North East universities and businesses tackle energy issues

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Three of the North East region’s universities and various regional businesses are coming together to tackle energy issues in a new regional research centre. The North East Centre for Energy Materials comprises Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham universities as well as Solar Capture Technologies (Blyth), Big Solar (Sunderland), Kromek (Sedgefield) and multi-national business Siemens.

The centre has been awarded £2.25m from the government’s Industrial Challenge Fund over 42 months.

University challenge

Around twenty staff from the three universities, covering a range of disciplines including engineering, chemistry, biology and physics, will work on developing new high performance materials to improve energy efficiency in generation, storage and transmission systems.

One centre for activity will be Newcastle University’s new £58m Urban Sciences Building, a development Muckle LLP construction and real estate lawyers helped deliver, which includes research laboratories. The National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (in partnership with Durham University) will also be involved.

Durham University will contribute in the areas of solar energy, simulation and materials analysis. Northumbria University will be developing its recent work on sustainable solar paint.

Making energy more sustainable

Leader of the project, Professor Ulrich Stimming from Newcastle University, said: “There is a lot of work exploring big challenges in our energy system such as how do we reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuel, or build smarter energy networks.

“This project will address an equally important challenge which is how we work at the atomic and molecular level to make the energy sector more efficient and sustainable.”

Energy expert analysis

The collaboration between three of the North East’s universities to work on energy related issues, and particularly linking with energy sector businesses in the region, is great news for an area steeped in the development of ‘energy’ engineering.

Alastair Fells MEI, Incorporated Eng, PG Dip Fuel Tech, BSc Hons

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