufficient to meet the ‘2 degree target’ for global warming. The UNEP report ‘Bridging the Emissions Gap’ was launched at the Royal Society in 2011, and presented to the Conference of Parties to the Climate Convention at Durban in 2011. As a result, various ‘Parties to the Convention’ re-pledged emissions reductions and for the report to be taken into account in climate negotiations. The UNEP series reports on the 'emissions gap' of where we need to be on a 2 degree trajectory, and where we are according to current pledges and projections, has been of vital importance to policy makers in the UNFCCC negotiations. The analysis from the gap report has been extensively used by negotiators to support their work and is often quoted during the climate talks and negotiation sessions.” (Deputy Director, Division of Technology, Industry & Economics, United Nations Environment Program [H], sec.5).

Work for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The work of the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Four of MMU’s staff from CATE (Lee, Raper S, Raper D and Dimitriu) are Lead Authors. Lee as REF researcher has contributed to the 1999 Aviation Report ([I], sec.5), the 2006 Greenhouse Guidebook ([J], sec.5) and the 2007 Fourth Assessment WG3 Report ([A], sec.5), and the writing of the Fifth Assessment Report from 2011 to 2013. CATE has made significant contributions to IPCC reports that have been critical in informing international climate policy and have enduring impact in the current REF impact period. The IPCC Greenhouse Guidebook (2006) for example ([J], sec.5) is still the de facto standard for estimating and reporting aviation and shipping emissions internationally and still in use to 2013.

Sources to corroborate the impact

  1. Kahn-Ribeiro S., Kobayashi S, Beuthe M., Gasca J., Greene D., Lee D. S., Muromachi Y., Newton P. J., Plotkin S., Wit R. C. N. and Zhou P. J. (2007) Transportation and its infrastructure. Chapter 5, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 3.
  2. Report of the Ninth meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, Montreal, February 4th to 15th, 2013.
  3. Meeting the UK aviation target – options for reducing emissions to 2050. Committee on Climate Change, London.
  4. Quote from Executive Director/Chief Scientist (Environment/Energy), US Federal Aviation Administration corroborating impacts on establishing the principles for standard-setting on international aviation emissions and on quantifying the impact on future CO2 reduction.
  5. Quote from: Technical Adviser to the Secretary-General, Office of the Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization corroborating impacts on setting benchmarks for international CO2 emissions from the maritime sector.
  6. Quote from: Personal assistant to Member of Cabinet of Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action corroborating impacts on EU policy and position in relation to CO2 emissions from aviation.
  7. Quote from: Climate Science Advisor, Committee on Climate Change Secretariat corroborating impacts on UK aviation and shipping emissions policy.
  8. Quote from: Deputy Director, Division of Technology, Industry & Economics, United Nations Environment Program corroborating impacts on international aviation / maritime policy and potential CO2 reductions.
  9. Henderson S. C., Wickrama U. K., Baughcum S. L., Begin J. L., Franco F., Greene D. L., Lee D. S., Mclaren M. L., Mortlock A. K., Newton P. J., Schmitt A., Sutkus D. J., Vedantham A. and Wuebbles D. J. (1999) Aircraft emissions: current inventories and future scenarios. Chapter 9 of ‘Aviation and the Global Atmosphere’. Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  10. Maurice L. Q., Hockstad L., Hoehne N., Hupe J., Lee D. S. and Rypdal K. (2006) Mobile combustion: aviation. In ‘2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories’ Chapter 3, Section 6, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Japan.

The influence of MMU research on protecting and restoring ecosystems affected by air pollution.

Summary of the impact

This case study describes the impact of the research of the Centre for Earth and Ecosystem Responses to Environmental Change (CEEREC), MMU, on the protection and restoration of native ecosystems and upland semi-natural habitats that are affected by nitrogen pollution. CEEREC investigates the harm caused by nitrogen pollution to a range of semi-natural habitats. We also explore the impact of historic pollution in upland Britain and the potential for recovery through ecological restoration. Our research has informed evidence-based changes to UK, EU and US emission control policy and on the mitigation and restoration methods (e.g. ‘BeadaMoss™) of pollution affected landscapes.

