The British college depends on sustainable know-how with photo voltaic and wind enterprise

An aerial view of the Keele University campus taken July 2017.

David Goddard | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Two wind turbines and 15,000 solar panels will be installed on a university campus in the UK to make them climate neutral by the end of the decade. This is another example of how renewable technologies are being rolled out in locations with an emphasis on education and research.

The technology is installed at Keele University through a partnership funded and managed by French utility Engie, which will also design, build and operate the project. The partnership was announced last week.

In addition, an “industrial size battery” will be used to store energy generated by the £ 8.1 million (US $ 10.89 million) development that will be known as the Low Carbon Energy Project.

Overall, it is hoped that the renewable energy sources will provide up to 50% of the electricity the campus in the West Midlands region of England needs. Unused electricity generated by the turbines and solar panels is fed back into the local grid.

The upcoming integration of wind and sun on the Keele campus will complement the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator (SEND), a collaboration with Siemens focused on turning the site into what the university calls a “living laboratory”.

In September 2019, the university stated that SEND and the living laboratory would be used to “develop and test innovative new intelligent energy, renewable energies and energy efficient technologies”. This would provide “a model for global community acceptance”.

An integral part of the SEND program is a location on campus called the Horwood Energy Center, which has been dubbed the “Hub”, where a constant stream of live energy data can be integrated, processed and analyzed through cutting-edge intelligent systems. ”

Universities welcome innovative projects

Keele is just the newest educational institution trying to analyze sustainable technologies that could change the way the built environment works in the future.

Further north of Keele, at the University of Salford, construction is currently underway on a £ 16 million facility that uses heating, ventilation and air conditioning to create two “huge chambers” of snow, sunlight, rain and wind will.

In each of these chambers there will be two furnished houses at the Energy House 2.0 location. Scientists will be able to bring temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) or, at the other end of the spectrum, increase them to 40 degrees Celsius. The idea behind this is to test how different weather conditions affect energy consumption in houses and small buildings.

Homes will be equipped with a range of kits including smart meters and vehicle-to-grid technology. With so-called smart meters, consumers can see how much energy they are using and how much money they are spending.

In October it was also announced that a local agency in the north east of England would be providing university researchers with a house to test low carbon technologies.

The partnership between Hull City Council and the University of Hull will focus on the use of “combined ventilation and air source heat pump technology”.

Information on heating and energy consumption in the house is collected over the course of a year. The project team analyzes the affordability and effectiveness of the technology.

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