Use universities as low-carbon energy test beds, says IMechE

The UK’s university campuses should be test-beds for low-carbon local-energy, as they combine academic expertise and large areas of land and buildings, according to a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The report, Exploring the Evolution of Low-Carbon Local Energy says local energy is evolving from single projects such as solar farms, to systems that include energy storage and smart management. It calls on the government to incentivise more campus trials to encourage innovation and  help universities to meet their own ambitious decarbonisation targets. It called for partnerships between the universities, students, academics, local energy companies and co-operatives, and distribution network operators.

“Local energy is evolving fast. With high levels of academic and technical expertise, as well as ownership of large areas of land and buildings, university campuses offer unique environments for trialling new technology,” said Matt Rooney, engineering policy adviser at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

A  local energy demonstration project at Keele university includes blending hydrogen with the normal gas supply in part of the university’s private gas network, serving 17 faculty buildings and 100 domestic properties.

Read the full report: IMechE_Local_Energy_Report_final

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