£24m investment in energy research at Welsh universities

A £24m EU-backed investment in a world-leading energy research scheme at Welsh universities has been announced today.  

FLEXIS, a five year research programme, will be supported by £15m of EU funds and will investigate how flexible energy systems can meet modern-day energy challenges. The programme is being led by Cardiff University and involves the University of South Wales and Swansea University.

Involving collaborations with industry and research organisations in Wales, Europe and worldwide, the scheme will investigate how multiple energy sources can be supplied to consumers through more flexible and efficient systems that integrate traditional and renewable energy sources.

As part of the scheme, demonstration sites will be established to act as a test bed for new ideas and to show how new and cost-effective technology and energy solutions are being developed – including a project promoting the use of ground energy from mine water.

Leading researchers from the UK and Europe will also be recruited to Welsh universities, helping to strengthen Wales’ position as a leader in research and innovation within the energy industry.

The scheme will pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, and attract new companies to locate in Wales.

Finance and Government Business Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “Wales is set to benefit from around £1.8 billion of EU Structural Funds by 2020 to support business, innovation, infrastructure, skills, employment, and young people.

“This is vital investment for our economy and labour market, and is a crucial source of funding in driving innovative research and the commercialisation of that research, creating sustainable jobs and growth.

“It’s fantastic news that this £15 million EU funds investment will support such ground-breaking potential in this important energy sector for Wales.”

Professor Alan Guwy, Director of the Sustainable Environment Research Centre at the University of South Wales, said: “This is a really exciting project that builds on the successes that have been made in developing hydrogen energy systems over the last 15 years or so. It will help to add to the expertise, research activity and technology developments within this field to produce clean and sustainable energy, reflecting our aims within the Sustainable Environment Research Centre.”

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “FLEXIS promises to tackle some of the major societal challenges that we are facing today, from climate change to fuel poverty and rising energy prices.

“By bringing together expertise from across Cardiff University, as well as Swansea University and the University of South Wales, FLEXIS will establish Wales as a pioneer in energy systems and deliver significant benefits to the nation as a whole, attracting new businesses, creating jobs and training the research engineers of the future.

“This significant amount of EU funding we’ve received is yet another example of how financial support from Europe is helping to propel the fundamental research that is being performed here in Wales.”