31 July 2006 - Energy company E.ON UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have today announced the start of a £10m ($18.6m) UK university research programme to look at the next generation of low carbon energy solutions.
The £10m fund will be open to all UK universities and it is expected research projects could include the development of low carbon buildings, smart meters and energy efficiency technology.
E.ON UK Chief Executive Paul Golby said: "The aim of this fund is to tap into the ideas and expertise that lie within our universities and to take them forward to help ensure security of supply while lowering our emissions.
"We need new and progressive ideas to help industry ensure the lights stay on and to tackle the challenge of climate change.
"The programme complements our own £15m low carbon research programme and supports our work with the Energy Research Partnership and National Institute for Energy Technologies.
"Together the research and eventual development and deployment of these ideas will make an impact on how we use our power and how we protect our climate in the decades to come."
EPSRC Chief Executive, Professor John O'Reilly said: "The government's Energy Review reiterates the importance of securing a mix of clean, low carbon energy sources to meet our power needs for the future. It also emphasises the importance of demand reduction. There is now clear consensus that only a mix of technologies can deliver a reliable, sustainable, low carbon-emission energy supply for all. To help achieve this mix we need to maintain and develop our diverse energy research portfolio.
"We find that working in close partnership with business to commission research is highly beneficial. Each project will have an E.ON UK champion to ensure good engagement between the science and engineering researchers and the real world research issues. "The programme fits in well with the Research Councils' Energy Programme, which has a broad portfolio ranging from highly speculative science to more applied research. The research carried out through this programme will be pre-competitive and published according to normal academic practice. This will create an environment fostering the exchange of new ideas and the rapid take-up of new developments.
The five-year programme was developed with support from four partner universities that already have expertise in low carbon research - Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham and Imperial College, London. It is expected that the first projects could receive funding as early as this year.
"We want to stimulate an interest in our industry and encourage the best minds into our field to find tomorrow's low carbon solutions," said Dr Golby.
"We're taking decisions today that will be felt by generations to come and we need the best people with the ideas to help us and play their role."