Multi-million-pound energy project gets underway

February 8, 2017

A multi-million project set to transform the UK energy sector and tackle some of the biggest challenges currently facing society is underway in Wales.

FLEXIS, the £24m project led by Cardiff University, is bringing together expertise from across Welsh universities to facilitate an affordable, sustainable, and socially acceptable transition to a low carbon future.

The work is being carried out by Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of South Wales as principal sponsors. Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities and the British Geological Survey are also participating in the project.

The five-year EU-backed project will look to solve a diverse, complex and inter-dependent set of challenges, ranging from energy storage, to decarbonisation and fuel poverty.

The project will specifically look at how new, low-carbon energy sources can be integrated into the energy grid, and how the grid itself can cope with extreme flows of energy into the system in numerous places and at random times.

As part of the project a demonstration site has been identified in the Swansea Bay area, centred at the TATA Steel Works in Port Talbot, to act as a test bed for new ideas and to showcase the new technology and energy solutions being developed. Partners include TATA Steel, Swansea City Region and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

Speaking ahead of a launch event at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “FLEXIS will position Wales at the forefront of research and innovation as the energy sector adapts to meet the urgent need for climate change mitigation and energy security.

“The project will attract world-leading researchers to Welsh universities and pave the way for the development of new technologies and job creation in the energy sector, as well as enticing new companies to locate themselves here.

“This significant amount of EU funding shows how financial support from Europe is helping to propel the fundamental research that is being performed here in Wales.”

Professor Alan Guwy, Director of the Sustainable Environment Research Centre at the University of South Wales, said: “FLEXIS provides a fantastic opportunity for energy research and innovation in Wales, it brings together key researchers in the universities in Wales working together to address industry’s needs for cleaner energy production and use. The team at USW working on hydrogen energy believe that FLEXIS can help provide the integrated energy systems that are essential for migrating climate change and securing future energy needs.”

By 2020, over £20m of additional competitive research income is expected to be secured in Wales as a result of FLEXIS.

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