Energy Innovation Centre launches to lead drive towards decarbonisation

A centre which enables businesses to carry out innovative research and development projects with some of the largest and most exciting equipment in Europe has opened at the University of Sheffield.

The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) gives industries access to some of the university’s research facilities to test and develop new low-carbon energy technologies.

Global aerospace company Boeing is one of the founding members and will work with the university to help develop sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Boeing has access to the university’s Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) and Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC) – two research facilities, both of which are UK firsts.

Boeing will use these to advance the development of SAFs and support new SAF producers in the UK, including Bicester-based Zero Petroleum.

They have achieved this level of capability with £7m previously awarded to the Translational Energy Research Centre by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, £19.3m from the European Regional Development Fund and further funding from the University of Sheffield.

TERC enables businesses to test new low-carbon energy ideas at pilot scale. SAF-IC provides facilities to rigorously test, certify and deploy new sustainable aviation fuels all in one place.

Both R&D facilities, under the new Energy Innovation Centre, aim to put South Yorkshire and the UK at the forefront of efforts to decarbonise the aviation industry and develop new low-carbon energy technologies.

Minister for energy efficiency and green finance, Lord Callanan, said: “Having awarded £7m to the Translational Energy Research Centre, I’m thrilled that they’re combining their strengths with the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, in the search for new and creative solutions to help us hit net zero.

“This includes working on four carbon capture projects – backed by the Government’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, to help bring down the cost of this technology as we make the UK a pioneer in this area.”

Steven Gillard, sustainability regional director for UK and Middle East, Boeing, said: “We’re committed to working with our partners across the globe on our journey to more sustainable aviation, including efforts to develop and scale SAF – our industry’s biggest lever in reducing emissions today and into the future.

“Building on our longstanding presence in South Yorkshire, being founding members of the EIC further solidifies the region’s pivotal role in our industry’s pursuit of net zero emissions.”

Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, said: “The official launch of the Energy Innovation Centre is the result of many years of hard work to both build TERC and the environment at the University of Sheffield which allows their success to flourish.

“We’re grateful for the many years of support from the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero, and the European Regional Development Fund which enabled the existence of these world-leading research facilities.

“I’d also like to once again welcome Boeing, the founding member of the EIC, and our new member DRAX.”