Five short listed bids are due in today, Friday, August 3 as the competition to become the location for the Energy Technology Institute (ETI) nears its climax.

Peter Fleming, university pro vice chancellor, said: “Sheffield’s ETI bid is cohesive and appropriate in every detail. We are very excited about the prospect of opening the ETI HQ in this region.

“It will be located on a former coalmine which is being transformed to become home to a number of leading hi-tech companies at the forefront of the drive for clean energy.”

Plans for the cutting edge institute were announced in last year’s budget as a partnership between the government and some of the world’s biggest energy companies, including EDF Energy, Shell, BP and E.ON UK.

It will develop secure, reliable and cost-effective low-carbon energy technologies for commercial use.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), formerly the Department of Trade and Industry, will match fund the project up to £500 million with the potential for a £1 billion institute over ten years.

Bids to host the institute were invited in October and five universities short listed.

Two or three finalists will be chosen later this month to make further presentations to the ETI selection group in London in September with the favourite recommended to the ETI board towards the end of the month or early October.

Sheffield is claiming an unrivalled pedigree in energy research and engineering, pointing out that it is already home to leading research and technology organisations.

If successful, the institute will go on the 100-acre Advanced Manufacturing Park – a manufacturing technology park built on a former coalmine near the M1.

The building will be carbon neutral and use different energy sources including wind power and hydrogen.

The other four bidders are:

  • Midland Consortium: Nottingham, Loughborough and Birmingham universities
  • North East Consortium: Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria universities
  • North West Consortium – University of Manchester, Lancaster and Liverpool and the North West Development Agency
  • Energy Technology Partnership from Scotland – Strathclyde, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St Andrews and Heriot-Watt universities

    David Gibbs

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