UK centers on solar, tidal, and wave energy research co-ops

Illustration/Tidal turbine mounted on Sustainable Marine Energy's floating platform (Photo: Sustainable Marine Energy)

The UK government-funded Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has invested £16 million into the establishment of three Supergen energy hubs, and a solar knowledge exchange network, with the aim of boosting more coordinated energy research.

Three £5 million energy research hubs and a new £1 million network in solar energy will be focused on offshore renewable energy, bioenergy, and energy networks, and will involve academics from 19 universities, and 70 stakeholder partners including 22 from industry, according to ESPRC.

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub will be led by Professor Deborah Greaves from Plymouth University.

The hub will seek to bring together the related research areas of wave, tidal and offshore wind in order to share skills, resources and expertise.

The approach is expected to address technical, environmental and interdisciplinary challenges which require a coordinated response at national and regional level, ESPRC said.

Another newly announced hub of interest for offshore energy sector – Supergen Energy Networks Hub will investigate a ‘whole system’ approach to networks, as interconnected and interdependent nature of energy network infrastructure, and the challenges it faces is in need of better understanding, accorind to ESPRC.

The know-how exchange initiative called SuperSolar Network – funded along the hubs –  is expected to maintain the co-ordinated network for the photovoltaics (PV) research community in the UK, 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 sector challenges.

The network will involve academics from 10 universities and six partners four of which are from industry, and will be led by Professor John Walls from Loughborough University, ESPRC informed.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Executive Chair, said: “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.

“As the threats from climate change become ever-more apparent there is a pressing need for the UK, and the world, to act collaboratively to address the challenges of clean energy production, distribution and storage.”

EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation, is said to be the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK working to build up the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges the UK faces.

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