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GTRC partner in new 10.84M Euro EU Research Infrastructure in Energy
17-10-2011

GTRC partner in new 10.84M Euro EU ‘Research Infrastructure’ in Energy 

‘Research infrastructures’ (RIs) are part of the FP7 Capacities programme with the overall aim to optimise the use and development of the best research facilities existing in Europe. Cordis states ‘The European scientific community needs these (RIs) to remain at the forefront of the advancement of research, and they will help industry to strengthen its base of knowledge and technological know how’. RIs cover a diverse scientific spectrum, from social science, to mathematics/ICT, to physics and engineering. They can be single or multi-site networks - ‘CERN’ is probably the best known RI, with up to 200 external users annually, and was where the idea of RIs first dawned on the research community. 

Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC), a Cardiff University/School of Engineering ‘Major Research Facility’ (MRF) launched in 2007 by Rhodri Morgan, is one of 26 partners extending from Finland to Turkey in a new RI network announced recently in the field of bio-energy. The RI ‘BRISK’ (Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge) is led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, with two UK partners, the other being Aston (lead of the UK ‘Supergen’ Bioenergy consortium). Its scope is ‘Thermochemical Biomass Conversion’, converting sustainable feedstocks (including agricultural/forestry wastes and energy crops) into liquid, gaseous or solid fuels.  GTRC will utilise its unique suite of high pressure combustion facilities to optimise utilisation of various biofuel products for gas turbine power. This could range from studying biofuels for aviation, to gasified products of biomass integrated with carbon-capture for electrical power (so-called ‘negative-carbon powerplant’).    

Professor Phil Bowen (BRISK- PI and Director of GTRC) is a member of the 6-strong BRISK executive committee, and has been closely involved in shaping the proposal over several years, in consultation Brussels through his link roles as EU Biofuels Technology Platform steering committee member, and as gas turbine champion for the International Flame Research Foundation (IFRF, based in Pisa).

Enhancing biomass utilisation - most importantly without compromising sustainability - is a European energy priority, linked to the EU strategic plan for Energy (EU ‘SET-plan’) and targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security whilst integrating with other EU industries such as agriculture. Production of sustainable biofuels through advanced thermochemical conversion units and biorefineries will enable a wider range of sustainable feedstocks to be utilised, making a significant contribution to these targets.

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