Projects that will explore how nanotechnology can be used in the renewable energy sector have won funding from the UK and India.
The funding was awarded through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). Both programmes will involve collaboration between universities in the UK and India, as well as with Tata Steel Research and Development UK.
One project, with the University of Hyderabad, will investigate how to effectively capture and store solar energy using an approach known as ‘inorganics-in-organics’, in which composite materials work together to increase efficiency. Tata Steel researchers will contribute fuel cell expertise.
The second project brings together academics from the University of Surrey, Queen’s University Belfast and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research to examine the use of zinc-oxide nanomaterials in ultra-high-sensitivity gas sensors. These gas sensors can be used in environmental monitoring devices to deliver improved sensitivity and increased energy efficiency.
Professor Ravi Silva from the Advanced Technology Institute said: “Nanotechnology projects such as these are hugely exciting and offer direct solutions for the key challenges that the energy sector faces.
“Supported by both governments and the multinational Tata, our expert teams will impact the future of renewable energy on a global scale through the development of new technologies. Working with cutting-edge nanomaterials such as ZnO, graphene and carbon nanotubes, we can revolutionise energy storage and capture.”
Dr Debashish Bhattercharjee, group director (research and development) at Tata Steel, added: “I am pleased Tata Steel is partnering with global research leaders at the University of Surrey and India on these UKIERI projects, which are won on a highly competitive basis.
“Solar energy and functional coatings are part of our research strategy and will form an important component of global business in the next decade.”