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UK & India universities work with Tata Steel for solar storage

Researchers from Surrey and Hyderabad universities work with India firm Tata Steel on nanotechnology projects to develop solar energy storage using composite materials

Tata said will it lend its expertise on the project to provide technologies for improved solar energy storage

UK and Indian universities are working with firm Tata Steel on projects to develop solar energy storage using nanotechnology. Researchers from the UK’s University of Surrey and the University of Hyderabad in India, are working with Indian firm Tata Steel to look into how to capture and store solar energy using composite materials.

The solar energy storage project will involve an approach known as ‘inorganics-in-organics’, in which composite materials work together to increase efficiency. Tata Steel, which is part of Indian multinational conglomerate company Tata group, will lend its fuel cell expertise, partnering research with industry to provide technologies for improved solar energy storage, the company said.

The UK and Indian governments have awarded funding to researchers from the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) at the University of Surrey through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UK-IERI). A second energy storage project is also being funded. This will involve using nanomaterials in gas sensors to increase energy efficiency, such as in hydrogen storage facilities.

Leading the energy storage projects, Ravi Silva, from the Advanced Technology Institute, said: “Nanotechnology projects such as these are hugely exciting and offer direct solutions for the key challenges that the energy sector faces. Our expert teams from India and the UK will impact the future of renewable energy on a global scale through the development of new technologies. Working with cutting-edge nanomaterials such as ZnO, graphene and carbon nanotubes, we can revolutionise energy storage and capture.”

Vince Emery, pro-vice chancellor international affairs from the University of Surrey, said: “Projects such as these clearly illustrate the global nature of research without boundaries. The close collaboration between academics and industry is key in achieving visionary goals such as those outlined in these projects.”

Debashish Bhattercharjee, group director of research and development at Tata Steel, added: “I am pleased Tata Steel is partnering with global research leaders at the University of Surrey and India on these UKIERI projects. Solar energy and functional coatings are part of our research strategy and will form an important component of global business in the next decade.”

The research between the University of Surrey and Tata Steel marks another development into work in solar energy storage between the UK and India over the last 12 months. The two countries announced they were working together on a series of projects, which included looking at reliable and efficient energy storage solutions, in June 2013.