Vision / Sustainable futures

Sustainable futures

Fields and trees but with clean and sustainable on one side, polluted and dry on other Fields and trees but with clean and sustainable on one side, polluted and dry on other

We’ve helped our partners cut CO2 emissions by 16.3m tonnes a year in recent years. Across transport, food, energy and other industries, our technologies are securing a net-zero future. Our discoveries will help achieve the UN’s goals for sustainable development.

A tomato

Long live the tomato

Research at the University of Nottingham is transforming the way breeders develop new varieties of tomato – improving shelf life while maintaining excellent taste

Jet engine

Robot engineers reduce carbon emissions for aviation companies

Remote-controlled robots capable of carrying out specialist repairs on aircraft could mean aerospace companies no longer need to fly engineers across the world.

Woman standing in front of departures board at an airport

The aerospace algorithms making our skies cleaner

Computer scientists play a huge role in reducing aviation’s carbon footprint.

Cows in the Dairy Centre, Sutton Bonington 720x315

Good for cows, good for the planet: reducing dairy's carbon footprint

Establishing the value of alternative, sustainable sources of protein in animal feed is helping the UK dairy industry reduce its carbon footprint

Jessica Corner

Driving to net zero

Professor Dame Jessica Corner on creating a world-leading cluster for net zero research and innovation

GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry

COP26: Change of plan? What the climate emergency means for young researchers

The early career researchers of today will be the climate leaders of tomorrow. We need to ensure our approach to research is aligned with a dramatically changing environment, says PhD student Max Gillingham.

Man wearing a face mask standing in front of a busy road

We need to talk about haze

A call for improved and consistent communication and engagement between the government and the people over haze

Jessica Corner

COP26: an extraordinary range of people gathered in a single place to shape our future

Professor Dame Jessica Corner on what's next and the ongoing role of research in tackling the climate crisis

A swirl of silver and gold on a black background

COP26: a revolution driven by small advances on many fronts

A multidisciplinary buzz motivates aviation researcher Professor Carol Eastwick

Kuka robotics

COP26: re-writing the rules of aerospace manufacturing

Research into the factories of the future could transform the aerospace supply chain making it cleaner and more cost-effective.

A bridge over a river with buildings in the background

COP26 delegates: Look to the river

Noticing nature in Glasgow will support wise climate change action, says Dr Nicole Porter

Scale holding environment symbols

COP26: paying for the transition to sustainable energy

A successful transition to renewable energy sources means factoring in all the costs of shifting away from fossil fuels, says Dr Hafez Abdo. 

Jet engine

COP26: artificial intelligence-driven ceramic coatings for greener aviation

Further advances in ceramic coatings, which allow aero engines to operate under extreme temperatures, are set to significantly lower CO2 emissions from aviation. Professor Tanvir Hussain explains.

Aeroplane cockpit

COP26: intelligent electrical systems will play a key role in greener aircraft

Increasing electrification of onboard systems will help flights of the future become cleaner, greener and safer, says Dr Sharmila Sumsurooah

COP26 logo

COP26: we have never been better equipped to find a way forward

Our passion for innovation and the sharing of knowledge can truly change lives, says Professor Dame Jessica Corner

PEMC Building

COP26: world-leading power electronics centre at forefront of zero carbon aviation

An unrivalled new test facility has placed Nottingham at the heart of the quest for electronically powered flight, says Professor Pat Wheeler.

Stephen Meek

COP26: research lights the path to net zero, but it is people who make the journey

Tackling climate change is about understanding behaviour as well as developing technology, says Stephen Meek.

Solar energy

COP26: it’s all solar, really

Advances in solar cell technologies and energy storage could harness the power of the sun in our everyday lives, says Dr James O’Shea

Silver tokens with colourful lights shining on them

COP26: New battery technology transforming the future of flight

Battery-powered planes could drastically reduce the environmental cost of air travel, but finding the right technology is key.

London city at night

COP26: using technology to decarbonise our buildings and cities

The energy used by many buildings is costly to the environment and to our bills – but technological research is changing this, says Ke Qu.

