Six research centres awarded £53m in research funding boost

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced a series of new awards in a research funding boost. Six research centres awarded £53m in funding for net zero energy innovation.

The scope of these individual projects is to boost knowledge, create innovative green technologies. This will lead to reduced demand for energy to achieve greener, cleaner domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.

How will the funds be distributed among the six research centres awarded £53m in funding?

The awards will enable new research centres in key areas:

  • £15 million for a new Energy Demand Research Centre that will provide solutions for energy demand reduction, understand the impact on consumers, and enable equitable policy decision-making.
  • £17.5 million investment in three Supergen research hubs that will boost innovation in energy distribution, both nationally and internationally, and propel discoveries in renewable energy into impactful new technologies.
  • £20 million in two hubs that deliver options to integrate clean and sustainable hydrogen into the domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.

£15m for an Energy Demand Research Centre

Reducing energy use could help meet half of the required emissions reductions we need to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The centre is based at the universities of Sussex and Newcastle. It investigates the demands of domestic, industrial and transport energy demand across the UK.

The award is valued at £15 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council.
The centre will build an evidence base for understanding consumer behaviour. In addition this will help assessing the impact of socio-technical energy demand reduction measures. Additional research mechanisms will improve energy efficiency.

£17.5m for Supergen Impact Hubs

Three impact hubs will study how the UK can take advantage of the latest research in energy generation from renewable sources.

The Supergen Energy Networks Impact Hub is based at the University of Bristol.
The hub will investigate modernisation of energy distribution systems between suppliers and users. This will position the UK as a driving force towards a rapid, safe and just transition to net zero.

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Impact Hub
The Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Impact Hub is based at the University of Plymouth. It delivers research to accelerate the impact of current generation and future ORE devices and systems. Researchers focus on innovation and new technologies in wave, tidal, solar and wind power.

Supergen Bioenergy Energy Impact Hub
The Supergen Bioenergy Impact Hub is based at Aston University. This centre will continue to support the UK’s transition to a low carbon energy future. Identifying pathways for delivering bioenergy with wider social, economic and environmental benefits.

The hubs are funded by EPSRC. The Supergen Bioenergy Impact Hub also receiving support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

£20m for Hydrogen Hubs

Hydrogen and hydrogen-based, low-carbon liquid fuels, such as ammonia, are essential for the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Hydrogen is a highly versatile energy vector. It is suitable for use in many hard-to-decarbonise sectors where other energy options, such as electricity, are not suitable. These two hubs will drive forward the national effort in hydrogen research. This critical area of technology is designed to meet industry and government needs.

The UK Hub for Research Challenges in Hydrogen and Alternative Liquid Fuels (UK-HyRES) is led by the University of Bath.
It aims to become an international leader in hydrogen research and to deliver practical hydrogen and alternative liquid fuel technologies that are safe, acceptable, and environmentally and economically sustainable.

The Hydrogen Integration for Accelerated Energy Transitions (HI-ACT) is led by the Newcastle University.
It will evaluate routes to effective integration of hydrogen into the wider energy landscape, addressing interactions with electricity, natural gas, heat, and transport. By considering a whole systems perspective, the research shall identify where hydrogen offers most value.

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