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Nanotechnology researchers and industry specialists are being invited to propose business-led research projects that will compete for £7million to help stimulate the next generation of solar energy harvesting technologies.
The competition, launched this week by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board, is designed to build upon earlier investments of £6.7 million in five research projects by the Research Councils, led by EPSRC. The EPSRC will invest up to £5 million in the new research and development projects while the Technology Strategy Board will invest £2 million.
Inclusive of those involved in the five original research projects, other specialists in the field are now being offered the opportunity to enter this second competition, where business-led consortia will focus on building the supply chain and achieving technology demonstration in a real life environment. Investment is needed here to help UK businesses become early adopters of the technology and aid rapid commercialisation of their products.
Current installed electricity generating capacity is approximately 80GW, with demand potentially increasing by up to 50% by 2050. Government targets, meanwhile, demand an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. In principle the sun could provide sufficient energy to make up the shortfall, provided new innovative methods of energy capture and storage are discovered, developed and exploited rapidly. Nanotechnology has a significant role to play here and is increasingly influencing these areas.
Explaining the aims of the competition, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray, said "The projects we will fund through this competition will both improve our quality of life and generate economic benefits to the UK economy. Nanoscale technologies have the potential to address the major societal challenge of increasing our renewable energy options for the future. By investing in this areawe will be contributing significantly to the UK's 2050 targets for renewable energy as well as growing significant business opportunities for British companies both at home and abroad, transferring commercially focused basic research into the business community."
EPSRC CEO Professor David Delpy added "Solar energy is the only renewable energy technology that, in theory, could meet all of the world's energy needs. To date we have been limited by the cost and efficiency of the available technology. This competition will ‘fast track' projects that address some of these challenges. The projects will also have commercial potential and can position British businesses to exploit a growing global market in the near term, while providing sustainable solutions for the UK in the longer term."
The competition opens on 13 September 2010 and expressions of interest must be submitted by 14 October 2010. The closing date for receiving full applications is 21 October 2010.
Further information about this competition can be found on the Technology Strategy Board website, at:
About Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is all about driving innovation.
Our role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. We promote, support and invest in technology research, development and commercialisation. We spread knowledge, bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances.
We advise Government on how to remove barriers to innovation and accelerate the exploitation of new technologies. And we work in areas where there is a clear potential business benefit, helping today's emerging technologies become the growth sectors of tomorrow.
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