Social justice

COP26: faith for a safe climate future

Dr Chris Ives calls for the inclusion of religious perspectives in climate policy discussions

KLCC park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

COP26: practical steps towards sustainability for Malaysian businesses

The Nottingham University Business School at the University of Nottingham Malaysia is supporting the country’s businesses to take practical steps towards sustainability, says Mohan V Avvari

Low-income urban area

Realising resilience: How do we make COP26 deliver for adaptation in fragile urban environments?

Dr Arabella Fraser and international research partners are investigating how non-conflict violence risks and climate change risks overlap in cities, and what this means for adaptation.

Green hydrogen

COP26: how getting a handle on hydrogen could slash aviation’s CO2 emissions

Hydrogen has the potential to be a much greener alternative to current aviation fuels, but finding a way to store it on planes requires complex research by materials scientists, chemists and engineers.

Plane travelling through blue sky

COP26: the emissions mission

Research at the University of Nottingham is helping create a future aviation industry that is cleaner, greener and leaner, says Dr Hitendra Hirani.

GSK Building. Jubilee Campus Nottingham

COP26: bats, buildings and our climate pledge

By transforming how we learn and work together, our whole community will help achieve the university’s carbon goals, says Andy Nolan

Trent Basin, housing development in Nottingham

COP26: creating net zero energy communities

A unique project at the Trent Basin Housing Development in Nottingham makes the future of fully-fledged community energy bubbles a promising reality, says Dr Eldar Naghiyev.

Professor Edward Lester

COP26: a journey to advancing carbon capture technology

Now is the time to fast track new technologies for low energy CO2 capture, says Professor Ed Lester

Clouds from an aeroplane window

COP26: innovating electric aircraft for greener global transport

Dr Sharmila Sumsurooah is helping net zero aviation take flight by bringing together international research to transform the industry.

Close up of lab equipment

COP26: microbial gas fermentation: a carbon-negative, sustainable route to biofuels, bioplastics and industrial chemicals at scale

Professor Nigel Minton is engineering bacteria to use carbon dioxide as the building block for key components in industry and transport.

Prof. Dr. Xiaoyun Li and farmers in Morogoro Province, Tanzania 720x315

COP26: enhancing the resilience of smallholder communities in Tanzania

An innovation platform is being used to fight back against climate change and food insecurity in local communities.

The 1983 United States drought

Addressing modern slavery at COP26

Dr Bethany Jackson lays out key policy recommendations for tackling the modern slavery - environmental degradation - climate change nexus.

Air pollution

COP26: business, human rights, law and climate change

Legal frameworks around human rights offer a means to incentivise changes in corporate behaviour to protect the climate, says Professor Robert McCorquodale

Two workers picking tea leaves in a tea garden

COP26: enterprise, communities and climate change: the mobilisation of ideas

Harnessing the power of entrepreneurship offers communities most affected by climate change the opportunity to take action, says Professor Simon Mosey.

Man exploring previous climates in lake sediments

COP26: crops for a changing environment

To understand how agriculture can adapt to a warming world, we need to look to the past and plan for the future, say Profs Matt Jones and Malcolm Bennett

Man carrying two children walking through a field

COP26: can our grandchildren help us fund the transition to net zero?

Asking future generations to foot the bill for our actions against climate change today is both moral and practical, argues Dr Matthew Rendall.

Cargo freight containers in a sea port at dusk

COP26: securing a fairer global economy will help achieve our carbon targets

Professor Arijit Mukherjee is showing governments how to integrate their green goals with effective trade policies

Cooking on open fires Africa

COP26: clean cooking, kitchen culture and climate change

Smoky cooking fires are bad for our health as well the planet, causing ten times as many deaths as malaria

woman and man examining soil and groundwater under conservation agriculture experiments

COP26: conservation agriculture and building climate resilience in Africa

Interdisciplinary research is showing how conservation agriculture can mitigate the impact of climate change in Africa, says Murray Lark.

