By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The new UK technology and innovation centre announced by the Chancellor in his Budget last month – the Energy Systems Catapult – is to open in Birmingham later this month.
This comes as part of the £60 million new Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) project, a research hub hoped to secure the UK a leadership position in the sector.
The Energy Systems Catapult will be focused on exploiting the commercial opportunities for new technology-based products and services. Energy Systems is one of seven such catapults in the UK – the Offshore Renewable Energy catapult is headquartered in Glasgow.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “The Energy Systems Catapult will make Britain the best place in the world to develop new energy products and services, like local energy systems that can provide an alternative source of power to the national grid. Locating the Catapult in Birmingham puts it right at the heart of a vibrant energy hub that will bring researchers and businesses together – a key component of bringing new and innovative ideas to market.”
Nick Winser, Chairman, Energy Systems Catapult, said: “The Birmingham area has a strong cluster of businesses and academic activity related to energy, as well as excellent transport links to the many organisations with which we will work right across the UK. The advanced discussions with the ETI to merge their existing Birmingham based team into the Catapult provides us with the opportunity to make a strong start.”
This follows agreement – subject to due diligence – with the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to merge their existing Smart Systems and Heat Programme currently based in Birmingham into the new Catapult.
Dr David Clarke, CEO, ETI, added: “We welcome the establishment of the Catapult to bring additional focus to meeting the needs of the UK energy system for today and tomorrow. Our Smart Systems and Heat programme has built the knowledge and capability to design functional long-term local area heating solutions. It is already working with Local Authorities in Bridgend, Manchester and Newcastle, and importantly this engagement with the Energy Systems Catapult allows for that work to continue beyond the end of our current operating model in 2017.”