Funding boost for renewables research

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Researchers from Surrey University have been given funding by the governments of Britain and India for two projects that will explore how nanotechnology will impact the future of renewable energy.

Awarded to researchers from the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) at Surrey University through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UK-IERI), both programmes will involve close collaboration between universities in the UK and India, as well as with Tata Steel Research and Development UK.

The first project will bring together researchers from Surrey University and the University of Hyderabad, India, with collaborators from Tata Steel Research and Development UK to look into how to effectively capture and store solar energy using an approach dubbed ‘inorganics-in-organics’, in which composite materials work together to increase efficiency. Tata Steel will partner research with industry to provide technologies for improved energy generation and storage.

The second project will examine the use of zinc oxide nanomaterials in ultra-high sensitivity gas sensors.

According to Surrey University, these gas sensors can be used in environmental monitoring devices to deliver improved sensitivity and increased energy efficiency. They can also be used in breathalysers, or for sensing potentially explosive gas leaks in places such as hydrogen storage facilities.

This project will bring together academics from the University of Surrey, Queen’s University Belfast and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research.

‘Working with cutting-edge nanomaterials such as ZnO, graphene and carbon nanotubes, we can revolutionise energy storage and capture,’ said Prof Ravi Silva,from the Advanced Technology Institute who is leading the projects.