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Retrofitting and recycling are two important actions needed to meet the ambitious target set out in the recent carbon budget report

11th December 2020

Responding to the latest carbon budget report from the Climate Change Committee, Dr Parakram Pyakurel says:

The sixth carbon budget report released on 10 December 2020 sets an ambitious target of reducing 78% of UK’s greenhouse gases emissions by 2035, compared to the reference year 1990. Recycling and retrofitting are two important actions needed to achieve this.

The report recognises the roles that Electric Vehicles (EV) will play in reducing emissions from transportation sector. However, demands of batteries will massively increase once people switch to EV from fossil fuel cars. Battery recycling plants are needed to reduce raw material consumption and ensure that batteries are produced in environmentally friendly manner.

The UK is already at risk of losing out in automotive lithium ion battery recycling market and it is a high time for UK to invest in battery recycling plants.

Waste and plastic recycling is another important action that needs to be taken in order to meet the ambitious emissions reduction target. Emissions from burning wastes and plastics are major challenges to reduce emissions and the UK is expected to miss its 50% recycling target by the end of this year. It is important to establish more recycling plants.

Retrofitting is another tool to reduce emissions in addition to recycling. Retrofitting clean and efficient systems can greatly reduce emissions. This could be replacing old gas boilers with more efficient electric boilers or heat pumps. It could also be improving thermal insulations of homes.

The Welsh Government recognises the potential of retrofitting and has introduced Optimised Retrofit Programme. Similar programmes are needed all over the UK.

Retrofitting may also be done to convert fossil fuel cars to electric cars. Initiatives for this has been taken by one Dutch Irish company.

Recycling and retrofitting falls under the broad concept of ‘Circular economy’. Circular economy reduces waste and improves efficiency by treating waste as a raw material for some useful applications. We need to adopt circular economy for the sustainability of our planet.

Dr Parakram Pyakurel’s research interests lie in the areas of renewable energy systems, energy planning and modelling, energy policy and sustainable and low carbon technologies.