Modern energy technology is underpinned by advanced by materials research. The University of Birmingham has one of Europe’s best equipped labs for materials research in our leading School of Metallurgy and Materials.
If power stations and engines are to improve fuel efficiency by operating at higher temperatures we must develop new materials able to withstand such conditions. The extraction of oil from challenging underwater environments requires flexible materials able to safely deliver the oil to the surface without corroding. Lighter aircraft require less fuel, so we are working on lighter materials for aerospace technologies. Magnets are vital for electricity generation, distribution and many appliances, and our specialist group is making these more efficient and compact. Materials for hydrogen storage are being developed to complement our fuel cell research. Novel processing techniques are being refined to reduce energy use and waste in the manufacture and repair of components. We also have a group in our School of Chemistry working to develop new hydrogen storage materials.
Materials research touches on a number of other energy research areas and is this science that makes many of them possible.
Dr Brian Connolly