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Cash boost for clean energy hubs

Renewable Energy

Three academic leaders have each been given a £150,000 cash boost to explore sustainable energy technologies. 

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) made the awards to University of Manchester professor in bioenergy Patricia Thornley, Newcastle University professor in energy networks Phil Taylor and University of Plymouth professor in offshore renewable energy Deborah Greaves as part of its Supergen programme, which has been running since 2001.

If successful after a second stage in 2018, they will be given £5M to establish the new hubs.

The programme was set up to deliver “sustained and coordinated research on sustainable power generation and supply in eight key research areas: bioenergy; energy networks; energy storage; fuel cells; hydrogen and other vectors; marine, wave and tidal; solar technology; and wind power.

To date the EPSRC has supported seven Supergen hubs with £150M of investment and said it had led to the development of many new tools and technologies. This includes initiatives such as pre-treatments for emission reduction in bioenergy; greater collaboration between academia, government and industry; and the creation of new strategies and innovation programmes, such as in CHP fuel cells.

What is the cash for?

Supergen Bioenergy Hub led by professor Patricia Thornley

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub aims to break down the barriers to creating energy from plants and trees to produce low carbon energy. It will look at the environmental benefits of sustainable bioenergy with the eventual aim of streamlining future research into the technology in the UK.

EPSRC funding for initial six-month grant: £150,783

Supergen Energy Networks Hub led by professor Phil Taylor

The aim of the project is to establish a “vibrant”, connected, diverse, open and communicative energy networks community with a “deeper understanding of whole systems approaches” to energy networks.

The body said currently there was no current whole systems approach to studying the interconnected and interdependent nature of an energy network infrastructure, and the challenges it faced. The project will look to address those challenges.

EPSRC funding for initial six-month grant: £149,944

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub led by professor Deborah Greaves

This hub is aimed at bringing together related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind, sharing skills and resources across the different fields.

EPSRC funding for initial six-month grant: £147,890

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