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25 Nov 2015

Energy research at Loughborough set to accelerate following £180m investment

ERA logo

Loughborough University is set to play a crucial role in the next step towards the transformation of the UK’s energy sector after the Government confirmed £60 million investment for the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA). The investment is backed by a further £120 million from the private sector and Midlands Innovation universities.

ERA is set to become a world-leading hub of energy talent, technology research, development and deployment, based on the internationally renowned academic expertise and industrial heritage of the Midlands. Industry investors include Blueprint, Cofely, Dearman Engines, Highview, Jaguar Land Rover and Schlumberger.

The announcement is a milestone for Loughborough University which will now work in partnership with the five other leading UK universities forming the Midlands Innovation group – Aston University, The University of Birmingham, The University of Leicester, The University of Nottingham and The University of Warwick – and the British Geological Survey.

The funding will create new world-class facilities to meet the challenges of developing affordable low-carbon energy and technologies for greater energy efficiency. The initiative will bring together the best in energy research and build upon the Midlands’ extensive industrial base.

ERA’s research will be focused on the complementary Thermal (T-ERA), Integrated Systems (I-ERA) and Geo-Energy (G-ERA) research themes.

Loughborough will be supporting the Thermal (T-ERA) research theme. It will draw on its expertise in engine and powertrain systems, energy systems, and advanced manufacturing technologies for small, medium and large scale manufacturers to lead innovative research into cold energy technology and support the UK’s ambition to drive this global market for cooling.

Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, said: “The world’s expanding population is increasing the demand for cooling. The provision of ‘cold’ technologies – for use in buildings and supermarkets, food preservation and medicines, for example – is becoming a significant energy demand.

“We are delighted to be able to help to secure the UK’s competitive advantage in the global market for cooling with the launch of the Energy Research Accelerator, which will lead the way in new energy technologies.”

Gordon Waddington, ERA CEO, added: ““This announcement by the Government allows us to take the next step to accelerate the transformation of the UK energy sector and invest across the whole of the Midlands. ERA is putting the UK on the global map of energy innovation. The amount of private sector funding is a testament to the fact that this is a critical opportunity for growth and productivity in the UK.”