UK targets research funds at sustainable manufacturing materials

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

The EPSRC has revealed that three of the four successful winning research projects focus on a variety of power management related studies which will be led by UCL (University College London), the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey.  Industry partners for the winning projects will pump in a further £2.8 million of investment.

The research teams will assess the viability of using different, replacement materials in the manufacturing supply chain, considering their properties, cost, performance, and scalability. They will investigate how production processes or technology will need to adapt to using these newer materials. By the end of the study the research will enable manufacturers to adopt alternatives.

Professor Claire Carmalt will be the principal investigator of the University College London’s project which will examine alternatives for transparent conducting oxide materials, used in window coatings, solar power panels, phones and computers.  The materials being researched will include nanoparticle dispersions, inks and thin films.   The researchers plan to replace tin, which is expensive and indium, which is scarce, with common elements like titanium, aluminium and zinc. The UCL project has been awarded a £2.3m grant. Loughborough University researchers will be collaborating  with the UCL team on the project.

The University of Bristol led project is aiming to develop new active materials for photovoltaic solar cells based on abundant and low cost elements. The research aims at replacing key elements such as gallium, indium, cadmium and tellurium, while implementing processes compatible with large-scale manufacturing. The University of Bristol led project has been awarded a £2m grant.  Other unversities collaborating on the project include University of Bath, Northumbria University, Swansea University and Loughborough University.

Synthesising and processing alternative thermoelectric and piezoelectric materials used in functional devices including sensors, actuators and energy harvesters will be the focus of the University of Surrey-led project which will receive a £3m grant. Professor Robert Dorey will be the principal investigator of the University of Surrey project team which will work with scientists from Cranfield University, University of Manchester, Queen Mary and University of London.

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