Groundbreaking SPECIFIC Project Powers Ahead

A new ground breaking project which will turn buildings into power stations, bringing significant environmental and economic benefits, will be showcased at the Low Carbon Expo in Cardiff this weekend.

SPECIFIC - led by Swansea University with Tata Steel as the main industrial partner, aims to develop functional coated steel and glass products that will transform the roofs and walls of buildings into surfaces that will generate, store and release energy.

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These innovative products will revolutionise the construction sector – with the strategic ambition to generate over one third of the UK's total target renewable energy by 2020; reducing CO2 output by 6 million tonnes per year; and creating new jobs in high-value manufacturing.

The £20 million, 5-year project, located at the Baglan Bay Innovation Centre is a powerful partnership that includes leading university groups such as Imperial College, Bath, Bangor, Cardiff, Glyndwr and Strathclyde and multi-national industry players such as BASF, Akzo Nobel, Beckers and Pilkington. The project has been backed with £10 million funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Technology Strategy Board and a further £2 million funding from the Welsh Government.

Edwina Hart, Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, said the Expo provided an excellent opportunity to highlight the highly innovative research and technological developments taking place in Wales.

“This project is significant because it has real potential to deliver long term benefits for the economy and also because it has attracted substantial research funding and places Wales at the forefront of these very exciting developments.”

The functional coated products will be designed for easy incorporation into both existing roofs and walls and new buildings. This will help address the global shortage of energy supply that has been widely predicted, and for developing countries it will enable them to access a reliable source of energy at point of use.

Welsh Government Environment Minister, John Griffiths said: “The Welsh Government has set out ambitions for making the move to renewable energy and for reducing Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions.

This project demonstrates exactly the sort of innovative approach to the generation of renewable energy that we are encouraging here in Wales. We know we must work towards a diverse energy mix so that we can secure our future energy needs, whilst reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

SPECIFIC has an ‘open innovation’ approach and brings together high calibre teams with proven research and development excellence. These teams will determine the industrial potential of world class scientific breakthroughs and how to bring new and emerging technologies to market more quickly.

The significant funding committed to date has enabled the project team to establish state of the art equipment and research labs in a ‘signature’ building within the Baglan Bay Energy Park and, within a year or so, will enable a modular pilot manufacturing line to be set-up and operational.

Leader of the Council, Councillor A.H. Thomas

Councilor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (pictured above) added: "We are delighted that Baglan Bay Innovation Centre is now home to one of the most exciting low carbon energy research and development projects in Europe. Baglan Energy Park is becoming known as a premier location for businesses and this kind of leading edge research and applied technologies can only help to attract more investment and jobs to Neath Port Talbot.”

Kevin Bygate, CEO of SPECIFIC is delighted with the progress made since the project was set-up in April 2011: “What is on display today has been developed within a very short timescale and we are confident that a number of ground breaking, clean, safe, renewable energy applications will become industrialised, and available commercially, within the life of the project.”

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