Cranfield University and EGB Engineering UK have been successful in securing co-funding from the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK, for industrial research into low-carbon renewable heating and cooling systems to decarbonise buildings.
Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years. The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.
The Sustainable Innovation Fund is funding 1,103 projects; 1,189 UK businesses and totalling over £130 million in support across the UK.
Professor Phil Hart, Director of Energy and Power at Cranfield University, said: "At Cranfield, we are committed to playing our part in delivering Net Zero. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in a 'green recovery', and investment in renewables promises employment, economic growth and reduced emissions.
"We are delighted to be working with our partners EGB Engineering UK on this project which will bring together innovation from academia and industry and help drive the UK towards a more sustainable future."
Dr Kumar Patchigolla, Reader in Low Carbon Energy Systems at Cranfield University and Principal Investigator, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to develop renewable cooling and heating for commercial and public buildings, and to offer industrial research activities for students at Cranfield University".
Dr Arnold Gad-Briggs, EGB Engineering UK Executive Director, said: "The impacts of the current pandemic on society and the economy presents opportunities for innovation. Heat is the largest energy-consuming sector at over 40% and the single largest contributor to UK emissions. The support from Innovate UK demonstrates confidence in our ability to enable and provide solutions to reduce emissions, thereby stimulating the green economy.
We will also up-skill apprentices and early researchers as part of our commitment to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), to plug the skills gaps in the UK."
Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell, said: "In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.
Every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people."