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

Simon Brewster and Professor Rob Morgan

FPT Industrial buys Brighton’s super-clean engine technology

FPT Industrial, brand of CNH Industrial dedicated to the design, production and sale of powertrains for on and off-road vehicles, marine and power generation applications, has purchased Dolphin N2 and its revolutionary recuperated split-cycle engine – developed by scientists and engineers at the University of Brighton and Ricardo.

The engine is being hailed as extremely efficient, making it more comparable to a fuel cell than to a traditional engine. It also produces near-zero emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) – a world first that has been pioneered by the University.

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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

Building bridges with China

University academics boosted research collaboration and cooperation during visits to China.

Promoting the benefits of genetic testing in health and disease applications were the subjects discussed by Professor Yannis Pitsiladis, the University’s Professor of Sport and Exercise Science, during one visit.

He and Dr Guan Wang, Research Fellow in the School of Sport and Service Management, also discussed the advantages of biomedicine, artificial intelligence, and engineering. Read More

Our research is driving the way to zero-emission engines

Ground breaking new engine technology, based on world-leading research at the University of Brighton, is opening the way to production of the worlds’ first near zero-emission heavy internal combustion engine.

The CryoPower Cool Combustion process enables recovery of otherwise wasted exhaust heat which is then cooled via the injection of a small amount of liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen acts as both a coolant and an additional source of energy, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency.

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Engineering students hit new heights in Belgium

Engineering students from the University of Brighton have been learning valuable skills at the European Space Agency Academy’s Training and Learning Facilities in Belgium.

The five students, who are studying either Aeronautical or Mechanical Engineering masters degrees, spent four days at ESEC-Galaxia in Redu, Belgium, in preparation to test their cutting-edge technology in zero-gravity in Bordeaux, France in the Autumn.

During their time in Belgium, the students – whose project team name is PHP Cubed – have gained insights from industry experts and taken part in space-based activities including walking on the surface of the ‘moon’ via a virtual reality headset. Read More

Opportunities and experience at Brighton

After taking a gap year I was excited to start my degree at Brighton. The course structure offered more opportunities for practical learning compared to other universities and the opportunity to spend a year In Industry working for the MoD gave me a chance to find out what I was really Interested in.  My industry placement helped me narrow down my options for my future career after graduation

I would highly recommend taking the opportunity of a year in industry as it helped me discover which aspects of engineering I am truly interested in. The course tutors encourage students to take these opportunities as students come back for their third year with experience that they might not get at university and often achieve a first-class classification. This has proved to be the case for me and most of the other “year-in-industry” students.

The freedom to choose my own third year dissertation allowed me to extend my technical background from mechanical into aeronautical engineering. This was a very challenging process, but I was able to learn a lot from this experience and acquire new skills which a predetermined project may not have offered. Read More