Centrica plc is a British multinational utility company with its headquarters in Windsor, Berkshire. Its principal activity is the supply of electricity and gas to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom and North America. It is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names Scottish Gas in Scotland and British Gas in the rest of the UK. It is also active in the exploration and production of natural gas; electricity generation; and the provision of household services including plumbing.Centrica is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of approximately £15 billion as of 23 December 2011, the 26th-largest of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. Wikipedia.
Centrica | Date: 2017-07-19
The present invention provides a platform that enables devices, services and applications to be connected together. Creating a connected environment via this platform requires co-ordinating multiple device manufacturers and service providers, and multiple standards/protocols. Advantageously, the platform removes the requirement for different manufacturers of different devices to adopt common protocols to enable device connection, and further, the platform removes the burden of configuration away from the consumer. Time-dependent behaviours, and time- dependent behaviours of groups of devices, may be tested in a simulated environment to identify emergent behaviours and software bugs before they are implemented via the platform, to enhance the user experience.
Centrica | Date: 2017-07-19
The present invention provides a platform that enables devices, services and applications to be connected together. An in-home gateway device provides the hub for this connectivity, by connecting and coordinating in-home (and/or in-office) devices and cloud-based services. Creating a connected environment via this platform requires co-ordinating multiple device manufacturers and service providers, and multiple standards/protocols. Advantageously, the platform removes the requirement for different manufacturers of different devices to adopt common protocols to enable device connection, and further, the platform removes the burden of configuration away from the consumer.
News Article | May 8, 2017
Theresa May will promise a cap on rip-off energy bills in the Conservative manifesto, arguing that she is ready to intervene in markets if they are thought to be failing ordinary families. The prime minister will set out plans for an “absolute price cap” on standard variable tariffs to save households up to £100 a year after a government-backed study found customers had collectively been forced to pay £1.4bn a year in “excessive prices”. The rate would be set by the regulator Ofgem every six months in order to prevent it from limiting competition in the market. It would target people who are less likely to switch, including elderly and disabled customers, and who find themselves on over-priced rates as a result. May referred to the policy at a campaign event in Harrow West on Monday where she argued that “capping energy prices to support working families” was in the national interest. It came after five of the big six energy companies announced price increases for their standard tariffs – often the more expensive rates that 70% of people are on. The move is likely to draw fierce criticism from opposition parties after the Conservatives criticised Ed Miliband’s energy price freeze pledge in 2015 as evidence that he was living in a “Marxist universe”. The defence secretary, Michael Fallon, has said Labour’s price freeze was different to a cap because it would have prevented prices from dropping. But Miliband hit back, claiming Fallon was “talking garbage” and making clear that Labour’s policy was to ensure that bills “can fall but not rise”. In a tweet he asked: May’s policy marks a shift in emphasis for the Conservative party towards a more interventionist approach, after her government also proposed a ban on letting agent fees. However, it could place her on a collision course with energy companies. British Gas owner Centrica claimed a cap on bills would push up average prices, as the company haemorrhaged customers at a rate that would see it lose a million by the end of the year. Although it was the only one of the big six energy suppliers not to put up its tariffs this winter, Britain’s biggest energy firm still lost 261,000 customers to competitors in the first quarter of 2017. The fall came on top of the 400,000 customers British Gas lost last year, taking it below 14 million UK residential customers for the first time since the 1970s. In a trading statement published on Monday, the company referred to the suggestion that the Conservatives would introduce a cap. “Centrica does not believe in any form of price regulation. Evidence from other countries would suggest this will lead to reduced competition and choice, and potentially higher average prices,” it said. However, it insisted its focus on policies such as competitive pricing, cost efficiency and rewarding loyalty meant it was well-positioned to cope with change. “We have had a regular and constructive dialogue with the government and have proposed alternative ways to improve the market further and address their concerns, without resorting to price regulation.” The company’s chief executive, Iain Conn, has previously hit out at the plans, claiming there were “some at the heart of the government who just don’t believe in free markets”. The business