Underpinning research

Historic and current air pollution emissions from power generation, industry, transport and agriculture, remain a major threat to the provision of important ecosystem services from our natural capital. Since 1994, CEEREC has investigated the consequences of nitrogen pollution, acid rain and ozone on semi-natural vegetation in particular heathlands, grasslands and bogs. The research of CEEREC utilises field experiments and national surveys to show the harm caused by nitrogen pollution to a range of semi-natural habitats. Research is rooted in work on Welsh moorlands where long term nitrogen experiments since 1993 have highlighted the sensitivity to nitrogen pollution of ecological processes including raised nitrogen leaching, base cation depletion, increased winter injury, loss of lichens and bryophytes [1]. This work has been undertaken within the context of NERC and DEFRA research programmes [G1], [G2].

The arrival of Dise in 2005 broadened CEEREC’s interests to include landscape studies of nitrogen impacts on various plant communities. Research on acid grasslands found a decline in species richness of western European grasslands in response to pollutant nitrogen (ESF BEGIN  consortium project, 2006-2009, €760k) [2], [3]. MMU led a project on pollution indicators within the DEFRA programme with York, Imperial, Sheffield Universities, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the James Hutton Institute on the effects of acidification and eutrophication on terrestrial ecosystems and their recovery’ [4], [G1], [G3]. Our research demonstrated the similar vulnerability to air pollution of five very distinct habitats across the UK. Our research on plant community composition expanded when Dise lead a European consortium of 50 academics and practitioners exploring the impacts of pollution, precipitation and temperature on peatland biodiversity and biogeochemistry from southern Europe to the Arctic [G4], [G5]. Caporn’s research on heathlands [5] showed that these systems impacted by nitrogen pollution would only recover slowly due to the effects of long-term nitrogen accumulation. In the Pennine moorlands where acute historic pollution contributed to catastrophic degeneration, CEEREC demonstrated that intervention measures were required to restore plant communities and some degree of ecosystem function, [7].

In the southern Pennines, air pollution has played a significant historical role in peatland degradation. Our research reported in Bonn et al 2009, [A], on the natural recovery of Sphagnum in the southern Pennines [T1], [T2], showed that air quality in the Peak District National Park is now at least adequate for restoration of Sphagnum. This is the keystone species of active, healthy peatlands providing vital ecosystem services including water management and carbon sequestration. In collaboration with Moors for the Future [G6], Sen demonstrated that microbial succession accompanies vegetation re-establishment of bare peat, crucial knowledge underpinning the costly peatland restoration procedure. Sen has applied DNA-based functional micro-biomics to improve understanding of functional nitrogen-cycling in soil and the associated plant root microbial drivers in peatland restoration. CEEREC has explored novel techniques to restore Sphagnum moss on many degraded peat soils and its research and knowledge transfer is leading scientific approaches to Sphagnum bog restoration in the UK. Indeed the Sphagnum project had impact imbedded into it from the outset being commissioned by Moors for the Future and biotechnology SME Micropropagation Services Ltd [6]

Key Staff

Simon Caporn (Reader, 1994 – present), Nancy Dise (Professor, 2005-present), Robin Sen (Reader, 2006 -present)

Esteem and recognition

Caporn: Natural England Upland Evidence Review, invited panel member 2012-2013.

Dise: Associate Editor, Biogeochemistry (2005-12); Ecosystems (2003-5); Review Panels for EU 7th framework, EU 6th framework, US National Science Foundation, NERC Directed Programme QUEST; member NERC College, 2005-8

Sen: Editorial board ISRN Soil Science (2011-onwards). Editorial Advisor to the New Phytologist 1994 - 2008.

References to the research (CEEREC scientists in bold font)

[1] Carroll J.A., Caporn S.J.M., Cawley, L., Read D.J., Lee J.A. 1999.The effect of increased atmospheric nitrogen deposition on Calluna vulgaris in upland Britain. New Phytologist 141:423- 431. DOI: 10.1046/j.1469-8137.1999.00358.x, (67 citations)

[2] Payne R, Dise NB, Stevens CJ, Gowing DJ, Begin partners (2013). Impact of nitrogen deposition at the species level'. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 110:984–987. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1214299109, (6 citations)

[3] Stevens CJ, Dupre C,  Dorland E, Gaudnik C,  Gowing DJG, Bleeker A, Diekmann M, Alard D, Bobbink R, Fowler D, Corcket E, Mountford JO, Vandvik V, Aarrestad PA, Muller S and Dise NB (2010) Nitrogen deposition threatens species richness of grasslands across Europe. Environmental Pollution 158: 2940-2945. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.06.006, (53 citations)

