Discovery showcase shines spotlight on our sustainability research

Our alumni and friends are interested in how research is making a real difference.

Alumni and friends joined us in London last Thursday (8 December) for the latest in our 50th Anniversary Discovery Series – an event showcasing our inspirational, sustainability-related research.

Hosted at the prestigious Royal Institute for British Architects on Portland Place, the evening highlighted breakthroughs which have looked beyond the obvious to find sustainable solutions to the many social, economic and environmental challenges around the world.

Professor Jonathan Knight (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research) said: “Connecting with our alumni and friends for this latest Discovery Series was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the impact our research is having in the area of sustainability. The theme spans our research base and is also a touchstone for many of our international colleagues, in particular through the U4C network. There is a genuine pride among our wider community about how our work is changing the ways in which we do things for a more equitable and sustainable future.”

At Bath we look further. We see beyond the ordinary, discover the remarkable and then make sure that our findings are put into practice so that everyone can benefit.

Our Professor of Low Carbon Design is helping to improve living conditions for refugees.

Attendees heard from Professor David Coley, about the pioneering project he is leading in Jordan aimed at developing new, weather-proof shelters that use no energy for cooling or heating to improve living conditions for refugees. David is collaborating with Dr Jason Hart, from the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, and their vision has enormous potential for impact.

Some see urine. We see a sustainable power source.

Learning to see waste as an energy resource is central to the work of Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo and her team from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies. Earlier this year, Mirella’s study on developing a miniature fuel cell that generates electricity from urine gained global reach in the media.

Her presentation focused on other ways in which her work on bioelectricity could be applied, ranging from creating power from algae, to soil and even from sweat. Through the advances she has made there is a real buzz around the science of microbial fuel cells and the potential through them to generate almost infinite power.

28952 University of Bath researchers in the Chemical Engineering department develop a urine-powered microbial fuel cell which capable of generating electricity. Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo in the Department of Chemical Engineering with one of the new fuel cells currently being tested. Client: Rob Breckon, press office 07896 274736

Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo with one of the new fuel cells currently being tested.

Professor Andrew Crane is looking at new ways of thinking about the social, ethical and environmental dimensions of business.

Incoming Director of the Centre for Business, Organisations & Society (CBOS) within the School of Management, Professor Andrew Crane, is particularly known for his work on the changing role of corporations in the global economy, where he has been influential in developing a new view of corporate citizenship and business responsibility. His presentation focused on the contributions he has made towards the Modern Slavery Act, looking at ethics in business supply chains – this is particularly current given a focus on it by the former Home Secretary and now Prime Minister, Theresa May.

How can you create sustainable biofuels and how do you solve a problem like palm oil?

Dr Chris Chuck and his group work on renewable, alternative fuels and bioproducts with the aim of developing their research into a sustainable biorefinery that is economically efficient with minimal environmental impact.

Chris, who came to the University thanks to a Whorrod Research Fellowship,  secured a major grant 12 months ago to develop and scale-up production of a yeast-based alternative to palm oil. This project, and his wider work, has huge environmental potential in the years ahead, not least in stemming widespread deforestation caused by palm oil production, particularly prevalent in Brazil and South East Asia.

“Our alumni and friends are interested in how research taking place at Bath is making a real difference. Our Discovery Series gave them a taste of just a few of the many inspirational stories we have to tell.”

Deputy Director of the Department of Development & Alumni Relations, Andrew Monk

Help us to Look Further. See how our students and researchers look further – thanks to you.

It’s the support from alumni and friends that makes the difference here at Bath. Find out how you can support us and help us to look further.