ERA builds new partnerships in China

A group of prominent academics from the UK visited China to build new collaborations in energy research.

Published On: January 22, 2020
ERA conference

The visitors were from the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), a partnership of eight research-intensive universities from the Midlands region of the UK. These include the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick, and also the British Geological Survey. Together they are working to develop new low-carbon energy technologies and solutions.

ERA is the biggest energy research partnership in the UK, with government and industrial funding of £180m to develop new energy research facilities, laboratories and large-scale demonstration projects.

The delegation from the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) consists of academics and business development specialists who visited Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou in order to meet with representatives from government, energy companies and academic organisations with an interest in renewable and low-carbon energy. ERA is particularly interested in building partnerships which could result in joint R&D projects or commercial collaborations.

While in China, ERA academics took part in events hosted by:
• University of Science and Technology Beijing 
• Tsinghua University, Beijing 
• Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute, Nanjing 
• Zheijang Science and Technology Department, Hangzhou 

The representatives from ERA discussed their research activities and exploring collaboration opportunities in a number of research areas. These include:
• Wind Energy and Compressed Air Energy Storage
• Artificial Intelligence and Smart Energy
• Decarbonising transport from cars to freight vehicles
• Viability of emerging energy technologies
• Energy integration
• Thermal energy storage for heat, power and mobility
• Hydrothermal carbonisations: wet waste to solid biofuels
• Electro-chemicals and liquid salts

In addition, ERA also ran a special ‘Science on Tap’ public engagement event on Monday 13th January in Beijing. The event is on the subject of A Net-Zero World: Powered, Heated and Cooled by Renewables which is part of the Green is GREAT campaign run by the British Embassy in China on behalf of the UK Science and Innovation Network.

During the week, the ERA team met with over 200 representatives from the Chinese energy industry across research institutions, companies, government bodies and media, in order to accelerate UK-China collaboration in green energy innovation.

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), said: “We had a very successful visit, meeting representatives from businesses, universities and government in Beijing, Nanjing and Hangzhou during the week. A number of discussions took place with organisations that want to collaborate with us in the future in order to explore new opportunities and develop and commercialise renewable energy technologies in both China and the UK.

“I would also like to thank all of the prestigious organisations that partnered with us in China and generously hosted our events during the week. They will all be very warmly welcomed when they visit us in the UK in the future.”

During the week ERA also signed a memorandum of Understanding with Tsinghua University in Beijing, which is a wide-ranging agreement for both parties to collaborate on R&D and innovation activities in the future.

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The week-long mission to China was organised by the Asia Business Centre at University of Nottingham, in partnership with Birmingham Energy Institute.

For more information about the Energy Research Accelerator, visit


Notes to Editors

For more information about this press release, please contact Nick King, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Energy Research Accelerator, on, or tel: +44 (0)7964 391057

The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)
ERA consists of the Midlnds Innovation partner universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Warwick, and also the British Geological Survey (BGS). ERA aims to harness the Midlands’ combined research excellence and industry expertise to play a critical role in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the UK.
ERA’s priorities are focused in the areas of Energy Transformation, Energy Storage, Energy Integration and End Use Energy Demand.
Funded by the UK government through Innovate UK, an initial capital investment of £60m, has secured additional industrial co-investment of £120m.

About Green is GREAT
Climate change is the most serious threat facing our world. Our planet needs action and it needs it right now. Green is GREAT is the UK’s government national campaign in China.
The UK-China Green partnership is helping to tackle climate change, and through Green is GREAT activities we are deepening this partnership to create even wider impact.
The first phase of Green is GREAT campaign focuses on three distinct strands of work: Green Finance, Renewable Energy and Marine Plastics. Since September 2019 around 20 events have been organised across China and there are still many more being planned.