Professor Toby Peters

Professor Toby Peters

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Professor in Cold Economy

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Professor Toby Peters is an award-winning technology developer and industrial academic with more than 14 years of experience in energy storage /energy systems (incl. policy and regulatory environments); clean cooling/the “cold economy” and the environmental, societal and economic impacts of cooling; novel technologies for refrigeration and cooling and their development and system integration.  He was the joint-academic lead for the Doing Cold Smarter Policy Commission (October 2015).

Building on work pioneering the development of the cold economy and clean cold technologies, he has now broadened this out to accelerate transformational innovation to market and improve innovation performance to help meet the world’s big social and economic challenges within the limits of our natural resources and time deadlines. 


Toby Peters is the inventor and architect of liquid air energy storage and the cold economy. He has created and led the development of "cleantech" around liquid air as a cost- effective energy storage and warehousing solution to a major energy challenge: environmentally and economically sustainable cooling and power in both transport and the built environment. He is internationally recognised for his role is transforming the thinking about how we deliver cooling demands sustainably and the role “clean cold” has to play in emerging market transformation.

His early career focused on strategy and disruptive innovation where he worked with a broad range of business, Government, and NGO/voluntary sector organisations to help design and deliver fundamental and far-reaching commercial and social change. His ability to create and deliver new forms of business operation and collaboration has been demonstrated in more than three decades of work.

In the early nineties as a conflict photo-journalist, he covered stories in Rwanda, Bosnia, Angola and Romania as well as the plight of street children in Peru, South America where he also co-founded a charity providing nursery education and day-care for street children.

Major technology achievements:

  • Co-invented Liquid Air Energy Storage and led the development through to commercial demonstration securing more than £20M of grant, industrial and private sector funding funding.
  • Led the development of the Dearman cold and power technology from TRL1 to commercial demonstration, securing more than £30M of grant, industrial and private sector funding.

Awards (12) include:

  • The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards, Energy & Environment; Grand Prix;
  • Rushlight Award – Power Generation and Transmission; Group Energy Environmental Award;
  • IET Innovation Award – Sustainability;
  • Business Green Technology Award – Innovator of the Year;
  • Cooling Industry Awards – System Innovation of the Year;
  • Innovate UK – Inspirational Innovation;
  • National Air Quality Award – Innovation in Air Quality Technology


Current areas of research include:

  • novel cooling technology development and demonstration;
  • cooling and energy systems and modelling including impacts, barriers to exploitation, business models and unintended consequences;
  • logistics/cold chain/vehicle to grid (commercial vehicles);
  • accelerating technology development and improving the innovation performance;
  • harnessing the waste cold of LNG into thermal energy systems for transport and built environment applications.

Other activities

  • Senior Research Fellow, Transformational Innovation for Sustainability - Heriot-Watt University;
  • Chair, Academic Panel - CoolingEU.
  • Senior Advisor, Cooling -  Sustainable Energy for All (United Nations Foundation)


  • Clean cold and the Global Goals University of Birmingham, 2017 
  • Capturing the Waste Cold of LNG Heriot-Watt, 2017
  • Measuring Technology Readiness for Investment Heriot-Watt, 2017
  • India’s Third Agricultural Revolution University of Birmingham, 2017
  • Retail Refrigeration: Making the Transition to Clean Cold, University of Birmibgham, 2017
  • The Cold Economy – Why? What? How? University of Birmingham, 2016
  • Cold Commission: Doing Cold Smarter University of Birmingham, 2015
  • Cold Chains and the Demographic Dividend Dearman, 2015
  • Liquid Air on the European Highway, The economic and environmental impact of zero-emission transport refrigeration Dearman, 2015
  • Liquid Air on the Highway The environmental and business case for liquid air commercial vehicles in the UK Centre for Low Carbon Futures, University of Birmingham and Liquid Air Energy Network, 2014
  • The Prospects for liquid air cold chains in India University of Birmingham, 2014 
  • Liquid Air in the energy and transport systems - Opportunities for industry and innovation in the UK Centre for Low Carbon Futures, to accompany Royal Academy of Engineering conference, Liquid Air in the energy and transport systems: Opportunities for industry and innovation in the UK, 2013
  • Liquid Air Technologies – a guide to the potential Centre for Low Carbon Futures, University of Birmingham and Liquid Air Energy Network, 2013
  • The Crisis in UK Local Food Retailing, Toby Peters, Professor Tim Lang, Thames Valley University, Centre for Food Policy, 2000

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