Scottish Research Partnership
About the Scottish Research Partnership   About the Scottish Research Partnership

Pan Scottish Theme: Energy

The key energy technology research teams in SRPe (and across GRP, ERP and NRP) have joined together, in partnership with the Scottish Government Energy team, SFC, Scottish Enterprise Energy team and SSAC, to create the Energy Technologies Partnership (ETP). This has established one of the strongest, broad-based, research alliances internationally. The scope of R&D coverage includes: renewable technologies; electrical power systems; hydrogen technologies, energy storage; carbon capture and storage; conventional thermal power plant; nuclear power plant; power electronics; demand side management; energy efficiency; low carbon technologies; clean transport; associated energy related physical sciences e.g. materials. When coupled with the demonstration and deployment facilities across Scotland (via Scottish Enterprise and several industrial companies and trade organisations e.g. the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney) the ETP is well placed to develop its already significant basic, strategic and applied R&D portfolio through consortia bids (in ETP and with other external partners) to EPSRC, DBERR, TSB, EU, ETI, ITI-Energy and industry at large.




Structure and Operation of the ETP

Structure and Operation of the ETP

SRPe-ETP Directorate
Key remit features include:

  • Development of the ETP basic, strategic and applied research agenda
  • Building/consolidation of ETP research partnership/cooperative working
  • Coordination of regional research Pool energy research  activities
  • Building ETP energy research reputation, capacity and capabilities
  • Outreach and cooperation with other Research Pools:
    • SUPA, East/West CHEM, SULSA, SIRE, SAGES, SICSA, Maths, Marine Science
  • Position the ETP alongside all relevant opportunities and identification of common R&D opportunities (e.g. ETI, RCUK, DBERR, EU, industry)
  • Coordination of external engagement e.g. support of SFC, SE/SDI and the Scottish Govt.

ETP Supervisory Group
Key remit features include:

  • Consideration of interaction between policy issues and ETP basic, strategic and applied R&D agenda and activities
  • Contribution to the practical development and sustainability of the ETP
  • Assistance in the identification of generic energy research funding opportunities
  • Provision of independent, transparent validation of ETP development
  • Oversight and review of programmes and activities
  • Biannual meeting for engagement with SRPe-ETP Directorate
  • Biennial detailed programme/strategy review of ETP with Directorate

ETP Research Advisory Forum
Key remit features include:

  • Advice on basic, strategic and applied Energy R&D priorities and opportunities
  • Identification of multidisciplinary Energy R&D themes
  • Advice on the development of strategic research partnerships and programmes
  • Specification and development of technical events and programmes to support workshops, seminars and events (national and international)
  • Biannual meeting for engagement with SRPe-ETP Directorate

EU Green Energy Research Network
Key remit features include:

  • Promotion and dissemination, throughout the EU and beyond, of good practice and policy relating to the development and implementation of renewables and low carbon technologies in support of the EU’s target of 20% renewables target by 2020
  • Promotion of cooperative research and the attraction of funding (e.g. FP7, Intelligent Energy) with EU partners
  • Development and implementation of joint projects across the EU
  • Working with EU industries to promote commercialisation


General Research Capabilities of the SRPe Academic Partners in the ETP

Within the detail of this Appendix, we will demonstrate the SRPe Energy Technologies Partnership’s strong capabilities. The partners have strong industrial and academic links throughout the UK and internationally with a track record for delivering successful commercialisation of new technologies through clearly focused demonstration and development strategies underpinned by world-class research. The members of the SRPe-ETP are active across all aspects of the Energy RD&D pipeline, from conceptual and feasibility studies through to research, testing, development, demonstration and commercial deployment. The academic and industrial interconnectivity that exists is a major enabler in this regard. SRPe-ETP academics, industrialists and economic development organisations alike recognise that an integrated approach is essential if RD&D is to reach successful commercialisation.

Integrated and Comprehensive Approach to Energy RD&D
The levels of integration and cooperation in the Scottish energy research base are unique in the UK and have led to a resultant growth of high quality national and international collaborations. The depth and breadth of our energy R&D is unparalleled in the UK and will serve the SRPe agenda exceptionally well. We have developed a genuine culture of cooperation. Our approach to energy RD&D at the research level is both integrated and comprehensive and a number of key initiatives have been implemented to further refine and develop this approach. The SRPe-ETP, through SFC, is actively exploring UK wide potential for the application of the pooling philosophy and this is well timed with respect to UK and Scottish government requirements for a coordinated approach to energy research across the UK.


