The research councils fund a wide spectrum of energy research and training, bringing together investments across the research councils. Our portfolio is developed in partnership with industry and public sector organisations to provide an innovation chain with routes for development of our outputs.
Our research is funded through activities that provide a managed approach to developing the portfolio, often with the formation of multidisciplinary consortia.
Examples of funded research can be found via the links below:
Energy Storage was recently highlighted as one of the Eight Great Technologies which will enable the UK to gain from the global transition to new energy storage sources. We need better ways to store electricity, with the need at three distinct levels:
Bioenergy is the energy derived from biomass feedstocks, such as dedicated energy crops, forestry and municipal wastes, algae, or agricultural residues, and/or the utilisation of a biological process, such as the conversion of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas to alkanes using microbes.
Around 80% of the world’s power still comes from burning fossil fuels and the use of fossil fuels is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. There is a clear need to make this process more efficient, to maximise the energy output, decrease carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the environmental impact.
Over the next few decades making better use of energy resources will be just as important as finding alternative sources of supply.
Once mastered, nuclear fusion has the potential to offer an almost limitless source of energy with minimal environmental impact.
The fusion process involves the fusing of several atoms such as deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and tritium (super heavy hydrogen) at very high temperatures (>100 million ºC) to produce energy.
One method of reducing fossil fuel consumption is to look at alternative methods of storing and transporting energy.
The marine environment offers some of the greatest potential for renewable energy generation in the UK - wave-energy devices and tidal power installations add to the potential for offshore wind which is already being exploited.
The use of renewables as an energy source in the UK is on the rise, and the Government has ambitious targets for the use of renewable energy in the UK.
Nuclear fission currently provides 20% of UK electricity and is widely seen as a key part of the "trinity" of future fuel options for the UK, alongside renewables and CCS enabled fossil fuels.
The Energy Programme takes a whole-systems approach to energy research, examining the social, environmental, and economic impacts of energy pathways and choices, as well as the challenges surrounding technological innovation in these areas.
Solar energy is the only renewable energy technology that, in theory, could meet all of the world's energy needs. The use of solar energy as a viable large scale energy source to date has been limited by the cost and efficiency of the available technology.
The use of wind as a renewable energy resource is already well established in the UK and the UK has the greatest wind energy potential in Europe. However, it still contributes a relatively small amount of energy to our overall needs.
The Energy Programme provides focused support for postgraduate training through a number of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), with the goal of securing the future supply of world-leading energy researchers.
One of the UK Governments largest single investments in fundamental research on low-carbon energy generation and sustainable distribution.
Supergen Phase 4 (2017+), Supergen Phase 3 (2011 to 2017)
Funded by the Energy Programme, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems. It is the hub of UK energy research and the gateway between the UK and the international energy research communities.