Energy-generating building materials backed by £36m Government funding
The UK Government will spend more than £36m on new technology that will enable building materials to generate, store and release clean energy.
The £36m backing will support a consortium led by Swansea University to research and develop green technology that utilises light and heat to generate energy. Energy-harnessing materials will be created that could replace walls, roofs and windows across the built environment. These materials would also be combined with smart operating systems, enabling the storage and release of renewable energy.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Swansea University and the innovative companies working with it are world-leaders in clean energy. The UK government is backing the industries of the future that will deliver jobs and opportunities across Wales.
“This £36m new funding will support exciting green technology that could cut energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and create better homes and workspaces.”
The funding is being provided through the construction pillar of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which focuses heavily on research and development to deliver economic growth. Since August 2016, the UK Government had invested £7bn in R&D projects as part of an ambition to invest 2.4% of GDP into the area by 2027.
The announcement builds on a Government target to halve the energy use of all new buildings by 2030. In November last year, the Government struck an agreement with the construction industry to halve emissions in the built environment over the next eight years.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark said: “This centre has the potential to transform how buildings use energy, turning them from energy consumers into power stations. This £36m investment in clean energy innovation shows the UK continues to lead the way in cutting emissions while growing our economy.”
Outside of solar arrays, energy-harnessing materials suitable for the built environment are in their infancy. However, trials are starting to emerge across Europe. Skanska has teamed with Polish tech firm Saule Technologies to trial semi-transparent perovskite solar cells that can be used in commercial construction and placed directly into a building’s façade, for example.
edie's green buildings webinar
Sustainability and energy representatives from the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Landsec and EDF Energy are all set to feature in a live edie webinar focused on green buildings, taking place 27 September
On Thursday 27 September at 2pm (GMT), this next webinar will incorporate real-life case studies, practical advice and expert guidance to reveal what energy and sustainability professionals can do to embed new technologies and initiatives to decarbonise building stocks.