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University and industry partnerships can provide the new government with the answer for affordable, clean and secure energy

The University of Sheffield

3 min read Partner content

At the University of Sheffield, we focus our research and innovation on tackling the most pressing challenges facing society today. As a result of the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and a drive towards important net zero targets, securing affordable, clean and secure energy for the UK is a critical question for Whitehall to answer - and one we can help to address.

Our Energy Institute has one of the largest energy research teams in Europe and is leading the way in developing the capabilities to usher in a green future. We carry out research across a wide range of fields, including renewable, nuclear and conventional energy generation, energy storage, energy use and carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology, and our teams work with industry and government to find sustainable solutions.

In July, we announced our new Energy Innovation Centre - a new energy net-zero infrastructure accelerator which offers industrial partners access to our national pilot-scale laboratories and infrastructure. Boeing is our founding member, and will use the partnership to test, develop and assess new sustainable aviation fuels.

The University and our Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) are one of the seven universities across the UK who have become a top tier innovation partner to Siemens. This partnership has helped to develop reliable, innovative and efficient wind turbine generators. The wind turbine generators being pioneered through the partnership will be at the forefront to the UK’s mission to achieve net zero. It has also allowed us to provide insights to Siemens about their manufacturing systems, whilst providing our engineering students with real world experience from one of the world’s leading firms.

Our Nuclear AMRC, collaborating with companies such as Rolls-Royce and Equinor, is helping to realise the potential of nuclear and hydrogen. We are ensuring that both sectors have the trained workforce to deliver their potential and that nuclear and hydrogen can both be part of the energy mix, delivering reliable power at any time of day time of day, in all weathers. Our AMRC and Nuclear AMRC are part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, funded by Innovate UK.

These examples show that with collaboration between universities, industry, and government we can translate research into market-ready technology and solutions to create green growth. The partnerships we are overseeing between academia and the manufacturing industry stand ready to support the government in this task. To do this, we need long-term support through investment and wider planning to make sure we can create an energy system which is more affordable, more clean and more secure. 

As the new Prime Minister approaches her first month in office, we hope the strategic ambition to level up and decarbonise remain in place, which have provided the worlds of academia and manufacturing with a clear mission to ensure the UK has affordable, clean and secure energy.

Through working together, we can drive innovation across the entire energy sector to find solutions to the world’s energy challenges.

The University of Sheffield is bringing together leading figures from academia, industry and politics to discuss the key opportunities to safeguard our energy provision at the Conservative Party Conference.

Join us in the PLMR Business Hub from 5pm-6.30pm on Tuesday 4 October for a discussion focused on how the UK can harness low carbon energy sources to ensure we have access to affordable, clean, and secure energy. Panellists include Alexander Stafford MP and representatives from the University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute, Rolls-Royce SMR, Equinor and EDF.

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