UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced a £53 million ($69.3 million) fund for six research hubs and centres, located in different UK universities, to boost knowledge, create new green technologies and reduce demand for energy.
UKRI, a government body that directs the spending of research and innovation funding from the science budget of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is directing the £53 million to research into energy demand reduction, innovation in energy distribution and the integration of hydrogen into the country’s energy system.
Energy Demand Research Centre
£15 million ($19.6 million) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council will be directed to a new Energy Demand Research Centre.
The new national Energy Demand Research Centre, states the UKRI, will build an evidence base for understanding consumer behaviour, assessing the impact of socio-technical energy demand reduction measures and research mechanisms to improve energy efficiency.
The centre, based at the universities of Sussex and Newcastle, will investigate how domestic, industrial and transport energy demand reduction can be delivered on a local and national level across the UK.
Supergen Impact Hubs
£17.5 million ($22.9 million) will be invested in three Supergen research hubs that will aim to boost innovation in energy distribution, both nationally and internationally as well as advance discoveries in renewable energy into new technologies.
Supergen Energy Networks Impact Hub
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 to become a driving force towards a rapid, safe and just transition to net zero.
Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Impact Hub
Based at the University of Plymouth, the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Impact Hub delivers research to accelerate the impact of current generation and future ORE devices and systems.
Researchers will focus on innovation and new technologies in wave, tidal, solar and wind power.
Supergen Bioenergy Impact Hub
The Supergen Bioenergy Impact Hub, based at Aston University, will identify pathways for delivering bioenergy with wider social, economic and environmental benefits.
The hubs are funded by EPSRC, with the Supergen Bioenergy Impact Hub also receiving support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
£20 million ($26.1 million) will be invested into two hubs that deliver options to integrate clean and sustainable hydrogen into the domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.
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) Hub is led by 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.
Each hub has been awarded £10 million ($13 million) in funding by EPSRC.