secretary, Greg Clark, said he wanted the energy market to treat people in a “fair and reasonable” manner, arguing that the Competition and Markets Authority finding that people had overpaid by £1.4bn a year and recent price hikes by companies showed the need to intervene. The idea of a cap has been supported by key figures at Citizens Advice, where James Plunkett has argued that the policy need not hit competition. His analysis suggested some consumers lose as much as £300 a year because of poor-value tariffs. He said the energy market was broken into two parts, one of which was “active” because customers switched and there was fierce competition that brought down prices, and one that was “passive” and resulted in rip-off rates. He argued that a cap on the standard variable rate would “put a ceiling on prices, to stop the most unreasonable exploitation of passive customers” without affecting the competitive end of the market. The Conservative MP John Penrose has argued strongly for intervention in the market. “It isn’t sustainable for the big six to threaten they’ll scrap their cheapest tariffs. They would condemn themselves to a slow commercial death, milking a declining customer base because they wouldn’t win any new business,” he said. “We should recognise these threats for what they are: empty bluster to create political pressure during the election campaign or, at most, short-term measures which won’t be sustainable once the post-election dust has settled.” However, he has argued that the government should consider a “relative cap”, which would set a maximum mark-up between an energy firm’s best deal and their default tariff. That, he claimed, would avoid any of the suggestions about a lack of competition. Labour responded to the policy by saying it was a “desperate” effort to re-announce a policy that had no detail and no actual commitment. The shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said: “When the Tories say they’ll ‘cap’ bills, the question they need to answer is whether they can guarantee bills won’t go up for people next year – that’s the real test. A cap suggests a maximum amount that can be charged, not a promise that bills won’t go up year on year.” She argued that households were almost £900 worse off due to increases energy bills since 2010. The former energy secretary and Lib Dem candidate Ed Davey claimed the Tories were right to criticise Labour over the same policy two years ago, and blamed a lack of action on energy inefficiency for high bills. “It is never a good idea to copy the economic strategy of Ed Miliband. As the Conservatives pointed out at the time, this will damage investment in energy when it is needed more than ever,” he said. The Lib Dems have also tried to win over consumers by claiming the slump in sterling since the EU referendum is responsible for 5p of the recent increase in the cost per litre of petrol and diesel. Nick Clegg, the party’s Europe spokesman and former deputy prime minister, said the impact could add up to £2,200 a year for the average lorry, and said that would also add to delivery costs and prices in shops. “Theresa May claims that Brexit is going to be a great success. The reality is it’s going to make us poorer. The effects are already being felt,” he said. “Around 5p of the increase in petrol prices since last summer is down to the shockwaves from the referendum vote.”
News Article | May 9, 2017
Theresa May will face a battle within her own party as well as with the energy companies if she decides to go ahead with a cap on gas and electricity prices. A number of Tory MPs favouring free market policies, including some at senior ministerial level, feel the plan is far too interventionist for a Conservative government, and are aiming to water down the proposal in the next parliament. The MPs are not breaking cover with direct criticism during the election campaign, but some are openly pushing for a more “relative” cap – which would link standard tariffs to the cheapest deals by capping the differential between the highest and lowest price an energy company can charge. John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare and a former minister, said the Conservatives would stop rip-off energy prices but argued a relative cap was the way forward rather than a fixed upper limit. “We need to make the energy market more competitive, so the customer is king and big business fat cats can’t take us for granted,” he said. “The only way to do this – without distorting the market – is by imposing a temporary relative price cap to protect all customers who forget to switch at the end of their contracts. “It would limit the maximum mark-up the big six could impose so competition would be red-hot and the rip-offs would stop.” It is understood some MPs are hoping that the language in the manifesto will be vague enough to keep both options open and allow for a proper consultation in the next parliament. Labour promised that is energy policy would go much further than protecting the 17 million people on standard variable tariffs. “Unlike the Tories’ half-baked cap which only deals with some people, Labour policies will help people on every tariff,” a spokesman said. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who promised a price freeze in 2013 and has accused the Conservatives of hypocrisy for adopting a policy they previously attacked as “Marxist”, said the Tories could not promise voters their bills would not rise under the cap. “As far as I can tell, no guarantee that energy prices won’t rise next year under Tory policy. Is that right? Asking for a friend,” he taunted the business secretary, Greg Clark, on Twitter. Clark did not reply. Industry experts also warned that household energy bills will continue to rise regardless of May’s pledge to cap default electricity and gas tariffs. The Conservatives have claimed their price cap on standard variable tariffs would save 17 million families around £80 to £90 a year, or as much as £100 in some cases. However, energy analysts said that people would see their bills go up by £50 a year because of increasing energy policy and network costs that are already locked in over the course of the next parliament. “Administering the price cap therefore risks being tantamount to signing off bill increases for the industry,” said Cornwall Energy. The group also cautioned that millions of consumers who had engaged in the market could see their bills rise “significantly”, as suppliers hiked up prices on their better-value fixed deals. Damian Green, the work and pensions minister, recently said that energy regulator Ofgem would cap standard variable tariffs “in relation to what the market price is”. That would imply that if wholesale prices continue creeping up, as they have in Ofgem’s cost supplier index, bills will go up despite the cap. When the Guardian asked if this would guarantee household bills would not be higher in a year, the Conservative party failed to respond. May also refused to confirm at a stump speech on Tuesday whether bills would definitely go down, and would only say that Ofgem would set the cap. The prime minister would not be drawn on whether some cabinet ministers opposed the price cap policy. Iain Conn, the chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, which saw its share price slide 1.58% on Tuesday after the policy was confirmed, suggested there might yet be some sops for the industry when the final detail was revealed. “We have to remember we haven’t actually seen the policy yet, as someone senior in government reminded me not so long ago, so we have to keep a cool head,” he said. Five of the big six suppliers – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, SSE and ScottishPower – have raised prices over the winter, which ministers have said showed there was justification for intervention. Lawrence Slade, the chief executive of the trade body Energy UK, accused the Conservatives of “giving up on competition”. “Further intervention risks undermining so many of the positive changes we are seeing in the market which are delivering benefits for consumers,” he said. German-owned E.ON also expressed alarm at the prospect of price caps, as the company reported profits being down by a third for the first quarter of the year. “Intervention by government will harm investor confidence at a time when the country requires significant investment to deliver energy security and the low carbon agenda,” it said in a statement. The business group CBI said a cap could hit investor confidence. Josh Hardie, its deputy director general, said: “A major market intervention, such as a price cap, could lead to unintended consequences, for example, dampening consumers’ desire to find the best deal on the market and hitting investor confidence.”
News Article | May 9, 2017
Few boards of large public companies get to reject three unsolicited offers from the same bidder, especially if the last one is worth 50% more than the old share price. By that stage, predatory hounds from the world of fund management have usually chased down the directors and forced a surrender in the name of greater shareholder value. So congratulations are due to AkzoNobel, the Dutch firm that bought ICI in 2007 and has owned paint-maker Dulux ever since. It has dismissed US rival PPG’s latest takeover pitch, which is worth €26.9bn (£23bn), and told the bidder, more or less, to take its chances with a hostile offer or shut up and go away. It has done so with a flourish, citing four grounds for refusal, from the value of the offer to PPG’s “lack of cultural understanding”. That phrase is likely to anger the already-irate faction among Akzo shareholders that wants to call an extraordinary meeting to oust chairman Antony Burgmans. They will follow PPG’s line that Akzo’s refusal to negotiate flows from a “lack of proper governance” in the Dutch boardroom. The rebellious bunch, led by hedge fund Elliott, should calm down. Far from defending independence blindly, Akzo’s board has done what it is supposed to do. It has drawn up a self-help plan that involves selling or spinning off the specialty chemicals division and describing how profit margins in the paints and coatings business can be improved by a quarter by 2020. Of course, Akzo chief executive Ton Büchner is open to the charge that he was dozing until PPG turned up. But the same applied at Unilever, which has been in shareholder-friendly overdrive since it saw off Kraft Heinz and appears invigorated by its brush with an aggressive US cost-cutter. Akzo’s financial promises lack the full credibility of Unilever’s, it should be said, but they boost the standalone story. There is now some hope that Akzo could reach €96 a share – the value of PPG’s cash-and-shares offer – under its own steam within a few years. The starting-point, think analysts, would not be the former sub-€50 share price if PPG scarpers, but somewhere around €70. And, yes, Azko is right to shout about “cultural