Multi-million dollar backing for clean energy breakthrough

A Brighton’s scientist’s research into storing clean, renewable energy has received a multi-million-dollar boost. Professor Rob Morgan, Professor of Thermal Propulsion Systems at the University of Brighton’s Advanced Engineering Centre in Moulsecoomb, has been collaborating for the past 12 years on the concept of turning air into liquid to stockpile energy, closely working with UK-based Highview Power, the owner of the technology and the IP, and the company bringing it to the global market.

The technology, developed by Highview Power, has already generated interest from the US and this week the Japanese industrial machinery giant Sumitomo Heavy Industries announced a $46m investment in Highview.

Highview Power and Sumitomo said the investment will be used to “accelerate growth and deployment” of the technology around the world.

Professor Morgan said: “This is exciting news, not just for the University but for society as a whole. This is extremely green technology which produces clean, affordable and grid-scale energy storage for balancing renewable power.”

Highview Power’s and the UK’s first full-scale ‘CRYOBattery™’ is being planned in the north of England. Once built, the plant is expected to supply enough storage to power 50,000 homes.

Professor Morgan said the CRYOBattery™ tank can store liquified air, chilled to -196C, and be fuelled by renewable energy. He explained: “Wind and solar farms sometimes produce excess energy, for instance, at night or during hot weather. Storing it as liquid air means it can be heated and turned back into a gas to drive turbines which generate electricity when demand increases.”

“In addition, this technology avoids the use of fossil fuels and is emission-free.

“The north of England plant will be the first of its kind in Europe and I believe this technology can go a long way to helping tackle the UK’s and, indeed, the world’s energy shortage – we could be talking about a £1bn industry in the future with 20,000 jobs in the UK alone, further commented Professor Morgan.”

London-based Highview Power, where Professor Morgan worked as Chief Technical Officer from 2009 to 2011, and the University of Brighton have worked together through three consultancies, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, and a project backed by Innovate UK.

Three University Early Career Researchers, Senior Lecturer Dr Angad Panesar, Principal Lecturer Dr Konstantina Vogiatzaki, and Research Fellow Dr Emily Pike-Wilson, have also been involved in this cooperation with Highview Power, developing their technology.

Professor Morgan, one of the project’s leading researchers, said: “We also have two of our PhD graduates working with Highview Power and our collaboration will continue.”

He added: “Given the technical leadership the UK has in liquid air storage, there is good potential for building a significant export industry.” · Professor Morgan has been working on another ‘cryo’ project, the development of a super-clean engine for vehicle, marine and power generation. For more on Professor Morgan, click here

photo of Schucechchha Ghimire

Building confidence, skills and a business at Brighton

Electronic and Computer Engineering student Shuvechchha is already putting her business ideas into action and plans to continue building on them after graduation. We caught up with her to find out about her studies and her business.

I came to an open day at Brighton and liked that engineering here is really hands-on. We do a lot of practical work and you learn so much from it. I enjoy working like this, we still learn the theory, but because I’m doing engineering I wanted to focus on skills. Knowing how things work and making them work are different things.

My lecturers have been really open. They encourage you a lot – they won’t give you the answer in the first place but support you to try ideas out. Things won’t be perfect every time, you need to learn from your mistakes. It’s a good learning process.

My project supervisor Deshinder Singh Gill helped me set up my current project working with the Formula Student team. It’s amazing to be involved in it. My project involves designing a sensor network to go in the car so the team can collect data about the design and what is happening during the race. I’m using existing sensors and making them work together to get the data I require. For example, how the suspension reacts while the car is being raced and using the data to inform the design of the next years car.

I’d really like to go to Silverstone with the team. I’m quite competitive, so I’d like us to win! It’s like the robot wars project we did in our second year, that was a highlight for me. We worked in groups, I was the only electrical engineer in ours and I designed the speed controller for our robot. We came second out of about 20 groups – but I would have liked to have come first!

It was amazing fun. And working in a group with people from other fields is important as that’s how you’ll work when you graduate. It can be frustrating but you can learn a lot – such as there are multiple ideas for solving one problem and you have discussions to work out the best idea and go with that.

STEM subjects have so much to offer. I like that I can see how what I’m developing and working on now might look in five years’ time. I’m working on a business idea and was lucky enough to win the Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition which has given me some funding to take my business forward.

BeePurple, the university’s entrepreneurship support service, have helped me a lot. I used to go to their events and approached them about my business idea. I am building a chat interface that can attach to the university’s website, that makes it easier for students to apply during clearing if they don’t always feel comfortable talking on the phone. They helped me identify the steps I needed to take, identified mentors, suggested I apply to the competition and helped me practice my pitch. They are really supportive.

I want to take this idea and do it! One of the judges is helping me with setting the business up and thinking about things like branding. And I’m currently working on a minimum viable product (mvp).

