Wind Turbines

The use of energy powered the industrial revolution, leading to the gigantic improvements in material well-being in the developed world, a process which is today accelerating. While mankind’s rapidly increasing energy use leads to dramatic improvements in people’s lives, it can also lead to undesirable side-effects, including pollution. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, and all of the energy which society uses must be collected from the natural environment around us.

The global energy system has often developed dynamically, and we are currently in a phase of intense scientific, technical and economic evolution, which is likely to fundamentally reform the energy sector over the coming few decades. The most important energy sources today are fossil fuels, biomass, hydroelectricity and nuclear power. Other energy sources, which are today more underdeveloped, but which may greatly expand in the future, include harvesting energy from the wind, waves and underwater currents, and geothermal energy.

As our energy comes from the natural world around us, the Earth Sciences have a central and important role in the entire energy sector. A consideration of available energy sources around us shows that there is a vast reservoir of useful energy around us, which can be exploited far more than today for the good of mankind. It is, however, necessary to do this in a manner that does not lead to unacceptable loads on our natural environment.

Ongoing research at the Department of Earth Sciences addresses many fundamental issues including the detection, assessment and exploitation of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas; wind power; nuclear safety issues; hydrology; geothermal energy; carbon dioxide exchange between water, air and land; the propagation of pollution in the natural environment; and carbon capture and (geological) storage with the aim of allowing the use of fossil fuels without undesired release of carbon dioxide.

Our Research Programmes

Education at the Department