differences” and the interests of “stakeholders”. Shareholders should not be the only voices that are heard in takeover battles. Employees and Dutch politicians are virtually united in wanting Akzo to stay independent. That’s not just because PPG is promising its own shareholders $750m of cost savings, which would presumably mean heavy job losses in Akzo’s global workforce of 46,000, but also because the Dutch firm has a decent record of honouring its investment pledges. In the UK, note, Akzo is seen as being a good owner of the old ICI assets. PPG could yet go hostile and win, so Akzo’s independence is not guaranteed. But Theresa May, if she is still contemplating tightening the UK takeover code, as she once promised, should follow events keenly. The stricter Dutch code does not forbid unwanted bids, and not all UK companies are powerless, as Unilever (which is actually Anglo-Dutch) and AstraZeneca have shown. But the Dutch system does seem to give boards more confidence to take a wide view of a company’s interests and to resist the sell-first mantra of takeover lobbyists. The UK, with or without Brexit, could do with companies with Akzo’s fighting spirit. “There is only one factor driving it [Centrica’s share price] to where it is, and that is the uncertainty about what the Conservative government might do to the energy supply market,” Iain Conn, chief executive of the owner of British Gas, told one frustrated shareholder at Monday’s annual meeting. That’s fair comment. Centrica’s shares were already weak but only dived back towards a multi-year low of 200p when the Tories came out in favour of a price cap. But what form of price cap? Conn is not the only one who wants to see the details. The Tories’ aim is clearly directed towards standard variable rates, but neither possible technique for capping prices is straightforward. Under a relative price cap – meaning limiting standard variable rates to within a few percentage points of fixed-price tariffs – it is possible that bills could increase, at least for the 30% of active switchers. The cheapest deals in the market are already evaporating. Alternatively, a blunt cap on variable rates would involve ministers taking direct responsibility for energy bills. They would use regulator Ofgem as a buffer, but few will be convinced when bills increase, as they would sometimes when the wholesale market shifts. Neither of those outcomes seems politically palatable. No wonder the Tories have spent so much time talking up the proposal and so little in describing the implementation details. Monday night’s supposed clarification still left important details in the air.
News Article | May 9, 2017
Theresa May has said she still believes in free markets despite pledging to cap energy prices, after it was pointed out her party had dismissed a similar plan put forward by Ed Miliband as “Marxist”. The Conservatives are proposing a price cap on standard variable tariffs, to be set by the energy regulator, Ofgem. The policy follows a recommendation from a minority report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which found that customers had collectively been forced to pay £1.4bn a year in “excessive prices”. When Labour proposed a policy to freeze prices for 20 months in 2013, David Cameron accused Miliband, then the party’s leader, of wanting to live in a “Marxist universe”. Speaking at a campaign event in the Labour-held seat of York Central on Tuesday, May denied she wanted to live in that universe. “First of all, we are Conservatives,” she said to a hall of Tory candidates and activists. “We believe in free markets and competition, but we want to see competition working. The competition authority has shown that customers at the six largest energy suppliers in a year are paying £1.4bn more than they would do if it was a truly competitive market.” She added: “Ed Miliband didn’t propose a cap on energy prices. Ed Miliband suggested a freeze on energy prices that would have frozen them so people paying above the odds would have continued to pay above the odds, and crucially prices could not have gone down. Under our cap prices will go down.” She played down reports that the business secretary, Greg Clark, had opposed the energy cap. May said: “I think under [the] circumstances, it’s right, as does everybody sitting around the cabinet table, for governments to take action to support working families.” Talking later to factory workers in Leeds she refused to rule out bills going up under the plan. “I don’t think any government can ever promise that no bill is going to go up year on year,” the prime minister said. Earlier Clark had said the Conservative plans to control energy prices were not the same as those proposed by Miliband. Asked by BBC Breakfast whether the idea was an admission that Miliband’s policy was correct, Clark said: “No, that was a botched policy. They talked about a freeze, they even advertised it in a block of ice, and what happened after that was that the wholesale price of gas and electricity fell, and so if it had been introduced then people would have paid more than needed.” The confirmation of the price cap sparked an industry backlash and further falls in the share prices of energy companies. On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, it was pointed out to Clark that Labour eventually adapted its policy to a price cap but still faced Tory charges that energy supplies would be put at risk. Clark said: “Labour’s was a very crude policy. It