Energy links and resources

Overall energy strategy

Combined Research Councils’ energy programme

The UK’s Research Councils are working together under the leadership of the EPSRC to provide a concerted energy strategy. The partners involved are the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The aims of the programme are described by the EPSRC as follows:

“The Research Councils UK Energy Programme aims to position the UK to meet its energy and environmental targets and policy goals through world-class research and training. The Energy Programme is investing more than £530 million in research and skills to pioneer a low carbon future. This builds on an investment of £360 million over the past 5 years.”

“The energy programmes and partnerships support research in a wide range of areas. The priorities include sustainable power generation and supply, demand reduction and transport.”

For further information on the aims, objectives, scope and impact of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme visit the energy programme website or the EPSRC site

Royal Society of Chemistry Roadmapping

The RSC’s “Chemistry for Tomorrow’s World” roadmap (July 2009) highlights Energy as one of the seven priority areas.

The Executive summary and overview of the RSC’s energy priority area (pgs 6-8) highlights the importance of this area and the approach that has been taken. The full detail of the energy challenges are given later in the Roadmap (pg 32-41). Of particular interest is the detail on Solar energy (section 4.1.8/pg 39)

Solar Energy Strategy

Research Councils’ solar energy programme

Solar energy is a key priority for the energy programme and further details can be found on this link

In 2003 the EPSRC launched its Sustainable Power Generation and Supply (SUPERGEN) project which aimed to drive innovation in key energy areas, through the funding of research consortia. The successful consortia continue to be supported and two of these incorporate solar energy:

Solar cells consortium - SUPERGEN Excitonic solar cells consortium,

Photovoltaics consortium - SUPERGEN PV21 consortium.

Through supporting these consortia the Research Councils aim “to address the current issues surrounding solar efficiencies, materials use and availability” They also aim "to develop novel light harvesting technologies, such as artificial photosynthesis, that offer the potential for innovative low cost alternative technologies"

Useful solar energy roadmaps include:


UK PV roadmap (2009) – LINK

ERC PV Roadmap (2007) – LINK


Energy for transport

Fuel cells and hydrogen

The development of fuel cells and the development of the associated infrastructure for hydrogen generation and storage represent a strong opportunity for the UK. The final steps to scale-up and commercialisation for the different technologies include both engineering & scientific challenges. These challenges range from the scale-up and improvement of the catalysts and membranes in the fuel cells to the optimisation of hydrogen production and development of commercially viable high and low pressure hydrogen storage solutions.

The current UK position in this area has been effectively reviewed by the Energy Generation & Supply KTN (Sept 2010). To read the report on “Assessment of UK International Engagement in Fuel Cells and Hydrogen” please click here.

Batteries & Storage

Through their Nano4Energy group the NanoKTN has published a consultation report on ''Nano-Enabled Next-Generation Electrical Energy Storage" which aims to determine the opportunities and barriers relating to developing next-generation electrical energy storage products such as batteries and supercapacitors.

The report can be downloaded here

Further details can be found through the Nano4Energy group

Solar Fuels

The RSC roadmap “Chemistry for Tomorrow’s World” highlights that solar fuels research as an important opportunity for the chemical sciences. In order to scope the current position of this research, and determine how to drive the development of solar fuels technology, the RSC held a workshop in December 2009 at the Chemistry Centre in London, which was chaired by Professor James Durrant, Imperial College, London.

The RSC policy bulletin from this workshop can be found by clicking here


Fuel cells and hydrogen