Group of farmers harvesting cocoa pods in Colombia

COP26: empower the world's small-holders to sow the seeds of change

If agriculture is to adapt to climate change and reduce its carbon footprint, farmers themselves have to be a core part of the solution, says Prof David Salt

Aerial photography of brown and green fields

COP26: fixing the climate impact of nitrogen from global farming

A revolutionary technology developed at the University of Nottingham challenges farming’s reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting synthetic fertilisers.

Silhouette of grass during sunset

COP26: how understanding plant architecture builds food security

Studying the structure and physiology of plants is key to preparing agriculture for a warmer world, says Dr Alexandra Burgess

Emily ODonnell a Nottingham researcher stood in a green space

My Blue-Green vision

Dr Emily O'Donnell explains how better protecting cities like Newcastle and Nottingham from flooding can also make them greener, healthier and more pleasant places to live

Aeroplanes parked up in rows

Recyclable aircraft materials could prove key to jet zero success

Lightweight materials are crucial in the construction of aircraft but can be tricky to recycle. New processes are needed if the aviation industry is to achieve its zero carbon aims.

A tractor harvesting

Harvesting information to help farmers in post-Brexit Britain

The future of UK farming is under the spotlight more than ever. Professor Paul Wilson of the Rural Business Research Unit explains how experts are helping to navigate a shifting landscape

Chris Gerada standing outside on campus

COP26: securing net zero aviation

Meeting this complex challenge demands world-changing innovation, determination and leadership, says Professor Chris Gerada

Sir Martyn Poliakoff

In his element

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff has led the way in discovering processes to help secure a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Image of gold

Gold’s devastating price

Illegal gold mining is destroying the Atrato river basin in Colombia. Dr Nick Mount is part of a multi-national team trying to reduce the impact of this environmental disaster

Fluoride crystals

Fascinating fluorine

Green chemistry advances could reduce the lengthy process to create new drugs to just two steps

A device with a gold coating

Manufacturing the future

Manufacturing complex, high-performance coatings, devices, and biomaterials to tackle real world problems.

Picture of helium

A sustainable approach to ‘slippery’ gas

Technician Sanjeev Taak on how his work helps to keep low temperature research going for as long as possible

A piece of machinery

A quantum leap

Pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing

Image of Trent Basin

Power to the people

A community project is leading the way for the UK’s renewable energy policy

Man riding a bike with a mask on

Living in a material world

Pete Licence underlines the importance of sustainability in a world getting back on its feet

Abstract illustration of China

Low carbon: the world joins forces with China

International expertise is vital to deliver the International Low Carbon City, a flagship environmental project in China


Flocking to health clubs

A chain of new health clubs is being rolled out across the UK – with the aim of keeping the nation’s sheep flocks fit and well.

Image of a lake

Sediments reveal climate clues

‘Living deltas’ offer clues towards building a picture of environmental change over time

Illustration of a car

Smaller, lighter – and better

Extending the mileage of low-carbon electric vehicles by significantly enhancing the performance of their engines

An image of a plant made up of salt crystals

Surviving salty soils

How wild plants adapt to tolerate salty soils is hugely important if we hope to continue to feed the world with a growing population.

Cow in a field

From waste to wealth

Water is a priceless resource, but its value after it is washed and flushed away may surprise you

Image of Ningbo port

Power of a new ocean current

Our dependence on fossil fuels must be tackled if we are to address global warming caused by climate change

Three aircrafts in a row

Creating greener air travel for all

Reducing the environmental impact of aircraft is vital for the future of our planet. Research at the University is helping to bring the aerospace industry together to focus on the issue.

Carbon dioxide

Capturing a lead on climate change

Exploring the behaviour of CO2 to become a global technology leader in carbon capture and storage.

Cocoa beans

From beans to biofuels

New biofuels with the potential to provide affordable clean energy, reduce poverty and help to tackle climate change.

Image of spanner in use

Can you use spanners?

Sir Martyn Poliakoff’s refreshing approach to education has inspired many in the broader scientific community and beyond