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Engineering lead on new Energy University Research Institute

24 March 2015

Wind turbines

The new School of Engineering led Energy Systems Research Institute is one of a suite of Research Institutes which have recently been announced by Cardiff University. The Institute will investigate the transition towards low-emission, flexible and smarter energy systems that will be required over the next 30 years.

Professor Phil Bowen, Director of the School of Engineering, is the lead on the new research institute which has been designed specifically to address energy systems in an integrated manner across the University.

Drawing on diverse research expertise from across all three Colleges, the Institute aims to help meet the world’s increasing demand for energy in a sustainable and socially acceptable way.

“We’re facing an energy ‘trilemma’ with increasing pressures on protecting the environment, availability and security of energy supply, as well as needing to address the questions of affordability and public acceptance”, points out Professor Bowen.

“The questions posed are challenging and by no means purely technical, rather they require a joined-up, whole systems approach across the physical and social sciences. Over the next 40 years there will be a major shift in how the UK and other countries use energy and generate and distribute power. For example, electrical, gas and heat networks will become more dynamic and require far greater integration, accommodating a more variable, distributed supply of power. Conventional electrical power generation will need to adapt to complement this transition to a decarbonised world, while becoming more flexible to enable greater penetration of renewables. Smarter use of energy in the home, industry and across regions is another exciting interdisciplinary research focus”.

“Many of these changes will require deeper public engagement, well founded policies, as well as sound science and impact analysis,” he added.

Another key focus the new Research Institute will be to link the research with industry and policy. Experts from across the University already have an excellent track record of engaging with business and government – as evidenced by the recent national assessment of the impact of our research - and the creation of a dedicated Institute will capitalise on expertise and opportunities to work alongside key external stakeholders to meet these major energy challenges.

“Collaboration and partnerships with major energy businesses are already one of our key strengths at Cardiff and we are currently allied to a diverse range of companies including National Grid, BRE, National Instruments, TATA, Siemens and Ricardo, amongst many others. Developing this new Research Institute will enable us to explore opportunities to develop new ways to drive innovation responsibly in the energy-systems field, working alongside innovative companies. This presents Cardiff with an exciting opportunity to build upon its strengths and distinguish itself internationally.