Graphene-Based Energy Storage
By Cynthia Taylor
Manchester University has received an award of almost £8 million for 2 research projects. This is part of the government initiative for investments into key technologies.
The funding was announced last Wednesday by David Willetts, the Science Minister and the universities. This has been provided by government to the universities following the Chancellorís having announced that there is additional funding for capital to cover 8 great technologies. He announced this in his pre-budget statement.
£4.3 million was given to the Manchester scientists by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the development of advanced materials to the industrial environments.
The second grant of £3.3 million was awarded jointly to the Liverpool and Manchester Universities to help establish 'state of the art' facilities which will support the development of devices for new energy storage that will use graphene as part of its key component.
The Liverpool-Manchester consortium was funded to create a centre for interdisciplinary energy storage research. This will allow transformation of the super-capacitors and batteries to be a viable option for wide scale adoption of utility and grid applications.
Professor Ian Cotton, of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, who was the leader of the £3.3 million bid, said that the University of Manchester is currently the largest high voltage laboratory situated in the UK and now a new grid scale test facility for energy storage will be available for industrial partners so that energy storage systems can be tested fully before they are deployed.
This funding provided for the development of the national scale storage has promise of enormous benefits, particularly in terms of savings for the UK's energy spend and in benefits for the environment because it enables larger penetration of technologies for renewable generation.
Professor Cotton added that the facility is expected to be operational by the year 2014 and will provide a distinct advantage for the North-west as well as the UK with regard to global research and the development of advanced materials and the manufacturing as a part of socio-economic improvement.
Professor Andrew Sherry, who is the Director of the Universityís Dalton Nuclear Institute, has added his voice to this by saying that the global competitiveness in the different sectors is dependent on material invention to be able to operate under very demanding environments. The £4.3 million investment will help provision equipment to be able to probe as well as image the near surface region because it is exposed to severe conditions, that include corrosive, radiating and oxidising environments. This will enable insights into the necessity of development of new materials, surface treatments, and coatings for prevention of failure.
The Dean from faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and he University Vice President, Professor Colin Bailey said that they were delighted that the university was awarded the funds. He went on to say that it will provide facilities for world leading research, at Manchester for their work on the energy storage as well as the advanced materials and will ensure that the facilities that are developed are open to all their industrial partners, and that they will be able to speed up innovation from the laboratory to the market which will be a long term benefit for the North-west and the UK economy.
Mr. Willetts said that if Britain is to get ahead in the race globally, they then need to back the emerging technologies and ensure that the universities have the most up to date equipment. The funding will help the scientists to be able to develop new technologies and discoveries and take their research for commercial success. This will drive growth as well as support the governments industrial strategies.
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