UK centre to research environmental technologies

A national research centre has been set up to support the development of environmental protection technologies.

The Centre for Sustainable Engineering (CSEng) aims to help businesses working on products or processes that make more efficient use of resources, or cut hazardous waste and emissions.

The Peterborough facility will carry out its own research, provide expert analysis of external projects and broker partnerships between companies and universities operating in the environmental field. It will also attempt to help transfer and commercialisation of relevant technologies.

CSEng was set up by the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development in conjunction with the universities of Cranfield and Newcastle. The team running the centre said it ‘will primarily focus on engineered products’ with possible examples including micro-turbines, powder metallurgy and biodegradable resins and polymers.

CSEng aims to tap into the potential for environmental protection technologies created by a raft of EU and UK legislation in the field. This includes the WEEE regulations on waste electronic products and the End of Life Vehicle directive.

The centre’s opening coincided with a report by a committee of MPs that criticised the government’s record on several of its key environmental targets. The Environmental Audit Committee claimed the government was ‘seriously off-course’ in areas such as reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency, and said a ‘more imaginative and radical strategy’ is needed.

It called on ministers to do more to promote alternatives to petrol such as hydrogen and biofuels, and to recycle some of the cash collected through fuel duty into research in the area. ‘The Treasury cannot expect industry to provide investment in alternative fuels unless it has a long-term strategy itself,’ said the report.