University of Greenwich to build experimental green power plant

The scheme is part of an innovative cross-channel project supported by a €4,261,405 European Development Fund grant.
University of Greenwich to build experimental green power plant

Staff and students from across the university will carry out research investigating glycerol-fuelled installation, which will ultimately heat the Medway Campus at Chatham Maritime. The initiative is being led by Medway Council and is part of ‘Ecotec 21’, an Anglo-French consortium set up to study Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology. CHP captures the waste heat created by power plants and uses it for heating or hot water. The project brings together universities in the UK and France, research institutions, government-funded organisations, energy and facility managers, designers and architects.

An international expert in bio-fuels, Professor Pat Harvey from the University of Greenwich, is leading the campus study. Based in the university’s School of Science, she aims to find cost-effective and environmentally efficient ways of producing glycerol, including the future possibility of using algae as a source of the fuel. A sugar alcohol, glycerol has many advantages over other energy sources as it is water-soluble, bio-degradable, non-odorous, non-volatile, non-toxic and produces virtually no combustion particulates.

Professor Harvey will also research the carbon footprint of glycerol – expected to be much lower than gas – as well as its risks. The School of Engineering will review the design of the plant and its systems, while colleagues in the School of Architecture, Design & Construction will study the retro-fitting and performance of this new technology, along with training needed. The Business School will assess economic issues while university researchers in Psychology will consider how best to encourage use of biofuels.

“This ambitious project puts Medway at the forefront of technological development in sustainable fuels” said Professor Harvey. “We believe that we are the first university in the world to install a glycerol boiler and the findings of this research will have an important contribution to make to the global search for the biofuels of the future.”

The development builds on a strong track record of achievement in sustainability at the University of Greenwich, which was named as the “greenest-ever university in the UK” in the latest Guardian/People & Planet league tables.

Ecotec 21 is part of the Interreg IVA France (Channel) – England programme. This programme aims to promote the emergence – between the French and English parties – of a space of common citizenship fostering a sense of belonging to a cross-border area, and endowed with a specific identity

Further information:

Ecotec 21

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