Delivering an energy roadmap

In this article the EPSRC's National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) Newcastle academic team explain the energy contribution they are providing to the UKRI Research and Innovation Infrastructure Roadmap.

Delivering an energy roadmap

The £20m EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI) is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary consortium of industrial and academic energy experts working on an innovative collaborative five-year research program. The Centre aims to investigate the challenges of the future energy system within the UK while identifying the value in taking a whole energy systems approach. CESI draws on the expertise of leading academics from the universities of Newcastle, Heriot-Watt, Sussex, Edinburgh and Durham. The Centre is actively steered by both an industrial innovation and an international advisory board comprised of representatives of local and national government, international researchers, industrial partners and consumer stakeholders.

 

About the UKRI RIIR

In 2017, the UK government brought together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England under the umbrella of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI’s remit is to provide the independent, strong voice for research and innovation, both to government and internationally. They are principally funded through the Science Budget by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

To aid in the Government’s ambition of 2.4 per cent UK GDP investment in research and development by 2027, UKRI are developing a research and innovation infrastructure roadmap of the range and breadth of research and innovation facilities that will be required in the UK by 2030. This will provide a detailed breakdown of the UK’s current research capability and aid in planning for the future.

The roadmap is a strategic plan that aims to create the vision for research and innovation infrastructures and discuss the major steps needed to achieve it. The overall program of the roadmap is very ambitious and wide-ranging, incorporating key UK research strengths such as health, food, environment, engineering, digital and energy. This plan will determine future UK and RIIR priorities, promoting the UK as a global leader in research and innovation and set out the most important steps essential to reach the long-term vision [1]. In this context, RIIR incorporates research facilities, laboratories, demonstrators, test beds, Big Data and any other resources and services that are used by the research and innovation communities to conduct research and promote innovation in their fields [1].

 

Role of National Centre for Energy Systems Integration

The EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), have been commissioned to assist the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UKRI in the development of the energy sector portion RIIR roadmap. Our role is to lead on the energy sector consultation with industrial experts and leading academics, collating their ideas and suggestions to inform the scope of the research and innovation infrastructure roadmap for energy.

CESI’s consultation approach has begun by taking a snapshot of existing UK energy research infrastructure. We have also researched the key international facilities which the UK has access to. Our main focus will be to define the future needs for the UK energy system as a whole, ranging from fossil fuels, nuclear energy, to renewable energy sources, hydrogen and, taking input from pure science research to applied engineering and demonstration.

More specifically, to achieve our goal we are carrying out an expert elicitation exercise,  consulting with experts in industry, academia and government working in energy to assist in identifying future needs and existing gaps.

 

Where we are now

We are now three months into this process. To date, we have carried out a series of workshops and conducted many interviews with energy industry experts, including scientific advisors to the government, researchers in academic institutions, and senior representatives from the energy industry. These open dialogues have covered the breadth of the UK’s existing energy infrastructure while considering the future challenges. We have discussed what the experts feel the infrastructure required for the energy system of the future will be as well as the risks to the UK of not addressing these challenges. The initial output from this consultation has been a list of facilities and infrastructure felt to be required.

 

Next phase

The next phase of our activities will prioritise this list of facilities and infrastructure in reference to their significance in helping meet the 2.4 per cent UK GDP investment in R&D by 2027 ambition.

To assist in this prioritisation effort we are consulting with specialised working groups, each tackling their specialised area of the proposed energy sector roadmap. These more focused consultations will provide more detail on the specific areas requiring strategic investment. The outcomes will be summarised and fed into the wider UKRI RIIR assessment program. 

 

Have your say

If you work in the energy field and would be interested in joining the consultation exercise on the UKRI Research and Innovation Infrastructure Roadmap in Energy, you can register your interest by contacting us.

Visit www.ukri.org or contact Dr Damian Giaouris at damian.giaouris@ncl.ac.uk

 

Authors:

  • Professor Phil Taylor, CESI Director, Head of Engineering and Deputy PVC of SAgE, Newcastle University
  • Dr Sara Walker, CESI Deputy Director, Senior Lecturer in Engineering, Newcastle University
  • Dr Damian Giaouris, Senior Lecturer, Engineering, Newcastle University
  • Dr Zoya Pourmirza, CESI Researcher, Newcastle University
  • Dr Dr Seyed Hamid Reza Hosseini, CESI Researcher, Newcastle University

References:

[1] https://www.ukri.org/news/infrastructure-roadmap/


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