was to directly intervene by politicians setting the tariffs. What we have responded to is a two-year investigation by the CMA that there is £1.4bn a year on average of over-charging.” In response to the point that the CMA only recommended a price cap for those paying through meters, Clark said: “They were in two minds about whether that should be extended beyond that. The minority report felt this was not going to remove that detriment to consumers quickly enough. We are taking the same approach that the CMA [did] to prepayment meters, but doing what the minority report said.” Clark conceded that the level of the cap would rise if wholesale gas prices increased. “If the price of gas goes up in world markets then of course you would expect that [the cap] to increase. If the price goes down, then you would expect the price to go down. That is why it is sensible to put it in the hands – and this is what the competition authority recommended for prepayment meters – of the regulator.” Tweeting following initial reports that the a price cap policy would be included in the Conservative party manifesto last month, Miliband criticised the Tories for putting forward a similar policy to his despite having shot his down at the time. On Tuesday he mocked Clark’s failure to rule out energy price rises, claiming he was speaking on behalf of a friend. Lawrence Slade, the chief executive of the trade body Energy UK, accused the Conservatives of “giving up on competition”. “Further intervention risks undermining so many of the positive changes we are seeing in the market which are delivering benefits for consumers,” he said. The share price of the British Gas owner, Centrica, was down 2.2% to £1.98 on Tuesday, the latest in a series of falls since May warned of intervention last October. Iain Conn, the company’s chief executive, blamed the government for the fall. “There is only one factor driving [the share price] to where it is, and that is the uncertainty about what the Conservative government might do to the energy supply market,” he said. The UK-listed SSE also saw its share price fall 1.3% after the Conservative announcement. Marc Spieker, the chief financial officer of E.ON, also expressed alarm at the prospect of price caps, as the German company reported profits being down by a third for the first quarter of the year. “The United Kingdom will remain a challenging market, as we have to expect additional interventionist policies,” he said. The business group CBI said a cap could hit investor confidence. Josh Hardie, its deputy director general, said: “A major market intervention, such as a price cap, could lead to unintended consequences, for example, dampening consumers’ desire to find the best deal on the market and hitting investor confidence.” Comparison sites, which rely on customers switching and would almost certainly be hit by a cap, said the policy risked backfiring and leaving consumers worse off. Richard Neudegg, the head of regulation at uSwitch, said: “Today’s pledge will ultimately kill competition, push up energy prices and leave consumers worse off.” But some of the “challenger” energy companies came out in support of an absolute price cap, along with the major consumer group Citizens Advice. Ovo, one of the biggest players outside the big six, called the move bold and ambitious. “The standard variable tariff cap will not harm consumers or competition, but act as a catalyst for innovation and efficiency amongst suppliers,” said its chief executive, Stephen Fitzpatrick. Octopus Energy, a small supplier with 90,000 customers, also backed the policy.
News Article | May 10, 2017
« Brookhaven team identifies active sites on catalysts for converting CO2 to methanol | Main | Volkswagen Group to invest approximately €10B in powertrain technologies over the next five years; targeting Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2022 » Centrica plc, Elia, Engie, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Sempra Energy, SP Group, Statoil ASA, Stedin, TWL (Technical Works Ludwigshafen AG), and Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) have joined forces to support the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a non-profit organization the mission of which is to accelerate the commercial deployment of blockchain technology in the energy sector. Thanks to their support, EWF has secured the first round of funding amounting to $2.5 million. Blockchain is a decentralized, immutable shared digital ledger of transactions maintained by an online network. It originally underpinned Bitcoin, but has gained traction as a means to record and track the movement of assets. Blockchain shows promise across a wide range of business applications. EWF is a partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute, an independent, US-based non-profit organization focused on driving the efficient and restorative use of resources, and Grid Singularity, a blockchain technology developer specializing in energy sector applications. Blockchain technology reduces transaction costs by keeping a single logical copy of transaction records—avoiding the need for reconciliation and settlement. Because of its unique attributes, blockchain technology has the potential to play a significant and potentially game-changing role in the energy sector. On the incremental side, blockchain technology can be used to reduce the cost of utility bills or the need for working capital in wholesale market gas or electricity