[4] Phoenix GK, Emmett BA, Britton AJ, Caporn SJM, Dise NB, Helliwell R, Jones MLM, Leake JR, Leith ID, Sheppard LJ, Sowerby A, Pilkington MG, Rowe EC, Ashmore MR, Power SA (2012). Impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition: responses of multiple plant and soil parameters across contrasting ecosystems in long-term field experiments. Global Change Biology 18: 1197–1215 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02590.x, (17 citations)

[5] Edmondson J, Terribile E, Carroll JA, Price EAC & Caporn SJM (2013) The legacy of nitrogen pollution on heather moorlands: ecosystem response to simulated decline in nitrogen deposition over seven years. The Science of the Total Environment 444:138–144 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.074

[6] Hinde S, Rosenburgh A, Wright N, Buckler M & Caporn S. 2010 Sphagnum re-introduction project: A report on research into the re-introduction of Sphagnum mosses to degraded moorland. Moors for the Future Research Report No. 18, Edale, Derbyshire.

[7] Sen R, Elliott D, Nwaishi F, Smith G, Caporn S (2011). Impacts of moorland restoration on diversity and distribution of plant growth promoting root symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and associated soil nitrogen cycling bacteria/archael communities in the southern Pennines. Research Report to Moors for the Future, Peak District National Park, Edale. Derbyshire. March 2011.

Key Grants (Indicators of Research quality)

[G1] DEFRA/NERC Terrestrial Umbrella research programme on the effects of eutrophication and acidification on terrestrial systems (2001-2011). Work package leader (2007-11): Caporn (£110,000) Defra contract nos. AQ0802
[G2] NERC thematic programmes ‘Environmental Diagnostics’ and ‘Global Atmospheric Nitrogen Enrichment’ (1998-2004), MMU direct funding. PI: Caporn (£50k)
[G3] Natural England Assessing effects of small increments of atmospheric nitrogen deposition (above the critical load) on semi-natural habitats of conservation importance. (2011) PI: Caporn. (£21,000), SAE03-02-406
[G4] EU FP7, Framework Biodiversa programme PEATBOG (Pollution Precipitation & Temperature Impacts on Peatland Biodiversity & Biogeochemistry) 2009-12. NE/G002363/1 PI: Dise (€1.6 M) (http://www.biodiversa.org/484)

[G5] NERC studentship Climate change and salinity impacts on coastal peatlands PI: Dise,
£73,000, (Sept 1st 2013-2016, NE/L501992/1)
[G6]  Five grants from Moors for the Future (2008 - 2013). PIs: Caporn & Sen (£20K)

Details of the impact

Principal impacts arising from our research were evidence to government and NGOs on the risks to biodiversity from air pollution and the development of methods and policies for upland peatland restoration and re-establishment of Sphagnum moss.

Impacts on policy of air pollution effects on ecosystems

Critical loads are used by government and NGOs to inform decision-making on planning applications for industry and agriculture. A report commissioned by Natural England [B], in which CEEREC were lead authors, assessed the effectiveness of nitrogen critical loads, [T3], and CEEREC jointly authored a DEFRA report (June 2013) evaluating the effect of N deposition reduction on ecosystems. “[CEEREC research] has made an important contribution to the body of evidence … used in supporting our advice to government on the risks to biodiversity, in the context of the … new Common Agricultural Policy programme and .. the Government’s commitments to enhancing biodiversity under Biodiversity 2020.” (Natural England, [T4]). CEEREC played a key role in evaluating pollution bio-indicators for the protection of biodiversity for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee [C]. Dise co-authored the influential paper in PNAS, [2], calling into question the basis of the Critical Loads policy for protecting biodiversity:  “In some cases, such as the Payne et al. paper ....advances may cause us to reconsider the fundamental concepts that underlie the policy” [D]. MMU field research was used as evidence for setting critical loads of nitrogen pollution for heathlands in the 2010 European Review and revision of empirical critical loads and dose-response relationships, Bobbink and Hettelingh 2010, ISBN: 978-90-6960-251-6.

