Early Priorities

Through the initial themes of geo-energy, integrated energy and thermal energy systems, ERA is focused on delivering results that will lead to the long-term transformation of our energy landscape. Its research programme has been developed by the world class expertise at the partner organisations to optimize the potential environmental, energy security and economic benefits for the Midlands and UK. Our early priorities will help deliver new technologies and drive the behavioral change that will open new avenues for research and development over the coming years.

Box 1

Storing Energy Efficiently

Developing ways to store energy is essential to ensure it is never wasted: By developing our storage capabilities we can evolve our energy infrastructure to better incorporate new and renewable generation technologies. The global energy storage market is forecast to grow by 8% per annum and be worth £35 billion by 2020.

Box 2

Harnessing heating and cooling for transport and domestic applications

Understanding how best to produce and harness hot and cold through ideas such as insulation, local heat networks, cold power and green hydrogen is essential in delivering necessary reductions in carbon emissions. 40% of the UK’s energy demand is linked to heating, producing 25% of all our carbon emissions, while an underdeveloped cold economy means 200 billion tonnes of food is wasted in developing countries every year.

Box 3

Integrating smart networks

Smart, integrated energy networks enable the transfer of data to control, monitor and evaluate energy usage and generation. They allow for responsive management of energy generation and storage capacity as well as intelligent demand side management of system load. Future energy networks will see closer integration between the generation of electricity, heating and cooling and energy storage to ensure energy is used efficiently and sustainable.

Box 4

The safe and sustainable use of fossil fuel resources

We have a wealth of fossil fuel resources, locked underground, which can provide energy security as we transition to cleaner energy alternatives. Shale gas, coal-bed methane and underground coal gasification are all set to play a part in ensuring the lights stay on and costs do not become unsustainable. Next generation technologies can assist in the monitoring and utilisation of underground energy assets to investigate whether extraction is safe and secure, as well as limit the environmental impact of using carbon rich fuels.