Energy

At Manchester more than 600 academics and researchers are working on solutions to today's energy challenges. We're involved in research across the entire energy journey – from generation for power, transport and heat, through to consumption.

What's your area of interest? Choose from the below categories.

General Academic Industry Policy

We have more than £80 million of ongoing energy projects, covering the entire energy journey – from generation and storage through to systems and use.

With such scale and scope, there are a wide range of opportunities to work together with partners and collaborators across varied disciplines to help deliver a brighter and more sustainable world for future generations.

Loading

Collaboration 

Our expertise is enhancing the efficiency and viability of sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal and bioenergy. We also undertake research across the nuclear fuel cycle – covering nuclear physics, reactors, fuels, recycle, decommissioning and environment and waste  and support partners in the bridging fuel sectors, such as oil and gas, to continue to meet demand.

Energy efficiency, reliability and sustainability is key. We’re working on systems that will help keep energy supply constant, and finding ways to persuade people to use energy at the best times. Our work looks at integration challenges for decentralised energy, improving grid flexibility and the development of microgrids, smart energy networks and community-based energy schemes.

We work closely with our local region on projects such as the UK’s largest ever trial of heat pumps. We’re finding out more about how today’s urban society uses energy, blending expertise from engineering and the social sciences to learn more about demand and how it can be met.

"The size of the University and the sheer range of knowledge here allows us to bring people together from a huge range of research areas. This helps us to find innovative ways to tackle some of the world’s biggest energy challenges."

Ian Cotton / Professor of High Voltage Technology and Director of Manchester Energy

Interdisciplinary approach

At Manchester our energy academics work across boundaries. Through our FutureDAMS project we’re working to improve the design, selection and operation of a new generation of dams that will contribute towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris climate change commitments. The FutureDAMS research and capacity development partnership unites academics, practitioners and policy makers to improve the planning and governance of future dams. Cross-disciplinary research assessments are being used to identify what has worked well historically and what needs improvement.

And we’re opening up new thinking and approaches for the civil nuclear sector through The Beam, a research network fostering engagement between the nuclear sciences and social research. The Beam invites world-class researchers to use their insight to address global nuclear grand challenges, encouraging an ethnographic approach and placing emphasis on those impacted by nuclear power.

Energy: Research breakthroughs

Podcast: Shining a light on solar PV

Scientists at The University of Manchester have solved a key flaw in solar panels after 40 years of worldwide research. The majority of solar cells only achieve 20% efficiency – for every kW of equivalent sunlight, about 200W of electrical power can be generated. Now an international team of researchers have resolved a key fundamental issue of material defect which limits and degrades solar cell efficiency. The problem has been known of and studied for over 40 years, with more than 270 research papers attributed to the issue, but the cause of the degradation, and hence the route to a solution, has been undiscovered until now. The new research shows the first observation of a previously unknown material defect which limits silicon solar cell efficiency. In this podcast Tony Peaker, Matthew Halsall and Iain Crowe discuss their research and how the discovery came about.

Research paper: ‘Identification of the mechanism responsible for the boron oxygen light induced degradation in silicon photovoltaic cells’ by Michelle Vaqueiro-Contreras, Vladimir P. Markevich, José Coutinho, Paulo Santos, Iain F. Crowe, Matthew P. Halsall, Ian Hawkins, Stanislau B. Lastovskii, Leonid I. Murin, Anthony R. Peaker, published in the Journal of Applied Physics. DOI: 10.1063/1.5091759

Loading

Unique facilities 

Our academics, collaborators and partners have unprecedented access to a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art and bespoke experimental equipment and powerful computing infrastructure, all supported by specialist technical experts. Facilities include the Dalton Cumbrian Facility (offering the world’s highest energy dual ion beam accelerator system), the UK’s largest university high voltage facility, a six-rack RTDS real-time power system simulator, fully-programmable AC grid-connected energy storage system, world-leading X-ray imaging systems and 1MW energy storage test bed. The University campus itself is a living laboratory, with our 339 buildings providing a test bed for tomorrow’s energy systems.

Find out more about some of our flagship facilities in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.