Universities across the UK are leading the way with renewable energy initiatives with the aim of switching to greener energy plans or even achieving net zero in the near future.
Results found professors and students at these institutions are comparing energy from unconventional sources, from ‘pee power’ to discrete building materials that can stealthily store solar power energy.
Professors, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers have been busy developing new technology that could see the end of standalone solar panel energy for our homes. Their sustainable solar thermal technology uses nano-enhanced thermofluids and storage materials, and it will integrate with standard building practices and materials.
As well as recycling a whopping 95% of its waste, the University of Bristol has pioneered ‘pee power’ technology, otherwise known as a microbial fuel cell energy system, that can convert organic waste into electricity. It’s about to be trialled as an electricity supply in residential homes so we could soon see this green energy switch being adopted across the country in the near future.
Energy from vibrations has been the focus of research at Swansea University. The expert research team has been investigating its energy use as a renewable energy source and will harvest ambient vibrations of host structures, from wind turbines to airplanes.
Taking this concept a step further, Professor Lars Johanning, Academic Lead at Exeter University has led a number of research projects on marine renewable energy, harnessing the power of the ocean and waves to produce energy.
With over 600 energy experts tackling green energy challenges, the University of Manchester is dedicated to assessing each stage of the journey that energy goes on in order to meet future demand.
Working closely with the local region on projects such as the UK’s largest-ever trial of heat pumps, the university is finding out more about how today’s urban society uses energy by blending expertise from engineering and the social sciences to learn more about energy use and how it can be met.
Host to the pioneering Technology & Innovation Centre, researchers here work with companies within the renewable sector. They believe the need to achieve cost reduction for renewable technologies has never been greater and the types of companies they work with include Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and utilities, through to SME start-ups.
Led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, who has over twenty years’ experience in engineering and is world-renowned, plus a role model for women in STEM, the researchers at the University of Plymouth are a key academic partner in a €47 million tidal energy project called TIGER (The Tidal Stream Industry Energiser Project).
The energy project will see turbines submerged offshore to harness the energy of tidal currents, which will then be converted and used as an electricity supply.
Not only is the new £4 million Fuel Cell innovation centre dedicated to developing new sources of green energy and making it available to as many people as possible, but Manchester Metropolitan University has also offered a free course to support anyone considering working in the clean energy sector.
It covers sustainable industrial development, different approaches to decarbonisation of cities and the challenges faced by councils, strategists, and researchers, and has had over 500 people enroll on it to date.