Charging ahead

KeeleUniversity has unveiled plans to become ‘carbon neutral’ by using green energy sources that will reduce its dependency on the national grid.



The Staffordshire-based university hopes that its initiatives will attract external investment and create a research hub for the study and development of alternative forms of energy.



The university is currently exploring sources of funding for a £20m development that will include improvements on campus and a research centre, in addition to £5m for sustainable energy technology and research.



The plans were announced at an event on campus attended by potential development partners Nexen Exploration UK and Partnership For Renewables, a company established by the Carbon Trust.



Campus energy-saving schemes have so far included solar hot water regeneration at its halls of residence, improvements to building fabric, a staff awareness campaign and a lighting upgrade.



The Higher Education Funding Council for England has already awarded around £0.75m to the university’s Faculty of Natural Sciences to fund energy research.



Professor Patrick Bailey, dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: ‘The emphasis will be on a mix of energy sources rather than a reliance on any one single source. We aim to reduce external energy consumption by 50 per cent within five years and to become completely “carbon neutral” in our energy use within 10 years.



‘In addition, we will create a campus community with sustainable energy at the heart of its ethos and values. There are exciting possibilities for joint enterprises with industry and government, the development of courses and training programmes and the development of research expertise with UK and international partners.’