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Home > News > Industry News > EPSRC puts £16m into low-carbo.....

EPSRC puts £16m into low-carbon research

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2018-07-27
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has released the funding it promised for low-carbon ‘Supergen’ national energy research centres last year.

£15m will be shared between the centres, which are to be multi-disciplinary collaborations between universities, academic bodies and industry.

Getting £5m each, the three Supergen Energy hubs will be focused on off-shore renewable energy, bio-energy, and energy networks – involving academics from 19 universities, and 70 stakeholder partners including 22 from industry.

Three of EPSRC’s fellow Research Councils are providing funding and other support for the new hubs:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (bioenergy)

Natural Environment Research Council (offshore renewable energy)

Economic and Social Research Council (technical and people aspects of all three proposed hubs)

The Supergen hubs

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub

led by Professor Deborah Greaves, Plymouth University

Will bring together skills, resources and expertise in wave, tidal and offshore wind power, as well as spreading best-practive – addressing technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges that require a national or regional level response.

Supergen Bioenergy Hub

led by Professor Patricia Thornley, Aston University

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub will bring together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to address the technical and engineering barriers to energy from plants, trees and other material that has recently sequestered carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Supergen Energy Networks Hub

led by Professor Phil Taylor, Newcastle University

This hub will establish an energy networks community to understand whole-systems approaches to energy networks. “Despite their vital importance to the UK’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,” said EPSRC.

A further £1m will go to a ‘knowledge exchange mechanism’ called the SuperSolar Network

Led by Professor John Walls of Loughborough University, it will act as a coordinator amongst the photovoltaics (PV) research community in the UK “creating opportunities for building consortia, reacting to the progress in this field and bringing a broad set of disciplines together to focus on this challenge” said EPSRC. It will involve academics from 10 universities and six partners four of which are from industry.

SuperSolar Network will assist early stage researchers to spend three months in an international laboratory where they can access know-how and facilities, learn from best practice and accelerate the impact of research.

History

The Supergen programme was set up in 2001 to deliver sustained and coordinated research on sustainable power generation and supply, focusing on eight key research areas: bioenergy; energy networks; energy storage; fuel cells; hydrogen and other vectors; marine, wave and tidal; solar technology; and wind power.

EPSRC​ has supported seven Supergen hubs with £150m over the last five years (including calls and Centres for Doctoral Training) and, said EPSRC, the initiative has led to the development of new tools and technologies, such as emission reduction pre-treatment bioenergy technologies; greater collaboration between academia, government and industry; the creation of new strategies and innovation programmes, such as in CHP fuel cells; and provided an opportunity for international collaboration.