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Creating green jobs

30 March 2010

Child in front of wind turbine

A University centre leading research into low carbon technologies has been boosted by an £8.3M cash injection.

The Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC), based in the University’s School of Engineering, has been awarded the SEREN project.

The SEREN project, an £8.3M project funded with £4.6M from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government and remainder through the British Geological Survey, Private Sector and University's own funds, is designed to deliver new and innovative ground engineering technologies and help businesses commercialise innovative ideas and develop new products, services and technologies for the low carbon economy.

Announcing the funding, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Ecomomy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM said: "Helping business to commercialise research to develop the next generation of low carbon technologies based on ground engineering is vital if we are to position Wales as a world leader in this area.

"At the heart of the SEREN programme is a commitment to foster a climate of innovation which will lead to more highly skilled jobs, enterprise creation and inward investment for the benefit of the whole region."

As part of the programme, the GRC will lead a project to sink a borehole into the South Wales coalfield in order to trial and prove the technology of burying and storing carbon in the large deposits of coal that exist in unmineable seams in Wales.

Research will also be undertaken into more efficient extraction of heat from the ground, in order to provide heat energy to buildings, which will reduce carbon emissions.

It’s hoped that the impact of this research will help create two new industries in Wales supporting new jobs and businesses, and with the potential to make a significant contribution to Wales’ quest to become self sufficient in energy.

Professor Hywel Thomas

Professor Hywel Thomas, Director of the School of Engineering and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Engagement, who leads the Centre said: "The technologies developed on the SEREN project will not only help create new industries here in Wales, but will also showcase Welsh companies worldwide.

"We are delighted that we have been selected to run the project. This is an extremely exciting time for the University and will help place the University and Wales at the centre of new carbon technologies and green job creation."

The project includes a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops which will also take place as part of the initiative to train and upskill businesses to support new developments in the low carbon economy.

A web portal will be created to provide online low carbon tools, using so called "soft" computing techniques, based on Artificial Intelligence ideas, to produce sophisticated Decision Support Software, such as the performance assessment of Carbon sequestration technology.

These tools can be downloaded and used by companies, placing leading edge technologies at their fingertips. It will also have the potential to attract companies working on innovative low carbon technologies to Wales.

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