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Key milestone reached in low-carbon research

24 June 2015

Wind Turbines

Multi-million pound programme drives Wales to the forefront of UK's low-carbon technology

One of Wales' most senior climate change officials has praised the work of Welsh universities in attempting to secure a sustainable, low-carbon environment for our future generations.

Peter Davies, Chair of the Climate Change Commission for Wales and Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, has credited the key role played by the Cardiff University-led Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI)—a consortium of research groups from six universities across Wales—in developing new technologies to tackle some of society's most pressing environmental issues.

Davies has also praised the role of the LCRI in the creation of jobs, laboratory facilities and investment in industry, highlighting the positive impacts that they are having on the Welsh economy.

His comments are made in a new LCRI report, launched today, 24 June, at St David's Hotel in Cardiff, detailing the key achievements that have come from the research programme since its inception in 2008.

Since its launch, the LCRI has attracted, and helped train, more than 180 key researchers in the low carbon energy field, and secured over £80 million in research funding.

By working closely with industry and government, the LCRI has raised the profile of low carbon initiatives in Wales, working nationally and internationally to present Wales as a leader in low carbon technologies.

Highlights include the Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC)—a world-leading experimental simulation facility containing a new mixing station that can accurately mix different fuel compositions, including varying concentrations of hydrogen.

It is believed the GTRC will help UK and EU natural gas regulators to standardise gas composition and quality, and also understand how hydrogen, generated from renewable sources, can be injected into the natural gas grid and utilised by power generators.

The Low Carbon Built Environment (LCBE), based at the Welsh School of Architecture, has developed new technologies to generate energy from renewable sources integrated into new buildings as well as retrofitting. They LCBE project has investigated how the technologies can be implemented into a whole host of buildings, such as houses, factories, shops and schools.

In his preface to the LCRI report, Peter Davies writes: "The next stage in the LCRI journey promises to be as exciting as the previous seven years; with plans to expand the network and continue a substantial contribution to a low carbon future. Collaborative projects and the knowledge and experience gained to date will contribute to each of the Welsh Government's seven Well-being Goals.

"The LCRI has an important role to play in a country focussed on sustainable development with ambitious climate change targets. I am pleased to see the great work delivered by LCRI to date. I look forward to the next stage of LCRI and know it will play a key role in delivering outcomes defined in the Well-being of Future Generations Act and the Environmental Bill in order to make Wales a better place for our future generations."

Professor Phil Jones, Chair of Architectural Science at Cardiff University and Chair of the LCRI, said: "Over the past seven years, the LCRI has successfully built research capacity in Wales by linking academic research with industry and government in order to meet the low carbon agenda. The LCRI now aims to build on its success and to provide Wales with a research network that can help deliver low carbon policy in Wales."

A major source of funding to the LCRI partners was the European Regional Development Fund through the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO). The project has also been part-funded by HEFCW, UK Research Councils and industry.

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