Arup is proud to mark a significant milestone: the completion of its first year as the Geotechnical Advisor to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This partnership is an integral part of a comprehensive multi-disciplinary four-year framework agreement.

The £9 million framework – led by Arup, in partnership with AECOM, Inosys, Copper Consulting, Decarbonisation Consultants, Geothermal Engineering Limited, and TRACS – will support the energy transition through geological solutions such as deep CO2 storage, hydrogen storage, geothermal energy, and geothermal storage.

The flagship project underpinning the framework is the scoping of a Carbon Storage Research Facility (CSRF) with the British Geological Survey. A globally unique research infrastructure is being designed that would explore the fundamental knowledge gaps needed to safely and effectively store carbon dioxide deep underground.

Arup and its partners are also providing program management support to the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure (FDRI) – a major new capital investment by the UKRI that will enable essential science and innovation to improve the UK's resilience to hydrological extremes. Alongside this, Arup has delivered first-of-a-kind carbon advisory services to enable UKRI to understand the carbon emissions of research proposals and ultimately reduce the carbon footprint of the UK's major research endeavours.

Arup is further strengthening its partnership with UKRI and collaborators to investigate alternative research facilities that will help bolster the energy transition. This includes actively pursuing opportunities to create pilot facilities for fundamental research in underground hydrogen storage and deep geothermal exploration – both crucial in unlocking the UK’s net-zero targets.

Arup’s geotechnical expertise is enabling cost effective definition of proposed research infrastructure at the CSRF and facilitating NERC and partner councils to quantify the operational carbon cost of their major infrastructure by deploying novel carbon cost estimating tools. By quantifying carbon costs within their infrastructure portfolio, NERC is able to manage and mitigate our carbon footprint whilst continuing to diagnose the environmental challenges we all face.

Simon Durbin

NERC Senior Responsible Owner

Arup is extremely proud to be working with UKRI to help support the delivery of a range of solutions that will tackle the impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

Chris Martin

Framework Director, Arup