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Strathclyde to host new innovation centre to drive the electric revolution

Electric cars

The University of Strathclyde will host a new innovation centre as part of the UK Government’s Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) challenge.

The DER Industrialisation Centre Scotland will be hosted by Strathclyde at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland in Inchinnan and at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre in Cumbernauld and involves Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews universities.

Alok Sharma, Business Secretary and COP26 President, announced £36.7m of investment to design, test and manufacture electric machines in some of the UK’s most-polluting industries.

Technology challenges

Four DER Centres – in Glasgow, Sunderland, Nottingham and Newport – will share £30m of the funding to research and develop green electric machines including aircraft, ships and cars.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Researchers at Strathclyde are working across a range of engineering and technology challenges aimed at tackling climate change.

“We have a long-standing and internationally recognised reputation for excellent research in electrical power systems, power electronics, machines and manufacturing technologies which was the principal reason Strathclyde has been included in this exciting initiative.

We are delighted to host the DER Centre in Scotland and to be working with partners across government, industry and business to use our manufacturing expertise and facilities to develop innovative solutions to enable the transition to cleaner energy.”

Using state of the art equipment, the network will specialise in researching and developing technologies to electrify transport. Each centre will propel UK manufacturing to the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change and ensure the UK can reach net zero emissions by 2050.

A further £6.7 million will be awarded to 14 projects that will help ensure the final buyer in supply chains – such as large automotive manufacturers – can access the parts and components they need to develop electric machines with ease.

Widespread rollout

This investment will have applications for electric vehicles, as well as other industries including rail, marine, aerospace and energy – all with the aim of switching away from fossil fuel technologies.

Mr Sharma said: “The electric revolution is an opportunity for our transport sectors to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

“The UK is leading the way in developing cleaner technologies to help us reach our target of zero emissions by 2050 and these new centres will play an important part in that.”

The £30 million industrialisation centres will provide a home for virtual product development, digital manufacturing and advanced assembly techniques, that could drive world-leading improvements in the testing and manufacturing of electric machines.

This includes power electronics, machines and drives – all of which are crucial to controlling electricity in electric vehicles and ultimately to their widespread rollout on our streets.

More than 30 partner research and technology organisations will be a part of the industrialisation centres. The network will be headed up by lead partner Newcastle University, along with 21 other universities from around the UK, plus 13 research and technology organisations – and will be essential in attracting both foreign direct investment and new, innovative entrants into this space.

The University of Strathclyde is renowned for its research and innovation excellence in the field of energy and was presented last month with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of this.