The first Industrial Advisory Board meeting of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) took place recently at the Manufacturing Technology Centre at Ansty, near Coventry.
ERA is a £180 million programme comprising £60 million from UK government via Innovate UK, and an additional £120 million matched by industry and universities. It is investing in facilities, equipment and demonstration projects to find innovative solutions to the most pressing energy challenges.
The ERA partners consist of the eight Midlands Innovation universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, together with the British Geological Survey (BGS).
ERA’s Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) consists of 12 senior representatives from the energy sector. The board is comprised of members from a range of industries, including electricity and gas utility and service companies, equipment manufacturers, technology developers, engineering businesses, international consultancies, trade associations, research and development institutes and innovation companies. Its role is to offer an industrial perspective to align ERA’s strategy and priorities with commercial, real-world opportunities.
The IAB is chaired by Philip Sharman, Managing Director of Evenlode Associates Ltd. Philip has been involved in many low-carbon energy activities for businesses, and was previously Director of Technology External Affairs at Alstom Power, establishing links with governments, research organisations and technology providers.
Speaking about the launch of the IAB, Philip Sharman, said: “ERA is an important initiative with the potential to assist the UK in meeting its carbon emission reduction targets and its ‘clean growth’ objectives under the Industrial Strategy. We need to maintain a secure supply of energy that is ever more flexible and resilient in nature, and we need energy to be affordable and be available equitably.
“The IAB provides a sounding board, to ensure that ERA plays a key role in the move towards low-carbon solutions. I am confident that the board will help ERA in its quest to develop exciting new commercially viable technologies, which have the potential to address many of the global challenges around energy.”
Commenting on the establishment of the IAB, Professor Martin Freer, ERA’s Director, said: “The formation of the IAB is an important development for the Energy Research Accelerator. We have invested in a wide range of world-class facilities over the last few years. These are facilities which industrial partners can use in conjunction with our energy researchers, in order to develop low-carbon technologies.
“I hope that the Industrial Advisory Board will help us to identify and develop new academic and industrial collaborations which will deliver great benefits to the UK and beyond.”
To find out more about the Energy Research Accelerator, visit: www.era.ac.uk