Caporn and Dise have provided expertise and advice to UK DEFRA policy advisors at twice-yearly consortium meetings, 2001-2011. Dise was lead author on a chapter of the 2011 European Nitrogen Assessment on ‘Nitrogen as a threat to European terrestrial Biodiversity’ [5], [E], informed by her grassland research. A work package Indicators of N deposition and its ecological impact lead by Caporn and Dise, [F], also led to them authoring sections on nitrogen impacts in the 2012 UK Review of Transboundary Air Pollution report (ROTAP, 2012, [I]) which is the background to DEFRA’s strategy on air quality and ecosystems. Caporn sits on the steering committee for
CAPER (UK Committee for Air Pollution Effects Research) which has met six times, 2008-13. CAPER holds annual conferences to communicate outcomes to end users (e.g. DEFRA, EA,
Natural England and Natural Resources Wales). In July 2013 the PEATBOG project was one of only two EU funded projects from the ‘Biodiversa’ 1ST round to provide the basis for policy briefs to the EU. These briefs were prepared by Dise for environmental policy representatives all Member Nations, the EU Environmental Attaché and other parties for direct input into policy on mitigating climate change and air pollution emissions. “MMU have been instrumental in considering complex, multidisciplinary responses to restore habitats to favourable conservation status” (Chair, Air Pollution Information System Steering Group and Senior Pollution and Climate Advisor, Natural Resource Wales, [T3].

Mitigation and restoration of pollution affected landscapes

Natural England is working closely with MMU on an innovative and productive project to re- establish Sphagnum moss at a landscape scale across the uplands of England, [T1]. Moors for the Future commissioned a report from CEEREC advising on restoration strategies, [G]. CEEREC provided key advice on the potential for successful Sphagnum restoration and extensive technical advice on an advisory group which oversees this work. Atmospheric pollution leaves a legacy of negative environmental effects. A consortium including MMU advised Natural Resources Wales in April 2013 on management options to reduce the impact of nitrogen accumulation in different habitats. The collaborative work on Sphagnum moss with Moors for the Future (2008-2013) and Micro-Propagation Services Ltd (2008-2013) has provided commercial impact since October 2012 proving that that planted Sphagnum in a novel form called BeadaMoss™ produced by Micropropagation Services Ltd, could establish and grow in harsh upland conditions. “MMU has enabled our business to commercially develop our new Sphagnum product and have been greatly assisted by having sound scientific data. It has enabled us to be seen with credibility and to successfully deal with NGOs, large businesses and government bodies[T5]. This knowledge  gives valuable underpinning to the £5.5 M EU-funded ‘Moorlife’ moorland restoration project (2010- 2015). (http://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/sphagnum-project) as articulated by Moors for the Future, “this programme of research by MMU has provided an incredibly valuable body of evidence that has enabled us to effectively communicate to policy makers and funding bodies to successfully secure funding to continue restoration and land management and informed the development of restoration methods to increase efficiency and efficacy”, [T2], Letter from Research Manager, Moors for the Future). The impact of CEEREC’s research has been to support the re-vegetation of around 2500 hectares of previously bare and degraded upland peat soils in the Peak District National Park. In 2012 our research gained media exposure through interviews on BBC Radio 4 (Costing the Earth, 14.3.2012); local BBC stations (Radio Stoke, 25.9.2012; Radio Manchester, 26.9.2012) and articles in The Sunday Times (23.9.2012). Our expertise was acknowledged by Natural England who appointed Caporn as one of two academics to the Upland Evidence Review panel on upland restoration (2012-2013), (http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/uplands/reviewgroups.aspx)

Sources to corroborate the impact

Testimonials available on file from:

[T1] Upland Ecology Specialist, Natural England

[T2] Research Manager, Moors for the Future Partnership, Peak District National Park (Letter corroborating claims of landscape-scale restoration of moorlands with sphagnum)

[T3] Senior Pollution Impacts Adviser, Natural Resources Wales (Letter corroborating impacts on air pollution conservation)

[T4] Senior Air Quality Specialist, Land Use Strategy and Environmental Specialist Services Unit,
Natural England

[T5] Managing Director, Micropropagation Services Ltd, Leicestershire (Letter corroborating claims of scientific underpinning of BeadaMoss)

Impact References (Reports to end user community, CEEREC scientists in bold font)

[A] Bonn A, Allott T., Hubacek K., Stewart J., 2009. Drivers of Environmental change in Uplands, Abingdon, Routledge.

