Leading energy scientists from the UK and China are joining forces to develop green technology that will revolutionise the way electricity is distributed via national power grids.
The investment in smart grids - with over £4 million funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and matched-resource funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) - will help both countries reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainable energy output.
Smart grids manage the supply and demand of power through the national distribution network more effectively by introducing high-tech communications to the system. They also accommodate new energies such as solar and wind power as effectively and efficiently as possible. Both countries are committed to reducing their carbon use significantly by 40 per cent to 45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020 for China and by 30 per cent from 1990 levels for the UK.
Welcoming the news, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:
“Science plays an increasingly important role in the transition to a low carbon economy. This international collaboration will bring together leading researchers from the UK and China to help develop the vital underpinning technology that both our nations need for a greener future.”
EPSRC’s Chief Executive, David Delpy, said: “It is absolutely vital we find ways to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply and distribution both here and abroad. EPSRC is at the cutting edge of innovative international collaborations such as this one between the UK and China. We are particularly well-placed to bring together the best scientific minds from across the world to work on the fundamental research which will drive energy solutions to benefit us all.”
Professor Che Chengwei, Deputy Director General of the Department of Engineering and Material Sciences at NSFC, said: “With smart grids as the main platform for future energy supply, research in this field has been carried out all over the world vigorously. We believe that through the research projects jointly funded by NSFC and EPSRC, researchers from China and the UK are able to establish a long-term and far-reaching cooperative research relationship and promote the development of smart grids in both countries.”
Notes to Editors
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants funding as part of the Research Councils’ UK Energy Programme. It has allocated £4million funding following a peer review process and this funding is being matched by NSFC.
The Research Councils UK Energy Programme led by EPSRC aims to position the UK to meet its energy and environmental targets and policy goals through world-class research and training. The Energy Programme is investing more than £530 million in research and skills to pioneer a low carbon future. This builds on an investment of £360 million over the past five years.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. EPSRC invests around £800m a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK (RCUK).
The Energy Programme brings together the work of EPSRC and that of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
The Research Councils UK China team celebrates its fifth anniversary in September 2012. RCUK China aims to make it easier for talented researchers in both countries to work together to advance knowledge, improve the quality of life and promote social and economic progress.
Established in 1986, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) is an institution for the management of the National Natural Science Fund from the central government. Its main responsibilities are to: direct, coordinate and financially support basic research; to identify and foster scientific talents; to promote science and technology; and to advance economic and social development in China.
Energy research has been one of NSFC’s funding priorities. In the past five years, besides the General Programs and Fund for Young Scientists, NSFC funded about 25 key projects related to smart grids and renewable energy with an average funding of 27 million Yuan (approx. £2.7million) and a major project entitled "Operation and control theory research of random - deterministic coupling power system with large scale wind power injection" with a funding of 15 million Yuan (approx. £1.5million).
Reference: PN 68/12