Society’s ever increasing demand for energy and over reliance on fossil fuels have brought us to a global climate and energy crisis. 

Our research into fusion energy, photovoltaics, electrification of transportation and efficient, robust and smart electricity distribution networks aims to tackle these challenges through the development of advanced and sustainable energy technologies.

It includes fusion power and energy harvesting technologies - such as photovoltaics and thermoelectrics - for clean and sustainable energy generation, the electrification of transportation and the development efficient and robust electricity distribution network technology, including smart metering and demand-side management, needed for the transition to an all-electric society.

We bring together expertise in materials science and device engineering to tackle these challenges working closely with our industrial partners.

Key capabilities and expertise includes:

  • Advanced materials characterisation
  • Predictive materials modelling and design
  • Magnetic and semiconducting materials
  • Plasma physics modelling
  • Fusion reactor design
  • Power electronics
  • Electric motor drives (land and sea)
  • Materials for electromagnetic compatibility
  • Efficient and robust electricity distribution networks (including smart metering and demand-side management)
  • Power transfer

Our application areas

We are internationally recognised for our plasma physics research in support of the development of fusion as a commercial energy source - both magnetic and inertial pathways. We are also growing our capability in a range of fusion technology areas, especially in fields such as nuclear measurements, microwaves and robotics. We work closely with our national programme led by UK Atomic Energy Authority, especially in support of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, as well as working internationally to contribute to the optimisation of the operational regimes for ITER and NIF, for example, and provide input to the design of the EU demonstration power plant design DEMO. We also have close links with private fusion companies, such as First Light Fusion, Commonwealth Fusion Systems and Tokamak Energy.

Our research links to our training, which includes the MSc in Fusion Energy, the EPSRC-funded Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training (in partnership with other universities, led by York) and the Fusion Industry School (in partnership with the Fusion CDT and UKAEA).

Research projects

  • Reactor design – ITER, STEP, DEMO, private fusion, inertial fusion
  • Simulating virtual systems for design and inspection/maintenance

Partners

  • UKAEA
  • Assystem
  • AWS
  • EUROfusion
  • First Light Fusion
  • Tokamak Energy

The harvesting of energy directly from our environment promises a near limitless supply of clean and sustainable energy. Our research targets advanced materials and electronics solutions for such technologies, including photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, wind turbines and photoelectrochemical devices.

Research projects

  • Photovoltaics for outdoor or indoor light
  • Thermoelectrics for ambient or waste heat
  • Earth abundant permanent magnets for wind turbines
  • Photoelectrochemical devices

Partners

  • Greenspur
  • TRONOX
  • GreatCell Solar

As we transition to an all-electric society we need new technologies to replace unsustainable and environmentally damaging fossil fuels. Our researchers are developing technologies to aid the electrification of transportation (both land and sea) together with complementary robust electricity distribution networks, including smart metering and demand-side management.

Research projects

  • Development of rare-earth free materials for permanent magnets with applications in electric motors
  • Electric motor drives for transportation (land and sea) and also for extreme conditions, eg as relevant for nuclear, aerospace and deep-sea applications
  • Efficient and robust electricity distribution networks, including smart metering and demand-side management, communication technologies
  • Power transfer - including wireless transfer eg for 'internet of things' and personal devices
  • Electromagnetic compatibility

Partners

  • Dynex Semiconductor Ltd
  • Haishi
  • Siemens
  • Toyota Motor Corporation