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16 January 2009
The University welcomed Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, after a request to see some of its research while the Minister was on a tour of South Wales.
His office had expressed particular interest in the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) – the all-Wales partnership on sustainable research which has its hub at the Welsh School of Architecture.
Lord Mandelson was welcomed to the School of Engineering by the Vice-Chancellor Dr David Grant, the University’s Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships Derek Jones, the Head of School Professor Hywel Thomas, along with Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson.
He was also introduced to key players in sustainable research and industry partnership at Cardiff, as well as Stephen Lawrence, Divisional Director of Mott Macdonald – the international consultancy company which has just entered a joint working arrangement with the University to share consultancy, engineering and research expertise.
Lord Mandelson inspected the laboratory at the School’s new Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply (CIREGS). The Centre is the result of a £3.8m award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales to establish a centre to develop research into energy generation and supply.
Professor Phil Bowen, Deputy Director of the School of Engineering and LCRI board member, gave the minister an overview of sustainability research at Cardiff and the work of the LCRI. He explained that the LCRI was set up with a £5.1m award to build capacity around existing energy research capability in Wales and to promote interdisciplinary energy research activities.
Professor Manu Haddad then explained the work of CIREGS in more detail. He introduced Lord Mandelson to the Power Systems Simulator, a unique system within Europe which can recreate power flows on the National Grid. Professor Haddad explained that the Simulator can model the entire Grid and can also be used to forecast the effect of additional renewable power sources, such as wind or solar power – a key capability for the future as interest grows in developing ‘smart’ transmission systems.
The Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships, Derek Jones, said: "This was a very timely visit. The environmental and economic opportunities offered by sustainable technology are rising on the political and business agendas - and we were able to give Lord Mandelson a flavour of the wide-ranging and world-leading low carbon research conducted by the University and its partners."
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