[B] Caporn, S., Field, C., Payne, R., Dise, N., Britton, A., Emmett, B., Jones, L., Phoenix, G., Power, S., Sheppard, L., Stevens, C. (2011). Assessing the effects of small increments of atmospheric nitrogen deposition (above the critical load) on semi-natural habitats of conservation importance. A commissioned Report to Natural England, contract SN218. London.
[C] Stevens, C.J., Caporn, S.J.M., Maskill, L.C., Smart, S.M., Dise, N.B. and Gowing, D.J. 2009. Detecting and Attributing Air Pollution Impacts during SSSI Condition Assessment.  Joint Nature Conservation Committee Rpt. No:426. (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4961), accessed 11/11/ 2013

[D] Lovett GM., (2013) Critical issues for critical loads, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 110, 808-9

[E] Sutton MA, Howard C, Erisman J-W, Billen G, Bleeker A, Grennfelt P, van Grinsven H, and Grizzetti B (eds.) (2011) The European Nitrogen Assessment. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press (http://www.nine-esf.org/ENA-Book), accessed 11/11/ 2013

[F] UKREATE 2010 Terrestrial Umbrella: Effects of eutrophication and acidification on terrestrial ecosystems. CEH contract report NEC03425. Defra contract nos. AQ0802.

[G] Carroll JA, Anderson P, Caporn, S., Eades, P., O’Reilly, C. & Bonn, A. 2009. Sphagnum in the Peak District: Current Status and Potential for Restoration. A commissioned report for Moors for the Future, Report No 16, Edale, Derbyshire.

[H] Associate contributors Dise and Caporn 2012 UK Review of Transboundary Air Pollution (www.ROTAP.ceh.ac.uk ) report to DEFRA, accessed 11/11/ 2013

Offshore Renewable Energy Deployment

Summary of the impact

Examples are provided of significant impact by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Flow Analysis (CMMFA) upon the Marine Renewables and Offshore Wind communities. In particular, CMMFA informed the design of a novel wave energy converter being commercialised for connection to the national grid. CMMFA has also contributed to a study of the design parameters for an offshore wind power station as part of a larger interdisciplinary collaborative research effort. This work responds to and informs the RCUK Energy Programme via underpinning research, capacity building and provision of trained personnel thus enacting UK Government Energy Policy.

Underpinning research

The context for the Impact case study is the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change 2007 Energy White Paper and its UK Renewable Energy Roadmap and 2012 update. These documents set out the UK Government policy and target to deliver 15% of UK energy from renewables by 2020. Eight technology areas are identified: onshore wind, offshore wind, marine energy, biomass electricity, biomass heat, ground/air source heat pumps and renewable transport. Responsibility for delivering the technology rests in part with the RCUK Energy Programme, which, through its funded programmes, seeks to position the UK to meet its energy and environmental targets and policy goals through world-class research with impact, capacity building and training. The RCUK programme, with £625M invested thus far, is helping the UK to make evidence-based policy decisions on energy addressing the climate change agenda, including changes to regulatory mechanisms and impact assessments. CMMFA’s research and Impact case study is linked to 2 of the above 8 technology areas, namely marine energy and offshore wind.

