More than 40 new leading academic energy researchers will significantly expand the University’s existing expertise in energy research as part of the Energy 2050 initiative – a world-leading hub of excellence set up to address the ‘trilemma’ of making energy more affordable, secure and sustainable.
The UK is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, but that target will only be achieved by transforming the way energy is supplied and used. Energy 2050 will explore how the country can move to a secure, affordable low-carbon energy system by this date.
The initiative, designed to strengthen the interaction between university research, industry innovation and government policy, will provide an institutional framework for a multidisciplinary collaboration in energy research and innovation.
The project has been strengthened by securing the post-election appointment of Tim Yeo MP, who has served as Minister of State for Environment and is Chair of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett said: “The University of Sheffield is very fortunate to have attracted this key group of international scholars in such a vital area. The team is rightly ambitious to make a real impact in energy research and innovation, with application here in the UK and around the world.
‘Our aim is simple – to bring together this superb expertise with our powerful existing capability, to be the place government and industry from around the world know they will find a complete energy capability.
“Added to our academic strengths and reputation for superb collaboration with industry, the appointment of individuals such as Tim Yeo will help develop even stronger links with government and industry.’
Professor Mohammed Pourkashanian, who leads the multi-disciplinary energy research team, added: ‘My team and I are delighted to be joining the University of Sheffield, which has an increasingly powerful national and international reputation for its work on energy.
“What we intend to build is far more than merely a conventional university research centre. Rather, we need a better way to resolve our energy security, affordability and sustainability by going beyond traditional research boundaries to deliver value to regional growth, wealth creation and national and international energy security affordability and sustainability.
‘Working in this way marks an exciting new chapter in our research and we will attract the world’s most talented academics and students keen to address these challenging issues.’
This year is expected to be a significant year for the UK’s energy system – with the Government due to make decisions on Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, and further progress on the White Rose and Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage projects. In December, governments will meet in Paris to make decisions on fighting climate change – decisions which will impact the future pace and direction of energy research and innovation.
University Director of Energy Innovation, Jon Price, who is leading Energy 2050, said: ‘This is a tremendously exciting development for Sheffield, and for energy research in the UK.
“Our first step is to build our talent pool of resources, by expanding our team of experienced academics with a strong track record in developing industrial relations, combining with our existing resource strengths in science, engineering and social sciences, supported by senior resources from industry and seconded civil servants we are able to have a unique energy team.”
He added: ‘We will now be defining our plans for a national demonstration facility at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Key to success, given the scale of the global energy challenge, will be a national facility that will enable us to work collaboratively together with research groups industry and international government agencies, pushing the boundaries of innovation and technology. This will help de-risk the investment grade levels of finance required from industry and governments around the world which will in turn allow us to make a major influence on our future energy security, affordability and sustainability.’
The University of Sheffield is already:
• Home to the UK’s national centres for advanced manufacturing research and nuclear advanced manufacturing based at its Advanced Manufacturing Park
• Carrying out collaborative research on carbon capture and utilization
• Conducting leading research in energy storage, nuclear, wind and solar power in partnership with companies such as Siemens
• Leading cross-cutting environmental research through its Project Sunshine and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.