Bangor is at the heart of collaborative low carbon, energy, and environmental research in Wales.
The University is home to the pan-Wales, Sêr Cymru ‘National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment’ and the Sêr Cymru Nuclear Futures Institute. The network supports collaborative research into the interactions between land, water, food, and energy production. It is a network of over 36 partner organisations made up of research institutions, government bodies, SMEs, industry partners and over 80 researchers, focusing on sustainable intensification, low-carbon energy pathways, developing the bio-economy, alongside the mitigation and impact of climate change.
The Nuclear Futures Institute is led by Prof. Bill Lee FREng and aims to build a world-leading nuclear energy research capability here in North Wales. Their growing group covers areas including the fuel cycle, reactor design, materials behaviour and regulation. By coupling computer-based simulations with experimental efforts, they are building a network within industry and the broader academic community to advance the field and to build up local expertise.
Examples of its research output include the quantification, optimisation, and environmental impacts of marine renewable energy and Geo-Carb-Cymru; a collaboration across the UK leading to the Royal Society report on “Nuclear Cogeneration: civil nuclear in a low-carbon future”; part of the a consortium working on the BEIS funded Advanced Modular Reactor competition; a number of projects initiated through the Nuclear Innovation Programme; and a project which is assessing, characterising and enhancing geothermal energy in Wales.
Bangor’s research in future energy sustainability and generation is world class. For example, the Research Excellence Framework 2014 found that 89% of Bangor’s submitted Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences research were internationally excellent or world leading. Over 40% had an internationally excellent impact. Submissions included research into turbulence to improve ocean forecasting and marine energy infrastructure.
Bangor University has many specific research groups advancing the sustainable energy agenda in their own ways. Examples include:
- Research into new advanced technology nuclear fuels in collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory and industry.
- Research into solar energy application and organic molecules in plastics and polymers which could be applied to plastic solar cell development.
- Research into new materials that could enable fusion energy to become commercially viable.
- Research into energy efficient materials like converting bread waste into bioplastic packaging.
- A partnership between Bangor and Trinity College Dublin which is conducting innovative research on micro-hydro turbines recovering energy in water services.
- Research as part of the Nuclear Energy Futures (NEF) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) that Bangor University is a part of with Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Bristol and the Open University.