Gavin Walker, an expert in hydrogen storage, has been appointed as The University of Nottingham’s first Professor in Sustainable Energy Technologies.
The new chair, in the Faculty of Engineering, has been established following a £1m gift from benefactors Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly and will build on the University’s leading reputation in this field, helping to develop innovative research to address some of the most pressing issues facing the world today.
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “The generous gift from Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly has ensured that the University continues to be positioned at the forefront of activities in this fundamentally important area. This key post and Professor Walker’s appointment is a significant addition to our research capabilities, building on our excellent reputation for innovative and exciting developments in the field of energy technologies.
Sir Harry and Lady Djanogly have been major benefactors to the University for 20 years, making significant contributions in support of the development of the Lakeside Arts Centre and the Jubilee Campus.
The University of Nottingham is one of three universities — with Birmingham and Loughborough — compromising the Midlands Energy Consortium which won the competition to host the national Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), a £600m national programme of energy research and development. This new appointment is part of the consortium’s support for the ETI.
Professor Walker is based in the Research Division of the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing. He leads an internationally recognised hydrogen storage group, is involved in collaborations both nationally through the United Kingdom Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium and internationally through the International Energy Agencies collaboration on hydrogen storage (Task 22). With a current portfolio of research in excess of £2.5 million his research interests are also turning to hydrogen production and thermal energy storage.
Professor Walker said: “I am delighted to accept this new position. It will enable me to branch into new research areas investigating alternative ways of transporting energy, high energy density storage devices, the greater penetration of renewables into the grid and the urgent need to decarbonise the transport sector. The new market opportunities available from distributed generation offer a wealth of opportunities and challenges in the area.”
Part of these new activities will be undertaken in the new Energy Technologies Building (ETB), due to open in 2011. This £6.5 million project (part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Wolfson Foundation) will have state-of-the-art laboratories and prototyping hall to undertake research and the development of new energy technologies, helping to take research from the lab-bench to the next stage in the innovation chain.
The ETB will also be a research and development hub for collaboration with industry, helping companies bring new products to market through proof-of-concept and demonstration projects. The ETB will also have a hydrogen refuelling station and electric vehicle charging points to demonstrate and undertake research on low-carbon vehicles.
The University of Nottingham is at the forefront of research and development in the crucial areas of energy, climate change, environmental protection and sustainability. The University’s Energy Technologies Research Institute (ETRI) is a major international centre for energy research, with a reputation for excellence across a broad range of research and technology-based activities and a team of over 50 academics, encompassing bioscience, social science, chemistry, physics and engineering.
ETRI has an impressive research portfolio, funded by Government, industry and the EU, and includes several significant national and international collaborations.
Nottingham academics are leading two of six research projects within the national £27m BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre announced in January 2009 — the biggest ever single UK public investment in bioenergy research.
A further 50 scientists are engaged in complementary energy-related research. At the University Park campus in Nottingham, a close of Creative Energy Homes is nearing completion — each house has been designed as both a showcase of energy-efficient living and a ‘living laboratory’ helping researchers to develop and test sustainable construction techniques. At the University’s China campus in Ningbo, near Shanghai, the award-winning Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies is also becoming a focal point for research in the heart of the world’s fastest-growing economy.
Professor Walker said: “Through high quality training of researchers we can deliver the energy leaders of tomorrow”.
The University of Nottingham has a broad research portfolio but has also identified and badged 13 research priority groups, in which a concentration of expertise, collaboration and resources create significant critical mass. Key research areas at Nottingham include energy, drug discovery, global food security, biomedical imaging, advanced manufacturing, integrating global society, operations in a digital world, and science, technology & society.
Through these groups, Nottingham researchers will continue to make a major impact on global challenges.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
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