ABB And The University of Chester Commit To Long Term Collaboration Advancing Key Technologies For Future Energy Systems

Tim Wheeler with Ian FunnelThe University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park and ABB sign a collaboration agreement to develop and promote technologies and skills that will help tackle future energy challenges.

ABB and the University of Chester have signed a broad ranging five year partnership agreement focussed around the University’s Thornton Science Park in Cheshire. The University’s Departments of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Natural Sciences are involved in the collaboration, through the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Thornton Energy Research Institute, alongside ABB’s teams in energy, industrial automation and SMART Cities.

The collaboration will include ABB delivering industrial lectures, joint research and development, the provision of equipment and technical consultancy, joint technology events, ABB’s input to the curriculum and student placements.

The first area of collaboration centres on the recently completed Energy Centre at Thornton where ABB is providing a microgrid control system for the facility. The microgrid will help demonstrate and improve how future energy technologies can work together more effectively.

Ian Funnell, Managing Director for ABB in the UK said: “I am excited by the potential of our collaboration with the University of Chester. Our country’s energy systems are transforming, yet it remains vital for them to deliver cost effective, resilient and low carbon heat and power. We will be working alongside the University to develop the new technologies and people needed, not only to keep pace with the energy transformation, but to lead it. Thornton’s location, both close to our UK headquarters and in the centre of a very energy intensive region, makes the University an ideal partner for us.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Tim Wheeler, said: “This is a great opportunity, allowing us to bring together academic and industrial knowledge and experience to further the development of technologies and skills in the energy sector, in the UK and beyond. I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in partnership with ABB, for the benefit of future energy systems, over the next five years.”

Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director and Professor of the Thornton Energy Research Institute said: “So early in its inception, this proves how The Energy Centre is the place for the development and exploitation of technologies for the energy market. Our aim is that the Centre is a flexible space for academia and industry to work together in the pursuit of innovating, developing and demonstrating new intelligent energy technologies and our work with ABB is a great illustration of this.”

Paul Vernon, Senior Executive Director of Commercial Operations, and Chief Executive of Thornton Research Properties Limited, added: “This is one of a growing number of examples of how the University of Chester is working with industry to allow lightbulb moments to happen. The Energy Centre will officially open this summer.

The University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park, formerly the Shell Technology Centre: with a rich 75-year history, the University of Chester is developing Thornton Science Park as a major research and innovation hub. The 28-hectare site offers over 90,000 square metres of industrial laboratories, workshops and office space for new and existing companies. As an emerging world-class centre of excellence for the energy, engineering and advanced manufacturing industries, Thornton Science Park is contributing to the UK Government’s vision to form a Northern Powerhouse.


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Image: Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice Chancellor at the University of Chester (left) with Ian Funnell, Managing Director, ABB in the UK