Active in the area of free surface hydrodynamics since 1995, CMMFA has developed in-house advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models and software. The work cited relates to the environmental impact assessment arising from climate change, sea level rise and increased storm activity in the offshore environment. This has critical implications for the safe deployment and survivability of past, existing and proposed offshore structures for both wind and wave power, which in deep water are increasingly likely to be novel floating structures. The design and survivability of these structures depends critically on the reliability of hydrodynamic impact load predictions. These are a key component of a fully integrated design solution for offshore marine structures involving other disciplines such as electrical power engineering, materials science, rotor aerodynamics and condition monitoring as well as environmental impact, regulatory and socio-economic issues.
Supported by experimental studies conducted in collaborating partner laboratories at Bath, Edinburgh, Hull, Lancaster, Manchester, Oxford, Plymouth and Queen’s Belfast universities, work was focused upon constructing a detailed, validated, computational model in the form of a so-called numerical wave tank (NWT). This simulates both laboratory-scale and full-scale devices in realistic wave climates and led to the development of the CMMFA's AMAZON suite of flow codes. CMMFA brought novel developments in numerical techniques over the discipline boundary from its pre-1995 work in aeronautical CFD. CMMFA pioneered their use in the sister discipline of hydrodynamics. These included optimized adaptive mesh generation that preserves the favourable properties and simplicity of rectangular grids whilst combining these with so-called cut (trimmed) cells [1] that align with stationary irregular boundaries/terrain, or objects moving with up to six degrees of freedom (DoF); and, Riemann-based flow solvers that provide high resolution of cell-interface fluxes [2]. The suite of codes developed included i) a numerical wave flume based on the shallow water equations (a depth-integrated form of the Navier-Stokes equations) suitable for calculating wave run-up in near-shore regions [3] and, ii) a 3D NWT based on a full two-fluid viscous Navier-Stokes solution in both air and water regions above and below the free (water) surface. This can model wave generation, steepening, overturning and breaking over a structure [4, 5]. In the NWT, numerical wave paddles move, either singly or in groups, to generate the required wave characteristics, e.g. directionally focussed waves. Boundary conditions eliminate reflections or allow waves to pass through. Outputs are a full set of flow variables e.g. pressure and velocity fields, water surface elevations, forces and body motion response. These supplement laboratory experiments and prototype testing. The result is a fully detailed flow model incorporating all relevant physics above and below the water surface. This includes the fluids, air and water, aeration as waves break and impact a structure, wind effects on waves and the motion response of the structure. In contrast contemporaneous diffraction models and potential flow codes were not suitable for breaking waves whilst previous NWTs based on the full Navier-Stokes equations did not include compressible phenomena such as aeration and cavitation. This may be important in quantifying loadings under extreme wave conditions in which structures must survive [6].
Since 1999, the group’s work in the hydrodynamics area has been funded continuously by the EPSRC via 12 research grants and two Joule Centre grants, (total > £10M). Seven of these are within the current REF period (four are current). The majority of awards involve collaboration with leading laboratory-based groups (as stated above) or are multi-disciplinary consortium-led collaborations, e.g. with project partners in the EPSRC SUPERGEN programmes. The group has produced over 60 peer-reviewed publications in the underpinning area.

Key CMMFA Researchers

Professor Derek Causon, 1986 – present.
Professor Clive Mingham, 1989 – present

References to the research

  1. Causon DM, Ingram DM and Mingham CG (2001). A Cartesian Cut Cell Method for Shallow Water Flows with Moving Boundaries. Advances in Water Resources. 24:899-911. DOI: 10.1016/S0309-1708(01)00010-0, (48 citations)
  2. Mingham CG and Causon DM (1998). A High Resolution Finite Volume Method for the Shallow Water Equations. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. 124(6):605-614. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9429(1998)124:6(605), (137 citations)
  3. Hu K, Mingham CG, Causon DM, (2000). Numerical simulation of wave overtopping of coastal structures using the non-linear shallow water equations. Coastal Engineering 41(4):433-465. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-3839(00)00040-5, (113 citations)
  4. Qian L, Causon DM, Mingham CG and Ingram DM (2006). A Free-Surface Capturing Method for Two Fluid Flows with Moving Bodies. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: A 462 (2065):21-42. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2005.1528, (47 citations)
  5. Hu ZZ, Causon DM, Mingham CG and Qian L (2011). Numerical Simulation of Floating Bodies in Extreme Free Surface Waves. Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Science 11(2): 519-527. DOI: 10.5194/nhess-11-519-2011, (2 citations)
  6. Causon DM and Mingham CG (2013). Finite Volume Simulation of Unsteady Shock-Cavitation in Compressible Water. International Journal of Numerical Methods in Fluids. 72(6): 632-649.

