Faculty of Engineering

Major funding to train low-carbon experts of the future


The Faculty of Engineering has secured funding for two of five new centres at the University that will train the brightest postgraduate researchers in sustainable energy research to help reduce society’s carbon footprint. 

The Centres of Doctoral Training (CDTs) are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with partners in industry adding to the overall investment. 

The newest CDT at Nottingham is in Sustainable Hydrogen and led by Professor Gavin Walker in the Faculty of Engineering. The CDT will work in partnership with industry and policy stakeholders to train the leaders needed to translate to the market the novel, disruptive hydrogen solutions required for deep decarbonisation, enabling the UK to meet its 2050 target for carbon reduction.   

Professor Walker said: “This is a really exciting time to be researching hydrogen technologies.   There will be big changes to the energy system in five to ten years and there is a need for hydrogen energy innovation leaders to successfully transition the UK towards a low carbon economy.  

“The government’s Clean Growth Strategy identifies deep decarbonisation challenge for the UK, especially for sectors where there has been little reduction in carbon dioxide emissions like heat and transport and also the need for energy storage to facilitate growth of renewables power.  

“At the University of Nottingham our cohort training approach will deliver research leaders with the transdisciplinary understanding of the science and engineering limits of hydrogen technologies, along with an appreciation of the barriers to the market (including legislative, economic and societal). This is the skill set needed to transition hydrogen innovations into the energy system.”  

More than 40 key industrial stakeholders expressed support for the CDT. Dr Rachel Smith, Executive Director for ITM Power, commented: “ITM Power manufactures integrated hydrogen energy solutions for grid balancing, energy storage and the production of green hydrogen for transport, renewable heat and chemicals. We are delighted to support the Sustainable Hydrogen CDT and excited about both the multidisciplinary research that will be undertaken, and the training of future hydrogen leaders to join our growing industry.”  

For the full story on the CDT in Sustainable Hydrogen, read Professor Walker’s research blog

The CDT in Resilient Decarbonised Fuel Energy Systems is led by Professor Robin Irons from the Low Carbon Energy and Resources Technologies Research Group. It sets out to support the UK energy sector at a time of fundamental change. Its goal is to allow us to support major reductions in society’s carbon footprint by finding radically different ways to operate our existing energy systems to reduce or eliminate their carbon dioxide emissions and address climate change concerns. 

The Centre will seek ways to repower major industrial processes with carbon neutral fuels such as hydrogen or biomass and will also look at ways that carbon dioxide can be used as a chemical feedstock rather than emitted to atmosphere as a waste gas. 

In support, industry partner GE Power wrote that the CDT was “an area of research which is critical to ensuring carbon reduction targets are met within the UK.” 

Nottingham has also partnered Newcastle Universities for CDTs in Geospatial Systems and Power Electronics for Sustainable Electric Propulsion and Bristol University for a CDT in Future Innovation in Non-Destructive Evaluation. 

Professor Chris Tuck, Faculty Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Exchange said of the new CDTs in Engineering: “These flagship Centres present an exciting opportunity to strengthen our industrial ties and support the UK’s low-carbon economy ambition. The training we will offer for the next generation of researchers in sustainable energy will help to develop a cleaner world through alternative fuel sources for the future.” 

The announcement, made by Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore, takes Nottingham’s portfolio of cohort-based doctoral training programmes to 43 – thought to be one of the largest in the country.  

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University said: “This is an outstanding result for Nottingham and once again testament to the quality of our research.   

“We are committed to investment in world-leading discovery and in a highly competitive field we have shown that our teaching, research and training environment offers unparalleled opportunities for us to help solve global problems.” 

Posted on Tuesday 19th February 2019

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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