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Multi-million funding injection for University of Nottingham facility brings net zero one step closer to reality

Multi-million funding injection for University of Nottingham facility brings net zero one step closer to reality

The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Loughborough University, has been selected to receive a significant funding boost from East Midlands Freeport to accelerate the translation of zero carbon research into high-impact commercial and policy solutions.

More than five million pounds from East Midlands Freeport, match-funded by the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University, has been pledged to the first phase of a zero carbon innovation centre, which will be primarily based at Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus. This centre will consolidate the East Midlands’ position as a world leader in the development and deployment of innovation in green industries, attracting international investment and providing support for global businesses.

As part of the university’s ambitious, science-based carbon reduction target to reach net zero by 2040, the innovation centre will provide the necessary technology and laboratories to progress research in electrification, hydrogen propulsion systems, and advanced manufacturing – for industry use.

Professor Tom Rodden, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham, said: “With world-class facilities and research, this innovation centre will enable us to collaborate more closely with industry to accelerate the translation of zero carbon research into real-world solutions. This will not only help tackle the climate crisis but also deliver economic benefits to the East Midlands, as new businesses bring quality jobs to our region. The goal is for the East Midlands to become a global model for a flourishing zero carbon economy.”

The first phase of the project, anticipated to complete in Spring 2024, is part of longer-term plans to develop an innovation ecosystem that enables the East Midlands to build on its industrial heritage and help deliver advanced technologies and manufacturing to reach net zero. It will see construction begin for a green hydrogen production, testing and training facility at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) where a new battery-electrolyser will be installed.

Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Loughborough University, said:

“We are delighted that funding has been secured for the new centre, which will help ensure the East Midlands is at the forefront of net zero carbon innovation. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the University of Nottingham, and bringing our combined strengths together in renewable energy and hydrogen to help accelerate progress towards achieving net zero emissions.”

The University of Nottingham and Loughborough University are the first of seven initial projects chosen to receive funding from East Midlands Freeport. As the UK’s only inland freeport, it has attracted £150m of investment, signed off more than five million pounds to fund these first projects, and created 200 brand-new skilled jobs.

Tom Newman-Taylor, Chief Executive at East Midlands Freeport, said:

“Today marks a big milestone for East Midlands Freeport as we start to deliver on our objectives and invest in major projects, like the Innovation Centre, to boost skills and jobs across the region. It’s only nine months since we received Government approval but, with major investors building on our sites, the second £22m phase of Maritime UK’s and Segro’s rail freight terminal nearing completion and more interest in the pipeline, we’re building momentum.”

Professor Rodden continued:

“At the University of Nottingham, we are building a globally significant Zero Carbon Cluster right here in the East Midlands. By bringing together researchers from a variety of disciplines with a wide range of cross-sector partners, the cluster aims to attract and support top global firms, cultivate local innovation, train people in the skills needed for the net zero transition, and serve as a global model for a flourishing zero carbon economy.”

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