Research Grants

EPSRC GR/M42428: Impulsive Wave Overtopping of Seawalls and Related Coastal Structures – Numerical Simulation: 05/99 – 09/02. £168,385. PI: Causon.
EPSRC GR/N24162: Numerical Prediction of Multi-Component Fluid Systems Using a Cartesian Cut Cell Method: 02/01 – 01/03. £78,190. PI: Causon.
EPSRC GR/S12333: An Experimental and Numerical Study of Oscillating Wave Surge Converters (OWSC's): 01/03 – 12/05. £120,377. PI: Mingham.
EPSRC GR/S23827: Violent Waves at the Coast- Are we safe at the seaside? (Public Engagement): 04/03 – 10/05. £41,412. PI: Causon.
EPSRC GR/T18622: Free Surface Simulation of Wave Overtopping during Storms: 04/05 – 03/07. £92,296. CI: Causon.
EPSRC EP/D077621: Extreme Wave Loading on Offshore Wave Energy Devices Using CFD: A Hierarchical Team Approach: 02/07 - 01/10. £116,530. PI: Causon.
EPSRC EP/D034566: Supergen Wind Energy Technologies Phase 1: 03/06 – 03/10. £2,552,788. PI: Mingham.
EPSRC EP/F069162: A Hybrid Turbulence Approach for Simulation of Breaking Waves and Their Impacts on Coastal Structures: 01/09 – 7/11. £223,956. PI: Qian.
EPSRC EP/H018662: SUPERGEN WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES-CORE, Towards the Offshore Wind Power Station: 03/10 – 03/14. £4,834,191. PI: Mingham.
EPSRC EP/J010197: SUPERGEN MARINE: Modelling Marine Renewable Energy Devices; Designing for Survivability: 6/12 – 6/15. £1,039,617. PI: Causon.
EPSRC EP/J012793: FROTH: Fundamentals and Reliability of Offshore Structure Hydrodynamics: 11/12 – 10/15. £241,712. PI: Causon.
EPSRC EP/K037889: Virtual Wave Structure Interaction (WSI) Simulation Environment: 5/13 – 4/16. £323,344. PI: Causon.
Joule Centre F-60024: A Numerical Study of a Novel Wave Energy Converter (Neptune): 03/07 – 02/08. £99,000. PI: Mingham.
Joule Centre F-60042: A Joint Numerical and Experimental Study of a Surging Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter (WRASPA): 04/08 – 03/09. £105,000. PI: Mingham.

Details of the impact

Marine Energy

On EPSRC grants GR/S12333 and GR/S12326 CMMFA and project partners, Queen's University Belfast (QUB) carried out a linked experimental and numerical study of Oscillating Wave Surge Converters (OWSCs). The Marine Renewables Energy Group at QUB are acknowledged world-leading device developers within the wave energy community credited with the development and installation of LIMPET, the world’s first grid-connected wave energy converter (WEC). The OWSC was a novel hybrid of the LIMPET oscillating water column device and a pendulor-type system with a hinged paddle surge converter. The work involved wave tank tests at QUB and numerical modelling with CMMFA’s AMAZON suite of codes to extensively map the parameter space of the device. This enabled particular parameters such as the hinge point location and position of an inclined back plane to be isolated, studied in detail and revised. The models allowed realistic scenarios to be explored to provide device productivity results. The impact was design guidance for OWSC devices and the OYSTER WEC was developed as a direct result of this project [A].
Subsequently, Aquamarine Power plc with a team of 45 people was formed in 2005 to bring the OYSTER technology to the commercial market [B]. Since 2010, two full-scale prototypes of OYSTER 800 have been built and tested. In May 2013, the Scottish Government granted a license for Aquamarine Power plc to develop the world’s largest grid-connected commercial wave power array deploying around 50 OYSTER devices with a combined capacity to power almost 30,000 homes [C]. In 2012, RCUK cited OYSTER as one of its Impact exemplars of UK energy research and capacity building [D].

