Birmingham Energy Institute newsletter - April 2015

April 2015

Welcome to the latest edition of the dedicated Birmingham Energy Institute bi-monthly newsletter.

I am pleased to highlight, among a number of exciting updates, the launch of the new policy commission entitled 'Doing Cold Smarter' and the announcement of £60m Government funding for the first phase of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA).

I would also like to draw your attention to the new Birmingham Energy Institute blog which was launched last month. The blog features thought-provoking expert comment on the energy agenda as well as the latest research news from the Institute. If you would like to get involved as a contributor please get in touch via

As ever, I look forward to receiving your thoughts, comments and opinions, but, most of all, your involvement.

Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute



Energy research moves into a new ERA

The Government has confirmed £60 million for a new energy research project in the Midlands. The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a multimillion research hub which will build on the expertise of six leading midlands universities, the British Geological Survey and the surrounding industrial base to deliver a step change in energy research and development, securing the UK’s leadership position in the sector.

Read the full article.



Birmingham says global demand for 'cold' should be taken seriously with launch of new Policy Commission

The University of Birmingham launched a new policy commission entitled ‘Doing Cold Smarter. It will investigate how the growing demand for ‘cold’ and cooling, which is required to address global challenges of hunger, disease and population growth, can be met without causing environmental ruin.

Read the full article and watch our academic contributors discuss 'cold'.



Power and Energy Internet pioneered to bring Birmingham to the centre of the global revolution

Just as the World Wide Web revolutionised the global exchange of information, so the ‘Power and Energy Internet’ (PEI) – a remarkable idea pioneered in Birmingham by Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang – could one day transform the world’s energy use and management by the exchange of power sources across continents as well as locally.

Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang delivered his inaugural lecture in February 2015 



Helping position Europe at forefront of nuclear energy sector: Birmingham hosts decommissioning seminar

The University of Birmingham and the European Joint Research Centre (JRC) hosted a one-off international seminar last week on “Education and Training in Nuclear Decommissioning”.

The growing decommissioning market creates a potential for new activities, with highly skilled jobs in an innovative field. The clear global positioning of the European Union will stimulate the export of know-how to other countries, especially those having a large nuclear programme,and the ability to promote the highest levels of safety.

Read the full article.



SFEN Convention explores future collaboration with UK and France in nuclear energy

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute, represented the UK and the University of Birmingham at the French Society of Nuclear Energy (SFEN) Convention last month.

The French Society of Nuclear Energy (SFEN) is the French hub of knowledge on nuclear energy, bringing together 3600 professionals, engineers, technicians, teachers, students, industrial sites and French nuclear research organisations.

Read the full article.


UK's precarious journey to decarbonisation

Professor Martin Freer reflects on the progression of faltering low-carbon electricity in the UK.

"Progress towards decarbonised, or at least low-carbon, electricity generation in the UK is faltering. The challenge of delivering against the 80% CO2 emissions reduction target by 2050, which is only 35 years away, now, looks more than challenging..."

Read the full article.


Fuelling the energy debate

Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, discusses the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee's latest report, ‘Fuelling the debate

"Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, has a vision for the UK's energy system in 2030: low cost renewable electricity with energy storage, consumers changing their energy use in response to price signals, carbon dioxide captured from fossil fuel power stations..."

Read the full article.


Birmingham set to lead the way on the Cold Economy

Professor Richard Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences discusses the Carbon Trust’s report The Emerging Cold Economy

"The report The Emerging Cold Economy, states that the global demand for cooling could grow to three times the current UK electricity capacity by 2030, due to the world’s expanding population and the growing middle class demographic in emerging markets..."

Read the full article.



Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Technical Conference 2015
19-21 May 2015, Millennium Point, Birmingham

The University of Birmingham, in conjunction with strategic partners within industry and academia, will be hosting a technical conference on the progress of Fuel Cells & Hydrogen. The conference will showcase the latest Fuel Cell & Hydrogen research and new developments, trends and deployment issues.

Further information.



Midlands Energy Consortium (MEC) visit to the British Geological Survey
23 June, British Geological Survey, Keyworth

The purpose of the visit is to introduce the MEC University partners to some aspects of the geological sciences through illustrative talks on BGS energy research. This will inform the MEC partners of current “hot” earth science related energy topics, BGS’s areas of expertise, current research partnerships and allow new collaborations between BGS and MEC to be identified. Presentations will be held on:

  • The Shale Gas Revolution
  • Energy Storage
  • Carbon Dioxide Storage
  • Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste
  • Ground Source Heat

Further information.


The Birmingham Energy Institute
B15 2TT




College of Engineering and Physical Sciences