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29 November 2005 PR 05/113

World energy experts to meet at Loughborough University

World energy experts will be meeting at Loughborough University this week to share ideas on an alternative energy solution.

Members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) are due to take part in a two-day conference at the campus. The IEA is the energy forum for 26 industrialised countries, including the UK. Its member governments are committed to taking joint measures to meet oil supply emergencies and have also agreed to share energy information, to co-ordinate their energy policies and to co-operate in the development of rational energy programmes.

Professor Rob Thring, head of the University’s Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering, will be leading the event at Loughborough. The topic for the conference will be Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). PEMFCs, also called Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells, are being developed for stationary and mobile power applications, such as automotive propulsion power. Automotive PEMFCs operate on hydrogen fuel and oxygen from air to produce electricity, with the only emission being water. The hydrogen fuel can be produced from non-petroleum, renewable resources which will ease the world’s dependence on petroleum fuels.

In light of recent fuel crises across the world the issue of fuel cells is even more topical. The race is now on to find an alternative and practical way to power motor vehicles across the globe. There are seventeen countries in the IEA Advanced Fuel Cell Agreement who regularly meet to discuss this issue.

Professor Thring said: “The conference will be an excellent opportunity for some of the world’s leading experts in PEM fuel cells to come together and share ideas. Loughborough University is pleased to be hosting this event as it also highlights the work we are doing in this area.”

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Notes to editors

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities. The National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students, and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough's income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

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