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UK and China £20m research plan to advance wave and tidal energy

EPSRC and NSFC three-year low-carbon technology research programme aims to develop wave and tidal energy devices for the UK and China

Tidal energy devices
The EPSRC said the UK and China research programme will look at materials and components for wave and tidal energy devices

Technology development for wave and tidal energy will be a focus of research in a GBP 20m innovation programme set up between the UK and China. The three-year research programme aims to develop innovative low-carbon technologies for the UK and China in offshore renewable energy. This will include supporting research to develop wave and tidal energy technology and devices.

The research programme was set up last week between the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme.

The EPSRC said the programme will fund projects being conducted jointly by UK and Chinese researchers to help develop offshore renewable energy, including wave and tidal energy. Research will be undertaken in both UK and Chinese universities and research institutes.

Jason Green, EPSRC lead energy manager, said: “Wave and Tidal energy devices have the potential to make a very significant contribution to the UK’s future energy system and the Chinese government shares an ambition to accelerate the deployment of this technology as part of its move towards a more sustainable future. This collaboration is intended to bring together researchers from both nations to address some of the fundamental research challenges faced by the sector.

The EPSRC said the innovation programme will include research to design and develop devices for wave and tidal energy. This will cover materials and components, as well as technology to integrate wave and tidal devices into power networks.

“The programme includes research focused on understanding how these machines can be most effectively integrated into power networks and the development of enabling technologies such as HVDC connections,” Green said.

The research programme will also focus on offshore wind and low-carbon manufacturing processes and technologies.

Representatives from the NSFC and the EPSRC, as part of the RCUK energy programme, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the research plan last week. Under the MoU, the UK and China will each commit GBP 10m to the programme over the next three years.

The agreement is the latest in a series of joint research programmes between the RCUK and NSFC over the last five years.

Professor Li Ming, deputy director, department of engineering and materials sciences at NSFC, said: “In the past few years, NSFC and RCUK have witnessed substantive development of their bilateral relationship and enjoyed successful collaboration in the area of energy research. We look forward to continuing the collaboration and bringing more benefits to the two scientific communities.”