Energy scientists from the UK and China are developing green technology to improve the way power grids distribute electricity.
The investment in smart grids – with over £4m 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.
“Science plays an increasingly important role in the transition to a low carbon economy,” said Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.
“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.”
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.
“It is absolutely vital we find ways to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply and distribution both here and abroad,” said EPSRC’s chief executive, David Delpy
“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.”
The countries aim to reduce 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.
“With smart grids as the main platform for future energy supply, research in this field has been carried out all over the world vigorously,” said Professor Che Chengwei, deputy director general of the department of engineering and material sciences at NSFC.
“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.”