transactions. On the game-changing side, blockchain technology can allow millions of energy devices (HVAC systems, water heaters, electric vehicles, batteries, solar PV installations) to transact with each other at the distribution edge while providing support to utilities and grid operators to integrate more utility-scale variable renewable energy capacity at much lower cost. The main challenge of the electricity sector in the 21st Century is to integrate more renewable energy into the grid in a cost-effective fashion in a context of largely flat or diminishing demand. The only way we know how to do this is by automating the demand side—by allowing many more participants in the grid. That means automation at the distribution edge, and integration of this automation with wholesale markets. We are excited by the potential of blockchain technology as an enabler to realize that vision. Blockchain will not be the only building block of the 21st Century grid, but it will most likely be a key building block. It also provides much higher levels of cybersecurity essentially for free—which addresses, as a by-product, one of the key concerns of utility executives when it comes to distributed energy resources. —Hervé Touati, a managing director at RMI and president of EWF As a cofounder of EWF, Grid Singularity is leading the development of an open-source, energy-specific blockchain infrastructure that will be maintained by EWF and supporting affiliates. Grid Singularity, together with its partner Parity Technologies, will bring the most advanced blockchain technology, addressing the limitations in terms of speed and transaction costs of the currently available blockchains, and enabling features that are focused on supporting energy-specific applications. The current test-network ‘Kovan,’ which is a proof-of-concept for the new consensus algorithm, has the ability to perform up to 1,000 transactions per second (tps) and is already used by many blockchain start-ups. By embedding further state channel technology, we intend for our architecture to facilitate scaling to 1 million tps over the next several years. With the ‘Polkadot’ design conceived by Parity Technologies, we are also introducing the concept of interoperability among multiple blockchain architectures, which should free users from technology lock-in. —Ewald Hesse, chief executive of Grid Singularity and vice-president of EWF In parallel with the development of an open-source IT infrastructure, EWF also will work on analyzing use cases and organizing task forces to push the most promising use cases into proof of concepts and commercial applications, while incubating an ecosystem of application developers, and cooperating with regulators and standardization bodies to facilitate deployment. EWF is actively soliciting collaboration with other technology providers eager to support the open-source approach of eliminating energy market entry barriers.
News Article | September 18, 2017
The battery project has been designed to store or release energy for the Gateshead District Energy Centre, which opened earlier this year, and will be capable of responding to any fluctuations in demand in under a second. With a total capacity of 3MW, the state-of-the-art battery scheme is made up of six units that hold the equivalent of one million AA battery cells. It is capable of storing enough power to meet the needs of 3,000 homes for one hour. Once commissioned, Centrica will manage the project under a 10 year contract, providing various flexibility services for the grid which help keep the national electricity network in balance. In time, it will also be used to help meet peaks in local demand, providing electricity through a private wire to council-owned buildings and well-known Tyneside buildings including Gateshead College and the Sage Gateshead concert venue. Alan Barlow, UK&I Director for Centrica Distributed Energy and Power said: "The Gateshead Energy Centre is a ground-breaking scheme and an impressive demonstration of how distributed energy solutions can generate cost savings, strengthen resilience, by bringing together battery storage and other energy technologies." The Gateshead District Energy Centre consists of a pair of 2MW combined heat and power (CHP) units, which generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes. The power is distributed via a private wire network consisting of high voltage electricity cables, while waste heat from the engines is recovered to provide hot water for heating via a 3km network of heat pipes. Cllr John McElroy, Gateshead Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "This battery installation completes the wider District Energy Scheme, which will provide low cost heat and power to homes, organisations and businesses in central Gateshead. "It's a bold, imaginative scheme that means we can also store and release power when we choose, as well as supporting the National Grid, which helps raise more income to support Council services." The battery storage scheme builds on a long-term energy partnership between Gateshead Council and Centrica who have installed 2MW of solar panels on 34 public buildings in the town. The business has also separately installed CHP units at five council-owned leisure centres including Gateshead, Heworth and Dunston Leisure Centres. To find out more about how Centrica is helping businesses to gain advantage from their energy, go to http://www.centricabusinesssolutions.com
