£7.5m of EPSRC investment announced for the Supergen ORE Impact Hub to drive innovation and impact in UK offshore renewables

The Supergen ORE Hub, led by the University of Plymouth, has secured £7.5m of EPSRC funding that will reinforce its position at the forefront of the UK’s net zero revolution.

The UK’s position at the global forefront of offshore renewable energy innovation is to be further enhanced through a major new investment announced today. The Supergen ORE Impact Hub has been awarded £7.5million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – part of UK Research and Innovation – to accelerate the impact of current and future ORE devices and systems and to drive the UK towards its net zero commitments

The investment forms part of a £53million investment by UK Research and Innovation designed to boost knowledge, innovation and new technologies that will decarbonise the energy sector.

The Impact Hub will build on work carried out by the existing Supergen ORE Hub, created in July 2018 to champion and maintain the UK’s wave, tidal and offshore wind expertise

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Director of the Supergen ORE Impact Hub said: “This significant investment highlights the important role a thriving offshore renewable sector needs to play as part of the UK’s clean energy mix. And it could not have come at a more critical time, with a predicted growth of floating offshore wind technology in the Celtic Sea and Scotland among many imminent innovations. Since 2018, the Supergen ORE Hub has been instrumental in uniting researchers, industry and policy makers behind the common goal of creating a sustainable and secure ORE sector. That sort of continued collaboration will be essential if we are to ensure our innovation leads to positive and lasting environmental, economic and social impact.”

With over 13GW of installed offshore wind capacity and another 3GW under construction, offshore renewable energy (ORE) will provide the backbone of the UK’s net zero energy system. The revised UK targets that underpin the Energy Security Strategy seek to grow offshore wind capacity to 50GW, with up to 5GW floating offshore wind by 2030.

To achieve these levels of deployment, ORE developments need to move beyond current sites to more challenging locations further from shore, while the increasing pace of deployment – in addition to advances in wave and tidal innovation – introduces major challenges in consenting, manufacture and installation.

To overcome this, the Supergen ORE Impact Hub aims to utilise existing and planned research outcomes to accelerate the technology development, collaboration and industry uptake for commercial ORE developments.

Through its Flexible Fund, it plans to invest around £2.8million in new and emerging research across the UK, in addition to creating additional opportunities for early career researchers.

It will also build on previous work to enhance diversity across the ORE sector, making a future career in the industry accessible to all.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “The government has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, requiring rapid decarbonisation of our energy systems. UKRI is leveraging its ability to work across disciplines to support this ambition through a major portfolio of investments that will catalyse innovation and new green energy systems. The funding announced today will support researchers and innovators to develop game changing ideas to improve domestic, industrial and transport energy systems.”

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