Applying to and studying at Brighton has been a personal experience. I studied at high school in Hastings through a Pestalozzi scholarship and came to an open day at Brighton. When I started I wasn’t confident in being an engineer, but at Brighton I have learned a lot and built my confidence, and am learning new skills.

Brighton is cool, it’s fun and is more diverse than I imagined. I have made a really good group of friends here. They are really encouraging and really smart. We’re mostly on the same course and hang out a lot and understand the same stresses. I’m from Nepal and my friends have also educated me in British slang!

My advice is apply! Get involved in different things, reach out and create opportunities.

How engineering is helping Joshua take his business forward

Final year Aeronautical Engineering BEng(Hons) student Joshua Gere tells us why he chose Brighton and how he is taking forward his business idea with his company DroneAvion.com

The open day definitely made me choose Brighton. I went to a few different ones then came here. It was more than a regular open day, the lecturers really gave us their time. It showed how supportive lecturers are here and how approachable they are for students.

At the open day I spent a lot of time talking to Dr Daniel Coren about what I wanted to do. He could see how passionate I am about the subject, was really interested in my business idea, and gave me some good insight into life at Brighton. I knew I wanted to come here and went home and cancelled all my other university applications.

Lecturers go the extra mile to assist you. Like anything in life, as long as you are trying something, if you ask for help they can guide you with their expertise and technical knowledge. They can help you find ways to expand your ideas and see things differently to help you achieve what you want to achieve. Read More

PG open eve graphic

Book your place on our postgraduate open evenings

Choose from over 170 postgraduate courses with flexible study options to help you in your career – or change your path completely.

We’re holding informal open evenings from 5 to 12 February 5pm to 8pm, giving you the opportunity to find out first-hand how you can benefit from postgraduate study.

Tutors will be on hand to answer all your questions about your course, and you can see where you’ll be studying. You can drop in at any time, or join us for talks and tours.

We run open evenings on all of our campuses across Brighton and Eastbourne, the event at Moulsecoomb is on Wednesday 12 February, 5pm – 8pm.

Find out more about what subjects we offer for postgraduate study and book your place on an open evening

Clearing the way for prospective students

A University of Brighton student has won a £1,500 prize for her technological innovation that could help support the university clearing process.

BEng (Hons) Electronic and Computer Engineering student Shuvechchha Ghimire was the winner of the Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition, launched by the University’s entrepreneurship support service Beepurple.

She was presented with the cash prize – which will enable her to further develop her business idea – at a ceremony at 68 Middle Street, Brighton. Read More

Team photo of PHP Cubed

Brighton students take to zero gravity

Our team of engineering students successfully tested their trailblazing technology in zero-gravity conditions in Bordeaux.

PHP Cubed – Georgie Crewdson, Tom Critchley, Matteo Pontecorvo, Liam Ardagh and Alex Evans – were one of only two student teams to travel to Bordeaux as part of the European Space Agency’s ‘Fly Your Thesis!’ competition.

The team’s experiments took place on a on a specially modified zero-gravity Airbus A310 flight at Novespace, a subsidiary of the French National Centre for Space Studies.

This parabolic flight allows researchers to interact with their experiments in a weightless environment, simulating the conditions of outer space.

Throughout the week the graduates tested their novel passive heat management system, scaled down for a nanosatellite application. This system enables sensitive components to be cooled and temperatures to be managed without the need for a power supply or moving parts – a crucial factor in reducing weight and size in nanosatellites that can weigh as little as one kilogram. Read More

Image of student Mark Blake

Improving the lives of autistic people

A University of Brighton student has won a £1300 grant to develop a project that provides support and guidance for autistic young people.

Software Engineering student Mark Blake received the Unltd ‘Do It Award’, the prize money of which will go towards funding his initiative The Autism League.

The Autism League is a collaboration between writers, filmmakers, photographers, social media talent and activists with the objective of improving the lives of those on the autistic spectrum.

Over the next year, Mark will cooperate with other autistic students to create content which will be hosted on The Autism League website: https://autismleague.com. Read More

Students cross finish line at Silverstone

Our Brighton Racing Motors team placed in the top 20 of an international contest at Silverstone to mark the culmination of a year spent designing and building a racing car.

The team, made up of engineering undergraduate students  participated in the IMechE Formula Student competition at the world-renowned race circuit.

After progressing through five days of ‘scrutineering’ and testing, Brighton Racing Motors were selected to take part in the prestigious Endurance race – a first for the University.

Around 140 teams from around the world signed up to enter the race, only 81 made it to Silverstone with a completed car, and just 25 made it to the final event. 

Brighton Racing Motors were ranked 18thin the Endurance race and 57thin the competition overall.  Read More