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 5.21M | Year: 2013
The UK is committed to a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% before 2050. With over 40% of fossil fuels used for low temperature heating and 16% of electricity used for cooling these are key areas that must be addressed. The vision of our interdisciplinary centre is to develop a portfolio of technologies that will deliver heat and cold cost-effectively and with such high efficiency as to enable the target to be met, and to create well planned and robust Business, Infrastructure and Technology Roadmaps to implementation. Features of our approach to meeting the challenge are: a) Integration of economic, behavioural, policy and capability/skills factors together with the science/technology research to produce solutions that are technically excellent, compatible with and appealing to business, end-users, manufacturers and installers. b) Managing our research efforts in Delivery Temperature Work Packages (DTWPs) (freezing/cooling, space heating, process heat) so that exemplar study solutions will be applicable in more than one sector (e.g. Commercial/Residential, Commercial/Industrial). c) The sub-tasks (projects) of the DTWPs will be assigned to distinct phases: 1st Wave technologies or products will become operational in a 5-10 year timescale, 2nd Wave ideas and concepts for application in the longer term and an important part of the 2050 energy landscape. 1st Wave projects will lead to a demonstration or field trial with an end user and 2nd Wave projects will lead to a proof-of-concept (PoC) assessment. d) Being market and emission-target driven, research will focus on needs and high volume markets that offer large emission reduction potential to maximise impact. Phase 1 (near term) activities must promise high impact in terms of CO2 emissions reduction and technologies that have short turnaround times/high rates of churn will be prioritised. e) A major dissemination network that engages with core industry stakeholders, end users, contractors and SMEs in regular workshops and also works towards a Skills Capability Development Programme to identify the new skills needed by the installers and operators of the future. The SIRACH (Sustainable Innovation in Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating) Network will operate at national and international levels to maximise impact and findings will be included in teaching material aimed at the development of tomorrows engineering professionals. f) To allow the balance and timing of projects to evolve as results are delivered/analysed and to maximise overall value for money and impact of the centre only 50% of requested resources are earmarked in advance. g) Each DTWP will generally involve the complete multidisciplinary team in screening different solutions, then pursuing one or two chosen options to realisation and test. Our consortium brings together four partners: Warwick, Loughborough, Ulster and London South Bank Universities with proven track records in electric and gas heat pumps, refrigeration technology, heat storage as well as policy / regulation, end-user behaviour and business modelling. Industrial, commercial, NGO and regulatory resources and advice will come from major stakeholders such as DECC, Energy Technologies Institute, National Grid, British Gas, Asda, Co-operative Group, Hewlett Packard, Institute of Refrigeration, Northern Ireland Housing Executive. An Advisory Board with representatives from Industry, Government, Commerce, and Energy Providers as well as international representation from centres of excellence in Germany, Italy and Australia will provide guidance. Collaboration (staff/student exchange, sharing of results etc.) with government-funded thermal energy centres in Germany (at Fraunhofer ISE), Italy (PoliMi, Milan) and Australia (CSIRO) clearly demonstrate the international relevance and importance of the topic and will enhance the effectiveness of the international effort to combat climate change.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 425.44K | Year: 2011
Full title Verified approaches to life management & improved design of high temperature steels for advanced steam plants - VALID Summary of the VALID project The project explores the link between welding process and cross-weld creep strength for CSEF steel P92 and also the relationship between specimen geometry and weld width. Five different welding processes are being used to fabricate joints in P92 to allow acquisition of data over a wide range of process parameters and demonstrate the available welding technologies to industry. This will include the development of welding equipment and consumables. A demonstration of the creep performance of welds in new experimental steels will also be carried out. Consortium The consortium consists of seven official partners (see below, plus TSB Grant details) and six associates that have a strong involvement in the project Official Project partners: TWI Ltd – Grant £157,560 Air Liquide UK Ltd – Grant £147,390 Scottish & Southern Energy plc – Grant £12,750 Centrica Energy plc– Grant £12,000 Metrode Products Ltd – Grant £43,465 E.ON New Build & Technology Ltd - £26,117 Doosan Power Systems Ltd – Grant £26,268 Total Grant = £425,550 Associates: Polysoude SAS (Sub-Contractor) TenarisDalmine (Material Supplier) The Open University The University of Nottingham TU Chemnitz Industry Sector Power (primary) Secondary - ECM, Oil and gas, construction and engineering.