Offshore Wind

The CMMFA was Co-Investigator on the Phase 2 EPSRC SUPERGEN WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES-CORE Consortium project EP/H018662, 'Towards the Offshore Wind Power Station' [2010-2014]. This involved 26 academic and 7 industrial partners undertaking research to achieve an integrated, cost effective, reliable and available Offshore Wind Power Station. CMMFA was also a Co-Investigator on Phase 1 of the SUPERGEN WIND Energy Technologies Consortium project EP/D034566 [2006-2010]. The focus of the SUPERGEN WIND project was on the technological challenges related to the exploitation of the UK’s extensive offshore wind resource through interdisciplinary research consisting of all relevant branches of engineering embracing environmental impact, socio-economic and regulatory aspects. In particular, this included electrical power engineering; condition monitoring; use of innovative materials and active load reduction; rotor aerodynamics; lighting and radar visibility; subsea foundations and hydrodynamics.
The project had 2 parallel themes. The first dealt with the underlying physics and engineering of the offshore wind turbine farm whilst the second looked specifically at the wind turbine itself, building upon SUPERGEN Phase 1. The results of the two themes are now feeding into a third Gathering Theme, which is developing the wind farm as an offshore power station. Development focuses upon how the station should be designed, operated and maintained for optimum reliability. It also considers what form future developments should take such as the up-scaled facilities on novel floating structures and the economics associated with their implementation.
CMMFA was the only UK CFD group involved as Investigators in SUPERGEN WIND Phases 1, 2 with sole project responsibility for the subsea foundations and hydrodynamics areas. Working with partners at Lancaster and Hull universities, it combined numerical modelling with laboratory studies of foundation scour at wind turbine mounts and wave loading on fixed and floating mounts.
Knowledge transfer (KT) in SUPERGEN WIND Phase 1 and 2 occurs outside of the traditional dissemination routes of academic publications. In SUPERGEN WIND KT occurs through i) formal Consortium Management Group Meetings, which are attended by all academic partners and the 7 industrial project partners (e.g. E.ON plc, GL Garrad Hassan, Alstrom Grid Ltd) [E], ii) Research Monographs targeted at knowledge transfer to industry [F] and iii) development of future industrial energy leaders through EPSRC Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs). These DTCs are part-funded by industrial partners who are also involved in project selection, placement and recruitment of doctoral students [G].  Knowledge transfer also occurs via the SUPERGEN WIND Annual Assembles [H] at which CMMFA have presented their research. Annual Assemblies are attended by over 50 industrial players in the wind energy sector and EPSRC Programme Managers and Policy Makers, who set and revise the agenda for the RCUK Energy programme. CMMFA were invited participants at the January 2013 Wind Energy Scoping Workshop convened by EPSRC [I]. This workshop defined the research areas to be prioritised for funding in Phase 3 of the 5-year programme from 2015, leading to the current Call for Proposals under SUPERGEN WIND. The new areas in Phase 3 include further work proposed by CMMFA on improved and adventurous foundation concepts to increase understanding of the dynamics of floating platforms in deeper water underpinned by the work carried out by CMMFA and partners in Phase 2 of the programme.
CMMFA is the only UK university research group involved as investigators and project partners in both SUPERGEN WIND and SUPERGEN MARINE [J] programmes.

Sources to corroborate the impact

  1. Text attributed to EPSRC Grant EP/K041010: Pathways to Impact, page 1. [Confidential Source: available].
  2. Source: Aquamarine Power plc website: http://www.aquamarinepower.com/about-us/ [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  3. Source: BBC News Scotland Business: Ministers approve plans for world’s biggest wave farm in Western Isles: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-22611317 [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  4. Source: Research Councils RCUK: Impact of energy research and capacity building. New technology will the harness power of the sea: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/xrcprogrammes/energy/impactenergy/Pages/Newtechnologywillharnessthepowerofthesea.aspx [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  5. The SUPERGEN Wind Energy Technology web site provides details of project academic and industrial partners: http://www.supergen-wind.org.uk/partners.html [Accessed: 28-05-13].
  6. The cited knowledge transfer Research Monograph can be found via the link: http://www.supergen-wind.org.uk/dissemination.html [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  7. Details of the cited current Doctoral Training Centre can be found via the link at the Impact of RCUK Energy Programme ‘Impact of energy research and capacity building’ site: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/xrcprogrammes/energy/impactenergy/Pages/Breathingnewlifeintowindenergy.aspx  [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  8. The programme for the most recent SUPERGEN Wind Phase 2 – 3rd General Assembly can be found via the link: http://www.supergen-wind.org.uk/assembly2013.html  Other General Assembly meetings, Events; publications; project information; details of Consortium Management Group Meetings can be found at the Supergen Wind Energy Technologies Consortium main project web site: http://www.supergen-wind.org.uk  Copies of industrial dissemination and presentations can be found via the Downloads link.  [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  9. Details of the EPSRC Wind Energy scoping workshop held on 18 April 2013 that defines Phase 3 and subsequent Call for Proposals for SUPERGEN WIND Phase 3 [2015-2020]: http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Calls/2013/SUPERGENWindHubCallDocument.pdf [Accessed: 20-11-13].
  10. The SUPERGEN Marine Energy Research Consortium web site: http://www.supergen-marine.org.uk/drupal/ provides full details of the funded projects; academic partners; industrial partners; Consortium Management meetings, Grand Challenge projects and Annual Assembles. [Accessed: 20-11-13].