UK invests €8.8M to drive innovation in offshore renewables

The Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Impact Hub, led by the University of Plymouth, has secured €8.8 million to accelerate the impact of current and future offshore renewables devices and systems and to drive the UK towards it net zero commitments.

Illustration (Courtesy of Supergen ORE Hub)

The funding was provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – and forms part of larger €62 million investment designed to boost knowledge, innovation and new technologies that will decarbonize the energy sector.

The Impact Hub will build on work carried out by the existing Supergen ORE Hub, created in July 2018 to champion and maintain the UK’s wave, tidal and offshore wind expertise.

It will be led by Deborah Greaves, director of the Centre for Decarbonization and Offshore Renewable Energy at the University of Plymouth, and brings together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders.

Greaves said: “This significant investment highlights the important role a thriving offshore renewable sector needs to play as part of the UK’s clean energy mix. And it could not have come at a more critical time, with a predicted growth of floating offshore wind technology in the Celtic Sea and Scotland among many imminent innovations.

“Both the University and the Supergen ORE Hub have been instrumental in uniting researchers, industry and policy makers behind the common goal of creating a sustainable and secure ORE sector. That sort of continued collaboration will be essential if we are to ensure our innovation leads to positive and lasting environmental, economic and social impact.”

The Supergen ORE Impact Hub aims to utilize existing and planned research outcomes to accelerate the technology development, collaboration and industry uptake for commercial ORE developments.

Through its Flexible Fund, it plans to invest around €3.3 million in new and emerging research across the UK, in addition to creating additional opportunities for early career researchers.

It will also build on previous work to enhance diversity across the ORE sector, making a future career in the industry accessible to all.

Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UKRI, said: “The government has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, requiring rapid decarbonization of our energy systems. UKRI is leveraging its ability to work across disciplines to support this ambition through a major portfolio of investments that will catalyze innovation and new green energy systems. The funding announced today will support researchers and innovators to develop game changing ideas to improve domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.”

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