Net zero energy and the future of travel with Lucy Yu

In this episode we ask what the barriers and the enablers to that net zero future look like, and what emerging technologies are mostly likely to help us achieve it.

If the UK is going to hit its net zero targets by 2050 we need to decarbonise across every sector of the economy – that includes shifting from fossil fuel consumption to electrification and other sustainable energy sources like hydrogen. We’ve made good progress on decarbonising the power sector in the UK, but more needs to be done to mainstream renewables such as wind and solar.

Yet it’s not just the fossil fuel consuming machines that move us around which contribute a huge amount to our carbon emissions, the same is also true of the buildings in which we live and work. So the question of how we decarbonise the most carbon-reliant sectors like transport and the built environment speaks to a bigger question: if we are to increase our electricity demand we will only decarbonise if that electricity is being generated from low carbon sources.

In this episode we ask what the barriers and the enablers to that net zero future look like, and what emerging technologies are mostly likely to help us achieve it. But we also explore another power source that gets us from A to B which is so often untapped in our towns and cities: human power. As we saw in episode 16 “Accelerating the UK’s active travel market” the world of active travel is now at a tipping point as new technologies, applications, business models and digital platforms are revolutionising how we’ll get around the connected places of tomorrow. So as a global pandemic ushered in a massive uptick in walking, cycling, running and even scooting, is this an opportunity to rethink and reimagine our net zero future?

In this episode, Prof. Greg Clark CBE, Chair of the Connected Places Catapult speaks to Lucy Yu, CEO of the Centre for Net Zero (backed by Octopus Energy), Senior Advisor to Voi Technology, and Non-Executive Director on the Connected Places Catapult’s Board. Lucy is a business leader who is well embedded in the UK’s tech and innovation ecosystem and over the years her work has focused on artificial intelligence, future mobility, open data and open source, regulating high risk technologies, and the social impact of disruptive technology. She’s led commercial operations, policy and research functions for several high-growth, globally-renowned tech start-ups, including two unicorns. She’s also worked ob tech policy and regulation for the UK government, the European Commission, and the United Nations. 

Music on this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Phill Ward Music (

Show notes

To read and download our Net Zero Places Innovation Brief, which explores a number of new market opportunities in the real estate and construction sectors, click here.

If you’re interested the often tricky question of how to procure innovation, come along to the next event in our Challenging Procurement Series: Co-creating Innovation which is being held on 14th June. You’ll get a chance to hear case studies and best practices in procurement, and learn why citizen-led projects are often cited as a powerful tool by innovative public sector organisations. To register, click here.

To register for our next Virtual Connections Café on 9th June, click here. These SME innovation support webinars explore developments and opportunities in the built environment and mobility sectors, as well as offering support and guidance to growing businesses.

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