Renewable energy

One of the world’s greatest challenges is sustainable energy production. As fossil fuels are depleted, the search for alternative energy becomes increasingly urgent. Alternative energy sources must be economical and have minimal impact on the environment, so we are investigating wave, tide, wind and solar sources. We need to ensure security, affordability, sustainability and scalability to future demands to create systems for the long-term that are flexible and resilient.

The University of Leicester is involved in a number of industrial collaborations that are leading the way in the search for alternative energy sources. One such example comes from our Condensed Matter Physics Research Group, who are developing thin and transparent photovoltaic film that can be applied to large surface areas, including windows.

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)

HVDC systems are being developed to boost voltages for transmission over long distances, ideal for application in offshore wind farms and the European super grid. Our Electrical Power and Power Electronics Research Group specialise in modelling the long term performance of insulating materials, which is critical to the success of HVDC grids.

Our lead academic in this area is Dr Steve Dodd.

Alstom KTP: delivering a solution to the global energy challenge

Alstom, producer of 25% of the world’s electricity supply, worked with the University of Leicester to develop methods of utilising HVDC.

Whilst there are many cables available for AC transmission, HVDC cable has had relatively little research into stresses and failure modes. Alstom approached us as a world-renowned centre of excellence in electrical power and smart grids, to set up a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. The award-winning partnership embedded a highly-qualified graduate in Alstom’s technical centre who modelled the optimal cable and identified a supplier that met Alstom’s requirements. 

Alstom gained a long-term competitive edge, winning business as a result of having optimised their equipment, which increased customer confidence in the reliability and safety of their service.

Energy saving

Dr Paul Lefley from the Electrical Power and Power Electronics Group has been involved in several industry projects to improve energy saving, including:

  • Increasing the storage and energy production in thermoelectric generators (European Thermodynamics Limited)
  • High powered and ultra-fast battery recharging – Improving efficiency of electric motors (Synchropulse)