EBRI awarded top industry honours

Aston University’s European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI) has picked up two leading industry awards for its collaborative low-carbon technology project, ITHECA.

The Intelligent Transport, Heating and Electricity Control Agents (ITHECA) programme was the winner of the prestigious ‘Business Innovation’ award at the Midlands Environmental Business Company (MEBC) Awards. The Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) awarded the project its ‘Highly Commended’ prize in the Campus, Community and Residential category at their annual awards ceremony in London.

Both organisations are well respected in the sustainable energy industry. MEBC promotes the business and economic benefits of implementing sustainable development principles and the transformation to a low-carbon society. The ADE is the leading decentralised energy advocate, focussed on creating a more cost effective, efficient and user oriented energy system.

The ITHECA consortium is an innovative partnership between Cofely, Cenex, Open Energi and Aston University, who have come together to demonstrate how the next generation of low-carbon heating, power and transport technologies can improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bring down energy bills and create new business opportunities.

The project is centred on developing four pioneering innovations:

• The UK’s first advanced bioenergy connection to a district heating network

• The world’s first bioenergy-powered ‘Vehicle-to-Grid’ charging system

• The UK’s first demonstration of ‘Dynamic Demand’ frequency-response technology being integrated with micro-grids

• A new ‘Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Brain’ software system designed to integrate and optimise the EBRI energy system

Organisers for the Awards praised ITHECA for not just improving efficiency but also providing social and environmental benefits in the form of greater localised energy provision with less reliance on ageing infrastructure, job creation opportunities and the ability to utilise organic waste produced locally to provide low carbon energy.

EBRI was opened in October 2013 on the Aston University campus, uniting catalytic scientists, chemical and mechanical engineers and techno-economic experts. The £16.5m facility, jointly funded by the University and the European Regional Development Fund, houses a power plant capable of generating heat and electricity for the building and much of campus.

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EBRI based at Aston University delivers world-class research into all aspects of bioenergy. EBRI has been established since 2007 and bioenergy research has been taking place at the University from as early as 1978. EBRI was recently awarded £8.2 million from the European Regional Development Fund to build a new world-class facility for West Midlands businesses working in bioenergy technologies and component supply chain manufacturers to try out, test and get ready for market new products and processes within this field.www.aston.ac.uk/ebri