EPSRC Announced Energy Research Hubs

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SWINDON, England, Sept. 4, 2018 — The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced three £5 million ($5.8 million) energy research hubs and a new £1 million ($1.2 million) network in solar energy that will build multidisciplinary collaborations among universities, academic bodies, and industry.

The three Supergen Energy hubs will be focused on offshore renewable energy, bioenergy, and energy networks, and will involve 70 stakeholder partners, academics from 19 universities, and 22 industry stakeholders.

The SuperSolar Network will act as a knowledge exchange mechanism. It will maintain the coordinated network for the photovoltaics research community in the U.K., creating greater opportunities for building consortia, reacting to the fast pace of progress in this field, and bringing a broad set of disciplines together to focus on this challenge. It will involve academics from 10 universities and six partners.

“As we move towards a low-carbon future, we need to explore the fundamental science that can spark new technologies and systems as well as linking researchers to industry to meet their needs,” said Philip Nelson, executive chair of EPSRC. “As the threats from climate change become ever more apparent, there is a pressing need for the U.K., and the world, to act collaboratively to address the challenges of clean energy production, distribution, and storage.”

The Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub, led by professor Deborah Greaves at Plymouth University, aims to bring together the related research areas of wave, tidal, and offshore wind in order to share skills, resources, and expertise across the field of ORE. This approach will address technical, environmental, and interdisciplinary challenges that require a coordinated response at national and regional levels. The hub will build a collaborative approach, which will bring the added benefits of spreading best practice through the community, supporting equality and diversity and ensuring support of early career researchers.

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub, led by Patricia Thornley at Aston University, will bring together a network of academic, industrial, and policy stakeholders to address the technical and engineering barriers to sustainable bioenergy systems. Bioenergy is energy from plants, trees, and other material that has recently sequestered carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; when it is used to produce energy there is no net, long-term increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration. The project will look to maximize the environmental benefits of sustainable bioenergy and lead to an integrated, multidisciplinary consortium to ensure the future of bioenergy research in the U.K. and the development of a community network to focus on sustainable development.

The Supergen Energy Networks Hub, led by Phil Taylor at Newcastle University, aims to establish a vibrant, well-connected, diverse, open, and communicative energy networks community with a deeper understanding of whole-systems approaches to energy networks. Despite their vital importance to the U.K.'s energy sector, industry, and society, there is no current whole-systems approach to studying the interconnected and interdependent nature of energy network infrastructure and the challenges it faces. The hub will integrate a wide range of stakeholders while complementing national and international investments in energy networks, allowing all stakeholders to fully exploit opportunities in the sector.

The SuperSolar Network, led by professor John Walls at Loughborough University, will act as a knowledge exchange mechanism, maintaining and improving the coordinated network for the photovoltaic research community in the U.K. It will include all solar technologies from fundamental research through to module engineering, champion the role of solar in the overall energy mix, and engage all stakeholders in industry, government, and finance.

EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the U.K. It is part of UK Research and Innovation, a nondepartmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the U.K. government.

Published: September 2018
BusinessThe Engineering and Physical Sciences Research CouncilEPSRCSuperSolarSUPERGENphotovoltaicsenergyEurope

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