Construction has begun at a new University of Birmingham sustainable energy research and innovation centre based at Tyseley Energy Park. This will promote innovation in waste, energy and low carbon vehicle systems across the West Midlands.
The £7 million Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre (BEIC) is funded by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) . It will be the home of R&D, benchmarking and validation, business support, manufacturing systems integration and modelling expertise across the (public/private/academic) energy, waste and transportation systems sectors all in the one facility.
Working with existing energy and transportation system stakeholders, the BEIC will stimulate collaborative research and development projects to overcome local energy and low carbon transport challenges, demonstrating new and emerging technologies.
By supporting the development and deployment of these new technologies at scale, the BEIC can help decarbonise the electricity and heat and improve the environmental performance of the city as it seeks to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2030.
Speaking about the BEIC, Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor for the University of Birmingham said: “The Birmingham Energy Innovation Centre will make the city of Birmingham a leader in addressing key energy challenges, including the decarbonisation of energy, providing a clean transport system for the city and developing sustainable ways of dealing with waste. These are challenges faced by many other cities across the UK and we expect that the breakthroughs achieved by the BEIC here in Birmingham will be applied more widely in this country and also globally.
“We are particularly delighted that the BEIC will be based on the 300 year-old Webster & Horsfall Ltd manufacturing site, a location that was instrumental to the industrial revolution and will now drive forward the energy solutions of tomorrow as a part of the region’s first Energy Innovation Zone.”
The Centre will also stimulate investment into the energy and low carbon and emissions transportation markets by bringing large global energy firms together with early stage researchers and SMEs with innovative ideas. Together, these stakeholders will rapidly scale technological innovations and commercialise new energy technologies and systems.
Tim Pile, Director of the GBSLEP said: “The potential of the BEIC to accelerate decarbonisation in our region and beyond is immense. The centre will bring together leading research with industry and support local businesses with the development of new technologies. Collaboration of this nature will be an important part of our economic recovery following the current Covid-19 crisis.
“Greater Birmingham is well positioned to lead the country and the world in developing low-carbon technologies to help create truly sustainable growth, with existing strength based in a concentration of both academic and commercial expertise.
“Our investment reflects our commitment to embed world-class expertise here in the region, and to enable demand-led innovation to tackle one of the largest challenges we collectively face.”
David Horsfall, Director for Tyseley Energy Park said: “The collaboration between Tyseley Energy Park and the University of Birmingham is already starting to see transformational change in Tyseley and Hay Mills. The delivery of the Sustainable Energy Research and Innovation Centre is a great step forward that will accelerate the transition to a zero carbon future in Birmingham. We are delighted to be part of this initiative and look forward to working together driving clean growth and tackling key societal challenges such as energy poverty, poor air quality and delivering jobs and investment into one of the most deprived areas of Birmingham.”