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Project Background

Improving energy efficiency and reducing energy demand is at the forefront of EU and UK energy policy. Reducing energy demand not only saves end users money but also reduces the need and therefore cost of extra power generation capacity. A recent report "UKERC Energy 2050" by the UK Energy Research Centre stated that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of reducing energy demand and carbon emissions, while protecting vulnerable consumers from higher energy prices. The report concluded that a more aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency would make the UK system more secure while still leaving it on track to hit the UK's 2050 carbon reduction target, so providing insurance against delays in the development of low carbon technologies, allowing decarbonisation to take place a decade later.

This project involves a £9.5m capital investment in research relating to the development and demonstration of energy efficient technologies. The project comprises 10 workstreams spanning the Universities for Warwick and Birmingham. The investment offers much potential for collaboration between the workstreams and other complementary R&D activities across the Universities. The potential for collaboration with business and other stakeholders is also significant - at regional, national and international scales.

Led by the University of Warwick, the Energy Efficiency & Demand project sits alongside the Birmingham-led Hydrogen project - both projects come under the umbrella of the SCRA Energy Futures theme. The investment aims to develop and promote a regional hub for academic and industrial expertise in energy efficiency and demand reduction as part of the Government’s mission to achieve a strong knowledge-based economy.

To demonstrate achievement of the project aims, output targets have been linked to the project by the funders, Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund. These targets relate to businesses assisted, jobs created, skills developed, patents and licences produced, graduates into employment, as well as academic papers and conference presentations. There is a strong regional emphasis as the investment ultimately aims to contribute to innovation and econonomic development in the West Midlands region.

The research themes funded include:

Electricity, Efficiency of Energy Conversion and Power Distribution

* Silicon Carbide devices for power generation and power conversion applications.
Professor Phil Mawby, UoW

* Development of smart power grid technology. Dr Xiao-Ping Zhang, UoB

* Renewable power gen & energy storage technologies. Dr Jihong Wang, UoW

Fuel Combustion for Transport and Power

* Sustainable engine fuels research. Professor Miroslaw Wyszynski, UoB

* Fuel combustion optimisation using optical diagnostics. Professor Peter Bryanston-Cross, UoW

Hybrid Electric Powertrain Technology

* Vehicle Energy Facility for automotive and sustainable power applications. Dr Paul Jennings, UoW

* Energy Systems Integration Laboratory for rail, heavy vehicle and sustainable power applications.
Dr Stuart Hillmansen and Dr Clive Roberts, UoB

Sustainable Thermal Technology & Buildings

* Thermal systems testing, solar energy evaluation & testing, materials property measurements.
Professor Bob Critoph, UoW

* Assessment of energy performance of buildings and associated training. Dr Mark Gatterell, UoB.

Energy Policy

* Energy policy related research which underpins research of all other workstreams in the project.
Professor Richard Green, UoB.

For further information contact:

Sarah Keay-Bright, Project Manager: T. +44 (0) 247 657 5492; M. +44 (0) 7824 541135; E.

Dr Mike Ahearne, Business Engagement Manager: T. +44 (0) 247 657 5484; M. +44 (0) 7824 541173; E.

An overarching brochure about the facilities and expertise available within the Science City Energy Futures theme is available here (PDF Document)


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