School of Earth and Environment

Paul Brockway Dr Paul Brockway

Research Fellow

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 35576
Email address: P.E.Brockway@leeds.ac.uk
Room: 9.125

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute

Biography

I am a Research Fellow in Phase 3 (2014-2019) of the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) Theme 4: Energy, Economy and Societal Preferences. My research is focussed on studying macroeconomic energy-economy interactions, through primarily the lens of exergy analysis. Exergy is considered as 'available energy', and enables the study of the energy conversion chain from primary to final to useful stages - where it is lost in exchange for energy services.

My transition to the area of ecological economics started in 2002 with a 2 year placement with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), and later in 2006-2009 I undertook a 3 year distance learning MSc in climate change and sustainability. My background is as a structural engineer, before moving to work in corporate sustainability, especially using a consumption-based approach to carbon accounting. In 2012 I left my consulting background to undertake a full-time PHD in ecological economics, which I completed in 2016.

I am married with two children, Cameron (10) and Erin (8).

Qualifications

  • (2016) PhD in Ecological Economics, Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds. Awarded a PhD by publication entitled "National-level energy use, rebound and economic growth: insights from useful work and exergy analysis"
  • (2010) Masters Module in Business Economics (with Distinction), Imperial College Business School, London, UK
  • (2009) MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development (with Distinction), De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
  • (1995) MEng (Hons) in Engineering Science, Oxford University, UK

Memberships/Fellowships

International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE)

Research Interests

  • Energy systems
  • Exergy analysis
  • Energy efficiency and rebound
  • Exergy economics
  • Low carbon energy transitions

Project details

Project title

UKERC Research Fellow in Energy/Ecological Economics

The UKERC theme 4 - led by by Professor John Barrett at the University of Leeds - is entitled “Energy, Economy and Societal Preferences”. It focuses on interactions between the UK energy system and the UK economy and examines the potential implications for policies, markets and prices and affordability. The theme addresses fundamental questions relevant to energy policy in the UK, such as our ability to achieve a low carbon society in a growing economy where past trends show no absolute decoupling between energy demand and growth. To make informed decisions on energy and climate policy, a detailed understanding of the relationship between energy, the economy, business and innovation and society as a whole is required. Without this understanding, policy could be developed in a vacuum with a poor appreciation of the underlying drivers of energy demand, the relationship between innovation and finance, and the distributional effects of energy policy on society.

We are working on these questions using three energy-economy strands, that deliberately sit a little outside the mainstream - to enable fresh insights to be gained:

  1. Energy-IO: this includes energy as an environmental extension to Multi-regional input-output (MRIO) models, so that we understand the consumption-based supply-chain impacts of trade in terms of its impact on energy use. Early work is being based around testing different energy vectors, and using Energy-IO to develop national-level EROI (Energy Returned On Investment) estimations
  2. MAcroeconometic Resource COnsumption model (MARCO): We are developing a UK Econometric model to analyse demand orentiated questions. By constructing econometric relationships between 25 key socio-economic variables including GDP, employment, savings, wages, energy use and energy efficiency, we are then able to test the impact of future scenarios (such as energy demand caps, austerity measures) on the UK energy-economy.
  3. Exergy economics: Exergy is 'available energy', and is closely related to entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Useful exergy is the minimum amount of exergy destruction to achieve that energy services task: which may be the provision of lighting or heating. Therefore exergy efficiency can be defined as the ratio of useful exergy (output) to exergy input. Exergy analysis has much tighter thermodynamic definitions than its more widely used ‘cousin’ - energy analysis. Previous work (including that during my PhD) has suggested that exergy efficiency is slowing at a national-scale due to efficiency dilution - where an economy is consuming more of the least efficient processes - for example the increased use of air-conditioning. In addition, an exergy-led apporach also suggests that this may mean we will need higher levels of primary energy than foreseen by mainstream energy analysis. The inclusion of exergy economics into this UKERC project is aimed to study the topic applied to the UK in more detail, and also test its inclusion within the MARCO model (strand 2 above)

Funding

My Research Fellow post is funded as part of Phase 3 of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), a £17m investment by the Research Councils UK Energy Programme in interdisciplinary energy research, spanning 15 universities.

UKERC is the UK’s flagship centre undertaking whole systems energy research, with a strong history of policy impact with the UK Government. It also acts as the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.

Project outline

Publications

  • Brockway P.E., Heun M.K., Santos .J, Barrett J.R., (2017) Capital-labour-energy CES aggregate production functions: aspects of their econometric estimation. Energies 2017, 10, 202. Available at doi:10.3390/en10020202

  • Heun M.K, Santos J., Brockway P.E., Pruim R, Domingos T., (2017) From theory to econometrics to energy policy: Cautionary tales for policymaking using aggregate production functions. Energies 2017, 10, 203. Available at doi:10.3390/en10020203

  • Brockway, P.E., Saunders, H., Heun, M.K., Foxon, T.J., Steinberger, J.K., Barrett, J.R. & Sorrell, S. Energy Rebound as a Potential Threat to a Low-Carbon Future: Findings from a New Exergy-Based National-Level Rebound Approach. Energies. 2017;10(51):1–24. Available at doi:10.3390/en10010051

  • Owen A, Brockway P, Brand-Correa L, Bunse L, Sakai M, Barrett J. Energy consumption-based accounts: A comparison of results using different energy extension vectors. Applied Energy. 2017;190:464–73. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.12.089

  • Brockway P.E., Dewulf J., Kjelstrup, S., Siebentritt, S., Valero, A., Whelan, C. (2016) In a Resource Constrained World: Think Exergy, Not Energy. Science Europe, Brussels. Available at http://www.scienceeurope.org/uploads/PublicDocumentsAndSpeeches/SCsPublicDocs/SE_Exergy_Brochure.pdf
  • Brockway P.E., Steinberger J.K, Barrett J.R. & Foxon T.J. (2015) Understanding China’s past and future energy demand: An exergy efficiency and decomposition analysis. Applied Energy 155, pp.892–903. Available at DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.05.082

  • Brockway P., Barrett J., Foxon T., Steinberger J. (2014). Divergence of trends in US and UK aggregate exergy efficiencies 1960-2010. Environ. Sci. Technol. 48, pp.9874−9881. Available at doi:10.1021/es501217t

  • Bull R., Ozawa-Meida L., Brockway P., Holland C. (2013) Integrating an ICT carbon calculator tool into procurement processes at De Montfort University: lessons learned, Carbon Management (4) 2, pp. 143-157, DOI: 10.4155/cmt.13.10

  • Ozawa-Meida, O., Brockway, P., Letten K., Davies J., Fleming P., (2011) Measuring carbon performance in a UK University through a consumption-based carbon footprint: De Montfort University case study, Journal of Cleaner Production 56, pp.185-198. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.09.028

  • Brockway, P.(2010) Carbon footprint project evaluated, IFHE Digest, February 2010

  • Brockway, P. (2010) NHS at forefront of carbon modelling, Health Estate Journal 33-8 64 2010

  • Brockway, P. (2009) Carbon measurement in the NHS: Calculating the first consumption-based total carbon footprint of an NHS Trust. Unpublished Thesis (MSc). Available at https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/3961

  • Brockway, P. (2004) Giving Something Back: Improving Ethiopian Engineering Education, ICE Proceedings, Volume 157, November 2004