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Midlands Companies and Researchers Lead Development of Environmental Super Material

Researchers at the University of Warwick are working with half a dozen Midlands companies to exploit an environmental wonder material that will soon bring significant energy savings in power systems used in our cars and planes, and even save energy in power generation and transmission system.

The wonder material is the compound known as Silicon Carbide and Professor Phil Mawby of University of Warwick is already working with a number of Midlands companies to exploit its energy saving properties. Two examples of those companies who are happy to talk about their work now follow:

Converteam in Rugby engineer solutions based around three core components; rotating machines (motors & generators), drives and automation . These innovative solutions have been adopted by wind turbine manufactures and need to be durable - particularly if they are placed out at sea where maintenance may not be quite so easy.

Currently electrical components in wind turbines require multiple switches to convert the wind energy to transmittable power. Silicon carbide devices reduce the number of switches needed by 80% producing obvious durability benefits due to the reduced number of components at that crucial point that could potentially fail.

Professor Mawby is working with Zytek to explore if silicon carbide can be used in the power electronic components, that are used in Zytek's Electric drives for electric vehicle applications, Zytek currently supply E drives to a 5.5 Tonne urban delivery vehicle and the smart fortwo city car. As silicon carbide is very durable it would enhance the reliability of the electric powertrain controller and increase its power handling capability. Silicon carbide can also be used at engine compartment temperatures opening up avenues for technology to be used to increase the range of existing vehicles.

Professor Mawby has also just begun a long term research project with GE Aviation in Cheltenham to examine how heavy mechanical plane systems could be replaced by lighter Silicon Carbide based electrical systems. Professor Mawby is also working on projects with other Midlands companies that that could employ silicon carbide in power steering systems, and in energy transmission across power lines


Filming/ photo opportunities:

Both Zytek in Lichfield and Converteam in Rugby are happy to talk to press and to have film crews visit their factories and workshops.

Zytek are based at Fradley on Lichfield (Lancaster Road, Fradley Business Park Lichfield), WS13 8NE Map on line at:
The contact there is Robert Nash on 01543 412 178

Converteam are based in Rugby and Staffordshire The contact there is : Tamara Meahan, Manager, External Communication, Converteam Ltd, Tel: 01788 563573

GE Aviation are just beginning their work with Professor Mawby so can offer no film opportunities at this time but are happy to discuss their work with him. The contact there is Alison Starr on 01242 661147

For further information please contact:

Professor Phil Mawby, Director of WISER - Warwick Institute for Sustainable Energy and Resources University of WarwickPhone: 02476 524742 e-mail:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 76 523708 or 07767 655860 email: