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UK and Chinese scientists come together to develop smart grids

Smart grid tech research from UK and China to reduce carbon footprint and revolutionise power distribution

Scientists from China and the UK will develop smart grid technology to revolutionise power distribution

Leading energy scientists from the UK and China are joining forces to develop smart grid technology that will “revolutionise” the way electricity is distributed via national power grids. The investment in smart grids - with over GBP 4m funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and matched-resource funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) - will help both countries reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainable energy output.

The EPSRC said smart grids manage the supply and demand of power through the national distribution network more effectively by introducing high-tech communications to the system. They also accommodate new energies such as solar and wind power as effectively and efficiently as possible.  Both countries are committed to reducing their carbon use significantly by 40 per cent to 45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020 for China and by 30 per cent from 1990 levels for the UK.

David Delpy, EPSRC’s chief executive, said: “It is absolutely vital we find ways to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply and distribution both here and abroad. EPSRC is at the cutting edge of innovative international collaborations such as this one between the UK and China. We are particularly well-placed to bring together the best scientific minds from across the world to work on the fundamental research which will drive energy solutions to benefit us all.”

Professor Che Chengwei, deputy director general of the department of engineering and Material Sciences at NSFC, said: “With smart grids as the main platform for future energy supply, research in this field has been carried out all over the world vigorously. We believe that through the research projects jointly funded by NSFC and EPSRC, researchers from China and the UK are able to establish a long-term and far-reaching cooperative research relationship and promote the development of smart grids in both countries.”

UK minister for universities and science David Willetts added: “Science plays an increasingly important role in the transition to a low carbon economy. This international collaboration will bring together leading researchers from the UK and China to help develop the vital underpinning technology that both our nations need for a greener future.”