New £100m University Energy Building to tackle society's biggest challenges

New £100m University Energy Building to tackle society's biggest challenges

Plans for a new £100 million centre of excellence in research, innovation and teaching to help safeguard society's energy needs have been announced today (Monday, December 1) by the University of Aberdeen.

The 19,000m2 purpose-built Energy Building will contain world class, sustainable facilities to build on the University’s and Aberdeen’s reputation for ground-breaking research and innovation, and create a modern, engaging learning environment for students.

Maximising economic recovery of existing fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy and energy economics are just a handful of areas of research to be carried out in the new facility, whilst retaining a dedication to fundamental research.

The Energy Building represents the latest phase of the University’s half a billion pound campus investment plan which has already seen the completion of the Sir Duncan Rice Library, the Suttie Centre and the Aberdeen Aquatics Centre.

The new facility will increase opportunity for industry engagement, collaboration and professional development programmes through the Aberdeen Institute of Energy – the University’s single point of contact for all its energy activities.

An ‘Open Lab’ outreach policy will help demystify science for youngsters, and provide a source of inspiration and encouragement for the next generation of scientists with particular focus on attracting girls into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects.

The flexible space will also serve as a venue to host events, functions and exhibitions for the local community, industry and others.

“The University of Aberdeen has a long and proud international reputation for world class research and innovation in energy and science,” said Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University. “Such ground-breaking research requires cutting edge facilities, an environment that encourages cross-collaboration in different disciplines, and a ‘shop front’ suitable for welcoming visits from industry sponsors and other stakeholders.

“The new Energy Building seeks to meet these needs, providing state-of-the-art facilities, and much required capacity, to enhance greatly our research, teaching, collaboration and outreach activities. This building will provide world class facilities for our academics, students and industry partners, as well as a new home for the Aberdeen Institute of Energy; consolidating our position as a global energy university.”

The Energy Building will intensify the University’s existing partnerships with industry though the delivery of undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development (CPD) teaching to support the employment needs of industry, the provision of innovation space, and the conduct of fundamental and applied research.

A significant part of the new building will be dedicated to the University’s Fluid Dynamics department, which is already ranked alongside a handful of the best facilities of its kind in the world – studying fundamental science which can also be applied to biofarm design and pipeline stability, among many other areas. The new laboratory will be significantly larger than the existing facility and could see the University join an elite class of institutions that boast facilities where scientists can record ‘benchmark data’.

Today’s announcement was welcomed by the leading trade association for the United Kingdom offshore oil and gas industry, Oil & Gas UK.

Alix Thom, Oil & Gas UK’s Employment and Skills Issues Manager, said: “We welcome the announcement of an ambitious new building that will bring together scientists involved in research into oil and gas exploration and enhanced oil production. We are also pleased to see an initiative that encourages the next generation, particularly girls, into science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The building will not just benefit the researchers and students of today, but also the next generation of bright young minds, and the community as a whole. The Energy Building will feature more space to continue and build upon the wide range of successful outreach programmes already offered, such as the successful science open weekends, and the S6@Uni scheme.

The building’s planned location is close to the Sir Duncan Rice Library, on the site at the corner of St Machar Roundabout and Bedford Road.

It is proposed that its construction will be followed by the planned demolition of the Meston Building on the corner of Meston Walk and Elphinstone Road.

Members of the public are invited to hear more about the University’s vision at a Public Meeting on the first floor of The Hub on the corner of Elphinstone Road and St Machar Drive on Wednesday December 10 between 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Author
Euan Wemyss

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