Nearly £9 million has been allocated by research councils in the UK and China to invest in making smart grids more efficient.
Energy scientists from the UK and China have teamed up to develop technology that could transform the way electricity is distributed via national power grids.
Over £4 million is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and is matched-funded from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). The aim is to help both countries reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainable energy output.
Smart grids manage the supply and demand of power through a national distribution network more effectively by introducing clever communications to the system that help to regulate supply.
Intelligent grids also accommodate new energies such as solar and wind power as efficiently as possible. Both countries are committed to reducing their carbon use significantly by 40 to 45% of 2005 levels by 2020 for China and by 30 per cent from 1990 levels for the UK.
Universities and science minister David Willetts said: “This international collaboration will bring together leading researchers from the UK and China to help develop the vital underpinning technology that both our nations need for a greener future.”
“It is vital that we find ways to improve the efficiency, reliability and sustainability of electricity supply and distribution both here and abroad,” said EPSRC’s chief executive David Delpy. “EPSRC is particularly well-placed to bring together the best scientific minds from across the world to work on the fundamental research which will drive energy solutions to benefit us all.”
Professor Che Chengwei, deputy director general of the Department of Engineering and Material Sciences at NSFC, said: “With smart grids as the main platform for future energy supply, research in this field has been carried out all over the world vigorously.
He continued: “We believe that through the research projects jointly funded by NSFC and EPSRC, researchers from China and the UK are able to establish a long-term and far-reaching cooperative research relationship and promote the development of smart grids in both countries.”