Regional Centres of Pooled Energy Research - Key Research Capabilities

Regional Centres of Pooled Energy Research - Key Research Capabilities

  • GRP (Glasgow and Strathclyde)
    • Energy & Power Systems, Infrastructure & Transportation, Materials
  • ERP (Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt)
    • Energy, Subsurface Science & Engineering, Infrastructure & Environment
  • NRP (Aberdeen, Dundee, Robert Gordon)
    • Energy and Clean Technologies
  • There are also research pooling entities in EastChem (St Andrews/Edinburgh - Chemistry) and SUPA (Physics).

In total this engineering pooling activity has already added around 100 new senior academic posts to the Scottish research base in the following energy-related areas: sub-surface engineering; oil and gas technologies; clean coal technologies and gasification; wind, wave and tidal energy conversion; bio-energy; carbon capture and storage; energy infrastructure; autonomous power systems and network management; power systems operation and control; energy efficiency and utilisation; hydrogen technologies, fuel cells and energy storage; advanced energy materials.  Moreover, there has been significant growth in joint research programme activity, consortium research project successes, increased research funding, multidisciplinary research & greater connection to non science & engineering areas such as economics.


SRPe and Cross Cutting Energy Research Themes

In June 2007, the entire Scottish SRPe met to consider the optimal strategy for development. This identified a number of “cross cutting” research themes that would be addressed within a large community of researchers. Energy was identified as a key theme and the SRPe partners agreed to implement the SSAC recommendation that a Centre of Scientific Excellence (CoSE) in Energy be established in the form of the SRPe-ETP. In summary, the establishment of the SRPe-ETP demonstrates innovation and considerable ambition to integrate and maximise the impact of SRPe-ETP’s world class energy research and commercialisation activities.


World Class Reputation for RD&D across Energy Themes

The ETP research pooling entities in SRP-E, ScotChem and SUPA have an unrivalled collective basic, strategic and applied research portfolio. The SRPe-ETP partners currently lead or participate in energy research programmes valued in excess of £250m funded through RCUK, industry and government. This portfolio has increased significantly over the past five years and has been greatly advantaged by the coordinated pooling strategy that appears attractive to EPSRC, industry and EU.


Energy Research Capabilities in SRPe and reference to GRP, ERP and NRP R&D

The Strathclyde Institute for Energy and Environment (InstEE) is the largest energy and power research grouping in Europe with major world class activities in several energy themes including electrical power systems, power electronics, renewable technologies (notably wind and marine), high voltage engineering, energy conversion, demand side management and efficiency, fuel chemistry, energy storage, marine engineering and energy economics. The operational mode of the InstEE is based on deep discipline excellence coupled with an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to energy RD&D. The 2005 EPSRC Science & Innovation Award to Strathclyde for an Integrated Energy Initiative was acknowledgement of UK leadership in electrical power engineering and demand side technologies. This award was leveraged to £5.5m with additional industrial support for the BRE Trust Chair and the British Energy Lectureship.

Strathclyde has a leading role in the EPSRC Supergen initiative with involvement in eight programmes in partnership with 15 UK-HEIs and 25 energy/power companies addressing integrated themes including wind, marine, networks, storage, efficiency, demand side technologies & energy economics. The launch of the GRP-E has demonstrated the four Glasgow HEIs’ ability to coordinate RD&D activities, with Energy being a major core theme and as a cross cutting theme within the SRP-E in partnership with ERP and NRP. The 2004/5 EPSRC International Review of Engineering placed the InstEE in the top UK grouping across all engineering disciplines for academic excellence and industrial relevance. Over the past two years, 24 new energy and power academic staff have been appointed with further world-leading academics attracted via funding from EPSRC (including 2 international “star” awards), industry and direct funding. This has grown the InstEE complement to 61 academics, over 250 researchers and 36 technical staff.

The energy research activity in Strathclyde is underpinned by the largest funding portfolio in Scotland placing them second in the UK only to Imperial College. This is evidenced in public data sources (e.g. EPSRC, DTI, SFC, UKERC, CORDIS and HESA). Strathclyde currently leads or participates in a broad portfolio of energy research programmes amounting to over £40m EPSRC, £12m industry and £18m EU & UK Govt. Over the past 5 years, over £20m has been invested in top quality energy RD&D facilities and equipment via SRIF, EPSRC, DTI and industrial funding. When coupled with the other GRP-E partners’ portfolios, notably Glasgow University’s £10m-EPSRC and University of West of Scotland’s £9m-ITI Energy and, with industry funding of £5m and the recent SFC GRP-E energy related funding of £7m, this places the GRP-E research portfolio (~£100m) in a scale seen only in leading international research institutions.

The University of Edinburgh is Scotland's top research university and is ranked 4th in the UK for internationally competitive research with a world-class reputation for RD&D in many energy themes. Renewable energy and related research takes place in the Institute for Energy Systems (IES) and in the Schools of Geosciences & Chemistry, where there are ~50 academics and researchers engaged in the area. In the RAE period from 2001 the aggregate research award in energy is nearing £18M.

