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Carbon Brainprint

last modified Jun 02, 2015 12:16 PM
Paper by Dr Ian Wilson and Dr Edward Ishiyama

The need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is widely, though not universally, accepted. Targets set in the Climate Change Act 2008, require action to reduce GHG emissions from all sections of the economy, including universities.

Universities make tremendous intellectual and technical advances that help other organisations and individuals reduce their own carbon footprints. This is the universities' 'carbon brainprint'.

Two members of this department, Drs Edward Ishiyama and Ian Wilson, contributed to a recent paper entitled Carbon Brainprint - an estimate of the intellectual contribution of research institutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The process of quantifying their own emissions has led universities to consider the possibility of measuring the contribution of research to reducing the emissions of other organisations. Universities could have an impact through research leading to new technologies, the transfer of the results of past research into practice, developing novel ways to promote behavioural change, and training and education to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to effect change.

The carbon footprint is a commonly used measure of the total set of GHG emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organisation, event or product. The phrase 'carbon brainprint' is an analogue of the carbon footprint to describe the wider impact of universities on GHG emissions.

The paper describes an investigation of the feasibility of quantifying the carbon brainprint, through six case studies. The Cambridge case study considered optimising the defouling of oil-refinery preheat trains to reduce fuel consumption.

The paper has been published in Process Safety and Environmental Protection Volume 96, July 2015, Pages 74-81  doi: 10.1016/j.psep.2015.04.008

The other authors, from Cranfield and Reading, were Julia Chatterton, David Parsons, John Nicholls, Phil Longhurst, Mike Bernon, Andrew Palmer, Feargal Brennan, Athanasios Kolios, Derek Clements-Croome, Abbas Elmualim, Howard Darby, Thomas Yearley and Gareth Davies.

Ian Wilson is a Reader in Chemical Engineering. Edward Ishiyama did his PhD here in CEB with Ian and Bill Paterson, and is now working as a senior applications engineer with IHS, developing software tools for managing systems subject to fouling. He is an embedded researcher in CEB.

This was Dr Wilson’s 200th paper published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Carbon Brainprint - Quantifying the impact of universities on carbon footprint reduction