HARWELL Campus, 'the UK’s science and innovation hub', is celebrating significant growth in its energy technology cluster since its launch in May last year.

The cluster, which has grown 17 per cent, now includes 35 industry, academic and public organisations working on the campus, employing 900 people.

A further 26 companies, which started off in Harwell’s Space or HealthTec Clusters, now also focus on the energy sector as a major market for their innovative technologies.

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With a focus on energy storage, battery technologies and carbon neutral alternatives to fossil fuels, the technologies emerging from these 61 organisations are expected to influence every aspect of life across work, travel and recreation, improving the environment and developing sustainable alternatives for the future.

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The announcement was made at the Clean Growth and Infrastructure Innovation Conference at Harwell on Thursday, where the UK’s energy experts met to understand the opportunities for the country’s energy sector arising from the Government’s £170m investment from its Industrial Clusters mission.

Emma Southwell Sander, Harwell EnergyTec Cluster manager said: “The incredible people working within the cluster are the innovators, problem solvers and investors who will lead the way in creating low-carbon technologies and solutions that others in the UK can learn from and replicate.

“We have a 75-year history in energy at Harwell and look forward to the next 75 years as we continue to grow the cluster, attracting more companies and investment to the region.”

Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Government is aiming to attract innovators, investors and problem solvers to create low-carbon examples that others in the UK can learn from and replicate.

The capability, technology and expertise that innovation hubs such as Harwell’s EnergyTec Cluster can offer puts the UK in a strong position to reach the UK’s ambitious objective of establishing a net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040.

Harwell Campus, which in total has 200 organisations employing 5,500 people, focuses on successfully commercialising scientific research and new technologies through clusters in the major markets of space, health and energy.

The EnergyTec Cluster counts multinational organisations including Siemens and EDF Energy among its cohort, consultants such as Ricardo Energy & Environment, and fast-growing start-ups such as Zap&Go.

Herald Series: Aerial view of the Diamond Light Source, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the Harwell Science & Innovation campus in Oxfordshire, 12th June 2010.Aerial view of the Diamond Light Source, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the Harwell Science & Innovation campus in Oxfordshire, 12th June 2010.

The Faraday Institution, which has received a £74m investment from the UK Government to accelerate battery technology in the UK, sits at the heart of the cluster, alongside open access facilities, the Diamond Lightsource and ISIS Neutron & Muon Source.

Interdisciplinary link-ups between the clusters is driving growth and one company at the forefront of innovation is Zap&Go, which is developing the next generation of battery technology with funding from the Faraday Institution.

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Its new approach to energy storage – removing lithium and cobalt found in most batteries in consumer electronics – aims to make batteries that are safer, longer lasting, and more efficient. Angus Horner, Harwell Campus director, said: “Harwell Campus is an energy powerhouse with all the components available in one place to fast-track a company’s research and development and commercial growth, to meet targets set in the Industrial Challenge Strategy.”