University of Sheffield’s new energy research centre set to support UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy

Funding for a new £21 million Translational Energy Research Centre at the University of Sheffield will support the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, delivering the cleaner growth at the heart of government’s industrial strategy.

Announced today (27 June 2019) by the Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Chris Skidmore MP, the new centre will develop next generation carbon capture technologies that are affordable and sustainable. The centre’s state-of-the-art facilities will support the long term competitiveness of the UK in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) as well as facilitating research and development into areas such as renewable energy, bioenergy and ‘smart grid’ technologies.

The Translational Energy Research Centre will form part of the University of Sheffield’s newly launched Energy Institute, home to more than 300 academics. Researchers in the Energy Institute work with industry partners to find solutions to the biggest challenges facing the energy industry. Its research is interdisciplinary with innovation and collaboration at its heart. This enables researchers in the institute to provide sustainable solutions and advice for governments and the energy industry.

The UK government has recognised that the move to cleaner growth, through low-carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources, is one of the largest industrial opportunities of our time. Energy intensive industries secure 1.5 million jobs and export £320 billion of goods and services a year. The move to low-carbon industry is a huge opportunity – with the chance for the UK to take the lead and seize a large share of a growing global market.

Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Chris Skidmore MP, from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said: “Cutting edge technology to capture carbon will cut emissions as we work towards a net zero economy, while creating new jobs – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.

“The Translational Energy Research Centre represents a major milestone in efforts to rollout carbon capture at scale by the 2030s.”

Funded by £7 million from BEIS and £10 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Translational Energy Research Centre at the University of Sheffield will give global companies and new technology start-ups access to advanced testing facilities and the opportunity to collaborate with leading academics in low-carbon energy research. Through industrial and academic partnerships, companies will use the research centre to test, optimise and demonstrate their technologies at a commercial-scale.

The Translational Energy Research Centre will expand on the success of the University’s Pilot Advanced-Scale Capture Technology National Facilities (PACT) centre which opened in 2012. PACT is an open access, national centre of excellence for experimental research on CCUS.

Since its launch, PACT has supported more than 70 industrial collaborations with both local organisations and large multinationals, but with increasing demand from industry and academia for more capacity, flexibility and collaboration space, a new facility to meet these needs is required.

The University’s new Translational Energy Research Centre will increase the number of test days available to organisations and broaden the scope of testing available. This will accelerate and widen the range of new products and services that companies can bring to market.

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Head of the University of Sheffield Energy Institute and Managing Director of the Translational Energy Research Centre said: “The Translational Energy Research Centre will be a national hub for innovative research into low-carbon energy generation technology. This facility will help UK businesses keep at the forefront of the rapidly growing, global clean energy market and will be instrumental in ensuring the UK can meet its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. The regional and national funding awarded to support this project is recognition of University of Sheffield’s world-class research in this sector.”

The new centre will join the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Factory 2050 and the Faculty of Engineering’s research centres, located at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), the nucleus of the Sheffield City Region’s emerging Global Innovation Corridor.

The area has recently seen significant inward investment from global companies such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce and McLaren, boosting productivity, jobs and partnerships in the region. The addition of the Translational Energy Research Centre to this area further strengthens the University’s position as a leader in cutting-edge, industrial scale research.

Organisations looking to work with the University’s Translational Energy Research Centre can collaborate with experts from across the full spectrum of energy research, from development to deployment.

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