The University of Nottingham is set to play a crucial role in the next step towards the transformation of the UK’s energy sector after the Government confirmed £60m investment for the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA). The investment is backed by a further £120m from the private sector and Midlands Innovation universities.
Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham and Chair of Midlands Innovation said “ERA represents the culmination of years of dedicated research, and purposeful academic - industry cooperation across the Midlands. It will bring together world leading expertise in energy storage, thermal energy and energy efficiency to create new products and services, providing the pathway to bring these to market through the Midlands’ exceptionally strong industrial base. This has the potential not just to change the UK’s relationship with energy, but to do so in a way that delivers regional and national jobs and growth.”
ERA is set to become a world-leading hub of energy talent, technology research, development and deployment, based on the internationally renowned academic expertise and industrial heritage of the Midlands. Industry investors include Blueprint, Cofely, Dearman Engines, Highview and Jaguar Land Rover.
The announcement is a milestone for The University of Nottingham who will now work in partnership with the five other leading UK universities forming the Midlands Innovation group – Aston University, The University of Birmingham, The University of Leicester, Loughborough University and The University of Warwick – and the British Geological Survey.
The funding will create new world-class facilities to meet the challenges of developing affordable low-carbon energy and technologies for greater energy efficiency. The initiative will bring together the best in energy research and build upon the Midlands’ extensive industrial base.
ERA’s research will focus on the complementary Thermal (T-ERA), Integrated Systems (I-ERA) and Geo-Energy (G-ERA) research themes.
The University of Nottingham will accelerate its research into geo-energy systems as well as lead delivery of the Trent Basin Demonstrator.
A new Research Acceleration and Demonstration Centre will develop: the next generation of carbon capture materials; a novel hydrogen systems test bed to explore its deployment in large scale energy storage; facilities to maximise potential of compressed gas for energy storage; and a Geo-Energy Testbed to drive innovation in subsurface energy sector.
Trent Basin will see the creation of a 240 home Community Energy Demonstrator where the function and benefits of new ways of delivering energy to consumers will be tested.
Professor Andy Long, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering, at The University of Nottingham, said: “I am delighted that, as a member of the ERA consortium, The University of Nottingham will play a key role in shaping the UK's energy future. With a range of new research accelerator and demonstration facilities, we aim to develop innovative geo-energy systems that will help to meet long-term energy needs cleanly and securely.”
Gordon Waddington, ERA CEO, added: “This announcement by the Government allows us to take the next step to accelerate the transformation of the UK energy sector and invest across the whole of the Midlands. ERA is putting the UK on the global map of energy innovation. The amount of private sector funding is a testament to the fact that this is a critical opportunity for growth and productivity in the UK.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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