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Loughborough University academics head to COP27 to showcase sustainable energy research with potential to benefit millions worldwide

Academics from the Centre for Sustainable Transitions: Energy, Environment, Resilience (STEER) at Loughborough University will showcase their pioneering research to a global audience this month, as part of the events being hosted in Egypt to mark COP27.

STEER brings together two multi-million-pound international research initiatives – Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) and Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) – to support low carbon development and investment in green infrastructure in developing countries. The MECS programme, funded by UK Aid, is transforming the sustainable cooking sector from biomass to cleaner modern energy cooking systems. The CCG programme, which is funded by the UK’s Foreign Development and Commonwealth Office (FCDO), supports investment in sustainable energy and transport systems to meet development priorities in the Global South.

At COP, on November 12, Professor Ed Brown, the co-director of STEER and MECS’ Research Director, will co-lead a session in the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) Pavilion, which will be the main hub at COP for discussing and showcasing how to unite global efforts on energy, climate and development.

The session – ‘The Twin Opportunity: Electricity Spurring a Clean e-Cooking Transition’ – will bring together utilities, high-level government representatives, development banks and philanthropic organisations to discuss how a pivot to cooking with electricity, known as e-Cooking, can leverage the investments made in infrastructure improvements to rapidly expand the levels of cooking with electricity. The session will also highlight how e-Cooking can be incorporated into emerging processes of integrated energy planning.

The SDG7 Pavilion is being hosted by Sustainable Energy for All – an international organisation that works in partnership with the United Nations and leaders in government, the private sector, financial institutions and beyond to drive faster action towards the achievement of SDG7. SDG7 calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.

Professor Brown says: “The Modern Energy Cooking Services research programme was established to accelerate the transition on a global scale away from the use of traditional biomass fuels in cooking to cleaner e-Cooking. 

“Evidence increasingly shows that energy efficient electric cooking devices are viable, cost effective and that users like them. We need to make sure that modern energy cooking services are integrated into the planning for electricity access, quality, reliability and sustainability, to leverage investment in renewable energies (both grid and off-grid) to address the clean cooking challenge.”

Alongside the central events at COP, the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) programme will host a series of Side Events from 7th to 11th November under the theme ‘Africa-Asia: A Just Transition to Low Carbon Development’. Bringing together global experts and policy practitioners, the events will include sessions on decision-making tools, finance and transport, as well as presentations on e-Cooking, chaired by Professor Brown.

“At the first session on 7th November, we’ll draw on the emerging work of both MECS and CCG in Kenya to talk about the implications of scaling up e-Cooking on overall electricity demand, grid stability and decarbonization strategies,” says Professor Brown. “The second session on 9th November will focus on financing the transition to low-carbon cooking. 

“Events such as those we’re participating in at COP enable us to show, to those in positions of real influence, how the work that both MECS and CCG are undertaking can support countries’ low carbon development and investment in green infrastructure, and how it has the potential to make a positive difference to the lives of millions around the world.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 22/200

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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