Heriot-Watt University is a technology-focussed university with a well-established track record in the Energy Sector, particularly in Oil and Gas at the Institute for Petroleum Engineering (IPE). In 2006/7, Heriot-Watt attracted over 100 research grant and contract awards worth £10M. Since 2001 the total award to IPE in energy research has exceeded £22M. Heriot-Watt University established its Energy Academy to link all research activities in energy with over £7M in current project funding.

In 2005 the Edinburgh Research Partnership formed the Joint Research Institute (JRI) in Energy, joining IES with the Energy Academy. Edinburgh’s Geosciences and IPE joined to become the ECOSSE JRI (Edinburgh Collaboration for Subsurface Science and Engineering). This is an acknowledged world-class combination of staff and facilities in renewable energy – notably marine, oil and gas, and carbon capture and storage. Research in ECOSSE and the JRI in Energy addresses challenges throughout the low carbon and renewable energy supply chain. IES renewable energy and electricity infrastructure research includes and integrates: wind, hydro and marine resources, their conversion to electricity, delivery and end-use, with overlapping groupings active in: Marine Energy and Coastal Defence; Power Systems Operation and Control; Machines and Power Electronic Interfaces and Energy and Climate Change. Geosciences research areas are: Uncertainty Quantification, Hydrates, Geomechanics and Rock Physics, Reservoir Geophysics, Reservoir Fluids, Hydrocarbons Recovery Mechanisms, Reservoir Description and Production Chemistry. Carbon Capture and Storage has rapidly emerged during 3 years as a critical research and application area. This is the UK’s largest academic grouping of CCS expertise, with over 20 staff and researchers.

Aberdeen University has a world class track record of industrially-relevant RD&D and exploitation of its research findings. Research grant holdings this year in energy related technologies will exceed £12m. Main strengths lie in engineering, petroleum geology, chemical engineering, renewable energy technologies, carbon capture and storage, carbon sequestration strategies, energy and environmental economics and law. In addition, strong Medical and Life Sciences research groupings ensure the capacity to monitor, control and manage the environmental and health implications of future energy developments. The R, D and D activities of over 100 staff in the University of Aberdeen are focused on meeting the needs of the energy industries through the Institute of Energy Technologies (iET); the portal into the University’s expertise in energy. R, D and D, consultancy and CPD and Training activities are focused on 6 main areas, much of which is on low carbon technologies: characterisation of oil and gas reservoirs; engineering solutions for oil and gas recovery; renewable energy and energy efficiency; decommissioning; environment and planning; economics, law and the workplace. These research groupings are strongly supported through research council, government and industry funding. Close working with industry is evidenced through the significant number of industry sponsored professorships and other academic positions, e.g. BG, Schlumberger, Shell and Total. The Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Robert Gordon have formed the Northern Research Partnership in Engineering within which the Energy and Clean Technologies JRI concentrates on low carbon energy technology research across the 3 universities, through its research themes New and Renewable Energy Technologies, Oil and Gas Technologies, Clean Technologies.

It is important to note that the SRPe-ETP has already established a strong research partnership with members of the Pooling entities in Chemistry. For example, St. Andrews University has a deserved reputation for internationally leading work in electrochemistry, novel fuel cell research and energy storage, most notable battery technologies. The scientific basis for their work in energy is most complementary to the engineering pool and lends significant multidisciplinarity to the SRPe-ETP.


Strathclyde (GRP-E):

Edinburgh and Heriot Watt (ERP-E):

Aberdeen, RGU and Dundee (NRP-E):

Institute for Energy and Environment

Rolls-Royce University Technology

Centre in Electrical Systems

DTI Centre for Distributed

Generation and Sustainable

Electrical Energy

ScottishPower Advanced Research Centre

National Grid Network Technologies Laboratory
BRE Trust Centre of Excellence in Energy Utilisation
British Energy Advanced
Engineering Centre
Centre for Electrical Power
Engineering-Utilities Programme
GSE Systems Real-Time Power
Plant and Network Simulation Centre
Centre for Energy Materials

Energy Systems Research Unit

Institute for Energy Systems

Energy Academy

Centre for Environmental Change and Sustainability

UK Energy Research Centre

Institute for Petroleum Engineering

Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage

International Centre for Island Ttechnology

SRIF Centre for Hydrate Research

Institute of Energy Technologies

Centre for Research Excellence in Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Seismic Applications: Limitations/development Facility

Scottish Offshore Materials Centre

Transport Research Centre

Centre for Remote Sensing and Environmental Modeling

Centre for Research in Energy and the Environment

Centre for Process Integration and Membrane Technology

AREG Energy Futures Research Centre

Glasgow (GRP-E)

Centre for Economic Renewable Power Delivery

Centre for Systems and Control

Marine Technology Centre

Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (joint facility with other HEIs)